Off To Napoli & More

6 Mar

Lookin’ good, capi! The team headed off to Italy today and will face Napoli tomorrow in the Champions League.


The team had a short 2 1/2 hour flight to Italy and are now headquartered at the Palazzo Caracciolo Hotel.


The team trained at the Stadio San Paolo in the rain.



Zidane: “We’ll have to show intensity and be smart”
by Javier Garcia (Naples)

“I’ve experienced the atmosphere here as a player and it has never been an easy place to play”, insisted the Whites’ coach.

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press on the eve of his side’s meeting with Napoli, in which Real Madrid bid to seal their place in the Champions League quarter-finals. The Whites’ coach previewed the game in the following terms: “We have to go out and be focused on performing with real intensity and going all out for the 90 minutes. We’ll have to dig in and give every last ounce out there. We’ll also have to be very smart from a technical point of view. It’s important to also play football, it’s not just all about showing the right intensity. We’re going to have to be smart and use our heads. There’ll be times during the game in which we’ll need to do that”.

“We know that we’ll be in for a tough game tomorrow, just like they all are in the Champions League. We face a side that have lost very few games and we’re aware how difficult it’ll be, but we’re now ready for the second leg”.

“I’ve experienced it as a player and it’s never been easy to come and play here. It’s a place where the fans really get behind their team. I like these sorts of atmospheres, where the fans drive their team on, it makes it very special, both for the home side and the opposition. It provides extra motivation for us”.

“It’s a game of football. It’ll be 11v11 and that’s all there is to it. The atmosphere will be special for Napoli, but we’ll also be motivated by the red-hot atmosphere that awaits. We’re really up for it and again it’s just a game of football, nothing more than that. It’ll be difficult for both sides”.

“Nothing changes and what we mustn’t change is the mentality that we have to show. Even if we play with two or three up top, it doesn’t change things. What we must make sure we show, and all the more so in a game like this one, is the right attitude”.

The condition the team is in
“It’s true that we haven’t performed very well in recent games. I focus on how we did in on our last match and what we’re doing right now. The most important thing is tomorrow’s game and for us to be on form”.

Napoli’s attack
“I’m not concerned by their attack. We’re used to coming up against top players and we too have a great team and fantastic players. The important thing is that tomorrow night’s game is a good spectacle. They produced a great performance away from home this weekend and that’ll have given them real confidence and reassurance. What’s more, they went and got that result at a difficult place like Roma”.

“They’ll be looking to start the game with real intensity. They need to score and we’re aware of that. They’re a side that are capable of playing in two ways: they can either press you or break on the counter. We know that they’re a good team and that they’ve got a lot of ways in which they can hurt you”.

La Liga and the Champions League
“We’re competing on two fronts and what we want to do is give our all to try and win everything we can between now and the end of the season. Being Real Madrid, we know that we’re always going to give everything in each competition and try our best to win. I’m not going to pick between the two. We want to win every time we play and tomorrow’s game is no different”.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this. I’m happy to have the whole squad here with me, apart from two players who have stayed back home. All of the rest of the players are here and I’m happy to have them with us. We can all give our opinion on whether it’s better to play the BBC or not. You’ll see tomorrow how we set up”.

Conceding goals
“Such is the way of things in football, these things always happen. I’m not concerned by it, it is just the way things go”.

Returning to San Paolo as a coach
“That’s the way things go and that’s why life is so special. I’m doing what I most enjoy and I’ve worked very hard to be where I am. I’m very happy to be returning and to be involved in what’ll be a great atmosphere at the San Paolo”.

“We have to go out and play our game. Our game is all about playing football and trying to win. At no stage will we be looking to manage the game. I’m sure that we’ll have to dig in, but we’re prepared for that. Playing in the Champions League is a massive motivation for us. We have to show this motivation that we’ve got right now and show it out on the pitch tomorrow”.

Importance of getting off to a good start
“When you look back on the first leg, you’ll see we started the game as never before, we got off to a great start and yet they went and scored. We then tried to carry on and play in the same way as we had been and we managed to get the goals. The start we make tomorrow will be important, just as our performance in the rest of game will be”.


Carvajal: “We’ll be going out to win because that’s what this badge demands of us”
by Javier Garcia (Naples)

“These kinds of atmospheres are special and prove what an important game it is”, declared the Whites’ defender.

Dani Carvajal took to the media room at the Stadio San Paolo to preview tomorrow night’s clash, with the Whites’ defender offering his thoughts on the keys to getting through the tie: “We take a 3-1 lead into the game, but we’re aware that it’ll be an extremely tough match against a side that’ll put us under great pressure. However, we’ll be going out to win, just as we always do. That’s what this shirt and badge demands of us. We’ll try to come away from here with a win to take our place in the quarter-final draw”.

“These sorts of atmospheres are almost exciting to play in. Any player enjoys playing in these kinds of atmospheres, in which the fans are right on you. It’ll be special and it just proves what an important game this is. At the end of the day, in football it all comes down to 11v11 out on the pitch and that’s where we’ve got to make sure that we come out on top. I’ve spoken to Pepe Reina, who is a friend of mine. He’s told me that we’re going to be made to suffer here, but it’s all been light-hearted chat”.

The opposition
“We’ve got the first leg to look back on and use as a reference. They’ve got some really pacy players who link up very well. They press you well up top and they’re a side that knows how to keep the ball. We’re going to have to be compact and press all together as a team so that we don’t leave any gaps between us and prevent their forwards from being given any space because they’re very quick”.

“If you look at the stats, we all put in the distance on the pitch and do our jobs, both in defence and attack and that’s what has brought us success over recent years”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Danilo and Marcelo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Morata and Mariano.

Happy Birthday!

Our beloved Real Madrid turns 115 years old today!  Feliz cumpleaños to the club of our hearts. May you continue to drive us insane and make us ecstatic for many, many more years to come (Video)

And the players shared their own birthday wishes…

Real Madrid wasn’t the only one celebrating a birthday today. Tiny Sara Casemiro turned one. Her proud parents posted some photos from the party and she’s such a ridiculously adorable woobins that I couldn’t resist posting them. Feliz cumpleaños little one!

View this post on Instagram

1️⃣ Ano #️⃣Sara 🎉🎊🎈🎁

A post shared by Casemiro (@casemiro) on

View this post on Instagram

😄❤🙏🏻 #bdaySara #1ano

A post shared by ✨Anna Mariana Casemiro (@annamarianacasemiro) on

So cute!

– Lozil

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