Wilkommen Blancos!

17 Feb

Satellite (4)Watishista mygypsyspirit texted me this morning asking “Why is Kroos in a hat so funny?” I couldn’t tell you why, but I get where she’s coming from. I really do.

The team flew to Dusseldorf today and then continued on to Essen where they are making Atlantic Congress Hotel their base of operations.

In honor of Jese and Derik sitting together, I think you all need to watch La Mano Arriba again especially for the latter’s cameo. Oh Big Flow, how I miss you!

Everybody was talking about the game. First up, some interviews.


Casillas: “It’d be a mistake to think we’ll repeat what happened last year against Schalke”

“We have to be careful and go there with humility, because it will be a very tough tie”.

Real Madrid take on Schalke in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 at the Veltins-Arena (Wednesday, 8:45pm CET). Iker Casillas spoke to UEFA about the clash: “It will be very difficult. The atmosphere in Germany will be very intense. They are aware that they have an opportunity to get revenge and we expect a tough game.”

“The fact that we faced them last year does not benefit us. If anything, it gives them an advantage. It would be a mistake to think that playing in Gelsenkirchen will be easy and that we’ll repeat what happened last year. Quite the opposite: we have to be careful and go there with humility. It will be a very tough tie.”

“This season, some players who were important to our style of play left the club. Others arrived and have become key elements of the team, like James or Toni Kroos. The statistics are there to see and demonstrate that. Kroos feels very comfortable with the ball. He looks to move it, pass it quickly from right to left.”

“He’s quick and young. He has being playing to a top level for a long time, so I think that Real Madrid were right to sign him, above all when you take into account his age. He has already shown that he can be key in the midfield.”


Varane: “We have a team capable of winning two straight Champions Leagues”

“Playing together as we know how, we can get a good result against Schalke”.

Raphael Varane is in his fourth season at Real Madrid and it’s one in which he is out to carry on winning trophies. The Whites take on Schalke in the last 16 of the Champions League, and the defender discussed the tie in an interview with Mahou: “At this stage of the competition, all the teams are good. They’re always difficult games, but I think that if we play as a team and work together as we know how, we have every chance of getting a good result.”

“Winning two Champions Leagues in a row is a huge source of motivation. It would be something historic and it’s an attractive challenge. We have a team that’s capable of achieving these types of things and we’re going to try to do it.”

Real Madrid
“I never imagined that this club had a reach as big as it does. Real Madrid is known across the whole world and has fans in every corner. I didn’t know the extent to which it was an important club, and that it had such a huge impact across the whole world.”

“At this stage of the Champions League, all the teams are good and every game is difficult.”

“I want to thank the fans for their support, and we hope that it continues that way. The fans have always supported us and I hope that they’re there for us even more so in the important moments, because it’s now that we need them most.”

Footballing role model
“I’ve never had a big idol, but it’s true that when I was young Zidane made us all dream. If I had to name one player, it would be him.”

Memories of the final in Lisbon
“It was special, with strong emotions. Both before the game, with the nerves and the pressure, and afterwards, with the joy we felt. So I remember it as a moment of strong, powerful emotions.”



Ancelotti: “We are the European champions and will do all we can to remain so”
by Javier Garcia (Gelsenkirchen)

“We have to enjoy this game and play with intensity and motivation”, added the manager.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke in the Veltins-Arena press room on the eve of the game against Schalke 04. The Whites’ manager expressed his thoughts: “We have to enjoy this game now and get back to playing well, with intensity and with motivation. I am confident because the team played well on Sunday and I think they’ll be even better tomorrow”.

“We have the greatest motivation possible in La Liga. We are top and when you are first there is no greater motivation than winning the league. The same is true in the Champions League. We are the European champions and will do all we can to win the competition again”.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kroos
“Cristiano was physically excellent in the game against Deportivo. He played with intensity. He is improving, he didn’t score but he has a great opportunity tomorrow. Kroos is the brains behind how we play”.

“We have to play with high intensity in defense in order to win the ball and play with more depth up front.”

“I have never reacted to what the press has had to say and I never will. Everyone has their own opinion and that’s all I have to say about that”.

The line-up against Schalke
“Pepe will play tomorrow. Either Lucas Silva or Illarra will play. Schalke have moved on from last year. Attacking a backline of three is not the same as attacking a four-man defence”.

Retain the title
“Winning the Champions League again is a fantastic motivator. History shows us that it is a very difficult task but we have to try”.

An important week
“When you receive a setback, if you don’t react quickly after a result like the one we had, it can affect you. We looked improved against Deportivo and now we have to continue like that and pick up good results against Schalke and Elche”.


Kroos: “We want a good result in order to kill things off in the Bernabéu”
by Javier Garcia (Gelsenkirchen)

“It is a great feeling being back in Germany and doing so in the Real Madrid jersey is extra special”, he said.

Toni Kroos has returned to Germany for the round of 16 clash against Schalke. The White’s midfielder spoke about the upcoming game as well as the result from last year’s fixture: “The result is not that important, what matters is getting through this stage of the competition. Last year’s result was a bit surreal because Schalke were unravelled at the back”.

“We would settle with qualifying, we are not looking for another 1-6 win. We are looking to get a decent result so we can finish things off in the Bernabéu”.

Returning to Germany
“It is a great feeling to return and doing so with the Real Madrid jersey is extra special. I remember playing here with Bayern. I managed to get good results and I’m hoping to repeat that. You get a special feeling playing here, it’s fantastic”.

“We had a bad result in the La Liga derby but team morale is not low.”

“We are missing some important players, but we have other options. Personally speaking, I feel fine”.

Changing clubs
“Moving clubs is a new experience for which you have to take various things into account, like the language. The club is helping me a lot with everything. My progress with the language is helping matters and now I’m fully integrated”.

“On the footballing side of things, my position on the pitch is different, it’s more defensive, but I’m getting used to it. I don’t think my position will alter too much when Modric makes his return”.

The Gelsenkirchen footballing tradition
“I wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t know anything about the Ruhr region, I’m not really that familiar with the west of Germany. I played in the north and the south”.

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas and Pacheco.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Derik, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Nacho.
Midfielders: Kroos, Bale, Isco, Illarra, Medrán, Lucas Silva.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesé, Benzema and Chicharito.

The team trained tonight at the Veltins-Arena.

Some nice menacing music there, eh?

And James posted a shot with two of our other much missed mangled boys, Sergio & Lukita. Animo boys!

(Additional photos via GFSports)

– Lozil

2 Responses to “Wilkommen Blancos!”

  1. mygypsyspirit February 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Seriously, laughing at Toni again. He’s a smart guy, and I know he is, but he just always looks like he doesn’t know what’s going on. And the hat isn’t helping.

    Luka’s hair is coming back! That makes me smile!

  2. Katie Ann February 17, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I think the hat is funny because Toni spends a great deal of time fussing with his hair (Tumblr has the evidence: http://tonikroos8.tumblr.com/post/110852455590/toni-let-me-fix-my-hair-kroos-extension).

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