Today we have at the Santiago Bernabéu a duel with classic aromas of competition that has returned this season after two years of absence by the decline of the Royal Society and a common denominator: Xabi Alonso. The Basque midfielder is now the leader of Madrid's midfield as it was eight years ago in San Sebastian when it all was about to win the league title. If Atocha, a former stage of the Real, the club saw Txuri-Urdin for two consecutive years managed to lift the league title three decades ago, Anoeta touched the sky in the 2002/03 season when the club finished second to San Sebastian two points of Real Madrid.
Raynald Denoueix a name would be on the bench when he won the French Cup for two consecutive years with Nantes in 1999 and 2000 and a year later, the Ligue 1. The Frenchman accepted the proposal of the Royal after a fruitless third stage of John Benjamin Toshack on the bench in San Sebastian. Denoueix form a large block with a group of players who offered the best of themselves and came to lead the table for eighteen consecutive days, and not lower than third all season except for one day, the third, after which occupied the fifth place.
After losing the lead a few days I recovered in recent days, but after a draw at home to Valencia and lose in Vigo in the penultimate match against Real Madrid would eventually succumbing in the last year was that Vicente Del Bosque. In vain did the 3-0 victory over Atletico in the last day, as the Madrid won 3-1 at the Stadium Athletic champions.
That year was historic not only for the superb league championship and qualifying for the Champions, but came also marked by contracting for the first time in 35 years, from a Spanish player not born in the Basque Country. Boris was in the quarry of Oviedo and a player who pointed out very politely, but did not have the leadership that was expected that only fifteen contesting season starts.
Denoueix opted for a 4-4-2 line in which the band acquired great prominence, and that touched the youth players and foreigners who offered a high yield. The goal was guarded by the Dutch international goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, from Liverpool and signed a great season relegated to the substitution Albert, an institution in Anoeta. On defense, the sides were occupied by two homegrown. On the right was Lopez Rekarte, steadfast in defense and became international, and left Aranzábal, one of the best left-back has given the Spanish football in the last two decades and yet never settled in the selection .
In the center of defense was Jauregui, from the Éibar and subsequently had many problems with injuries, along with Argentine Schurrer, who excelled in the Racing, was a reserve in the champions Deportivo and arrived in San Sebastian to return to his best after two seasons at Las Palmas. However, after an injury was the Norwegian Kvarme who took his place in the team. In midfield was Aranburu, the only survivor of that season except for Llorente, who only played two games. Aranburu form a great double pivot with Xabi Alonso, the engine of that team and it was already considered one of the greatest midfielders in the league. A couple of years later would sign for Liverpool.
However, there are few who say the best player on that team occupied the left wing, which is that of Peter completed his best professional season after highlighting the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. Extremely irregular, yet maintained a high level all year and his left leg out front that need assistance took advantage to score a lot of goals. On the other hand, in the right, was another player best remembered in Anoeta, Russian Karpin, who after failing to win in Valencia and Celta play the best of history back to San Sebastian to followgiving teachers from the right side.
And tip the powder, the spark, speed and the punch line: Nihat and Kovacevic, 23 and 20 goals respectively. The Turk gave a great performance throughout his career as a Real player and it was a nightmare for opponents Zagas. Kovacevic, as Karpin, lived his second spell at Anoeta after failing to succeed as expected in the Calcio, returning to San Sebastian in the best way possible. Other players who played several games that year were the aforementioned Boris, Gabilondo, Turkish or Russian Tayfun Khokhlov.
The next year was not so easy. The team kept all his eleven template but De Pedro was no longer the same and just have reinforcements, Alkiza back 33 years after a brilliant stage in Bilbao and the recruitment of exotic Korean Lee Chun Soo, who barely had prominence. Also begin to peek through the first team a certain Xabi Prieto. The year was very difficult league and had to fight to avoid relegation, is that the Champions League took its toll. In European competition itself was played a good role, qualified for second round after finishing second in their group behind Juventus and ahead of Galatasaray and Olympiakos, the more dangerous then than today. In the eighth succumb to the Lyon's Juninho after losing two games to zero somewhat. After that season Denoueix would be removed, not returning to training since then.
It was a great year for the Royal Society in which far exceeded all the expectations placed on the club of San Sebastián. It is said that only remember the winners, but if the runners make use of the epic when they are not expected, as the Alaves in the UEFA that final against Liverpool or Real Sociedad is at hand, make their own merits a corner in the memory of football fans.