Ready For Athletic Bilbao

12 Feb

Satellite (7)Everyone available was on hand today for the final training before the match vs. Bilbao.

The notable exceptions, of course, being the injured Marcelo, Gareth and Pepe.



Zidane: “Athletic are a strong team but we must continue with the same dynamic of winning”

“The fans are very important for the players and we want to always make the people who come to watch us happy”, added the coach.

Zinedine Zidane spoke in the press room at the Real Madrid City the day before the La Liga game against Athletic Bilbao (Saturday 4pm CET). The Whites coach confirmed that: “Kovacic will start in place of Isco”, and he analysed the match against the Basque team: “Athletic are a very strong team but we must continue with the same dynamic of winning as many games as possible. We know who we are playing against”.

“The fans are very important for the players and we want to always make the people who come to watch us happy. I ask the fans to always get behind the team as they are doing. I hope that they will be happy at the end of the season”.

“When a player is injured it is always worrying, but no more than normal. Every day he is better. It’s something that has been going on for a bit more time for him but we have to be calm about it. We want him at 100% and I want all the players at 100%. If he’s uncomfortable and it hurts him, it’s normal that he could have a setback. He’s a very important player for us and we’re not going to take any risks. We want him at 100%, not at 80 or 85%”.

“It’s a normal process and you can’t think about what could happen. Every player has a different recovery process and he has suffered with his pains. There’s no need to keep going over it. We have to give him time. He’s in good spirits and that’s the important thing when you’re injured. He look good to me, he’s smiling”.

“He is an important player for them from set pieces and wide free kicks. He’s 35 years old but he doesn’t seem it. The important thing is that tomorrow he doesn’t score. He wants to score and I hope he doesn’t. We’ll try to make sure he doesn’t score”.

Managing the complicated moments
“The most important thing is to give the maximum. Every player has their feelings and when there is something negative out on the field there can be difficult moments. 90 perfect minutes don’t exist. The only thing you can do is reduce the bad moments”.

“I know that the fans are behind me and this is what makes me most happy.”

“When you’re a manager, you never know what can happen. Now we’re playing every three days and I’ve got no more concerns other than these games. Away from home it has been a bit more difficult than at home and it’s true that we have scored a lot of goals in each of our home games, but it’s not always going to be like that. The games are not the same and we have to give everything and prepare for each game”.

Plaudits for Varane
“Mourinho knew him perfectly because he brought him. He’s a Real Madrid player and I want him to stay with us all his life because he’s the future of Real Madrid”.

“Kovacic will play from the start tomorrow. He’ll play in place of Isco and I’m going to ask him to work hard without the ball because with the ball he knows what he has to do”.

Marcelo’s injury
“He’s out for tomorrow and we’ll see how it evolves. He’s better. Today he did some running and that’s a good thing. We’ll see each day because the shoulder can be painful and it will depend on how he feels. We’re not going to take any risks”.

“I’m tired that you don’t talk about football with him and he is too. He only wants to talk about football and concentrate on what he does every day. Not long now until we totally forget about this matter. I hope”.

Cup final
“It’s a question for the club. What I’m bothered about is what we do during the week and tomorrow’s game. Every country has their rules. I’m going to watch the final because I like football and I want to see a good game. It’s normal that the Madrid fans don’t want to see Barcelona here. It would be the same in Barcelona”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

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

And here’s Sese’s goals versus Athletic. Well worth watching for long hair Sergio and some front handspring goal celebration action. Wouldn’t  it be awesome if they documented, for instance, Sergio’s worst fashion disasters while visiting each team’s city? It would be a plethora of distressed denim hats, Frankencoats and neon pants. A girl can dream.

– Lozil


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