Real Madrid ace Asier Illarramendi says that he knew that he would be whistled and booed against Real Sociedad on Saturday evening, insisting that his return to San Sebastian was "special" in spite of the fan backlash.
The 24-year-old midfielder came through the youth team ranks at the Basque club but left the Anoeta for the Santiago Bernabeu last summer for a fee of €32.2 million.
Consequently, Illarramendi was not in the least bit surprised that he received a hostile reception in Madrid's 4-0 win at San Sebastian, a game in which he opened the scoring.
“Going home is always special," the Basque is quoted as saying by his club's official website.
"I expected the crowd to whistle, because they don’t like what I did; it’s what happens.
"But I was focused on the match, which is what I had to do.
“At Real [Sociedad] I gave everything I had, [but] the opportunity came up to go to Real Madrid and I took it. Now I’m trying to enjoy myself.
"San Sebastian has always been my home, though. Real Sociedad gave me everything."
Despite the lopsided nature of the final scoreline, Illarramendi claimed that carlo Ancelotti's men had had to work hard for the points, which kept them right in the hunt for the Liga title.
“We had to earn the victory," he stated. "In the first half they pressed us quite a lot.
"After the second goal [from Gareth Bale on 66 minutes], the match broke up. There was more space and we took advantage of it.
"I’m happy with the victory. There aren’t many games left now and our job is to win and hope that Barcelona and Atletico slip up."
Madrid currently sit third in the Primera Division standings, two points behind the Blaugrana and one further adrift of league leaders Atleti.