The team had their last training today before traveling to Vigo for tomorrow’s match against Celta. Both Cristiano and Sergio returned to training with the team. Here’s some video (it’s #2 and starts at 4:16) from La Sexta showing the team goofing around and Essien yanking what looks like a hair out of Ozil’s face.
Aitor Karanka handled the presser duties today and they certainly didn’t stint on the tough questions, touching on DLo/San Iker, Nani’s red card and our place in the Liga.
“Mourinho is only thinking of Real Madrid and the next match”
by Javier García
“The game against Celta will be complicated and will require considerable concentration and physical effort”, the Whites’ assistant coach stated in the press room
Aitor Karanka appeared before the media after the team’s last training session prior to the match against Celta de Vigo. The Real Madrid assistant manager spoke of the Whites’ next rival: “It will be a complicated game and will require considerable concentration and physical effort. The manager has settled the team down after what’s been a euphoric week. We have to keep moving in the direction we’ve taken and we hope to achieve a good score”. Asked about his impression regarding Mourinho’s future, he stated: “We’re only thinking of working on the next match. I don’t ask him and I’m not interested. The boss is only thinking of Real Madrid and the next match”.
Real Madrid will be looking for a win in Balaidos to continue the great team dynamic they’ve enjoyed in their recent matches. “We’ve always selected teams in order to win the matches and I’m sure tomorrow’s line-up will be very strong in order to win the game. Some players such as Varane, Ramos and Coentrao have played three matches in a row and deserve to rest. These matches require an intense level of concentration”, Karanka explained upon being asked about the starting line-up.
The assistant coach spoke of several players in particular, including Diego Lopez and Casillas: “Diego Lopez is here to contribute. We have fantastic goalkeepers and that’s good for the team. Iker is on the road to recovery and we hope he’s back as soon as possible. The manager will select the players in the best conditions”. Speaking of Marcelo he stated: “He suffered a serious injury and was off the field for quite some time but he’s a very important player for us. He’s training better and has gone on in matches. He’s important for the final stretch of the season”.
In relation to their chances in la Liga, he said: “It’s practically impossible for us to win la Liga. We have to go on fighting for second place, wait and continue to clock up points. La Liga isn’t over yet and deciding to focus only on other competitions could be dangerous. We have to continue earning points”. With respect to Barcelona he stated: “We have considerable experience and we know the team Barcelona has. As Mascherano said, a second ago it seemed like a fairytale and now it’s quite the opposite. We’re continuing to do our job. When things are working well you try to maintain the dynamic and we hope to keep going in this direction and beat Celta”.
Karanka explained the atmosphere within the team: “We work to get the best out of the players. When things aren’t going well you always hear about a negative atmosphere. Now that we’re winning it’s all smooth sailing. We isolate ourselves from everything else and continue working as usual. The manager and coaching staff work on getting results and don’t concern ourselves with the criticism or praise. The manager has demonstrated strength to distance himself from everything”.
Asked about the controversy surrounding Nani being sent off, he stated: “The game can’t come second. It isn’t normal that those that said it was right for Pepe to be sent off are now questioning Nani’s red card”. Concerning Bale, he said: “He’s a player from another team and I can only speak of what I see. We all know what kind of player he is”.
Karanka also offered his perspective on the Copa del Rey final that will be played in the Santiago Bernabeu: “I lost the 2002 final and that will always stay with me. This is the second final we’re playing in three seasons. We’re both teams from Madrid and playing here was the best option”. Lastly, he had praise for Pepe: “He’s a player that has been and continues to be very important. He’s coming off the back of an injury and an operation. He’s helped Varane and we’re pleased with his work. He’s playing in different positions and his attitude is worthy of praise. He’s very important for the team”.
Goalkeepers: Diego López, Adán and Jesús.
Defenders: Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol and Nacho.
Midfielders: Khedira, Kaká, Özil, Xabi Alonso, Essien, Modric and Callejón.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín and Morata.
As you can see, some players are being rested – Coentrao, Varane and Sergio. Iker & Angel are continuing their recovery.
The team traveled to the Galician city of Vigo along with Real Madrid C who also have a game there. Over 500 fans greeted the teams (and got an extra dose of Muppet Babies – lucky them!)
The team is staying at the hotel Pazo de los Escudos. Xabi & DLo were chosen to sign autographs for the fans. Our sympathies go out to the Lopez family as he lost his grandfather this week.
And in the ‘boys behaving badly’ department, it turns out that Mesut was fined 500 euros and got 6 points on his license for making an illegal turn. Seriously, the club should just hire them all drivers. Sigh.
BWIN is having a Twitter based contest and the prize is a jersey signed by all the Real Madrid players. Tweet a question to the players with the hashtag #AskRealMadrid until 22:59 (GMT) on 13 March 2013 for a chance to win. Click here for all the details and rules.
A couple of super quick bits and bobs… Sergio said he’s had a fever for 2 days and is going to spend a couple of days with his family. He posed with a gift that someone sent him and said it would have a good place in his home.
He also continued with his baby fever by posting a picture of this woobins (who it belongs to, I have no clue) and said that “all the dolls were sleeping” Oh man, his baby lust is almost painful to see. I know rumors have been going around that Sara is preggers and I hope for Iker’s sake she is. I don’t think he can last much longer without a baby of his own.