Castilla’s Marcos Llorente, Borja Mayoral and Martin Odegaard joined the first team for the session. Dani, Pepe, James, Benz, Gareth and Arbie continue their recovery.
Presser & Call Ups
“We have enough quality to come away with three points to take back to Madrid”, added the Real Madrid manager.
Rafa Benítez spoke in the Real Madrid City press room on the eve of the La Liga clash with Celta Vigo in Balaídos and looked ahead to the encounter: “Celta haven’t been beaten yet and we’re expecting an exciting match. We know it will be an extremely difficult game. They’re a team that like to play high-intensity football and they’ll be feeling confident. They’re going to give it their all against us and will be spurred on even further because of where they are in the table. There’ll be plenty of intensity and excitement and we’ll have to match them in that regard”.
“Playing again after two and a half days is a handicap, but we have to be up for this game and go out to take all three points. It shouldn’t be forgotten that there are teams that have to play a lot more games than others over the course of the season. They’ve been fantastic so far this season but we need to continue with our mission and understand that each match is a challenge we need to overcome”.
Eduardo Berizzo has already named his starting line-up
“That won’t change what I do. I only focus on my own team to know which players are in best shape to play. I try to pick eleven men who can ensure a win for us. At this level the priority is knowing what we want and what we are capable of, after that you respectfully turn your attention to the opposition, knowing it will be a very tough game”.
“When I was in Italy last year, I’d watch Real Madrid games. There was always talk of there being a lack of a midfielder with his characteristics. He has filled that role. He gives us balance, recovers the ball, provides cover for the centre backs and clearly improves the team and his team-mates around him. If the team attack a lot, the balance he provides helps us to sustain the attack and keep it alive”.
The injured players
“We have a training session now and we’ll see how they’re progressing. [Karim] Benzema trained yesterday and he’ll be cutting it fine to make it, that’s why we have to monitor him. [Luka] Modric is fine as he was able to train and play. [Mateo] Kovacic, [Sergio] Ramos…decisions will have to be made based on the potential risks and the necessity to bring them back. We can’t make any calls though until we’ve trained”.
“We have a lot of analytics. I was given a UEFA report today about injuries and it shows that our numbers are actually quite good. We have to compare ourselves with the other teams that have to play two matches per week and who are near the top of the table. We have similar stats and there’s also nothing we can do about players picking up injuries while on international duty”.
His medical department
“Yes, I’m happy and satisfied with the work of the medical department. We have top-class specialists and I say that with over 20 years of experience in football. They are capable, eager and dedicated. They have resources and they’re the best I’ve ever worked with”.
“The rigours and the high standards of competition can complicate matters and result in players overloading their muscles. There needs to be a distinction between injuries and overloaded muscles. An overloaded muscle can keep a player sidelined. If you want to finish first in Formula 1, you’ll break the engine from time to time. You’ll get to the finish line in a Seat Ibiza, but it’ll take more time. You’re drawing on mistaken premises, because you have to be compared with other top-level sides, and it has to be assessed whether a particular case is an injury or an overloaded muscle”.
“With the quality we possess and the attitude we displayed against PSG, we can win in any ground.”
“We liked how the team played in many aspects. Had another type of player been on the pitch other aspects would have to be analysed, but we showed commitment and worked as a team. When our injured players come back we’ll already be on the right track. With the quality we possess and the attitude we displayed against PSG, we can win in any ground”.
In Paris he proved those who describe him as defensive wrong
“Irrespective of the match, I have achieved a series of records over the course of my career and aside from that people are free to have their own opinions. The important thing is that the team played well. We have to build on our good results and the confidence that is rubbed off on the team. The Real Madrid fans will be happy with how the team played and what they showed on the pitch”.
“Sadly what’s said in the press room has a greater impact than whatever happens during the game the following day. It was joyful to watch the team play with that intensity, clarity and determination”.
“He didn’t play further up to begin with. What we plan out doesn’t always come to pass on the pitch. He went out to press and was further up than Casemiro. It’s not a matter of what position he takes up, but rather what he does on the pitch. A player can have a good or a bad game, but can’t be in bad form and then suddenly in good form”.
What mark he would give himself
“None. It is the team and the players that have to be marked, they’re the stars. It’s all a matter of time. We’re unbeaten, top of the table and our stats are positive. We’re on the right track and we’ll make our evaulations at the end of the season”.
Supposed pressure on officials ahead of el Clásico
“It doesn’t appear to be a genuine complaint but La Liga, the referees’ committee and the other implicated bodies have to get to the bottom of it and if it turns out not to be genuine, these people need to face the consequences. Repeating something that isn’t genuine makes it look like something without any foundation has credibility. If it’s not a genuine complaint, someone needs to face the consequences for these things”.
Johan Cruyff’s illness
“We’re talking about a hugely important figure in football, both as a player and as a manager. He’s a legend and we have to wish him all the best and hope that a solution can be found as quickly as possible to ensure a positive outcome. You have to leave rivalries to one side and sport should bring people together”.
The following players were called up:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yañez.
Defenders: Varane, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Isco, Cheryshev and M. Llorente.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jesé, Lucas Vázquez and Borja Mayoral.
The team traveled to Vigo where they were met by a large crowd of enthusiastic fans.
At the Hotel Pazo Los Escudos, which is serving as the team headquarters, Toni & Nacho were chosen for the meet and greet.
Celta is the only other unbeaten team in La Liga at the moment so this is going to be an interesting game. Let’s hope we have a good strong focused game.