Los Blancos had their final training session in preparation for tomorrow’s match with PSG. Argh! The stress!
Gareth, Dani Carvajal and Karim continued their recovery, working both indoors and outdoors. The rest of the squad was put their paces along with Ganfornina and Dani from the academy. The good news is James, Pepe and Keylor are back in action
Benítez: “The side is doing well now but it will improve”
by Javier Garcia
“We have a lot of respect for PSG, they are one of the best sides in Europe”, said the manager.
Rafa Benítez spoke to the press about this Tuesday’s game against PSG (8.45pm CET): “Real Madrid had a really great game in the first leg. Nobody can dispute PSG’s quality. They are improving as a side every year and have lots of potential. It is an extremely difficult game and we need to have maximum focus in order to do well and get the three points”.
“PSG are definitely one of the best sides. The arrival of players with the quality of Di María makes them improve even more. I hope that we do not see that level of play tomorrow because that will mean that we are performing well. There is no doubt that we have a lot of respect for one of the best sides in Europe”.
The team’s condition
“You always have to make the side improve ahead of the final stage of the season, when everything is at stake. This team had already acquired habits and quality and now does a lot of things that we try to apply in every training session. However it would be worrying if I was completely satisfied now. There is significant room for improvement and that is reassuring for me”.
“I hope that my best period is yet to come. The team is doing well but I am convinced that they are going to improve. There is a lot of room for improvement. The period where I want the side to be doing well, apart from now, is in the decisive stretch of the season”.
“Benzema is sticking to his recovery schedule. Benzema. Bale and Arbeloa, who are not in the squad, lack the match confidence to have a role in such a high intensity game as this. The first thing we do is talk to the players and then the physios and doctors in order to get a precise view of the situation. He says that he is ready to play, so there is no problem”.
“He is in the squad, he has recovered. He has not been training with the squad for quite a while, but he is doing well and is available for the team. He lacks match fitness. That means he is not necessarily ready to play 90 minutes and start. If he is fine he could travel to Seville and could join up with Colombia if he is selected for the national team. I want him to score lots of goals and come back fit”.
“Any player in the squad that trains, works and plays well has the chance to play. Tomorrow, Jesé is more likely to play than Bale”.
“My impression is that he is doing the same as at the start of the season. The figures we have show that he is performing at the same level. He ran more in the second half against Las Palmas. The team is doing well and so too is Cristiano. What you cannot control is the feelings that players have because we already had the game on track and there was an important Champions League game coming up. Players manage their own performance level even if you do not want them to”.
“It is an extremely difficult game and we need to focus in order to get the three points.”
“Cristiano’s statistics, like those of the team, show that he ran more in the second half. That is something I do not really like to see because it means that something went wrong tactically”.
“Nobody knows what is going to happen in the long term. He is essential and crucially important for us. I hope that he is tomorrow and for many years to come”.
Ibrahimovic and Cristiano
“We are talking about two excellent players. I know what Cristiano means for us and I imagine that Ibrahimovic will also be crucial for them. They have really fantastic players”.
“Everyone, beforehand and now, was aware of Varane’s potential. He deserves praise. He is young, works well and wants to learn. Whether or not he has more or less playing time is due to the competition he is up against. Sergio and Pepe have had injuries. They have to be happy with their improvement and development. We are optimistic about the future”.
Return of injured players
“When everyone is back I will have to explain who plays and who doesn’t. Football is a day to day matter. When everyone has returned we will look for alternatives so that those who play perform at their maximum level and that those who don’t are fighting for the chance to do so”.
“He is one of the best full-backs in the world. He is a clearly attacking player that contributes a lot to our offense. He provides space and quality, he unbalances teams and gets goals. In this side, that is making progress, he offers all of that and is crucial. He has freedom. We are working to adjust his defensive contributions”.
“Pepe is among the players that I most value, although I value everyone. He is very experienced and understands his role perfectly. When he plays he gives everything, and when he doesn’t, he helps the players and coaches. He never gives in and is a guarantee out on the pitch”.
“I do not want to risk players. When a player has a niggle or muscle overload we do not risk them. He is available and in perfect condition. He has been on the bench, he is training perfectly and there are no problems. The news that emerged about someone injuring him is untrue”.
“I have already said before that there are people that have their ideas and aims that do not coincide with those of Real Madrid. Right now, with the game against PSG, I am not worried about that”.
“I am feeling really good and I want to keep helping as much as I can”, he added.
Marcelo spoke alongside Rafa Benítez in the press room at Real Madrid City a day ahead of the game against PSG. The full-back praised the opponents; “It will be a very difficult game against a really great side that has high quality players. There is no doubt that this is a great game that everybody wants to be involved in. It is like another final, a key game and we are really looking forward to the start of the game”.
“I am feeling really good and I want to keep helping the team as much as I can. The issue of playing time is something that we talk about and decide with the manager. If I am feeling fine there is no problem”.
“It is an issue for the manager to talk about. We are players and we have to help the side in whatever way or position possible. The important thing is for the team to win”.
What it means to be captain
“The captain is Sergio Ramos, I am the second captain. It is a source of pride for me and a really big responsibility. You have to provide an example for teammates and I am very happy. I hope to continue like this for many years”.
Boring second halves?
“Fans have to be happy with the team. If they are not, it is normal for them to whistle and say what they think”.
“The entire side is really good. Di María, Matuidi… We should not focus on a single player, but instead talk about the entire team. For me it is a great honour to play against Di María or with him. I think that the Bernabéu will give him a good welcome because he performed at his maximum level at Real Madrid and really gave everything he could here. He is a fantastic player, a great friend and I always wish him all the best”.
Controversy regarding the Barcelona Halloween costumes
“We have a very important game tomorrow and I am focussing on that”.
Do you think that you are the best full-back in the world?
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Rubén Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Cheryshev and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.
So good to see the returning injured players! Can’t wait to have everyone healthy again.