Well, as ready as you can get for these sorts of things. Me? I’m never ready for a Clasico. Never. Ugh. Thankfully, our players are made of sterner stuff.
Tomorrow is a big day for me. Not only is it El Clasico but my hometown team, Syracuse, is taking on North Carolina in the NCAA Final Four. So there’s going to be a whole lot of nail biting and stress eating. Sigh.
The team had their final training session today. The shitty news is that The Baby is injured. He was the only player missing from training today. Pip Borja Mayoral and his luscious locks (said mygypsyspirit) joined in the session.
Zidane: “There is a lot of personality in this team and we are coming into this Clásico strong”
“These are the most beautiful games in football; I am happy because it is the first one for me as a manager”, added the coach.
After taking the final training session before the Clásico, Zinedine Zidane gave his thoughts at the press room at Real Madrid City: “We have to keep doing as we have been recently. We are doing well, we’re in a good moment and we have to make the most of this. We have to keep growing as a team. We are a team with a lot of personality. We will prepare for the game in the best way possible because we are coming into this strongly, in every sense of the word”.
“We are here to try to win every game. We have prepared well all week, despite some players being away due to international commitments. There are three points to be won in this game and we will do everything we can to get the win there”.
“The problem is we cannot control these things. He played the second game with France, he had some sort of injury. We don’t know exactly what it is. We did an ultrasound scan this morning and we will now do an MRI scan to see what it really is that he has. These things can happen if you have two games very close together”.
The Clásico like an exam
“it’s not an exam. We have a good dynamic, we have been doing well recently and we are continuing with our work. It is one game more, an important game. These games are always different. What people want to see is a good game and what I want to see is my team doing what they have been doing recently. I, personally, will have the luck of being as close to the game as possible”.
The first leg of the Clásico
“I haven’t spoken to the players about the home game. They know what happened. This is another game that is different to the home game. It is a game that we must win and we want to win. I have seen and analysed the home game, but I haven’t spoken to the players about it”.
“I’m not going to say who is going to play. I don’t think about rotation. The most important thing is tomorrow’s game. One team will play tomorrow and then later on we will see who plays on Wednesday. I’m going to field the team that I see as the best option tomorrow. We will have rotations in any case, as we always do, up to the end of the season”.
His games in the Camp Nou and Luis Enrique
“What exactly are you referring to? These things happen from time to time on the pitch. it has already been forgotten. A Clásico is always the most beautiful thing for a player. Now I get to live it as a coach, it is my first and I’m happy”.
“It was a scare, just a stamp. He finished training but is aching and nothing more. He will be with us tomorrow”.
“What he said is clear. He is also happy here. He is happy and committed, which is what I said. When someone thinks they are not going to play it’s difficult, because you always want to play. He has the support of everyone here and the most important is that he is committed. The difficult thing is that I have to make decisions based on what i see as the best option for the team”.
“I want to see a good football game and see my team win.”
“Neither James nor anyone else accepts being on the bench. I don’t know anyone who likes coming into a game off the bench. We have 22 players and I’m going to field the team that fits best. James is doing well and he knows that he will play with us. He is important for the team and whatever happens I will take care of him like the important player that he is, He will help us as he well knows, as will the others”.
Cristiano Ronaldo and penalties
“I am not worried about this. Missing from time to time is part of football. Cristiano responded in his second game with Portugal. He isn’t worried either, he scored and arrived back well after the international break. I am happy and relaxed with him”.
“You know how things are here. The important thing is winning. I know because I was a player in this team. I am not thinking about the end of the season, the important thing is to do things as we have been doing recently. If we are doing well and we continue this way something good will happen”.
The BBC defeated against Barcelona
“They are doing well and this is a game where we can change that. We will try to do that”.
“I’m going to sleep well tonight. It is a football match and what we have to do is to think that way. We have to enjoy playing against good players and measure up to Barcelona. I will enjoy tomorrow for the first time as a coach”.
A Confident Barcelona
“it doesn’t bother me at all, we are going to play the game using all of our concentration. People can think whatever they want, but I don’t think it will be easy to beat Real Madrid. I want to see a good game of football and see my team win”.
“We have an idea of how to play and we will try to do exactly that. It is a different game but we are not going to change anything with regard to what we have to do. We are going to go out strong and put our ideas into the game”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Carvajal and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Casemiro, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.
Sergio Ramos: “We hope it will be a good game for our strikers”
Photographer: Angel Martinez
“The important thing is that the team plays a good game, and obviously, wins”, added the Real Madrid captain, speaking to Bwin.
There are few people who can talk with more authority about the Clásico than Sergio Ramos. The Real Madrid captain has now faced Barcelona 31 times in official competition and he spoke to Bwin about what match number 32 this Saturday may involve: “The most important thing is that the team plays a good game and, obviously, wins. We hope that it will be an attractive game for all football fans. If these matches have shown anything it is that anything can happen and we will try to play a calm game and play using our instincts, one of the most difficult thing when you are facing an important rival, in order for things to turn out as we wish”.
“These type of games have always been very special, Especially given what they involve and the media reaction they have. For me, it means the best team in the world coming face to face with another, who in recent years have shown that they were the best in almost all competitions. This rivalry has intensified and in the Clásico you notice it even more. Throughout history there have been few games as important or with such rivalry as what we have lived in the Clásicos”.
A game of goalkeepers or strikers
“I don’t know. You’d have to be clairvoyant to know that. We hope that it will be an attractive game for all football fans and that we will be able to bring the victory back home. I don’t know whether it will be a game of goalkeepers or strikers but we hope it will be a good game for our strikers”.
“Scoring against Barcelona is always a greater joy than if it’s against another rival.”
“You never know, but if scoring goals helps the team to win then that’s great. It is something secondary for me, the important thing is that the team plays a good game, and obviously, wins. If I can contribute by scoring a goal, then that’s great. It wouldn’t be the first goal I’ve scored against Barcelona and it is always a greater joy to score a goal if it’s against such a rival”.
“I prefer for others to define my qualities, but if I had to say something it would be that I consider myself an intense player. This is the character that I try to transmit in each training session and in each game to be able to pass this on to my teammates”.
Praise for the BBC
“what sets them apart is their quality, the danger they provide and that they live for goals. At the end of the day, when you have players who are so fast, so agile and with such attacking quality, it makes them improve even more and makes a difference to the others”.
Compliments for Keylor Navas
“The goalkeeper always has more importance than the other players. When you see everything from the back it sets you apart from the rest. Keylor has adapted very well after having succeeded someone who has been a legend like Iker at Real Madrid and it was a difficult task, but the truth is we are very happy with his performance and we will try to continue witch this feeling of security. It is important that the person behind the rest of the team transmits this sense of security to his teammates”.
“It was very difficult news for the footballing world. We have lost a legend. He was a footballing legend before I was even born and that says a lot about a player who defined an era and a philosophy within the sport. For that he will be remembered by everyone who loves this sport”.
Honestly, all I ask of my two teams tomorrow is that they play good clean games and do the best that they can. Either way I will be proud of them. (But 2 wins would be nice!)
Hala Madrid! Hala Orangemen!