Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has praised the impact made by new arrival Wesley Sneijder and claimed he will be more valuable to the team than David Beckham.
Holland winger Sneijder has made a sensational start to his Bernabeu career, netting the winner against city rivals Atletico on the opening day of the season and following that up with two more goals in the 5-0 win at Villarreal on Sunday.
Schuster is delighted with how the 22-year-old, an £18.2 million acquisition from Ajax, has acclimatised to the Primera Liga.
“He was a bit nervous on his Bernabeu debut, but he has performed at an optimum level ever since.
“The team is grateful to him for that. It is easy for a team to adapt to a style with him on the pitch.”
Sneijder was signed to replenish Madrid’s squad following Beckham’s move to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
And former Germany and Madrid midfielder Schuster believes the team is stronger as a result.
He added: “Beckham was a right winger more than anything else, and Sneijder, despite the fact that he has a similar touch on the ball to the Englishman, can cover more ground.
“Before signing him I talked to (former Holland and Madrid coach) Leo Beenhakker, who knows him well. We found out he can make good use of his shots if he plays down the left wing.”
Schuster also had words of praise for Fabio Capello, who was sacked by Madrid at the end of last season despite leading the club to the Primera Liga title.
He said: “I don’t know how he must have felt. If I was him, I would have felt happy having won a title, but not so happy because I think I would have deserved to continue. But I don’t know him well enough to say.
“The title worked wonders in getting rid of any anxiety, but we must continue now.
“I have noticed that some bad habits have stuck around, but they’re not due to Capello, who is a disciplined coach, but rather from the ‘Galacticos’ era.
“I’m talking about some work attitudes during the training sessions.
“I can also tell that young players are easily influenced by that negative attitude and become part of the problem.
“That’s why it’s important that other young players came in.”