Greetings from snowy NYC where we’re currently mid-blizzard. Hope those of you weathering winter storm Jonas are tucked in at home safe warm.
Los Blancos had their last training session before tomorrow’s match vs. Real Betis. Everyone but Bale was present and Marcos Llorente of Castilla joined as well.
Zidane: “We need to make a strong start against Betis and do things well”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia
“We have to repeat what we did in the first half against Sporting”, he added.
Zinedine Zidane gave a press conference at Real Madrid City after overseeing the final training session before the game against Betis (Sunday, 8.30pm CET): “We have prepared really well for the game. We know that it will be difficult. We are playing away but nothing will change. It will not be different for us. We have to try and make a strong start in the first few minutes. Playing against Real Madrid is always a big occasion for all sides, but it is necessary to be well prepared in order to do things well”.
“We have to have the same start, the same level of concentration and the same enthusiasm as the other day. We have to play like we did in the first half against Sporting. Everyone is focused on playing the same match. We know that all matches are different and the important thing is to be focussed”.
“Changing manager is always a bonus. I focus on the opponents during the week, but tomorrow I will solely focus on the game that we are going to play, on what we are going to bring to the game, what we are going to do. We know how difficult the game will be today, but we will be focused”.
The first few weeks
“I feel good, I am happy and can see that there has been development. I have been manager in the top-flight for two games and you have to take things slowly. The players are what is most important and there are lots of people in the background that are doing great day to day work”.
“He will not play against Sevilla. We have taken the decision with Sergio and we preferred to wait until next week so that he can work with the group and will have no injury niggles”.
“We will see tomorrow if he plays. James has had a very good week, like everyone. I am happy with what he is doing. He is working very hard, like the others, and we know how important he is for the team. He is ready to play. I am close to him because that is the way I have to work. I don’t see him worried, he is relaxed, and the important thing for him is to work and recover. The idea with James is to prepare for whatever happens and be in top form. He is ready to play this week”.
“I am happy with the squad and I am not going looking for what we already have.”
“I am annoyed by the rumours, that is something we need to put to one side. What matters to me is James, while we are here. He is very focused on what he does, committed and I don’t believe what is being said”.
“We have 26 players and each week there is a prize for the 11 that start and the 18 that are selected. There are players that are left out and above all, I think about those players. We are going to need everyone during the season”.
Ability to improve
“We are going to improve, we are preparing very well and I see development every week. I see that we are improving. With the data from each training session I see how we are evolving each week. We always talk about the fact that the team will have a good fitness level after three weeks, although we can always improve. We are two weeks in and heading towards week three. We will be better with work”.
“It is not necessary to strengthen the squad. I am very happy with the squad I have and there are players that do not make it into the squad. I am content with the squad and I am not going to go looking for what we already have”.
“That is part of my job, I have to make decisions and choose. That gives us the opportunity to give another player a chance. Tomorrow I have to take that decision”.
“We have four with Nacho. It is my responsibility to choose. It is better to have four like that, than to have four weaker central defenders. I prefer to have four players at that level and choose between them. It is my responsibility and it will always be that way each week. Nacho is not going to leave, he is part of the group, and he is the future of the team”.
“That doesn’t matter to me, what matters is the game tomorrow. All opponents are important to me. If you want to win La Liga you need to win every game possible and tomorrow is the first of those games. That is the way it will be every week”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Rubén Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Nacho, Marcelo, Carvajal and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.
Sergio Jr. & Pilar came to training today. He’s so cute! Can’t wait until we see more of baby Marco.
Sese also posted a shot of the team dinner from earlier in the week.
And Guti gave us a walk down memory lane. Sergio is suitably tacky, Guti is wearing horror jeans, Raul is Raul and Iker somehow managed to find the coat version of his frumpy gray grandpa sweater.
And it wouldn’t be a day without some Cristiano action.