Ready For Gijon, Pepe Interview

22 Aug

The team had their final training session today before the season opening match vs. Gijon. 

Marcos Llorente of Castilla joined the first team for the session. Fabio & Karim continued their recovery. (Video)


Benítez: “To challenge for the title, we have to get off to a good start against Sporting”

“I have a fantastic squad and a fantastic team, as Real Madrid coach I’m completely satisfied”, added the boss in his pre-match press conference.

Rafa Benítez faced the media and looked ahead to Real Madrid’s La Liga opener against Sporting at El Molinón: “To challenge for the title, we have to get off to a good start against Sporting. We approach the match with the firm belief that we can win, with a sense of great respect and affection for Sporting. Their return to Primera División is good news for everyone. It’s great for the fans, members and supporters’ club members in Asturias that Real Madrid can go there”.

“We have to try to win, get the three points and if possible play well. I don’t tend to say my starting line-up. We work with the players in a way that means they all feel that they can be starters and maintain that competitive level. The line-up still hasn’t been decided”.

Personal feelings
“I’ve experienced a lot of emotions right from the start: returning home, the first match at the Bernabéu and now the first match in La Liga. You feel excitement, pride, satisfaction, and after the match hopefully happiness”.

“It’s a huge challenge being at the biggest club in the world and trying to win everything that I can. We have to try to win by basing our approach on hard work, dedication, good football and on making the most of the squad’s talent and quality. There isn’t added pressure. I know that I have the tools at my disposal to compete and look to win”.

“I have a fantastic squad and a fantastic team, as Real Madrid coach I’m completely satisfied. Where possible, I have to work to improve the players that little bit more. Real Madrid are a huge club and I’m happy with what I have. I’d like people to talk about a Madrid that wins, entertains and has that element of balance: scoring goals and giving the other team fewer chances in front of goal, which translates into fewer goals conceded, enabling you to win points, games and trophies”.

Luis Enrique’s comments
“Luis Enrique is the Barcelona coach and he has to think that. I think that Real Madrid are a fantastic team and are going to challenge for the title”.

“I believe that Karim Benzema is a fantastic striker; I’ve set him a target of 25 goals to motivate him and so that he can show that. Then there’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesé, Borja Mayoral… At this moment in time we’re not looking for a centre-forward”.

“Players’ positions depend to a large extent on how the game unfolds. Cristiano is a player who tends to cut inside. They have the freedom to move around, to express their footballing ability and to look for what’s best for the team. He can play as a centre-forward if needed and, if not, drift inside from the wing”.

“We’ll approach each and every match intent on winning it.”

“I’m from Madrid, I’m a Madridista and a Madrileño. I know how the people feel and what the thinking of the fans and members is. What they want is to win La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. To do so, we have to begin by beating Sporting, which is our first game. But when the Champions League and the Copa come around, we have to win those games too. Here we have to look to win every game and the first one comes in La Liga”.

Gareth Bale
“They have freedom within an ordered structure, so that it’s positive for the team. Players like him, Isco, James… They’re players who are attack-minded and have talent, with the freedom to move around the pitch to where they believe they’re going to be most dangerous. Bale is quick, throws defences off balance and has other characteristics that the others don’t have. The others are more about skill and control on the ball and passing. That mutual understanding between them enables us to be less predictable. Each player has to apply their own characteristics for the team”.

Points to win La Liga
“You only have to look at the figures. Previously it was won with fewer points than it is now. I think that La Liga is going to have very strong teams like Villarreal, Valencia, Atlético, Sevilla and Athletic, who know Madrid and Barcelona well. More points are going to be dropped. We’ll approach each and every match intent on winning it, but I think that Madrid and Barcelona are going to drop more points”.

“I spoke to the squad at the beginning about the case of Vladimir Smicer and his contribution for Liverpool in the Champions League final, when he scored a crucial goal. He was a player who trained really well, but didn’t play a lot. All the players need to be ready and work hard and give their all when the team needs them. Those who aren’t playing need to train even more than those who are, Casemiro has recently returned and he has to show his quality and aggression and hard work, to be able to give us what we need in any given match”.

Are you being honest with Keylor Navas?
“Of course, when I talk to Keylor and I train with him, we’re talking about an intelligent professional who I’m delighted with. I’ve said that I’m delighted with the goalkeepers and that I don’t talk about those who don’t belong to our team. Keylor is working really well and has played very well”.

Physical condition
“The team are improving day by day, week by week. Being away travelling is not the same as working at Valdebebas. They’re in good shape and they’re going to improve. The plan is to maintain a high level”.

Diego Simeone’s comments
“I’ve said before that I was associated with Real Madrid from the age of 13, and then continued to follow them. I’m not surprised that winning the title, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey is a must at Real Madrid. I approach every game aiming to win. This is the most decorated club in the world and it has to stay that way. I don’t see anything unusual in it”.

Dani Carvajal and Danilo
“I don’t like talking too much about a particular player, as there are so many others who you’re in danger of being unfair on. Both are excellent full-backs. Carvajal offers us intensity, energy and everything that he brings on the right flank. Danilo has pace, gets into good attacking positions, is a good crosser, has a good shot and has a great physique. I really like the characteristics that both players bring. They’re good professionals, they listen and learn well. We’re very well covered, and can alternate depending on the game”.

The following players were called up for the match vs. Gijon:

Goalkeepers: Kiko Casilla, Keylor Navas and Rubén Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Carvajal, Danilo and Nacho.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.



Pepe: “Real Madrid have given me everything, I feel privileged”

“With this extension I’ll continue to wear this shirt with great pride. Walking out at the Santiago Bernabéu and hearing the fans get behind you is massive”, he explained.

In an interview with and Realmadrid TV, Pepe offered his initial impressions on signing a contract extension that ties him to the club until 30 June 2017. The Whites defender expressed his delight and pride at prolonging his sporting relationship with Real Madrid: “I feel the same desire and enthusiasm as I did when I arrived. With this extension I’ll continue to wear this shirt with great pride. Walking out at the Santiago Bernabéu and hearing the fans get behind you is massive. Real Madrid have always been my first choice, because it’s the club that I’ve always wanted to play for ever since I was little”.

Congratulations, Pepe.
Thanks a lot. I’m really excited to have signed this contract extension through to 2017 with a club that I have huge affection for. When I go out and play, the fans can look forward to me giving my all to help my team-mates and this club. That’s the most important thing.

You look happy.
I’m really pleased, because my aim was to be at Real Madrid and this contract extension means that I have achieved that aim. Before I joined Real Madrid I dreamed of being at this club, and when I signed my contract it was the greatest thing that could happen to me in my sporting life. With this extension I’ll continue to wear this shirt with great pride and with the passion that I bring.

What does the daily experience of being a Real Madrid player mean to you?
It means everything to me. Spirit, humility, hard work, togetherness… I’ve learned a lot during my time at Real Madrid. It’s a club that has given me everything and until 2017 I hope to give the fans a lot to shout about. We all want Real Madrid to be as successful as possible.

Having been at the club for so long now, what are your feelings when you pull on the Real Madrid shirt?
I feel very privileged as a player, because I’m aware of the importance of being at this club. All footballers want to be at Real Madrid, because it’s the biggest and most decorated club in the world. I feel the same desire and enthusiasm as I did when I arrived. Walking out at the Santiago Bernabéu and hearing the fans get behind you is massive.

As you go into your ninth season at Real Madrid, you’ve already gone down in the club’s history.
I’m very lucky to have been able to do my bit for the club. It’s a club that has given me everything and one that I had always wanted to play for. I’m starting my ninth season here and I hope to maintain the standards of all the years that I’ve been here, so as to be able to give the fans plenty to shout about.

Can you remember what it was like to sign for the club?
That’s something that no player ever forgets. Real Madrid have always been my first choice, because it’s the club that I’ve always wanted to play for ever since I was little. Playing for Real Madrid had always been one of my aims, and when you receive the call from from this club, you feel a real sense of fulfilment. It doesn’t get any bigger for a player than for a team like Real Madrid to come in for you.

What would you choose as your favourite moment of your time at Real Madrid?
There are so many, each with their own importance. Everyone had been waiting for ‘La Décima’ [Real Madrid’s tenth European Cup] and it was a unique moment for us all because for the players, the club and the fans, it was important to be the first side to achieve that feat.

Do you feel the fans’ love for you?
Yes, and I’d like to thank them for that. They have shown me a lot of love and have given me the encouragement to keep on fighting. In the toughest moments, they give us the encouragement to keep on fighting and that helps us to tackle everything we come up against.

What are you like in the dressing room?
I’m someone who helps everyone. I treat people the way I’d like them to treat me.

How do manage to maintain the levels of consistency that you’ve shown at Real Madrid?
By bringing the same sense of enthusiasm as on my first day. Being here is a privilege and I have to give my all in each and every training session. We have to look to improve at all times, because there’s always scope for us to perform better. That’s the way you have to think, and I try to do

What are your impressions of the opening weeks working under Rafa Benítez?
They’re really good. He’s a coach who works really hard and he likes his team to fight for every ball. We’re still getting ready for the beginning of the La Liga season and I’m certain that we’re going to be in great shape on the opening day.

What can you tell us about the new additions to the squad?
Danilo is adapting well. Mateo has a lot of quality and the others already know what it means to wear this shirt. I wish them the best of luck for a successful season this year.

What can we expect from this season?
The stature of this club means that the fans expect us to fight for every trophy. We have to go into it with a sense of humility and respect our opponents, because they have a lot of quality. It won’t be easy, but with the humility and hard work we’re going to show out on the pitch, we’ll enjoy plenty of success.

Ready or not, here we come!

– Lozil

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