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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 21, 2009

Salgado looks to emulate Hierro

Michel Salgado hopes to fulfil a Fernando Hierro role at Blackburn having consulted the former Real Madrid captain before making his move to Ewood Park.

Sam Allardyce has already earmarked veteran right-back Salgado, who signed a two-year contract this week, to do the kind of job for him at Rovers that Hierro did at Bolton five seasons ago.

And, having decided to follow Hierro in swapping La Liga for Lancashire, Salgado revealed he wants to emulate his former Real team-mate in more ways than one.

Hierro, aged 36 when he signed, was a hugely influential figure both on and off the pitch during a year at the Reebok Stadium, and Salgado hopes to have a similar impact at Blackburn.

"Maybe it is the same thing as with Hierro,'' Salgado said.

"He was a very important player for Real Madrid, the last big captain there. I was talking with him about Sam Allardyce and he told me that he is a really good coach, that he likes the old players because he thinks it is important to have experience for the team.

"I am nearly 34 but I really want to play and keep fit. I can help not only the team in the games but in the dressing room, the young players - show them about football and what competition is.''

Salgado revealed it was his competitive nature that had persuaded him to get involved with the rigours of the Barclays Premier League rather than a step towards retirement.

"I have chosen Blackburn Rovers because they give me the opportunity to play in a really big competition,'' he said.

"The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world. Maybe after Real Madrid I could have chosen the Emirates or Qatar to go and retire but I don't feel I can do that because, in my blood, I have competition.

"Blackburn is going to give me this - to play against Manchester United, against Chelsea, against Liverpool, against all the teams of England. For me, this is better because I have competition inside me.''

Salgado almost came to England five years ago with Chelsea and is glad to have finally taken the opportunity.

"It's a big chance for me, to play in the Premier League,'' he said.

"It is something that I have always wanted to do. It arrived late but, like we say in Spain, it's better one time than never.

"I am really happy to be here in a historic club like Blackburn Rovers and I hope to help my team make something good. I remember the year that they won the league with Alan Shearer.''

Allardyce is delighted with the signing of Salgado and admitted he was surprised the player became available to him.

"It was probably the quickest deal we have done this summer,'' Allardyce said.

"It came around by a phonecall and I didn't believe we could capture a player of such experience and quality.

"Within the space of just a few days he was in this country. The chairman took it up from there and we managed to clinch it.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the player and I hope he lifts the whole of the club, particularly the players in the squad who play with him.

"He's not only a great footballer, he's a great fella, which is always a great addition to your dressing room, as well as the ability that he has got on the field of play.''

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