Ready Or Not, It’s Time For El Clasico

27 Oct

Greetings from rainy and cold NYC! El Clasico is upon us. I, for one, am super nervous. But then again, I’ve never gone into a Clasico calmly – have you?


It was all hands on deck today with the exception of the injured Carvajal and Vallejo (the latter is injured again – poor kid – will he ever be well?) Miguel Gutiérrez of the U19s joined the first team for the session. (Video)



Lopetegui: “We head there with the utmost ambition and are ready to put in a good performance”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia

“We’re working well, putting in the hard work and are keen to put a smile on our fans’ faces”, explained the Whites’ boss.

Julen Lopetegui took to the media room at Real Madrid City prior to overseeing his side’s final training session ahead of El Clásico (Sunday, 4:15pm CET), with the Whites’ coach previewing the trip to Barcelona in the following terms: “There are many key areas to a game of this pedigree, not just one. First and foremost it’s about what you do on the field and attacking and defending well. Then you’ve got the emotional and mental side of things, which are also important factors in such games. In short, I prefer to focus on the on-field affairs”.

“The emotional aspect is important in terms of having the right attitide to approach these kinds of games. In a match like this, there are small details and you mustn’t make any mistakes, ensure we have confidence in our strengths and hurt the opposition. Both the emotional elements and the purely football-related aspects are important. I’m putting 100% of my energy into helping my team to produce a good performance. That’s my job as the coach”.

Messi’s absence
“We head into the game thinking only about ourselves, whilst being aware of the team we’re up against. We’ll be trying to make the most of our strengths and really exploit them to the full. In these kinds of matches, we have to perform to the best of our ability in all areas, both in attack and defence. They’re a fine team, regardless of whether an individual player is available or not”.

Marcelo & Isco’s fitness
“Marcelo took a knock which forced him to come off, but he’s fine and has trained as usual. We’ve still got one training session to go, but we think that he’ll be available. Isco returned after a period on the sidelines, he played two games and tomorrow we’ll see the line-up that I go with”.

Right wing-back
“I’m in no doubt about who’s going to play. We have a range of options and I’ve used several of them, but I trust all of the players. Dani [Carvajal] is out and he’s an important player for us”.

The squad’s support
“They trust me and the level of trust I have in them is even greater. That proves that we’re working hard. We’re keen to put a smile on our fans’ faces. Our fans enjoy this particular fixture. We know just how tough it’ll be, but we head there with the utmost ambition and excitement and are ready to put in a good performance”.

“This game is more than attractive, demanding and special enough so as for us not to be thinking about other stuff. We’re focused on training well and going there in the best possible shape to play a game that demands the very best of you. That’s the way we’re approaching it”.

His most important game
“Nothing compares to the importance and relevance of a Barcelona-Real Madrid clash. On a footballing level, of course it’s the pinnacle in terms of the demands placed on me and my coaching experience”.

Pressing high
“The team is in great shape to carry out any strategy we decide on. They have never let up in applying that pressure against teams who have forced us to do so. We won’t reveal how we’re going to play tomorrow but we’ll be a recognisable side. The game will be played over 90 minutes. We have to improve our effectiveness in both boxes, that’ll be crucial in such a high-level game like this”.

Preparing for the game amid rumours
“I focus only on elements which are a coach’s job. I’m not paying attention to what people are saying because that’s not going to help me win games. We’re concentrating on strengthening things we’re already doing well, improving our effectiveness and winning what will surely be a very demanding game tomorrow”.

Real Madrid wounded?
“You’re counting on the fact Real Madrid is wounded. We’ve been doing some good things, even if we haven’t been consistent in our results. We’re trying to improve on our efficiency but Real Madrid will be ready going into a game like this, with all the demands and expectation that entails”.

Marcelo and the press
“All that interests me as far as Marcelo is concerned is the attitude he shows in every training session and in every game. That gives me a sense of calm, knowing that this team has the ability to turn the situation around. We’re in October, it’s not an irreversible situation, Sevilla was the only game where we deserved to lose”.

He’s our captain and, as always, he’s doing an excellent job. There are good captains out there and then there are your great captains and Sergio is one of them”.

Would a win be a surprise result?
“You guys have a certain way of interpreting the game and I accept it. What you’re able to talk about changes according to the situations and the events that take place in each week. We’re capable of going anywhere and winning, it wouldn’t be a surprise. The same applies for Barcelona. It wouldn’t bother me if you were to say that it would be a surprise to see us win, I’d be happy with that”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Navas, Casilla and Courtois.
Defenders: Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Odriozola and Reguilón.
Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, M. Llorente, Asensio, Isco and Ceballos.
Forwards: Mariano, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez and Vinicius Jr.


The team has already made the trip to Barcelona where they were greeted by enthusiastic fans. They are headquartered at the Hotel Sofía.


Asensio and Nacho were chosen to meet with the fans. (Video)

It’s going to be an interesting match. Lets do this, gentlemen! HALA MADRID!

– Lozil

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