All Ready For Levante

8 Sep

Sorry for the absence – it’s been a helluva a week. Part of my job deals with elements of fundraising for disaster relief and it’s been all about Hurricane Harvey and now.  Hurricane Irma.  The devastation is already horrible and heartbreaking. And two other hurricanes (Katia and Jose) are developing and heading for the already damaged areas. I have friends who have lost their homes and everything they own and friends/family still in the path of Irma. To be honest, this is just about the only thing I’ve been able to think about. So, if you are able, please donate or volunteer to help those who have been affected. They’re going to need all the help and support they can get.

Training

So Los Blancos return to La Liga tomorrow at the ass crack of dawn (aka 7:00 AM Eastern time. Bleurgh). Today they had their final training session before the match.  Keylor & Casemiro were the final internationals to return to the fold. Under-19s goalkeeper Moha joined in the session. (Video)

Presser

FROM REALMADRID.COM

Zidane: “The best news after the international break is not to have picked up any injuries”

“My role is to show every member of the squad they’re important”, added the coach.

Following the team’s final training session prior to this weekend’s clash with Levante, Zidane appeared at a press conference to discuss the return to LaLiga action after the international break: “Obviously I’d like to have had the players here a bit more but that’s football and these are the players here at Real Madrid, we can’t change that. The best news is that we’ve not had much in terms of injuries, Ceballos aside. That’s the best thing for a coach. The guys who stayed here have worked very well”.

“We’ve got a fantastic team, it’s a great squad and I’m happy with my players. Our opposition is going to be tough, not just in Spain, but in Europe too. Everyone wants to beat us, but I’m happy with my squad”.

The squad
“The great thing about this Real Madrid is that a squad can always improve. We can say that this group is even younger, meaning they’ve got even more of a future ahead of them. I think the president said the same thing, and it’s the truth”.

Asensio
“I’m not surprised. What he offers the team is just phenomenal, but we’ve got to keep him calm. He can improve a lot, with humility and by taking it slowly. It’s important for him to see it that way. He’s got a good head on his shoulders to continue his development because he’s not reached his full potential. He can improve if he stays calm and shows patience and humility, which he certainly has. I don’t like all the furore from outside”.

The fans
“I would like them to be behind the team always, from the first whistle until the last. The fans pay for their tickets and are entitled to their opinions. Sometimes there might be jeers, even if I don’t like it personally. We try to give our best and people know that, but sometimes there are games where things don’t go as you’d like”.

Theo
“He’s going well, he’s been here for two months and he’s ready to play. I don’t know if it’ll be tomorrow, but he’s training very well. We’ve got 23 players and I’ll have to choose. We’ve got 7 games in 22 days this month and I’m going to need everyone”.

“Everyone can get better at what they do in their job. That’s the nature of work. If you train every day, you can get better and get back to winning ways. That’s the same for the referees. You can officiate well, but mistakes will occur. It’s a tough job. They can improve, just like the players can, and everyone else as well, no matter what they do”.

Cristiano and the Champions League
“Yes, he can’t wait. He’s fed up of not playing for us. He did a great job for his national team, and he’ll be able to play in the Champions League on Wednesday. He’s very happy, as are we”.

Benzema and Bale
“They’ve always been crucial for us. That’s not going to change. You can have your opinions and comment however you like. There is no such thing as an A or a B team. Every game is important for us if we want to win things, like the two trophies we won at the start of the season. The players, the set-up or the idea may change, but the good thing is that everyone feels important. My role is to show the squad that every member is crucial if we’re going to win things”.

Jeers for Bale
“No player is going to be happy if he gets jeered. He’s fine in terms of his morale, I don’t think he’s as low as people say. Gareth is a key player in the squad and he’s going to have a great year. There might be some games where things don’t go his way but these things happen, even more so at Madrid. We’re going to do all we can to win every game”.

Referees
“I’m not getting involved in that. Everyone can always improve and the referees are no different. I’m not going to blame the referee, I can make mistakes as well as a coach. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the president can say what he feels. As he said, everything can improve and I agree with him on that”.

Barcelona
“I can’t imagine a Spanish league without Barcelona. That’s all I have to say. As a football fan, I can’t see it. I always think of Barcelona as part of this league and that’s that. I won’t go into it any further because I don’t know what’s going to happen. There are people who want one thing, and others want another, it’s a complex debate. What I can’t imagine, and I don’t like the idea of, is LaLiga without Barcelona”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Casilla and Luca.
Defenders: Carvajal, Vallejo, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Theo.
Midfielders: Kroos, Casemiro, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Kovacic and Ceballos.
Forwards: Benzema, Bale and Lucas Vázquez.

Concentración

The team have gathered at the residence at Real Madrid City, where they will remain until match time. (Video)

Looking forward to seeing the team back in action.

– Lozil

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