Off To Amsterdam!

12 Feb

Los Blancos headed off to Amsterdam where they will meet Ajax in the knockout rounds of the Champions League tomorrow.


The team made the trip to Amsterdam and are headquartered at the Okura hotel. (Video)

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Navas, Courtois and Altube.
Defenders: Carvajal, Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Odriozola and Reguilón.
Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Asensio, Brahim and Ceballos.
Forwards: Mariano, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez and Vinicius Jr.



Solari: “We approach the game with humility and the same spirit we did our most recent games”
by Alberto Navarro (Amsterdam)

“We have regard and respect for Ajax, a big club that’s currently performing very well”, he added.

Santiago Solari addressed the press gathered inside the media room at the Johan Cruyff Arena on the eve of his side’s Champions League round of 16 first-leg clash (Wednesday, 9pm CET). The Real Madrid boss previewed the encounter against Ajax in the following terms: “I’m aiming for us to produce a performance that’s just as disciplined as the one we saw two days again. That aim is one that the players share because football is all about building things day to day. We approach the game with humility and the same spirit as we did our most recent games”.

“We’ve got great memories of this stadium. After that Champions League win (the club’s seventh European Cup title) came many more titles and let’s hope that this game continues that trend. We have regard and respect for what’s a big club that’s currently performing well”.

“I don’t think that they’re going through a bad patch, I don’t agree with that. They’re having a good season and they’re a side with some very good players that link up well. You’ve got to respect all of your opponents because they’ll have deserved to win their games”.

Team’s current form
“That’s what this profession is like. When you lose, everything is doom and gloom and when you win, all’s well. Those of us who are on the inside just focus on competing and tomorrow we have our next game. That’s where our focus lies because it’s an important match. That’s the way us coaches and players see things and it’s good that that’s how it is”.

“Sergio Ramos is a marvellous character and is massively competitive, it’s no coincidence that he’s made so many appearances. This historic Real Madrid side bears the mark of his character and let’s hope that we’re able to continue to enjoy watching him for many more games to come”.

“He’s a great player and is our vice-captain. He’s a club icon and he always puts Real Madrid before everything else. He’s training really well, just like the rest of the players. We all love him and he always trains with a smile on his face”.

Reguilón & Vinicius Jr.
“I’m convinced that every member of our squad is ready to play in any game”.

“They’re all important: the fitness coaches, the medical staff, the physios and everyone else who works with us and helps us with a lot of different things, including your colleagues from the media department. Everyone tries to do the best possible job in their particular fields so that the players feel as comfortable as they possibly can. Everyone has to claim a bit of credit, but the biggest credit goes to the players, they’re the ones who put their heart and soul into it”.


Courtois: “We’re playing really well and are going to fight on all fronts”
by Alberto Navarro (Amsterdam)

“Ajax are a good side and we know that it won’t be an easy game”, explained the goalkeeper.

Thibaut Courtois took his place in the media room at the Johan Cruyff Arena ahead of Santiago Solari’s press conference to preview the Champions League last-16 meeting with Ajax: “I sense that our opponents now feel as if it’s far harder to beat us. In October, we put in a poor performance, lost a game at home but now people can see that we’re playing well and there’s a greater fear there. We’re here to fight on all fronts, to reach the Copa del Rey final, battle for the LaLiga title until the final matchday and the Champions League too”.

“The most important thing is that when we defend, we defend as a team, and that when we attack, we attack as a team. We play with discipline, everyone knows their jobs and that’s our strength. When you play for Real Madrid, you’re in with a chance of winning everything going. That comes with the territory”.

“I know a lot about Ajax. They’re a very good side, they’ve bought Blind and Tadic, who are experienced players and they’ve also got some good, talented players, like Ziyech, De Ligt, De Jong… They play good football, get the ball down and you’ve got to be very wary of them. They showed in their Champions League game against Bayern just what a good side they are. They’ll make things really tough for us and we’ll have to be focused. We’ve got a lot of experience, we’ll have to give our all and I don’t think that it’s going to be an easy game, nor do I think that any of our players will be expecting it to be an easy game”.

VAR system
“I like the VAR. The experiences at the World Cup were really good and all of the countries were in favour. At the World Cup everything worked really well. Sometimes there’s a lack of knowledge about the rules, the VAR has to intervene when there’s a clear error and people don’t always realise that. It has to be used to help the game. Sometimes it’ll go against you when an offside is given that wasn’t an offside and that has been given in your favour and other times the opposite will happen. The VAR is a good thing when it comes to making the game fairer”.

“In Rome, we faced a team that wanted to play out from the back and when we applied the high press, the goalkeeper has to be wary and play further up the pitch. I got it right in Rome, it’s also risky to come out of your area because if you get it wrong, you can end up making a mistake and that’s always tough for a goalkeeper, but it’s good for the team when we get to press higher up and as a goalkeeper, you’ve got to help out at the back”.

Can you win a fourth successive Champions League title?
“Yes, I think so. If each season you ask every team who are the favourites to win the Champions League final, virtually all of the players would say Real Madrid, because we’ve got an amazing team and experience. There are a lot of good teams in the competition and we need to take things step by step, starting with the Ajax game”.

“In his recent games he’s been unlucky, with them losing against Heracles and Feyernoord. Sometimes you end up conceding, that’s the risk that a team that wants to play out from the back takes. Sometimes there are less risky passes and others are more dangerous, but he’s a great goalkeeper and he’s helped them to get where they are today”.

“We’ve got to take things one game at a time, however boring and annoying that may sound, but we know that’s always the way. You can’t start thinking about the Copa del Rey semi-final return leg, because we haven’t played Ajax yet and we then welcome Girona and go to Levante, which are always tough games. When we get towards the end of the season we’ll look and see what chances we’ve got and let’s hope that we’re in the running for the three titles”


The squad had a session at the Johan Cruyff Arena tonight. Everyone was available with the exception of Varane, who has the flu. (Video)

Let’s go, Los Blancos!

– Lozil

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