Monday Training & Interviews

16 Feb

Satellite (2)The team continued to work in preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League match vs. Schalke.

Toni & Nacho were both interviewed about the upcoming match.

Kroos: “Schalke will be a tough challenge”

“They are a well organised team and have a very solid defence”, stated the midfielder.

Toni Kroos spoke about the upcoming Champions League round of 16 clash as well as how he has adapted to Real Madrid in an interview with the official UEFA outlets: “Schalke are enjoying success in the Bundesliga and with their new manager have become very solid in defence. We have injuries so this will be a tough challenge, but our aim is to qualify to the next round”.

How would you sum up your start at Real Madrid?
The start is now in the past but it went well for me. We are top of our domestic league at the moment and are still in the Champions League title race. I hope we are successful.

What differences or similarities are there between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid?
There are not many differences, which meant the move wasn’t that difficult for me, as I wasn’t moving from a small team to a big one or vice versa. I moved from one great team to another. Each club has its own spirit, and that is slightly different in this country, but there are no enormous differences between these two clubs.

Do Real Madrid have a different way of playing, training and operating?
Of course. The playing style is different, but that is not a Real Madrid or a Bayern thing. That is more to do with the manager. Each coach has his own vision which is normal.

One of your great attributes is your level of confidence. It is evident in how you play and how you conduct yourself with the media. What do you put this down to?
We all have different temperaments. My confidence only comes from my own qualities as a player. I know what I am capable of and that is where I draw the majority of my confidence from.

Ancelotti has a lot of faith in you. Tell us about your relationship with him.
He trusted in me from the start in a position I hadn’t played in much before. I enjoy playing there. We have a great relationship. We communicate a lot before each game, we talk about how I should approach the match according to the opposition we are up against. Ancelotti is one of the reasons I joined the team. He told me that Real Madrid would be even stronger with me.

How would you define your role as a central midfielder?
Playing in the centre of midfield is difficult. You have to be versatile, good with and without the ball, defend well, start attacks and be strong in the challenges. It is a tough position to play in and I am trying to overcome my weaknesses. I know I can progress further and that is what I’m working on.

Now you make your return to Germany to take on Schalke. What do you expect from these two matches?
It won’t be easy. Schalke are enjoying success in the Bundesliga. They are well organised, they drew in Munich and are strong at the back. With their new manager they have become extremely solid in defence. We have injuries so this will be a tough challenge, but our aim is to qualify to the next round.

What do you think Real Madrid will need to do in order to get a win against Di Matteo’s players?
Play well on both days and remain focused. We have to respect our opponents and play two good games.

Is retaining the trophy the big challenge for Real Madrid this year?
Yes. But first of all we will try to stay top of La Liga. Winning the domestic championship has to be one of our priorities. There are 5 or 6 teams that can win the Champions League, and we are one of them. We will try to win it but it will be very difficult because how you do in the knockout ties depends very much on your form that day.

Tell us about the role the Champions League has played in your career. Since making your debut in the competition at 18 years of age against Fiorentina, how have you progressed?
This is a riveting competition, especially when you reach the knockout rounds. At that point in the competition, the games are very even and you are up against the best teams in Europe. The greatest challenge is showing you can compete year in year out in this competition.

How do you feel when you hear the Champions League anthem?
It is always a special feeling. Night time games under floodlights. Packed stadiums. As a player you eagerly await these games. It is for nights like these that we play football and become professionals.

You have had good and bad experiences in the Champions League. What experiences have you had and how have they helped you improve?
The high point was winning it with Bayern Munich and I am going to try to replicate that feat with Real Madrid. Every Champions League match is of the highest international standard, against the best players in Europe. Battles like these help you gain experience and evolve as a player.

You are going to donate a cheque to the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of UEFA. Is it important that football players contribute to projects like this?
Yes. We players have a social responsibility because we attract of attention and garner public opinion. There are people who do not have it so good and I think we can help in some way.


Nacho: “Schalke are strong in defence and have a lot of quality up front”

“Repeating what we achieved last year in the Champions League would be incredible”, he added.

(Video with English subtitles)

Real Madrid and Schalke 04 meet again in the Champions League round of 16. Nacho looked ahead to the first leg in the Veltins-Arena for the Bwin website: “It is a beautiful ground. We played there last year and the fans are really noisy, they provide a lot of support… That is an extra incentive to play well there and come out with a positive result”.

“Schalke have improved with respect to last year. I’ve watched a few of their games and they’ve strengthened defensively. They have top quality players up front who can cause you problems. But as long as we focus on ourselves and play well, we’ll get a good result”.

“He is a world class forward. He loves scoring goals as we have seen him do before with his club as well as his national team. Playing against players like this provides you with loads of motivation and it will be a fantastic game”.

Would you bet on goals in Germany?
“Yes, of course. We know how strong we are, home and away. The players we have up front provide us with a lot, we usually score in almost all our matches so if I had to put money on it, I would say Real Madrid are going to score”.

“The fans are really noisy in the Veltins-Arena and that provides extra motivation.”

“I’m sure they’ll have some unfinished business they’ll want to deal with from last year. At the end of the day this is a new match, a different knockout stage. Schalke will be very eager to make up for result from last season”.

Retaining the Champions League title
“The team are very united, we have a great squad. We know what we achieved last year and a repeat of that experience would be amazing and hugely positive for us”.

“The relationship with him is excellent. He is a very warm person, he takes a lot of care of his players and he likes to talk to us. I only have kind words to say about him, words of gratitude. I think all my team-mates feel the same way”.

His career at Real Madrid
“I think it is going perfectly. After years of hard work and fighting to reach the top, being in the first team is a dream come true. That is what drives me to work day in day out still”.

– Lozil

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