How did this week fly by so quickly?! Seems like we just played like 2 days ago…oh wait, we did. Dang between Bayern and Barca this week, I feel like my head is going to explode. Also, the return of Xabi. ::sob::
Real Madrid Training
Our crew trained today with all hands on deck along with Castilla’s Enzo and Tejero along for the ride. The Baby trained alone on the pitch. Pepe & G-Money are working on their recovery. (Video)
Bayern Munich Training
Bayern trained at the Bernabeu. Xabi back in the Bernabeu ::sniffle:: I wonder if he misses us as much as we miss him. Is that even possible? (Video)
“We can’t speculate or think about the first leg”, added the Real Madrid coach.
Zinedine Zidane appeared in the press room at Real Madrid City the day before the game against Bayern (Tuesday, 8:45pm CEST). The Madrid coach analysed the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals: “You know the importance of the match tomorrow and our fans will be more important than ever. We always need them and they’re always there, but in this type of game we ask that they’re with us all the way and that they’re the extra man. The fans at the Bernabéu always give us an advantage and even more so in important matches like this”.
“We have to have a great game and be very strong. We will go out to win the game and we’ll not gamble. The first leg has already been played and we know the problems Bayern will create, they’ll make it difficult until the referee blows for full time. We’re going to have to play really well. We must do everything we can to win the game”.
“Lewandowski is a real number nine and a bonus for Bayern. Bayern have a great team in all departments so we have to be focused on what we have to do. We know that they have a lot of ways to cause problems for their opponents and they also have flaws. We’ll try to play our game and prepare the game well. The result of the first leg does not ensure anything and we must have another great match. It’s going to be a great game. It will be decided by small details and we must be ready”.
“The important thing is that it’s the players who are doing everything. They know they can make a difference and that’s what I want. It’s very important that everyone feels important. I think the players believe in my work and we have the desire to achieve goals together. They are all great players and that makes things much easier”.
“He’s worked hard to get back with the team and after his injury, three months off, he returned really keen. He has some discomfort that is preventing him from being at his best and I hope he’ll be back with us soon. He’s not going to be with us tomorrow as we don’t want to risk him. He’s keen to return, he’s worked hard and deserves to be with us as soon as possible. I hope it’ll be in time for el Clásico but I can’t guarantee that. We’ll take it day by day”.
Praise for Isco
“He’s ready, like everyone. That’s the most important thing for me. Tomorrow we’ll decide who plays and how we’re going to play. It’s coincidence, but due to rotations, he’s not played much in the Champions League. We have a lot of important games and we’ll see what we do tomorrow. I have decided who plays but I’ll not say. Everyone is doing phenomenally well, but I have to choose and I’m glad that everyone is at this level. It’s better to have this problem when having to choose the team”.
Benzema’s good form
“They are players that we demand a lot from due to their talents. When they aren’t at their best, we criticise them and it’s the hard thing about this sport. These players have a lot of personality and the critics won’t change how they are. They’ll continue training daily and that’s magnificent. I have 24 players like that, I admire them and I have a lot of affection for them. What they give me every day makes me a very happy coach”.
“He’s on my mind every day, like the rest of the players. You’ll see tomorrow how we start and we also have three substitutions. So we need everyone for tomorrow and the rest of the games that are coming up. He plays less because I have to make decisions, but nothing changes about what I think of him. I have a lot of affection for all of them”.
“We want the fans to support us because it’ll be important for us”, said the Brazilian midfielder.
Casemiro spoke to the media a little over 24 hours before Real Madrid face Bayern at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. The Brazilian midfielder talked about the return leg of the Champions League quarter-finals: “We can’t change our mentality. The tie is not over and Bayern have top quality players. We have to tell the fans to support us and help us because it’ll be important for us. It’s going to be a very difficult game and Bayern are a very dangerous team. The fans will be important”.
“The coach is doing an exceptional job. We know it’s going to be a very difficult match and we must stay focused and play our game. We’re very keen to play and we’re clear on what we’re going to do tomorrow: we’ll play our game and try to win”.
Ramos, Kroos and Modric close to suspensions
“They are important players, but we have a great squad and anyone can do well”.
Praise for Xabi Alonso
“He’s a player with immense quality and who commands in the middle of the park. I learned a lot from him although tomorrow I don’t want to wish him luck. I hope he doesn’t have a good game and we win”.
“I don’t care where I play. I always want to play and help the team. I feel more comfortable in midfield than centre back, but if the coach needs me I’ll be there for what he wants”.
“He’s a very good player. Bayern have a great squad, like us, and it’s sure to be a great match”.
Comparison with Mauro Silva
“He’s a player who has made history in football and he makes you feel happy, but I want to grow a lot in football and I haven’t done anything yet”.
Safety in football
“We are so focused on the game that we don’t even think about it. We have an exceptional security system, with very good professionals. We are focused on the game and what we are going to do on the pitch”.
Ancelotti: “If we’re to win at the Bernabéu, we’ll have to put in a perfect performance”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Maria Jimenez
“I felt a special feeling when returning to a stadium that I called home for five seasons”, declared Xabi Alonso.
Carlo Ancelotti, Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm took to the media room at the Santiago Bernabéu on the eve of their side’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg encounter against Real Madrid, with the Italian boss previewing the game in the following terms: “We played well for 60 minutes in Munich and were in control. We have to now be able to do that for 90 minutes. To try and win the game, we have to put in a perfect performance, full of character and by using all of our quality”.
“The first leg has put us at a disadvantage. We’ve now got less of a chance of progressing that we had at the beginning of the tie, but we’ve still got a chance. Madrid score in every game, but they also concede in all of their matches. They’re dangerous because they’re so ruthless in attack. If you allow Cristiano even the smallest of spaces, he’ll go and score. These are the fine margins. Benzema is also on very good form”.
Return to the Bernabéu
“As I’ve said many times, I have very fond memories of my two years here, they were unforgettable for us and that’s what counts”.
“He’s fine, he trained yesterday with the rest of the squad and had no issues. His presence will be a help, he scores a lot of goals and is a very important player. Having him involved gives us confidence. Boateng and Hummels both trained alone yesterday and we’ll have to see how they get on with the ball. They’re in with a chance of featuring”.
Replacement for Bale
“They’ve got some very good players that are capable of coming in for Bale. Isco performed very well on Saturday. I’ve got a lot of affection for him, just as I have for everyone here at the Bernabéu. However, he’s not my player and that’s a decision for Zidane to make. If he calls me, I could always give him some advice (laughs). Lucas always does well and then there’s always the option of playing James… I believe that we have to concentrate on ourselves”.
Xabi Alonso: “Madrid are the defending champions and it’s very tough to stop them”
“I felt a special feeling when returning to a stadium that I called home for five seasons. I really enjoyed my time, I hold special memories of everything that we did here. It’s emotional to be back. This is a special game, I know this place, the team and the players inside out. There’ll be no time for any of this tomorrow, it’s a very important game, we know just how tough it’ll be, but we’ll be out to give the best possible account of ourselves”.
“We’re behind in the tie, but we’re still alive. We have to score twice, it’ll be tough but we know how to do that. Most of my teammates know this stadium well. We have to be brave and can’t sit back and wait to see what happens. Whenever teams do that, Madrid are lethal and take no prisoners”.
“There are no secrets, the two teams know each other well. It’s a classic fixture within European football and we’ll be giving our all to progress. Madrid are the defending champions and are likely the best team in the world. They have one of the best squads in the world and it’ll be tough. Regardless of how well you know the players, it’s difficult to stop them. They can hurt you if you afford them even the slightest chance. It’s really difficult to prepare for that”.
Lahm: “We want to win and progress to the next round”
“We want to win, it’ll be tough but we’ve shown that we can beat the top sides. Tomorrow we’re keen to show all of our quality and progress to the next round. I recall some very special times here, my memories are split equally between good and bad ones. I hope that tomorrow we can tip the balance in favour of the good memories”.
“I’m no doctor, we want Lewandowski to play but don’t know if he’ll be fit. We’re capable of performing very well, regardless of who plays. The side we put out will be a fantastic one”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.
The players are now in their residence in Real Madrid City where they will remain until it’s time to head to the Bernabeu tomorrow. (Video)
Here’s hoping for a good match that doesn’t raise my blood pressure as much as the last one did!