No Rest For Los Blancos

9 Apr

Oof! That game yesterday! I felt sorry for my poor neighbors. They must have been wondering what the hell was going on with all the shrieking coming from my flat. I’m sure they’ll get used to it, what with the matches that are coming up this month.

Training

Yesterday’s starters mostly worked indoors although a few came out to do a bit of running on the pitch. (Video)

We got the injury report on poor Pepe and it’s not good.
He fractured 2 ribs on his left side in that collision with Toni which means that at minimum he will be out for both legs against Bayern. And The Baby is still out as well. Argh. Animo Pepe & Raphael!

And speaking of Toni Kroos…

Interview

FROM REALMADRID.COM

Kroos: “This tie could easily be the Champions League final”

“I like working with Zidane, we see the game in a similar way and he makes me feel like a key part of the team”, he stated in an interview with UEFA.

The Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos spoke in an official UEFA interview about this week’s knockout game against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. The German explained his feelings about facing his old side, what it was like to sign for Real Madrid, his relationship with Zidane and how much he is looking forward to playing against Bayern: “This tie could easily be the Champions League final”.

You’re facing Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals. You couldn’t ask for a bigger game, could you?

No. It is a team for whom I played a long time. I know the players there better than anyone and it will be a special tie, but I don’t have any other big feelings towards it. I always keep up with how Bayern are doing. It is difficult because we have a lot of games to play ourselves so it can be hard to watch all the time. There are still many of the same players there. We are all looking forward to these games. Both my friends at Bayern Munich and I. They will be two fantastic games. This tie could easily be the Champions League final.

Who are the Bayern players you are closest to?
Those that I played with for Germany, like Manu (Neuer) and Thomas (Müller). Those are the players I have the most contact with.

How much have you grown as a player and as a person since coming to Real Madrid?
I have always enjoyed new challenges. After four or five years in Munich the next challenge was to come here to Real Madrid. From a professional standpoint and in terms of surroundings, because the expectations here are also very high. I have three years left in Madrid at the end of this season and I think it was the right decision. It has helped me to progress.

How has Zidane aided your progress? What do you think of his work as a coach?
I get on very well with him. Coaches are always important for players. He has had a huge impact here. He brought positivity when he arrived and took us in a new direction. We are playing better football than before and that was rewarded when we won the Champions League last season. We are doing well in two competitions this year and he is responsible for that. I enjoy working with him as we get on well. We look at the game in a similar way and he makes me feel like a key part of the team.

Taking his position as a midfielder into account, what advice do you think he can give you that he couldn’t give, say, a defender?
With his experience he can give a lot of advice that is useful in specific situations, ideas that help get around difficult situations in games. He always looks to give good tips and help people. He is one of the greatest ever so it always helps to listen to his ideas.

Do you think there is more pressure here than at Bayern? How do you handle that pressure?

At Bayern you have the same pressure, they expect you to win every game and competition that you’re in. And this is the same as Madrid. Every time something goes wrong, perhaps due to other teams being at a better level, there is more commotion here than in Munich. You see people are closer to the team and more concerned with what you are doing. My attitude is the same as that of the club, because I want to win everything. And this desire is stronger than the pressure a player puts himself under. This has always worked through the years as I have been able to win titles along the way.

What makes the Champions League so attractive and special?
It is the hardest trophy for a club to win because Europe is the best continent in terms of the football that is played here. The best European clubs are in this competition and for me these are the best teams in the world. Fingers crossed we can win again this season.

Is it a special incentive to defend the title this year?
Not really, although no-one has been able to do it before. This competition is always special, and the incentive is to always be involved. When you play games like this against Bayern you do not need any extra motivation, so the idea of defending the title is not really that special. As I said before, we need to try to win every competition we are in. We are coming up against a top side in the quarter-finals.

Next up, we face Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Sorry in advance, neighbors!

– Lois

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