Ready For APOEL Leg 2

20 Nov

The team headed off to Nicosia where they will meet APOEL tomorrow in the Champions League.


Accompanied by the babies of the U19s (Guti’s boys!), the team made the 4 hour + flight and are headquartered at the Hilton Cyprus hotel. (Video)



They trained at the GSP Stadium after arrival. (Video)



Zidane: “We’re one step away from the last 16 and want to get the three points”
by Javier Garcia (Nicosia) | Photographers: Antonio Villalba/Helios de la Rubia

“We’ll have to be focused, we know what’s at stake and it won’t be an easy game”, insisted the Whites’ coach.

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press before leading the final training session ahead of his side’s encounter against APOEL (Tuesday, 8:45pm CET). The Real Madrid coach previewed the clash, in which his team are bidding to secure their place in the Champions League last 16, in the following terms: “We’re in good shape. We want to go out and show the same determination as we did at the weekend. We’re one step away from the last 16 and want to put three points on the board tomorrow”.

“This isn’t the time to be discussing the transfer window. All that I’m interested in is tomorrow’s game and this squad. We haven’t spoken about the game and it won’t be an easy one. They’re a side that have performed well in this season’s Champions League. We’ll have to be focused, we know what’s at stake”.

“They’re a good team and they’ve have proved that. They’re deserving of their place in the Champions League and they performed very well at the Bernabéu. We’ll be in for a tough test tomorrow night and we’ll have to be ready”.

“He’s at the front of the queue when it comes to wanting to give more and he knows that he’s got more to offer. I’m here to try and help all of my players, not just Karim. We’re improving, but in terms of our confidence in front of goal… As far as goals go, when you score one or two it changes everything. Let’s hope that tomorrow is the day when everything changes”.

“We know what a tough job we’ve got. We’re Real Madrid and more is always demanded of us. That’s a good thing and we’re aware of the effort that we have to put in. Every player wants to be given more minutes, each member of the squad has a role to play and wants to be a more important figure. I’m the one who has to decide how much game time each of the players get. It’s my job and my players have to be ready to perform when they get the chance”.

“I’m always optimistic. I’m extremely fortunate. I’m in good health and enjoy what I’m doing. There are other jobs which aren’t as easy as this. I’m remain optimistic, regardless of what happens. I believe in the players that we’ve got our disposal. We’re going through a spell in which some people might be concerned, but I’m not”.

The youngsters
“The most important thing for me is to talk to my players, whilst bearing in mind that they’re here to do a job. They’re very young and are here to work. For example, when (Marco) Asensio came in he didn’t play as much and now he’s getting more game time. It’ll be the same for (Dani) Ceballos. He’s got a tremendous future ahead of him, the same goes for (Marcos) Llorente and all the others. It’s all part of the journey they’ve got to go on. All of them have a future within this team”.


Asensio: “We come here looking for the win to seal our place in the last 16”
by Javier Garcia (Nicosia) | Photographers: Antonio Villalba/Helios de la Rubia

“APOEL are tough opposition and we’re aware that Champions League games always require you to be at your best”, he added.

Marco Asensio addressed the media gathered inside the press room at the GSP Stadium to preview tomorrow’s clash against APOEL Nicosia, in which the Whites will be aiming for a win to seal their place in the last 16: “We’ve come here to win the game. Every Champions League game requires you to give your best. A win would be enough for us to progress and we come here looking to get that win and put in a good performance”.

“APOEL are tough opposition, and all the more so on their own patch. They need a win to keep their hopes alive, but we come here looking victory to secure our place in the last 16. We come here with great excitement to make it into the last 16”.

His current form
“I try to work as hard as I can, I retain the same desire to try and be an important member of this squad. I want to make the most of the opportunities that the coach gives me, be that as part of the starting line-up or from off the bench. I’m in good shape and am as keen as always. I hope to continue to offer the goals and good performances that I have being so far”.

“I thrive on responsibility, I feel really at ease when I offer the team things, I don’t feel as if I’m under pressure and, what’s more, I enjoy the pressure”.

“Morata’s situation is different. He came back to Madrid and wanted to play a bigger role. I’m young, I’m 21 and my situation is different, I’m still just starting out. I’m going to continue to work hard, so as to be given playing time and be a key player. I don’t read what the press says all that much, I need you guys to tell me what they’re talking about”.

Cristiano Ronaldo
“I think that he’s in good shape and is raring to go. In La Liga he wouldn’t seem to be having much luck in front of goal, but Cristiano always hits back and will produce the stats that we’re used to seeing from him”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkepers: Casilla and Moha.
Defenders: Carvajal, Vallejo, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo and Achraf.
Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, M. Llorente, Asensio, Isco and Ceballos.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Mayoral.

I’m on vacation so I’m going to watch the game. I just want to see the spark and the joy back in their play. Fingers crossed.

– Lozil

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