Is It That Time Again Already? On To The Clasico!

24 Oct

Satellite (10)Apparently it is. Seems like just yesterday that watishista mygypsyspirit and I were parked in our seats at the Bernabeu singing (and swearing) our hearts out at the last Liga Clasico. Let’s hope this one ends up better than the last time and that I don’t nearly get run over by a SWAT team on the way home from the pub. Just sayin’.  As you can see, Sergio is back in action and giving us two thumbs way up. 

The team had their last training before the Clasico. I wonder if they get the stress munchies and sour stomach I get before Clasicos?

Carletto’s presser

Satellite (18)

Ancelotti: “There is no other game in the world with so much quality”
by Alberto Navarro | Photographerl Helios de la Rubia

“To win we have to do everything to perfection and we’re going to try to implement our idea of how to play,” added the Real Madrid coach.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the Ciudad Real Madrid press room on the eve of the Clásico. The Italian coach analysed this Saturday’s match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu: “There is no other game in the world with so much quality in attack, and the same goes for midfield and at the back. I don’t know what the key will be. Defending well is very important and could be key, Luis Enrique may well think the same.”

“Approaching the game is quite easy because we know each other. We’ll play the football that we want to play, with our ideas. We have to attack to the best of our ability and defend to the best of our ability. To win, we have to put in a great match. I don’t think we have an advantage in midfield because we’re playing against a team that has always had quality and experience in the middle of the park.”

Analysis of Barcelona
“They’re a more motivated team than last season. They have new players and a new coach. After a season without trophies they are more motivated. They’re playing more direct and with a solid defence. All our games are a test and we’re up against a very competitive team.”

“There are no perfect teams in the world and we have to look for weaknesses to give our players the necessary instructions for this game. I’ll invent some if there aren’t any. I like to think about this game and I like to have my head in this match. It isn’t a source of pressure for me.”

“We’re in better shape than the first Clasico in La Liga last year.”

“Pressure is normal in a Clásico. In La Liga last year it didn’t go well for us, but we’ll try to do better in this game. We’re in better shape than the same match last year.”

Team’s form going into Clásico
“We’re in good shape, but every game against Barcelona is difficult. Both teams go into the match in very good form and I always have confidence in my team. We have improved a lot in defence, not giving our opponents many chances. I’m happy with what we’ve done and I hope we continue in this vein.”

Team’s balanced football
“We’ve changed. I understood completely what was wrong after the defeats at Anoeta and against Atlético, and with hard work we have managed to seek more balance by fighting hard and putting in a lot of effort. The players deserve credit because they took this on board quickly.”

Possibility of a selection surprise
“I’m thinking about the possibility of surprises in my line-up. Last year it didn’t come off for me, although I’ve done it on other occasions and it has come off. I could take out a forward and put in a midfielder, or the other way round. I regret giving the line-up yesterday because I have a lot of things in my head.”

Plan to stop Messi
“The plan is the same as always: try to deny their forwards space. We have to play with two lines that don’t give away any free space. Only then can we have more control over him.”

Extra day’s rest for opponents
“It isn’t easy to recover completely. As Cristiano Ronaldo said, we don’t understand why it’s being played at 6pm instead of at 9pm, but I think that we’re going to recover well because the team is in good shape physically.”

Squad coming together night before clash
“It’s because of the kick-off time, not because of Barcelona. We have to have breakfast at 11am and have lunch three hours before the match. It’s a new kick-off time for us and that’s why we preferred to come together the night before.”

Defensive efforts of James and Isco
“The key is that they have to place their quality at the service of the team. It’s simple, because they understand what we need and they try to do that. They’re doing very well at this moment in time.”

“I’ve never demanded of Isco that he work harder. Now he is doing it more effectively and is in good shape physically. He will put in a great match tomorrow on a physical level. I’m also very happy with the work done by James. He is playing in a different position and at Anfield we were very happy with his work.”

Physical condition of Pepe, Ramos and Bale
“Pepe is fine, as is Ramos. They trained well and I think they’re going to play. Bale is injured and is not available for tomorrow. He will start to train soon. He is a fantastic player.”

Comments on substitution of Cristiano Ronaldo at Anfield
“It wasn’t a provocation. I have a lot of respect for the work that Luis Enrique and all my colleagues do. If anyone thought that it was a provocation they were mistaken, because that wasn’t my intention.”

Possible involvement of Luis Suárez
“That isn’t my problem. I have a lot of respect for his quality. Whether he plays or not doesn’t change our plans or those of Barcelona. So it isn’t a problem for us.”

The following players were called up:

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

There was also a short interview with James, courtesy of Mahou, about the Clasico.


James: “The Clásico will be tough and I want to be up for it”

“We have a strong group of players and are united, mentally speaking”, added the Real Madrid man.

In an interview with Mahou, James Rodríguez spoke about the build up to his first ever game against Barcelona as well as how he is fitting into life in Madrid: “I will be a tough and complicated match. I want to approach it calmly, responsibly and also really be up for it, in order to help the team get the win. I’m in good form as is the whole squad. We have a strong group of players and are united, mentally speaking”.

Fitting in
“Madrid is a beautiful and charming city. It has everything. It is a very welcoming place for foreigners and I am really happy here. I like to spend time with my family, the people who have always been by my side. Whenever I’m out on the pitch I think about them, especially my daughter. Family is a great thing and one will always work hard to make sure their family is looked after”.

Footballing hero
“Valderrama is my idol. He is a hero for me and for everyone in Colombia. I have a father-son relationship with Pekerman (the manager of the Colombian national team)”.

The mothership went full tilt, setting up a neat microsite full of El Clasico facts and also shared some videos from previous match ups.

The team is all set in concentracion now. I’m sure not gonna sleep tonight, but I hope that they are able to rest. I’ll stay awake fretting so you don’t have to, boys!

And finally, here’s the match promo.

(Additional training shots via GFSports)

Hala Madrid y nada más’

– Lozil

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