Training Catch Up, Arrival In Sofia & A Sernando Reunion To Look Forward To!

30 Sep
Satellite (7)

Thumbs up in stereo

Well, the week has flown by and the team is already in Sofia (for the first time in 35 years)! I’ve been in the midst of a couple of work-related all nighters with a couple of more to come so I’m going to try to get a bunch of posts up tonight (the watishista correspondents have been taking up the slack and producing some goodies).  So this is a very quick and dirty catch up.

Let’s go back to Sunday. There was an voluntary training session and then good news was that Pepe was able to join in.

Satellite (15)On Monday, legendary players Emilio Butragueño and Franco Baresi were on hand to announce a friendly between their former teams, Real Madrid & AC Milan.The match will take place in Dubai on December 30th. So we’re getting a late Christmas prezzie: a Sernando reunion! Just what I wanted – how did you know, Santa?

Also that day, the team returned to training along with Castilla player Álvaro Medrán. Fabio & Illara trained inside.

SatelliteJese was given the 2014 Gredos Award. Previous RM players who have been previously honored were Figo, Iker, Marcelo and Raul.

The following players were called up for the match.

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas and Pacheco.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Nacho.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Modric, Isco, Illarra and Medrán.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Chicharito.

The team took the 3 hour flight to Sofia and we were gifted with a little behind the scenes video – always welcome.

The boys had a training session at Vasil Levski national stadium and then holed up at the Hilton until tomorrow’s match vs. Ludogorets.

Don't worry Gareth, humidity does that to my hair too.

Don’t worry Gareth, humidity does that to my hair too.

The Mister and Isco did today’s presser.


Ancelotti: “We’re out to win the match to stay top of the group”

“I was surprised by the courage Ludogorets showed at Anfield. They’ll be a difficult opponent because they’re dynamic and intense,” added the coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the press room at the Vasil Levski national stadium ahead of Wednesday’s match against Ludogorets. The Real Madrid coach analysed his side’s first away match of the European Cup this season: “We’re out to win the match to stay on course and stay top of the group. That’s the chief objective. In this competition, there are no modest teams. There are teams who fight to achieve the maximum. We all know how difficult it is to play at Anfield and I was surprised by the courage that Ludogorets showed there.”

“We adopt a strategy to control a team, not one player. They have a dynamic, intense team that presses and looks for good solutions on the counter-attack. Those will be the weapons that they use against us tomorrow. We have a lot of fans in Bulgaria and the atmosphere is very good. We have received a lot of affection from the fans.”

“I’m not thinking about planned rotations. If I see in today’s training session that any of those who played on Saturday are not available, I’ll rest them. Pepe is available to play but we’ll see whether I rest the central defenders. Only Coentrão, Jesé and Khedira are out. We have to monitor the level of recovery that they have made during these days.”

“Without being disrespectful to anyone, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player I’ve coached in my career.”

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a very professional and disciplined player. He fights for the shirt he’s wearing and is a leader who doesn’t talk much, but the work he does is very important because of the example it sets. He has a coach who chooses a strategy so he can score more goals. It’s all down to me…”

System to find balance
“4-4-2 is the best defensive system that exists, because it allows you to cover more of the pitch and press more up front. With a 4-3-3, you can’t press with the same balance up front. In our matches, we try to defend in a 4-4-2 and attack with the players on the wing.”

Bale shape
“There are times in the match when you’re not at 100%. He is having an excellent season, like his team-mates. He works, scores goals and I don’t have anything to explain to him. He knows very well what he has to do and I’m very satisfied with what he’s doing.”

Isco’s situation in the team
“He lacks a coach who puts him on the pitch. At Real Madrid there is a lot of competition for places and he has to keep going as he is. He is an important player for the team and he doesn’t need me to show him that by putting him out on the pitch. He knows he’s very important. I can’t put more than eleven players out on the pitch.”

Changes in goal
“It’s possible. Anything is possible. In life, anything is possible.”

Satellite (2)Isco: “We can’t let ourselves think that you win on name alone”
by Alberto Navarro (Sofia)

“The Champions League is the most important competition and there are no easy games. We want to win and be top of the group,” said the midfielder.

Isco spoke to the media a little over 24 hours before Real Madrid’s Champions League matchday two encounter against Ludogorets in Group B. The Whites’ midfielder looked ahead to his side’s first away match in the competition this season: “It’s an important match because it’s the Champions League and it’s at a difficult ground. We’re going to try to win because we have the team to do so. We can’t let ourselves think that you win on name alone. We’re on a good run and we hope to keep it going.”

“A football player is never afraid; at least that’s not my case. It wouldn’t be the first or the last time that a weaker team beat a stronger one. The Champions League is the most important competition and there are no easy games. We want to win and be top of the group.”

Dangers posed by Ludogorets
“I don’t know a lot about them, I only know about the defender who saved the penalties. The team hasn’t been at the top level for many years and they made life difficult for Liverpool at Anfield. Between today and tomorrow, the coach will tell us the strategy and will explain to us how they play. The stadium is an important factor because they will be right on top of you, but we have confidence in ourselves.”

His situation in the team
“The coach wants me to do my bit in defence and that’s what I have to do if I want to get minutes. I will try to do my best, and with the ball at my feet I can do well. I’m not playing a lot and I hope to play more during the season. Last year I started out in the team, but nobody remembers that now.”

“Last year was incredible and I’ve very happy at Real Madrid.”

“The affection I’ve received from the Bernabéu has been incredible and they have always supported me. I work hard every day and I try to make the most of every opportunity that the coach gives me. It’s a new season, with new hopes and dreams, and new sources of motivation. I train hard to be in the eleven and I hope to get a lot of playing time this season.”

Competition for places in midfield
“There’s no need to say anything to Illarramendi or me to motivate us. We’re very young and we know what Real Madrid is and that the competition couldn’t be higher. We want to enjoy the minutes we’re given and if possible be in the starting line-up.”

Praise for James
“We’re compatible. Anything that’s good for the team is welcome. He helps us a lot and contributes a lot of quality. That’s good for the team.”

The search for balance
“Sometimes we leave gaps, but we have three guys up front who almost always score. We’re all there to defend, but always some more than others.”

Are y’all ready for some more Champions League, people?

– Lozil

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