Prep Begins For Napoli & Talking To Our Milestone Men

13 Feb

_3am2292thumbThe team got back into action and began prepping for Napoli on Wednesday. 

It’s always tough playing Napoli, because first off, they’re good and secondly, it puts us in direct opposition with old friends like Calleti, Albiol and watishista Maria Rosaria!  Bah humbug! I know we’ll be fighting for our respective escudos, but that doesn’t change the love that I have for the three of them. May the best team (“My team!” says Lozil. “My team!” says Maria Rosaria) win.

Training

G-Money was rockin’ out with the group again today while Castilla’s Enzo was called up again. Cris & Fabio trained indoors.  (Full training video)

Our Milestone Men

_3am1739_hthumb
Both Sese and Nacho have reached milestones with the team. Sese has played 500 matches and Nacho has made 100 appearances. They were initially presented with shirts from the squad after the match but there were additional goodies on the site today. (If you look at that Sergio link, the gallery is like a walk down Hair Memory Lane!)

Nacho first since there is a ton of Sergio stuff. It’s interesting – I didn’t realize that he is diabetic and was told that he couldn’t have a career as a result. Luckily,  that wasn’t true.

nacho-y-lucas-vazquez_3am1588thumbFROM REALMADRID.COM

Nacho: “Zidane is close and that is vital for a coach and the team”

“These fans and this badge demand a lot and that demand is what makes the club win so many titles”, he explained.

Nacho gave an interview to the official UEFA media in which he spoke of the requirements of playing for Real Madrid, of Zidane and of his experience in the top continental competition: “I feel that I am fulfilling a dream; winning the Champions League as we did the last one, when my son was born on the morning of the final, it was spectacular. It is one of the most beautiful things that has happened to me in football”.

You made your Champions League debut in a victory over Ajax (4-1). What do you remember about it?
It was very special. When you stand with the children and hear to the Champions League hymn for the first time you get goose bumps, it’s a very beautiful moment. There is a lot of sacrifice to get to the top.

You have won the Champions League twice, what do those two titles mean to you?
If it is a dream to play in the Champions League, winning it is spectacular. I have been lucky enough to win two Champions Leagues. It is one of the most beautiful things that have happened to me in football and we will continue to work to see if we can win more.

In which of the two did you have to suffer more?
I think that we suffered more in the first one, although each one has its own story. The first, because of the dramatic goal we scored at the end, and the second because a penalty shootout is not easy for either team.

What impact did Zidane have on the team?
We were lucky that the coach arrived and we won a Champions League, but behind that there’s a lot of hard work. It created a very good atmosphere, with a very good dynamic. He’s doing a very good job and this year we’re seeing the results: the team is doing very well.

How would you define his style?
I like him because he’s a bit like me, a quiet person that does not get bothered when a problem comes along. He is close and that is vital for a coach and the team. Thanks to him we have achieved important things and I hope it continues this way.

What does he transmit tactically to the team?
More than tactics or technique, what is more important is the good atmosphere around this team. The unity between all the players every day in training can be seen out on the field. It is true that we work on a lot of things tactically. There are times when we play with a back three or a back four, we are still taking on new concepts but the team has a very clear idea of how we want to play.

How do you handle the pressure of playing for Real Madrid?
At Real Madrid you cannot even lose a friendly. The pressure is very high but at the same time it makes you 100% alert in every game. Every time you wear this shirt there is a very big responsibility and you have to try to do your best.

And how do you cope with that pressure?
Maybe I have it easier because I’ve been here since I was 10 years old. Since childhood, that pressure exists and you know that when you wear this shirt you have that responsibility. You are playing for the best team in the world and from a young age you are learning things that the club teaches you. When you reach the first team, the dimensions are much greater and people look at you through a magnifying glass.

Do you like that maximum demand?
I like it because I’m used to it. In every game they demand the best from you, no matter what you are playing in: Champions League, League, Cup, a friendly…The fans and the badge demand a lot and that demand is what makes the club win so many titles.

What dreams do you still have to fulfil?
To keep winning titles. I feel that I am fulfilling a dream that I have always had and winning the Champions League, like the last one, which was special because that morning my son was born, was spectacular. I remember that I came home and I couldn’t believe it.

How do you prepare for a game?
I like to be focused. I don’t usually laugh much before a game, I like to be calm. That’s why I read, that reassures me a lot, especially not to be thinking about the game. I also like listening to music to be focused.

What does Ramos mean to you?
The word leader says it all. He is our captain, a reference, and he is very important with all the goals he is scoring. All the boys should watch Sergio because he is spectacular as a captain and a person. He has been in the team for many years and has proven to be a great player. He is very important for us.

What was the first thing you thought when you found out at age 12 that you were diabetic?
I had been playing for two years at Real Madrid and it was a tough time. I remember when I went in to the hospital, the doctor who saw me wasn’t the one who should have seen me, at that time, we had a trip with Real Madrid that I couldn’t go on. The doctor told me that I couldn’t continue playing football and it was a really bad weekend for me. Three days later I saw Dr. Ramirez, someone I’m very fond of. He told me the opposite: I had not finished with football at all. He told me that I must continue playing because sport was important. That Monday my life began again.

What limitations do you have today?
Today, none. I am lucky to play football, I like to play all kinds of sports, exactly because of that, because it is very important to do physical activity. I have no limitations. There are meals that I have to be a little more careful with but I eat everything and I am lucky to have it well controlled. It makes you be a more responsible person and take more care of yourself.

_2rm1620_hthumbFROM REALMADRID.COM

Ramos: “If I had to pick out one goal, it would have to be the one in La Décima”

“One of the keys to the team’s success is the very good spirit that there is amongst us all”, insisted the captain during his Facebook Live session.

Sergio Ramos received a tribute to mark his 500th competitive appearance for Real Madrid and at the end of the event, which took place in the board room at the Santiago Bernabéu and was attended by president Florentino Pérez, the captain took part in a Facebook Live session in which he answered questions sent in by supporters.

When you were a child, did you ever think that you would make it this far?
You never imagine that you’d get this far. Right from a young age, we clearly all have our dreams and targets and I always had it in my mind that I wanted to become a footballer. I fought and worked hard and I’ve achieved one of my dreams. I’m extremely proud and am very happy. I urge you to always fight for what you want and pursue your dreams. Through hard work and persistence you ulimtately end up achieving your targets.

What qualities does a player need to achieve their aims throughout the course of a season?
Having a fresh start each year always does you the world of good. It’s about forgetting what you’ve achieved and, above all, focusing on continuing to improve, keep lifting silverware and continuing to grow, not just as a person, but as a player too. If on top of all of that you’ve got the honour of being at a club like ours, then that’s all the better. However, above all, you’ve got to forget about what you’ve achieved and focus on the next set of challenges, dreams and targets.

Of all of the goals that you’ve scored, which is your favourite?
I’ve scored the odd good one at particular times and been on target in the odd final, but they’re all special to me. Just like Ronaldo once said, goals are like your own children, you never know which one you’d pick. That said, the La Décima goal stands out above the rest, given how long we’d been waiting to win the Champions League, with it coming in the last minute and because it helped us to go on and become champions.

Why don’t you change your shirt number to 93?
Believe me when I say that the thought has crossed my mind, but at the same time, the number four is one that I’ve always liked and that I’ve worn throughout all of my time at Real Madrid. It has nearly always brought me good luck, but don’t rule out seeing me change my number in my final season, as a tribute to what is such a great minute for us.

Why do you never surrender and always give your all for Real Madrid?
It’s part of the club’s DNA and is at the heart of the club’s philosophy and our history. As players, we must all have an understanding of what our badge represents. Above all else, a player who plays for our club needs to know that you’ve always got to represent and give you all for the club and give every last ounce until the end, which is what our motto says.

You’ve managed to prove that you don’t need to be a striker to be one of the game’s stars.
Every player has their strengths, the attacking players are nearly always the ones who grab the headlines, but there are also defenders who play starring roles, not just on account of the goals they score, but because teamwork is about the collective effort and we all win and lose together. Just because a particular player scores a goal doesn’t make them more important than the rest of the team. You’ve got to build firm foundations and the defence has to give the team balance, stability and provide the attacking players with confidence.

What does it feel like when you win a title and you see millions gathered at Cibeles?
It gives you a feeling of massive excitement. Whenever we’ve won a trophy, we’ve always been able to enjoy it with the Real Madrid fans by going down to Cibeles and parading around the streets, which are packed with fans wearing our scarves and that’s something that fills you with great pride. It’s a means for us to share our triumph with you. I’m grateful for all of the support that you give us over the course of the season and that’s the best way of repaying you.

Do you intend on becoming a coach at some point in the future?
I don’t know on that one. I’ve still got a few years left in me here as a player. I want to really enjoy every minute and every day. I don’t know whether I’ll go on and become a coach, but it’s something that has always appealed to me, that I like the idea of and that drives me on, but there’ll be plenty of time to think about that once I’ve hung my boots up.

What would you like to do when your call time on your career?
Perhaps spend more time with my family. They’ve always been my passion and a flaw in my armour and football ultimately takes up a lot of my time. I don’t afford my wife, children, parents and friends the time that I would like to… When I retire, I’ll devote more time to those who are always there for me and who understand my lifestyle and what it takes to perform at this level.

What are your hobbies?
Music, horses, football and above all, my family.

Congratulations on making your 500th appearance. What does it feel like to have reached this landmark?
It gives me a great feeling of pride. When I joined the club many years ago now, never did I imagine that I would reach such a major milestone and make 500 appearances. I’m now able to enjoy it, but also I have to forget about it and try to now go on and make many more appearances. What’s more, it’s made all the more incredible by the fact that I’m representing the best club in the world. This is a special day for me.

Of the sides that you’ve faced, which has been the toughest?
We’ve come up against some very tough opposition. Nowadays the game is tougher and things are ever more even. I wouldn’t be able to name just one team, I’d have to pick out a few: Bayern Munich, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona…

What are thoughts ahead of the Napoli game?
We can’t wait for Wednesday to come around and be involved in a game against a great side who are on a very good run. We’ll try and put in a disciplined performance, keep a clean sheet and will be looking to take an advantage into the second leg, but above all, we want to try to win it and share that victory with you all.

What does it feel like to share a dressing room with some of the best players in the world and be considered as one of the world’s top defenders?
That I’m considered in this way is down to you and it’s something that I’m grateful for. It’s obviously always a challenge to keep on improving and that’s what we’re here for, to defend as best we can and try to do a good job. It’s a real pleasure to share a dressing room with these players. There’s a really good vibe amongst all of us, a very healthy atmosphere and one of the keys to our success is that good spirit amongst us all.

Who was your favourite player when you were a child? Which team did you support and who did you want to play for?
I always wanted to play for Sevilla, which is where I grew up and spent my childhood. However, you always want to grow as a player and continue to improve, and I always had it in my mind that I’d one day play for Real Madrid. Dreams cost nothing and right from a young age, I was very clear about that. I always liked strikers such as Ronaldo and Claudio Caniggia, the Argentine with the long hair. I always wore a hairband for that same reason. When I signed for Real Madrid, it was the likes of Paolo Maldini and Fernando Hierro, slightly more defensive players.

_2rm1560FROM REALMADRID.COM

Florentino Pérez presented Ramos with a shirt for his 500 matches

“To reach this milestone is a privilege and a dream”, added the captain at the presentation that took place in the board room of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez handed Sergio Ramos a commemorative shirt for the captain’s 500 official matches with the Whites. The player from Seville is the twelfth player in the history of the club to reach this number of matches.

Upon conclusion of the event that took place in the board room at the Santiago Bernabéu, the captain said: “It is an important and special number, to play so many games is a privilege and a dream, to do it as captain is a bonus and makes it mean more to me. It seems like yesterday when I came from Sevilla and was I a child, but time passes very quickly and hopefully I can play a lot more games”.

“There are several players who have played more the 500 games for Real Madrid and they are legends of the club. It is a goal and a daily challenge to continue to give my all to enjoy many more years representing this team. Wearing this shirt has been one of my dreams since many years ago and I want to carry on, giving my best for as long as possible”.

La Décima and la Undécima
“I have a very beautiful memory of both la Décima and la Undécima. I was able to experience them in first person and with a leading role. To be able to contribute to winning a final is wonderful because it goes down in the history of a great club like ours. Having those trophies on my CV is special”.

And Rene was there with him like the good brother and agent that he is. Remember when Sergio looked like this?

001-sergio-ramos-presentacion-21Aw! Look at that little woobins on his signing in 2005! Little did we know all the fun that was to come. Mazel tov, Capi!

– Lozil

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