I’m playing catch up yet again. The final push is on to get the rest of the things packed before my move, so I’ve been offline a lot. I logged on Saturday and screamed the house down when I saw that Rayo was up by 2. Luckily, we pulled through (thanks Gareth & Lucas). Let’s hope we’re more on point tomorrow, eh? Much to cover today…
“These are the Champions League semi-finals and it’s a massive game that everyone will be watching”, added the Brazilian.
Marcelo took part in a Mahou cinco estrellas (five stars) event where he spoke to the actress, Michelle Jenner, about the latest from within the Real Madrid camp and the game against Manchester City: “We’re in the Champions League semi-finals and are fighting for the La Liga title. We’re in fine form. We’re going to go out to win on Tuesday, just as we always do. We going to try and not concede, because that’ll be important ahead of the second game”.
“It’s a massive game and it’s one that everyone will be watching. These are the Champions League semi-finals and they’re incredible. For sure in the days leading up to the game you feel the butterflies in your stomach and you’re on edge for the whole week, but that helps me focus even more on what I’m going to do”.
Joining the club
“Before joining I’d just seen the players on video games or on the television. When I came here it was an incredible feeling to be joining the best team in the world and to be a part of this club. From a young age my idol has been Roberto Carlos and that’s still the case today. It was exciting to meet him for the first time. I asked him for a photo and it was a fantastic day”.
“He’s special because not so long ago he was an idol. The players respect him as a coach, they see him as a recent idol and that’s superb. I still don’t see myself becoming a coach, but who knows, anything can happen”.
Life in Madrid
“I’m a normal guy who enjoys life like everyone else. There are lots of people who ask you for photos, many of them Real Madrid fans, but I still usually go out in the city. I like going to the Retiro, where I walk my dogs and enjoy the company of my family. My wife and I get out and about a fair bit, we’ve got two children and we’re often out enjoying this very beautiful city”.
“They’re in good form and so are we. I’m sure it’ll be an exciting game”, said the Welshman.
Two days before the first-leg of the Champions League semi-final, Gareth Bale spoke to Realmadrid TV and Realmadrid.com about the Whites’ game against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium (Tuesday, 8:45pm CEST): “It’s always nice to go back. We know it will be a difficult game, Champions League semi-finals always are. We hope to have a good game there and bring back a good result”.
“The Etihad Stadium is a nice stadium with a big pitch and a good surface. It’s a good setting for a game. We hope to have a big game there and come back with a win. I’ve had some good games there. I’ve scored there which is always nice to remember, but we know that this is a new game. They’re in good form and so are we. I’m sure it’ll be an exciting game”.
“I think that the most important thing is to score away from home. It’s also very important not to conceded. At the Santiago Bernabéu we are very strong and obviously we’ll have a lot of chances”.
“Playing the second-leg at home is important psychologically. If we get a good result in the Etihad Stadium, back at the Bernabéu our fans are always going to help us. A win is always a good result. As long as we don’t lose there, we’ll be very confident at the Bernabéu”.
The team traveled to Manchester today and got a most enthusiastic reception. (Video)
And as expected, Manchester went nuts for Cristiano…
Zidane: “The important thing in a semi- final is that you give 150%”
by Alberto Navarro (Manchester)
“The players are focused on winning, and there was the same atmosphere as there is now amongst the Décima-winning squad ”, the Whites’ coach added.
Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media gathered inside the Etihad Stadium’s press room on the eve of clash against Manchester City (Tuesday, 8:45pm CEST). The Real Madrid coach had the following to say about the Champions League semi-final first-leg showdown: “The important thing in a semi-final is that you give 150%. Anything can happen in a game of football. You can prepare for it well, but it then the game turns out differently to how you thought it would. There are two games to come, first up we’ve got tomorrow’s game, and we’ll give our all here against a tough opposition at a tricky ground”.
“We’re going to try to do our best to score some goals and to not concede. The tie is 50-50, but our thinking is always to go out and win the game. When you play away from home, it’s important not to concede and to score yourselves. That’s our plan, and even more so with this being a semi-final. As long as we’re focused and united we all know that we’re going to do a good job. The plan is to go out and try to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen as it did against Wolfsburg”.
“The players are focused on winning. There was the same atmosphere within the Décima-winning squad, and I can see that these players are focused on this major challenge, but at the same time we know that it won’t be easy”.
“They are capable of hurting you and we’re going to try to make sure that they don’t. The plan is to defend when we don’t have possession and try to hurt them when we do. De Bruyne is in good form and we’ll be trying to stop him. He’s a good player and he’s shown all of his quality since he joined the club. He links up very well with Agüero, and we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow”.
Whole squad focus
“The idea is for us to all be united, there are those players who feature more and others who play less, but those you don’t feature as much are important for those who do play. I will speak to the four players who miss out, but this is one of the difficulties a coach faces. It’s the most difficult decision that I’ll have to take in this game”.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema have made great recoveries and they’re in perfect shape, they’re 100% fit.”
“Theis for Cristiano and Benzema to play tomorrow, but we’ve got our last training session today and we’ll have to see. They’ve made great recoveries and they’re in perfect shape, today they’re 100% fit. They’re players who look after themselves and my plan is for them to be 100% fit. We come into the game in great form and I’m sure that all together we’re going to do a good job”.
Preassure to win the Champions League
”I’m relaxed in the sense that I’m enjoying it, although during the game itself I’m a little more tense, but in the build-up I’m relaxed”
Kroos and Modric
”It’s important that they attack and defend. With these players you want them to do be doing things in attack, but their defensive work is important too. In Wolfsburg it was a struggle rigth from when they scored and we had a tough time of things, I don’t want that to happenagain. We need to try to be strong defensively and work together”
Sixth succesive semi-final
”This club has a really great history and we known about the imagethat we need to be portraying to the world. It’s always a source of pride to see Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League and to be one of the last four teams left in the competition”
Errors during games
´´Something it´s just down to a lack of concentration. Anything can happen in a game of football and you have to face up to the opposition in front of you. They can cause you problems and we know that if we’re focused al all times, that makes it more difficult for the opposition”
”It’s an exciting league in which there are good games and there’s always entertainment, that’s something that players like. It’s exciting, without going into the money side of things”
Bale: “We’re confident and we’ll be going out to win”
by Alberto Navarro (Manchester)
“If we play with togetherness and as a team we’ve got a great chance of going through”, suggested the Whites’ player.
Gareth Bale spoke to the press with just over 24 hours to go before Real Madrid take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The Whites’ player had the following to say ahead of the game: “We’re confident and we’ll be going out to win. In Wolfsburg we had a tough time of things, but we’ve looked at our mistakes and we’ve got to impose ourselves and try to win the game. If we play with togetherness and as a team, we’ve got a great chance of going through”.
“This game is one of the reasons why you become a footballer, to play in these types of games and to win trophies. This is a big match and we all like these sort of occasions. We have to score and not concede. Tomorrow we want to prove that we’re a united group. We want to dictate the game and take an advantage back to Madrid, but that’ll be tough”.
“You don’t get this far on luck, and any of the teams would have been difficult. We’re excited and are looking forward to it. I’m surprised that they haven’t got to this stage before now. They are a top Premier League team and are getting that way in Europe. They’ve worked very hard, but tomorrow we want to halt their rise”.
Lessons learnt after Wolfsburg
“We’ve watched the game back and we’ll have to show more patience and not go all out right from the off. We’re going to have to be smart, because the tie is played over 180 minutes. We’re going to have to attack and defend all together”.
“Zidane has given us confidence and has allowed us to express ourselves out on the pitch.”
“Zidane has been great since he’s come in. He’s given us confidence and has allowed us to express ourselves out on the pitch, and that’s when we play our best football. I hope that he stays on for a long time”.
Returning to England
“I’m feeling good. It’s great to be back in England and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We know that it’s going to be tough and it’ll be an exciting one for the fans. I’ve got nothing to prove, I’ve been playing football for many years”.
His relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo
“The press believe things that aren’t there. The most important thing is the football and for us to try to win games and trophies together”.
The prospect of winning the Champions League
“It’s always important to win the major titles and the Champions League is one of those. We’re going to try our best to win the Champions League this season”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Rubén Yáñez.
Defenders: Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Jesé and Mayoral.
The team had their final training tonight at Etihad Stadium.
And last but not least, today The Baby turned 23 today! Hard to believe, isn’t it? (Video)
Feliz cumpleaños, woobins! You’ll always be The Baby to me.