Training, Presser, Sami & More

6 Apr

Entrenamiento_Real_Madrid (1)Yeah, so I went to that party last night and didn’t make it home in time to post all of this, so I’m going to try to ram an insane amount into one pre-match post. Shame on me! The boys had their final training yesterday before facing Levante.

Entrenamiento_Real_Madrid (9)Spring has sprung and a young man’s fancy turns to…PIPA, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, STOP TRYING TO MOUNT EVERY MAN YOU SEE!


How do you solve a problem like Pipita?

How do you solve a problem like Pipita? The Spaniards confer.

"Oh, you can't stop that action. TRUST ME."

“Oh, you can’t stop that action. TRUST ME.”

While the team tried to make sense of the runaway bromance train that is Gonzalo Higuain, they had a special guest. Argentine former goalkeeper/model and current TV presenter Sergio Goycochea. He was there to interview Mou, Iker & DLo. He hung around to chat with Pipa, Fideo, Sese, Albiol & Silvino Louro.

Aitor Karanka did the presser. He spoke firmly about the status of Iker, Pepe & Marcelo in the line up, yellow cards and Levante.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (4)FROM REALMADRID.COM

Karanka: “Levante has experienced players that give their all”
by Alberto Navarro

“It will be tough because they’re fighting to classify for the Europa League and they’ve played well in this competition this year”, said Real’s assistant coach about the team’s clash today in the Santiago Bernabeu

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (7)Aitor Karanka spoke to the media in the press room of the Ciudad Real Madrid the day before the Whites’ upcoming match against Levante at the Bernabeu. The assistant coach analyzed his squad’s next opponent: “It’s a team that’s always there. They have experienced players that give their all in every game. It’ll be tough because they’re fighting to classify for the Europa League and they’ve played well in this competition this year. Real Madrid has players who play less and there is no better motivation for them than to play 100% at these types of matches.”

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (6)Karanka also spoke about his team’s spectacular 14-month undefeated run in the Santiago Bernabeu, where Real will face off against Levante tomorrow: “It’s crucial to be strong on your home ground and the Santiago Bernabeu is a stadium where our opponents struggle. The important thing is that the team keeps up this streak, whoever it is that plays and whatever type of game it is”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (1)When asked about Varane’s excellent season and the substitution of Pepe, Karanka replied: “Naming a player as a substitute or a first-team player is our job and that’s what they pay us for, regardless of debates or polls. Our mission is to choose the 11 that we think are in the best form. We try to get the best out of each player. The players are aware of that honesty and that we seek out each player’s best moment. Getting on the first team is hard and getting off is easy. “

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_KarankaIn this respect Karanka had words of praise for the Portuguese midfielder: “Pepe is an exceptional professional and there’s nothing that he hides. It’s a new experience for him, like it recently was for Marcelo. You have to act knowing how this team operates and work each day to get back to where you were. He’s an important player for us”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (2)Karanka also commented that Casillas has been given the green light to play and that he’ll be called up for the match against Levante. “He’s evolved better this week and we’re pleased to have him with us because we’ve got two decisive months ahead. He’s ready to play and he’s going to be called up. Having him with us is a joy and I don’t have to evaluate what Sacchi said about how he trains. He’s important for us, for the team and for everyone. The coaching staff wants the best for the team and he won’t play tomorrow, but you never know what will happen in the future”. And he was clear when asked if Diego Lopez has been disrespected: “He speaks for himself on the pitch, the best place to speak”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (5)Regarding the yellow cards that Ramos and Xabi Alonso received against Galatasaray, which will force them to miss out on the second leg, Karanka said: “There’s no controversy. The four cards that we got towards the end of the match don’t matter. We knew that they’re quick to play the fouls and we had to stop them because a goal from them would have complicated the playoff. It’s part of the game”. When asked whether Mourinho has spoken to him about his future in the club, Karanka was clear: “Ask the club. It’s not a question for us”.

Rueda_de_prensa_de_Aitor_Karanka (3)To conclude, Karanka spoke about the crucial months remaining in the competition: “Having all the players during these decisive moments is always important. We’re pleased because it’s good for the players that play and also for those that don’t because they train harder. We were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals last year on penalties. We did everything we could to make it and we’re ready for the second leg of the quarter-finals and, if we move on, to be competitive in the semi-finals”.

The following players were called up for today’s match:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Diego López and Jesús.
Defenders: Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol and Nacho.
Midfielders: Kaká, Özil, Xabi Alonso, Essien, Modric, Callejón and Di María.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuaín.

There will be a special guest at today’s match: The Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, will perform the ceremonial kickoff.

Ban_Ki-moonThe players spent their Friday night hanging ’round the Mirasierra Suites (as they tend to do). Pipita is at it again.

OMG. I can't even with this man!

OMG. I can’t even with this man!

I see Pipita is hanging with his new boy toy. They need a name. The way Pipita has been acting lately, they should probably be Nacho With Cheese. That’s one determined smirk he’s got there, isn’t it?

You just know they're gossiping about it.

You just know they’re gossiping about it. Bonus awkward Benz in the background!

There’s more of that Sami interview with UEFA. Here it is, courtesy of the Mothership. I’m always up for more Sami!

Real_Madrid_-_Athletic_ClubFROM REALMADRID.COM

Khedira: “Mourinho made me improve as a player; now I play in a calmer, more intelligent way”

“The footballers at Real Madrid are of the highest level and you can learn a lot without losing your style”, said the German in an official interview with UEFA

Sami Khedira analysed his role at Real Madrid and looked back on his career so far in an official interview he gave UEFA. The midfielder also talked about his progress as a player under Mourinho: “In my opinion, he is the best coach I have had and I cannot think of anyone better, because he helps all his players to improve. He always wants the best, he finds each player’s strong points and that is what has happened with me. I used to be very impulsive and he got rid of that side of my game. Now I play in a calmer, more intelligent way.

Everything seems to have fallen into place at Real Madrid lately. What has been the key to this change?
Since the start of the year we are playing more as a unit, as a team again, we are not losing focus and we are aiming for the same target, we are concentrating on our football. We know what our targets are, we cannot win la Liga, but we have the final of the Copa del Rey coming up and the quarter final of the Champions League. We are focussing our football on these trophies. I think that if we show what we can do as a team again it will be very hard to beat us.

It is 11 years since the last time Real Madrid won the Champions League. How do you handle the pressure of playing for Real Madrid?
The pressure is always there at Real Madrid, and if you cannot win a trophy, then things become difficult. But we are used to it, it is not a problem, it is more a source of motivation than a weight. Personally, I want to win trophies. That has been my aim since the start of my career.

People say you need a bit of luck to win the Champions League. Would you agree?
That is partly true. You have to be very consistent in your game and give your best performance of the season on a particular day. In la Liga you can afford the odd mistake, but in the Champions League you have to be ready for that day. You could maybe talk about luck with regards to the draw, but I don’t give it much importance because only the best teams make it to the quarter finals or the semi-finals.

Some of the world’s best attacking players are at Real Madrid How do you see your role on the pitch?
We have an incredibly attacking team, with the best forwards in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo, Özil, Higuaín and Benzema are top quality strikers. It is very important to balance a solid defence and not just give everything in attack. I think one of my functions as a midfielder is to keep a good balance between defence and attack.

Real_Madrid_-_Real_SociedadWhat do you think are the main roles of a defensive midfielder?
It is very important to contribute up front, and not just play in defence. I think that all the players at Real Madrid are able to do this. Of course, you have to make sure you win the ball first and then try to contribute to attacking play.

Real Madrid’s efficacy is partly based on its speed in attack. Have you had to change your game to adapt to this?
When you come to a top level team like Real Madrid you have to adapt to their rhythm, which is higher, in training and in matches. This is quite normal. It didn’t take me long because I had already played in the Champions League with Stuttgart. But, of course, Real Madrid’s style of play is much faster and I think that in training you can see a higher rhythm. Nonetheless, I didn’t find it that hard to adapt.

There are statistics that show that you cover more ground than any other player at Real Madrid. Do you give much importance to this figure?
I’m not a big fan of statistics in general, but I try to help my team, I know my strong points. The coach showed me these abilities and this helps to make the difference, we work a lot on speed, covering space, one on one. I am happy to have such high figures, but in the end it isn’t that important. If the team wins but I’m not the player who has run most or covered the most ground, that is more important.

Would you agree that you are the team’s motor?
I don’t know. I think every player is important and tries to do his job. And I try to do everything I can.

How have your tactics changed under José Mourinho’s leadership?
I think I have developed a lot tactically. That was my aim. When I got the call from Real Madrid and Mourinho, I wanted to accept that challenge. He is the best coach I have had and I cannot think of anyone better, because he helps all his players to improve. He always wants the best, he finds each player’s strong points and that is what has happened with me. I used to be very impulsive and he got rid of that side of my game. Now I play in a calmer, more intelligent way.

What is your first thought when you get the ball?
In the modern game you already need to know what you are going to do, that is very important. If you wait until you have the ball to think, it will almost always be too late because you need to know in advance what is happening. I try to do that. It doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does.
Which player have you learnt most from in your career?
I have learnt from a lot of players, but during my early years I always admired Patrick Vieira because at that time he was the best defensive midfielder. He got involved in attack a lot, he was very strong in defence, he ran a lot and he was very aggressive. Later on, when I started to play for Stuttgart, I learnt a lot from Pavel Pardo in the youth teams. With Real Madrid: Xabi Alonso. At this club, the footballers are of the highest level and you can learn a lot without losing your own style.

Sergio Ramos has been team captain lately. What do you think are his main qualities?
He is without a doubt one of the world’s best defenders; he has shown that for years, for Real Madrid and for Spain. He is a complete player, very fast and very skilful, he can help in attack, he is dangerous up front, he has a strong header, he is very fit and has everything you need in a defender. If I had to design the perfect defender, it would be Sergio Ramos. We are very pleased to have him in the team.

Who do you think are the best defensive midfielders in the Champions League?
There are a lot of good ones, especially defensively. I don’t want to name anyone in particular because it wouldn’t be fair on the other players. One who maybe stands out despite his age is Andrea Pirlo, who is having a great season in the Champions League. He has been playing very intelligently and at a high level for years. I think he is a model to follow.

How do you prepare for a match?
It is true that you think about some playing situations, there are around 70 or 80 matches in a season, which is a lot over your career and a lot of situations do come up repeatedly, so you try to visualise some of them. You know your opponents and you think about the last time in order to prepare for the current situation.

Off the pitch you are known for being a friendly person with a good sense of humour. Is it important to keep a smile on your face and your teammates’ faces?
I think life is already serious enough and football should be fun, so I try to do that when I play, although I always take things seriously and stay disciplined. Off the pitch, since I arrived at Real Madrid I have been more relaxed in my everyday life because life is short and we should enjoy every moment of it.

Why do you think German teams have been so successful in this year’s Champions League?
It is not a matter of luck or coincidence. Schalke almost made the quarter finals, but they did not have much experience in this competition. Dortmund and Bayern are very strong, not just this season, and they play very well. I think it is down to the continuous development of German football. The football academies and the league offer a very good footballing education; the Germans have been sleeping for years, but in recent seasons they have been trying to grow. I think that this is bearing fruit, producing good tactics, discipline and great players. Together these things lead to a great team.

On your way here, you have played international football at youth levels. How did this help you become the player you are today?
It is very important to play and give your best when you are young, especially in the European Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 Championships. I managed to play in one and it helped me a lot. It is very important to compete against top quality teams at a high level when you are young. The sooner you start and the better the level, the more experience you get and you can become a better player in the future.

How would it have helped your development if there had been an international competition between club youth-teams when you were playing at that level?
It is hard, especially when you are young, because on the one hand you have your development as a player, and on the other hand your education at school. You have to take care of both aspects. I think the sooner you start to combine them, playing at high levels the better. I also think that it is more fun to play against great teams, so I am in favour, but only if it doesn’t affect players’ schooling.

And finally, Real Madrid has reached 9 million Twitter followers so they gifted us with a little video to celebrate.
I have a story to tell about footy and that party last night, but it’s going to have to wait as I’ve got to jump in the shower and head out to watch the match. More later.
– Lozil

11 Responses to “Training, Presser, Sami & More”

  1. Mel April 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Granero posted a sweet picture of him and his mom reading on his Twitter today. I miss him!!
    Have to move to London!!!

    • headbandsandheartbreak April 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      He actually posted that a couple of days ago – very sweet indeed. I’ll be putting it in a social media round up post – haven’t had time to get up on blog yet – hopefully tomorrow. I miss him too!

  2. mygypsyspirit April 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    “How do you solve a problem like Pipita?” I am suddenly picturing Real Madrid as the cast of The Sound of Music. Pipita spinning around on mountain tops….

  3. mygypsyspirit April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Who is cast as Captain Von Trapp then?

    • Rose April 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Mou of course!

    • jellyace April 7, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      Iker and his grandpa cardigans.

      • jellyace April 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

        Hehehe! Lauro, Rui Faria, and Aitor Karanka as the convent nuns!

      • mygypsyspirit April 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

        Does that make Mesut as Leisel? Was that her name? “I am 16 going on 17…”

        • headbandsandheartbreak April 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

          HA! Yes. Perfect! Though if we made Sergio Liesl, then Fernando is blonde enough to be Rolf!

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