From English Country Gentleman to Flying Ninja in the course of 24 hours! You gotta love it. Los Blancos got in one last training before tomorrow’s match with Rayo Vallecano.
Joselu and Jesus also joined in on today’s training. Here’s a video from yesterday that wasn’t yet on YouTube when I made the daily post.
Mou met the press today as per usual. Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned some of his recent remarks that are causing a kerfuffle. Trust me, I will. It’s a serious subject and I want to address it as such. However, right now I’m in the middle of the last 3 weeks of graduate school and barely have the wherewithal to make quick posts. I don’t want to half ass it. When I get a breather, I’ll make a post about it.
Mourinho: “We will fight to the end in each game to win the league”
by Alberto Navarro / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
“I expect a complicated match; Rayo are a good side that fears no one and always plays to win”
Jose Mourinho talked about tomorrow’s match against Rayo Vallecano in today’s press conference.
“We do not want to stray from our philosophy and must adapt to different circumstances. It’s difficult to foresee what will happen in a game. I saw Rayo play at their stadium during the preseason many months ago. I’ve always seen goalkeepers experience difficulties when games are held around 16:00, but these things happen in football. The pitch is small within the allowed measurements and the grass is in bad shape, but it’s isn’t horrible. My team is my first concern, followed by the opponent and then everything else. We will fight to the end in every match to win the league and I believe we could see a great game tomorrow.”
“I expect to face a difficult opponent in a complicated game. I can’t predict how Rayo will play. I believe they have an offensive style, but they play slightly differently at home than on the road. They are better in away matches, playing a more elaborate and better constructed game. They are more straightforward at home maybe due to the state their pitch is in. They fear no one and always play to win. I’m sympathyetic towards Rayo since last season because they got promoted despite the hardships they went through. I’m happy for them and for coach Sandoval. Rather than expecting them to play a tight or open game I expect the game to be complicated.”
“We’re not looking to break any records. Our objective is to win the championship. We’re not obsessed about records. What matters to us is winning our games and scoring one goal more than our opponents. We’ve managed to do so thus far impressively. There are no perfect teams because that would imply making no mistakes. We’ve conceded some goals lately, but we won in Getafe with a clean sheet. Scoring more strikes decreases our chances of losing or drawing a match, but we have to defend well. We generally do defend well, but we sometimes make mistakes due to lack of concentration.”
“I hope Rayo’s supporters have fun tomorrow. They spent several years away from the First Division and therefore hadn’t faced Real Madrid at home lately. I want them to enjoy thmselves and the time the game will begin suits them because they are used to it. It also seems the weather will be good. I just don’t wish them to enjoy the final score. We don’t expect their support, but that’s part of football and I think everything that has to do with them supporting their team is phenomenal.”
“Benzema will miss a couple of weeks for sure, while Di Maria may be more suceptible to injury because he is an explosive, fast and intense player who always plays and trains at a fast pace. It’s easier for him to get injured than for a diesel sort of player.”
“Coentrao faced CSKA and Marcelo played against Racing. Every match is important to me and I believed the one against Racing was more so than the one in Russia.”
“I would like my men to be happy both here and on their national teams. I’d like them all to be called-up. Albiol never asked me to let him leave and we’ve never talked about anything of the sort. My Director General asked me if I wanted anyone to leave and I told him I didn’t.”
“Joselu will make the cut for tomorrow’s match. He is Castilla’s centre forward and the one who plays in that position. Morata either doesn’t play or is positioned down the left wing. Whenever the reserve team uses a centre forward Joselu takes the spot.”
“I would like Guardiola to decide what he believes is best for him. Regarding extending his contract with Barça or not, it’s his decision and it will be the one that makes him happiest.”
Calls ups for the match are as follows:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adan, Mejias
Defenders: Arbeloa, Albiol, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Varane, Carvalho, Coentrao
Midfielders: Alonso, Granero, Khedira, Ozil, Callejon, Kaka, Sahin
Forwards: Cristiano, Higuain and Joselu
RealMadrid.com posted some translations of the articles about Pipita, Sergio and Casado. Here they are below – I would put them in the original posts, but I wasn’t sure anyone would go back and check there!
Ramos and Casado reunite in Vallecas
by Edu Bueno / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
The Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano players coincided in Sevilla’s academy
Sergio Ramos and Rayo Vallecano’s Jose Casado were both born in 1986 and played for Sevilla’s reserve side together. Both men sat together at Rayo’s stadium a couple of days before facing each other in Sunday’s derby.
Casado: It seems like it was only yesterday. Those were beautiful and happy years.
Ramos: I see you more than I see my own family! We came from a very good group of players and some were even better than us. We won many titles and have fond memores. We felt like a family and had some great moments together.
Jose really stood out. He covered a lot of ground and scored goals. He was always telling jokes but he was also quite private, and he always used to get a bit angry if we teased him.
Casado: Sergio was a leader in spirit. He had great character and guided us through games. I remember he once told me after an injury that he had become afraid to play football.
Ramos: It was rough for me and I thought about quitting football. I was down then, but I pulled through and saw my dream come true. I’ve always had character, so that’s why he was shocked when I said that. I used to be the one who raised my teammates’ spirits and fought for them.
Casado: Sunday’s match is going to be a great clash. It’s goping to be emotional and exciting. Real Madrid show the same respect towards all teams, and that’s why they have a ten-point lead. They are the table toppers and play as a true team, but we’ll fight for the three points with the support of our fans.
Ramos: It’s a Madrid derby and we’re very happy Rayo are in the First Division. We have the greatest respect for them and they deserve credit to be where they are right now.
Casado: Mourinho has won every title with different teams. He’s ambitious and is having a great run this year.
Ramos: Your coach is inspirational and is having a great season. People are aware Rayo can win their games and that has a lot of merit. I very much like the squad you have, but men like Javi, Cory and strikers Michu and Costa do the team a lot of good.
Casado: Real Madrid’s squad is spectacular. From the goalkeeper down, they are all hard working football stars. They have an excellent defence and Ronaldo is up front. If Benzema doesn’t play Higuain takes his place, if Di Maria is out Kaka steps in… Everyone wants to face these players.
Ramos: You better be ready! (both laugh)
Casado: Sergio is the mirror of what he was back in the day. He’s won it all at 25 and will break all records. I believe he will eventually be regarded as the best centre back Spain has ever had.
Ramos: I’m very happy to see Jose having such a good season and I hope he still does. His hard work will land him a contract with a major team, I’m sure.
Casado: Real Madrid have a ten-point lead and I don’t see them losing four games. They will fight to win the league and the UCL.
Ramos: Rayo came from the bottom and everyone likes them. I hope they take enough points to make it to the Europa League next season, but I hope they start taking them from Monday onwards!
Higuain: “We must fight as hard as ever to win the league title we all want”
Realmadrid.com / Translation by Michael J. O’Donnell
“We’ve never played a game at 16:00, which is when we’ll face Rayo, but I don’t think it will work against us”
Gonzalo Higuain talked shop and analysed the match against Rayo Vallecano for Bwin.com.
“The match against Rayo Vallecano will be difficult because they fight hard and have good players. They were promoted to the First Division this season and are in a very good position. We’re doing a rather good job and will try to keep up the good work. There are 14 or 15 games left and many points are still at stake. We cannot afford to relax and must fight as hard as ever to win the league title we all want.”
“We’re not used to playing so early; we normally play at nighttime or thereabouts. Playing really early against Osasuna turned out well and didn’t change our plans much. We’ve never played at 16:00 and we’ll try to do our best; I don’t think it will be detrimental to us.”
“Keeping a clean sheet is an advantage to win games, so that’s what we strive for both home and away. We’ll have to go all out to win the match, just like we do at our stadium. Every player on this team has his hopes set on going to Cibeles at the end of the season, but we must focus on each game at a time.”
“A striker’s objetcive is to score goals that help the team, but it shouldn’t be mortifying not to score. You have to keep working hard and do your best to help out.”
“I’m 24 years old and have a lot still waiting ahead of me. I came here very young, which helped me grow, mature and learn new things. The age I’m at is important in the career of any footballer. There’s a long way to go yet and there’s much still to learn.”
A few more bits and bobs to share:
Albiol took his lack of a call up to La Roja with class, congratulating Iker Muniain and Roberto Soldado while saying “I’ll be back”
Sergio, ever sweet, posted a tweet of encouragement to Nando and Albiol. Google Translate: “In the bad times do not remember hardly anyone, only those who are pure and true. A big hug and lots of encouragement to Torres and @ R_Albiol.”
The Real Madrid website posted a picture on the front page today of Mesut doing his best impression of a chorus girl:
I also found a couple of pictures of him in the shower. I do not even know the circumstances, but I’ll just enjoy the view. I didn’t realize that posing in the showers was all the rage. Who knew? All the Karim pix courtesy of GFSports.
Also found on GF Sports – this fantastic shot of Sergio from Moscow in two different formats. Definitely worth sharing!