Apologies for the disappearing act this weekend. mygypsyspirit was visiting on Saturday and I had to work on Sunday and didn’t finish until quite late. I fell asleep to Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders arguing on my TV. Which is preferable to Donald Trump spewing racist, sexist vitriol any old day.
The full team, with the exception of Benz who is recovering, were joined by the Pips (Odegaard, Llorente and Mayoral) for Sunday’s session. One thing you should know: mygypsyspirit is very enamored by young Borja’s hair. Very. So I’m sure you’ll see that mentioned in any upcoming match recaps. 😉
Today, only Borja (and his hair) joined them while Karim continued to rest and recover.
“They’re a great team and their attackers are very good”, added the coach in the press room.
Zinedine Zidane spoke in the press room at the Real Madrid City the day prior to the Roma game (Tuesday 8:45pm CET). The Madrid coach analysed the Champions League second-leg Round of 16 game: “The only thing we have to do tomorrow is win the game. We have to concentrate on tomorrow’s game because a lot of people think it will be easy, it will be difficult and we must play well and win well. I’m not worried about creating doubts. We must concentrate on the game”.
“Our main obligation is tomorrow’s game and we will try to do the best we can and win the game. I’m not thinking any further ahead and after that we will think about the league game. Concentrating day to day makes me stronger. We have to play all the games. They’re never won before. I’ve been a player and I know that if you don’t do well, they can knock you out”.
Praise for Cristiano Ronaldo
“I’m not in favour for selling him. I am the coach and I want him. They whistled at me, at everyone. It’s not a question of any player in particular, it’s the fans who want more from their players and this is better for the players trying to make them always do their best. The fans really love their players in the end and this is very important. The stadium is always full and this means a lot”.
The importance of the fans
“They are very important for us and they know that. They have always been with us and in the game it’s normal that when they see things how they want them, they whistle a bit. I’ve been a player and they’re things that happen in football. There is no need to make anything of it”.
“You always want to play games like these and you can’t explain with words what it feels like.”
“This is the most important game and then Sunday’s game will be the most important after the Roma game has finished. You always want to play games like these and you can’t explain with words what it feels like. Roma are a good team and those up top are strong and good, but I’m more interested in my own players and they know it will be a difficult game”.
“He’s prepared and ready to play. That the most important thing. The players who play have to do their job. The players know what they have to do on the field. There’s one idea, it’s the same, it’s to always defend when we don’t have the ball and try to do damage when we have it. It will be difficult to pick the team tomorrow but its better having all your players available”.
Physical condition of James
“It’s not a problem of his. He is a committed player and he trains well. There’s always one, two or three players who go out. The important thing is that he gives everything out on the field and he’s doing that. We want more from him because of his quality, like a lot of players in the squad. He’s improving and he’s showing that”.
“You can change or do the same. Our plan is the have a lot of attacking power and tomorrow you’ll see the team. He has played 3 games with us with an incredible intensity. He is part of the group. Everything that he does is done with personality and desire, but he’s young, he’s starting, and we must go little by little. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Karim isn’t available, apart from him I have everyone available”.
Marcelo not being called up for Brazil
“Marcelo is ready to play. He came on the other day and he can play with us. It’s the only thing that I can say. If the national team call him or not is his business”.
“He is a great player, with an incredible career. He knows what he can bring to the team. I’d say that a coach should embrace what time remains for Totti as a player”.
Pepe: “We must go in to the game with humility and team spirit”
by Alberto Navarro | Photographer: Angel Martinez
“Roma have got great players, they’re a big team in Europe and they have got really fast players”, said the Portuguese defender.
Pepe spoke to the media just over 24 hours before Real Madrid come up against Roma at the Santiago Bernabéu. The centre back spoke about the second-leg of the Champions League round of 16 game: “The best way to go in to a game like this is with humility and team spirit. We will try to do this tomorrow to come out as winners. We will not forget what happened against Schalke and the coach has said we have to go in to the game to win, taking it seriously and with a team spirit to achieve our success”.
“Roma have got great players and they’re a big team in Europe and one of the best in Italy. They have got really fast players on the wings and they’re going to try everything to make our job difficult, but we will go out do defend the Real Madrid badge and give everything. This team is always dangerous. Real Madrid is Real Madrid and it’s a very powerful club and we have to give everything in each game. I have go no problem offering my hand to Keita”.
The support of the fans
“All the Real Madrid players can play and contribute. We are privileged to wear this shirt, I played against Celta and i saw how the fans supported us and you can feel this from on the field. We ask the fans to keep doing this against Roma because it will be difficult for us. Together we will be stronger”.
Chances of winning the Champions League
“We know that we have to learn a lot of lessons from this season. They are different times from the years of the Eighth. We want to win the Champions League but we know that there are other teams with the same capacity to win it. It will be difficult and we have to give our all. The most important thing is that the team is together, with our fans and fight for a common objective”.
Praise for Zidane
“He’s brought a lot of things. First thing is team work. After that, we don’t wear ourselves down with things that are not football. He has been a player and he knows what the players think and want in terms of work. He has also contributed other thing, bringing the group together and in the last game you saw it with the fans”.
“Zidane will bring many titles and will be one od the best coaches in the world.”
“He was a mythical player on a world level and you have to leave him to do his work because I have no doubt that he will bring a lot of titles and he will be one of the best in the world. Everyone who wants to win will defend their own. He has our maximum respect and the important thing to remember is that first of all there is the president, then the coach, then the doctors and then us”.
The meaning of don’t wear ourselves down with other things
“For example, to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is bad. He is the top scorer, he’s scored a lot of goals and they say he doesn’t score goals. I would like to be in his situation: to not be good and score so many goals”.
His situation in the team
“I feel good and I’m working to the maximum, but the coach makes the decisions. I don’t consider myself as a starter. I always work to help my team. We have got four good centre backs. Rafa and Sergio have played more this year because they have deserved it and I work to make it difficult for the coach. I try to do the best possible”.
“I understand the shirt that I wear. It was a dream to come here and I defend this badge the best way possible, as if it was my house. It’s as if someone comes in to your house and you have to defend your own. I have a lot of love for this team”.
The following players were called up for tomorrow’s match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Rubén Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Carvajal and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.
Roma Training at the Bernabeu
And yesterday was Real Madrid’s 114th birthday!