Real Madrid was off to Japan for the Club World Cup!
The following players made the trip:
Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Coentrão and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Morata and Mariano.
The team had a 13 hour flight to Tokyo, arriving around 5:30 AM
Despite the early hour, they were greeted by over 100 enthusiastic fans.
After that, the team traveled to Yokohama to their base for the Club World Cup, the Royal Park Hotel.
They also had their first training session. (Video)
“I loved the welcome from the Japanese people, it was spectacular,” said Marcelo.
Zidane and Marcelo spoke to the media before starting the team’s first training session in Yokohama. The coach explained his feelings ahead of the Club World Cup: “We arrived well, now we must rest. We have three days to work and we’ve arrived in good shape. We feel very good and are happy to be here”.
“The goal is to try to do everything to win this tournament. The first time I came here was in 96 and it’s always good with the Japanese. They are very affectionate people towards Real Madrid”.
“Today is a difficult day because we didn’t sleep a lot and arrived with jet lag. We’ll rest today. I personally feel dead, but no problem. The players are going to rest and tomorrow we’ll be better off for a night’s sleep”.
“I’m not going to talk about what I’ve done. It’s totally different. It’s another competition. Many of the players know what the Club World Cup is. It’s a competition that we want to win and we’re going to try”.
Champions League and Ballon d’Or draw
“The coaching staff has already been watching the opponents, it is normal, and we will also watch the draw. I’ll probably be awake by 4, when the Ballon d’Or is announced”.
Marcelo: “Real Madrid always has the obligation to win”
“We have not had time to sleep much but we are happy to be here representing Real Madrid and there will be time to rest afterwards. It is a very long trip and you have to prepare for a very nice tournament like this. It has been very difficult to get the Champions League and we are happy to be here”.
“Real Madrid always have the duty to win when they play in any tournament. We always have to give our best to win. We are here and really looking forward to winning. There are two games and we have our minds set on winning them both”.
Arrival in Japan
“I loved it. The reception from the fans has been spectacular. I had never been to Japan, it’s been a dream since I was little to be here and I have brought my family”.
Ramos’ 90th minute goals
“When Sergio scores people think it’s easy to get to the 90th minute and score, but it’s not. He works hard, he deserves it and it’s no accident because he’s looking for the ball”.
Cristiano and the Ballon d’Or
“He deserves it and will win. But he will be focussed on resting because we have two very important games. He’s probably a bit nervous to find out, I hope Cristiano wins and everyone knows my respect for him”.
Meet & Greet
And then the team did a meet and greet session with the fans after training (they must be so tired!)
We meet Club América in the semi-finals on Thursday.
We found out our next opponents in the Champions League: Napoli! Which puts us at odds with our old pals Albiol & Calleti (not to mention watishista Maria Rosaria)! Bond Villain weighed in on the sitch.
“Italian teams compete very well. They are used to withstanding pressure”, he added.
Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid’s Director of Institutional Relations, spoke about the draw for the last-sixteen of the Champions League in Nyon. The draw saw the Whites drawn against Napoli: “We are going to have the first game at home and we have to get a good result. The second-leg is away and we know what the atmosphere will be like in their stadium. For them it will be an extraordinary motivation to come up against Real Madrid”.
“Napoli have a very good coach and have improved a lot in recent years. It will be a very difficult opponent. At home we have to be very solid, get a good result to take us to the draw for the quarter-final. We know that the Italian teams compete very well. They are used to withstanding pressure, playing tight and they play very well in these situations. We have to be very careful because it is sure that they will be a very dangerous opponent”.
Previous matches in San Paolo
“That tie we played was when Maradona played for Napoli in 1987. The atmosphere was fabulous for them and difficult for us, therefore we will have to get a good result in Madrid”.
It was the first round and we played behind closed doors in the first-leg, we won 2-0 and in the second-leg the game started badly for us but we were lucky to equalise before the break and that allowed us to qualify”.
Ramos’ goal in the league
“Careers are not given away. The prestige that a player gains over time is the result of his talent, dedication and professionalism. He has innate abilities and a great mentality that has allowed him to be at the top of world football for so many years. It is fortunate for Real Madrid to have a player like him and for him to be our captain. We’ve been able to see that he was going to be a great leader since many years ago”.
Cristiano nominated for the Ballon d’Or
“The year that Cristiano has had deserves that sort of recognition and it is a privilege for us that he is at Real Madrid. He is a man who has been the most decisive player that this this club has had in all its history after Alfredo Di Stéfano”.