Monday, August 31, 2009

Valdano: "We must live up to the high expectations

Director General Jorge Valdano was very happy with the team's victory over Deportivo La Coruña. He also wished to clarify the controversial comments attributed to him about Milito.

"The team did very well. There was a bit of irregularity in its performance, but this is normal at this stage. The team has seven new players on the starting eleven, which are too many. People should understand the coach is working very hard to make them all blend together."

"The great professional nature of our players is the great advantage we have to improve. We were in trouble two or three times during the game, but the team moved on nevertheless. The match had moments of fantastic individual quality. We should all be very happy."

"The enthusiasm on the stands before the match was a sign of how excited all Madridistas are about the team. We must live up to their expectations and we know that won't be easy. The players know this too."

"This was a complicated match. It was very hot and the players were nervous because it was the first fixture. You could tell they were nervous in some individual plays. Nevertheless, I hope it all flows better from now on."

"I have nothing to clarify concerning my comments on the differences between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The quotes were faithful with the opinions I expressed in the interview. Regarding the supposed comments I made about Milito, the press agency personally told me they made a mistake and misquoted me, so I wish to clarify this. I've already done so with Barcelona's President and I tried to do so with the player, who is in Argentina right now. I sent him an SMS. The quotes were very controversial, but I haven't seen or heard a single mention of the press agency's rectification. I hope Milito recovers soon because he is a great player and an excellent person. That's why we were interested in signing him at one stage."

pellegrini: "I was satisfied with what the team did in its first regular season game" / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Manuel Pellegrini was satisfied with his team's performance against Deportivo La Coruña.
"I am happy for several reasons. Firstly, because there is always much anticipation and players get nervous in a first game. Secondly, because we scored three goals and had many chances to net more."

"We created danger down the wings through Cristiano, Kaka, Arbeloa, etc. We dominated every spot in attack against a complicated opponent that is virtually the same side it was last year. They have the same coach and they are good in defence and at counterattacking. We constantly looked to score and they hardly had any chances on our goal. I also believe we did a good job in defence."

"I don't really know if we suffered, but I can tell you the match was tight. We had the chance to earn a more ample victory; Benzema's shot to the post is a good example of this."

"I think the team is balanced and I believe Xabi Alonso and Lass did a great job. We have much potential in attack and these two players balance the team. I think our centre backs made no mistakes except for the goal Deportivo scored from a set piece. We still have time to improve on defending aerial plays."

Alonso & Arbeloa: "The important thing tonight was to win the match and we did" / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Xabi Alonso and Arbeloa were happy with the team's performance against Deportivo.
Xabi Alonso
"We have just started, so we must take things slowly. We gave the game a good pace throughout the entire 90 minutes and I guess we'll do even more in time."

"We all played during the preseason, but less than we wanted. We will get to know each other gradually better."

"The important thing tonight was to win the match and we did. There are many new players on the squad, so it's natural that we weren't in optimum form tonight. We are nevertheless making progress."

"It was very hot tonight and Deportivo made things hard for us."

"Taking three points was what really counted. We will gradually play better."

"We will obviously concede goals against offensive sides such as Deportivo. We will work hard to improve in defence."

"I think the game was slow because it was very hot. The fans' support was great, as always. It's amazing to see 80,000 people cheering for the team throughout the entire match. We are grateful for that."

Spanish Inquisition: The Rest Of The Best

the teams that could easily make La Liga the best football league in the world…
For some time now, England’s Premier League has largely been hailed as the best in the world, with a large number of the planet’s greatest football talents seeking English clubs to showcase their athleticism. The English game is a fast-paced physical affair that is altogether entertaining, but the hierarchy has, for the most part, remained the same, with the 'Big Four' — Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United — being counted on to take home the trophies at the end of the year.

This year, all signs seem to point to Manchester City joining the ranks of the elite, with players like Robinho, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Carlos Tevez finding big money too attractive to pass up, pushing the English elite to five teams.

In Spain, there are two giants that tend to lord over the rest: Real Madrid and Barcelona. These clubs have been and will always be historic organisations in the world of football, and by the same token, have always employed some of the world’s most dazzling players.

But in recent seasons, a number of other Spanish sides have been slowly building up their rosters, both through youth development and player acquisitions, and with this diaspora of talent coupled with the highly technical and flashy style that characterises La Liga, the Iberian Peninsula has become a more and more attractive destination for the world’s most talented players.

In past years, these teams were called the 'Best of the Rest' - clearly in the backseat behind drivers Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, this season, these teams could very well have progressed toward becoming the 'Rest of the Best'.

Official: Rafael Van der Vaart Staying With Real

It's a big surprise but the Dutch playmaker has been urged to stay with Real Madrid for the upcoming

Spanish giants Real Madrid have opted to keep Rafael van der Vaart after the Dutch midfielder was told by the club that his services were required for the new season, according to Sky Sports .

With the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, and Xabi Alonso at the Bernabeu, van der Vaart was told that he could leave the club, and he did not feature in any of the team's pre-season games.

But with the recent departure of Dutch duo Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder to new pastures, Los Blancos have managed to cut their squad down to 25 players.

Van der Vaart and his lawyer, Robert Geerlings, held a successful meeting with coach Manuel Pellegrini, technical director Jorge Valdano, and general director Jose Angel Sans, where the club asked Van der Vaart to remain with Madrid for the upcoming season.

Speaking to Dutch magazine Voetbal International, Robert Geerlings said, "At the meeting, Rafael was urgently asked to stay at Real.

"The squad has been decreased to 25 players and that made [the club] decide that Rafa doesn't have to leave anymore. For us, it was surprising, and Rafael has decided to fight for his place in Madrid."

Van der Vaart was reported to have rejected a move to Besiktas earlier this month, and has also received two concrete offers from Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.

As a show of confidence, Real Madrid have given back the No. 23 shirt to its rightful owner. Van der Vaart will return to training with the squad on Tuesday.

"It's official, Rafael will stay with Real," concluded Geerlings.

Van der Vaart is capable of playing 'in-the-hole', a position assumed by Kaka at the moment, and will meet tough competition by Esteban Granero for a starting berth in the Madrid midfield.

RM Castilla 1-3 Atletico Madrid B

Gonzalo Velasco / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Castilla faced Atletico Madrid B in their first match of the campaign after having a great run in the preseason, but they failed to snatch a victory. Atletico played a serious game and took advantage of the few mistakes made by the Madridistas to win the match.
1 - REAL MADRID CASTILLA: Adan; Velayos, Gary, Juanan, Anton; Juan Carlos (Cristian, 50'), Tebar, Mosquera (Cordero, 60'), Juanfran (Luis Hernandez, 50'); Javi H., Szalai.

3 - ATLETICO MADRID B: Joel; Sergio Rodriguez, Javi Cantero, Regalon (Pulido, 50'), Atienza; Ruben Perez, Keko, Jimenez, Borja (Ibrahim, 60'); Joshua, Cedric (Portilla, 72').

0-1 (16'): Cedric
0-2 (26'): Joshua
0-3 (82'): Atienza
1-3 (87'): Cristian

Kaka: "The fans always support us, especially when things get tough" / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Ricardo Izecson ´Kaka´ made his debut in La Liga in the team's 3-2 victory against Deportivo La Coruña at the Bernabeu. The Brazilian was delighted with the victory.
"It was a good game. The most important thing was to win and take three points. It wasn't an easy match and I think the victory is more important for that."

"It is fantastic to play at this stadium. The fans always support us, especially when things get tough."

"We had many chances on goal. I think it's natural for opponents to try to cover spaces in which we could move. The important this is that we won tonight."

Usain Bolt kicked-off the match against Deportivo
David Briz / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
The best start to the 2009/10 edition of La Liga was to have Usain Bolt kick-off the match against Deportivo La Coruña. The Jamaican athlete, holder of the world record in the 100 and 200 metre racing categories, received an impressive ovation from the stands. Bolt was very excited and moved by the welcoming he received.

Real Madrid 3-2 Deportivo La Coruña

Carlos Cristobal / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid defeated Deportivo 3-2 in their first game in the 2009/10 edition of La Liga. The visiting side played well in defence and made good use of their chances in attack, but failed to overcome the Madridistas, Raul, Cristiano and Lass scored for the Whites. Usain Bolt kicked-off the match.
Looking to keep possession and give spectacle, Real Madrid dominated the match from the start. Kaka had a chance on goal just one minute into the game. All Deportivo could do was keep their defensive line organised to try to thwart the Whites' bouts in attack. Their attack basically consisted on isolated plays and set pieces.

After a few minutes of complete local dominance, the game came to a standstill, seeing how Real Madrid had trouble trying to move past Deportivo's defence. All this changed when Kaka received a ball down the right wing on the 25-minute mark. The Brazilian ventured towards the goal diagonally and passed the ball to Benzema between defenders. The Frenchman hit the post, but Raul picked up the deflection and scored the opener. Four minutes later, Riki netted a header for Deportivo in a set piece. 

Real Madrid didn't give up and managed to end the first half in the lead again thanks to a penalty awarded to Raul and scored by Ronaldo. The Portuguese star sent the ball in grazing the left post (33'). Cristiano had a shot that was slightly off target after half-time and Deportivo scored another equalizer through Valeron, who scored from outside the box after receiving a great pass from Guardado. The Northern side proved threatening in counterattacks and Valeron failed to score again from a great chance.

Lass pulled rank in the 58th minute and, after dribbling past an opponent, netted a terrific shot grazing the left post from outside the box. Pellegrini's men dominated the fixture from the on and earned an important first victory.

iker Casillas: "We want to play well and make our fans happy" / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Iker Casillas said in a football campus held in Avila that he believes the squad is solid and strong to fight for all the titles at stake.
"A balanced squad has been built, which is what many of us wanted. We failed in the three competitions we played in last year. We wanted a team with which the coach wouldn't have trouble to come up with a solid starting line-up and strong enough to fight for the three titles at stake in the best possible way."

"I want to get rid of the thorn on my side after last season. We want to play well and make the fans happy. The Club has made a great effort to sign excellent players and we must all now do our best to win."

Karim Benzema Wants To Win Ballon d'Or At Real Mad

New Real Madrid signing Karim Benzema has declared that he dreams of being crowned Europe's best player with his new club.

In an interview with AS, the talented attacker expressed his desire to repeat the successes of Zinedine Zidane and Raymond Kopa, the only previous French footballers to win the prestigious award while wearing the white of Madrid.

"I signed for Madrid to win titles and if we achieve these collective triumphs, maybe at some point an individual award will follow," he said.

"However, I must admit that one of my dreams is to win the Golden Ball [Ballon d'Or] playing in this team. I would follow in the footsteps of Zidane and Kopa."

The former Lyon star also said that he is looking foward to playing with the likes of Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom he expects "to do great things in attack for Madrid".

Benzema spoke, too, of his boyhood hero, former Madrid striker Ronaldo, who he admits inspired him.

"I do not want to emulate Ronaldo and I do not want to be like him. I am inspired by him, but nothing more," he said

Kaka---- AC Milan no evil

The Brazilian footballer Ricardo Izecson Dos Santos Leite, Kaka, shows signs of not having forgotten or disconnected from their former team, AC Milan, club that is still very steep and ensures that no evil for having let him go to Real Madrid.

"In the beginning was not easy. But I've always tried to understand the reasons for my departure. We found the best solution for everyone. I feel no resentment at Milan.'m Fine here (in Madrid). It is a nice place, a great club . But at first it was strange, "Kaka said in an interview published today by the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Nobody could imagine what happened. The economic crisis, the Milan out of Champions League for a year. Things change, but I've always been honest and I think the fans have understood. And here I am happy" he adds.

The Brazilian says his life has never kissed a team jersey, except for its selection, not to create controversy and that if Real Madrid had to throw a penalty against Milan, I yield to his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, because for him there would be a tasteful dish.

In the interview with the Italian newspaper, the footballer, who starred in one of the multimillion-dollar signings of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez this summer, shows that it is emotionally very attached to Milan, club in which friends and fellow left and seems to have recovered the path of good play.

"They are strong and fight for the scudetto''''-incident. I'm happy for Ronaldinho, who is returning to its levels, and Leonardo and Pato, who has a great future for him as a handsome man of newspaper front pages this season. And it has been exciting to see Nesta and Rino after injuries. For me are friends, he is, I will be encouraging. "

"In Spain the first is the King and then the RM

metzelder interview

Have you found your site at Real?

Last year was difficult because I faced a tough competition. But at the end of the day it comes down to trial that one makes of himself. This summer I made a surprisingly good preparation, and it has favored the hiring of new coach.
What is most difficult in football to pay a hundred percent or present himself to the club and exemplary?

One thing does not remove the other. My obligation is to provide a good athletic performance. But football is an activity of public interest. Many children take to the players as role models. That is a responsibility not to forget a professional footballer.
How much intelligence should be taken to be a good center?

Football has changed a lot, especially for defenders, the goalkeeper on sales and disposal of libero. And the tactic, which involves keeping all defenses online. Today, the holder of this position is always a very outstanding player of the others. The list of requirements that are needed has increased. Defenders of today are mostly strategists, while the forwards are more artists.

Tottenham Hotspur Could Turn To RVN

Tottenham Hotspur could reignite their interest in signing Ruud van Nistelrooy from Real Madrid if they can find a buyer for the unsettled Roman Pavlyuchenko, according to a report.

The unlikely move has been touted by the Daily Mail as a possibility after the north London club received a transfer request from their Russian striker this week.

Manager Harry Redknapp has been keen to start the season with four strikers and felt that things had been settled after he signed Peter Crouch and sold Darren Bent.

Pavlyuchenko has been unimpressed with his lack of opportunities in the opening three matches however and now wants to leave White Hart Lane.

Should Tottenham find a new club for the Russian then they could make a move to try and tempt Van Nistelrooy after having already made contact in June.

Talks between Madrid and Spurs were held two months ago regarding several players, but the negotiations stalled because of player wages.

Now though Van Nistelrooy may consider the move because his chances of playing regularly at Madrid could be limited after the arrival of Karim Benzema.

Benzema: "Discovering the passion exuded at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium has changed my life" / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Karim Benzema told L'Equipe that he is amazed by the Madridistas' passion at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The player also said he feels comfortable on the team.
"Not being the best player in the world means you still have to make progress. We all have a personal goal in life. Mine is to be the best player in the world."

"Discovering the passion exuded at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium has changed my life. We have to give spectacle for the fans. There is so much passion here! It's crazy!"

"Lass has helped me to adapt to the team. I feel comfortable playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul and Kaka. I know I had a good preseason."

Ruud van Nistelrooy is delighted with the new-look Real Madrid squad and has revealed his excitement after making his return to action after six months on the sidelines.

The Dutch striker has been impressed with Los Merengues' summer rebuilding project and is looking forward to the new season now that he has recovered from a knee injury.

Against Rosenborg on Sunday, Van Nistelrooy made his long-awaited comeback and told reporters afterwards that he likes the look of Madird's squad for the new campaign.

"This is a quality team. The squad is incredible and we are all very excited. We will keep up the good work," he was quoted as saying by the club's official website.

"I've worked very hard for months to recover and I went through some complicated moments that I managed to overcome.

"The worst thing about the injury was that I couldn't run for six months. I had to spend four hours a day in the gym and couldn't step on the pitch. I can thankfully leave all that behind me now.
It is reported that Madrid president Florentino Perez and agent Alain Migliaccio have already agreed terms on a five-year deal to begin next summer. By then Ribery will be in the final year of his contract and he could become a Blanco for a fee of €25 million.

The talented 26-year-old has been continuously linked with a move to the Bernabeu this summer; however, the transfer has never materialised and Madrid's sporting director, Jorge Valdano, recently admitted that Los Merengues had given up trying to sign him.

"It has been a very difficult summer for me. It was all very stressful. Sometimes I get angry when I read the newspapers. I never asked Bayern to let me go," Ribery told German newspaper Sport Bild.

"All I said was if I left Germany, I would want to go to Madrid," added the France international, who is yet to put pen to paper on a contract renewal offered by the Bavarian club.

He also said that his idol, Zinedine Zidane, would like him to sign for Madrid and that the great man himself is aware of the difficulties of completing such a transfer.

"Zidane himself told me that he had trouble when leaving Juventus for Madrid. I know that Zidane would be happy if I went to Real. But now this is not the circumstance," Ribery remarked.
Real Madrid’s first opponents in Group C of the Champions League are AC Milan, Olympique Marseille and FC Zurich. The tournament kicks-off on 15 September and will end with a final at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on 22 May 2010. Emilio Butragueño, Director of Institutional Relations of Real Madrid, acted as the Club’s ambassador in the gala and drew the ballots designating groups to each team

Diarra: "My team-mates helped me a lot during those difficult months"

Carlos Cristobal / translation by Manuel Arcedillo
Diarra has recovered from an injury which has kept him off the pitch during eight months. In an interview to, the midfielder talks about his recovery process and how happy he is to be able to help the team once more.
Are you happy now you’ve left behind such hard times?
I’m very happy right now. I work with the team and I can touch the ball normally.
How did you feel when the doctors told you the seriousness of your injury?
In fact, I knew there was something wrong with my knee before they told me. I tried to hold on a bit longer so I could help the team but my knee finally gave up and I had to undergo surgery. The knee was 80% broken. Both cartilages and the outer meniscus were broken. It was an extremely serious injury.
It’s the worst injury for a footballer.
Yes, it’s one of the worst things that can happen not only to footballers, but to anyone. We all depend on our knees because they’re one of the parts which bear the weight of the whole body. If they don’t work properly, even walking becomes difficult. Not to mention running.
Tell us about your recovery process.
It has been my worst time as a professional. They were very, very difficult moments. I was on crutches for the first two months, which was hard. Then I spent five or six months working on my own in the gym. Everything has been difficult. I hope to never go through these eight months again in my life. I don’t wish it to happen to any other footballer either.
What was worse, the physical workouts or the thoughts that ran through your mind?
El trabajo físico fue duro, pero lo peor está fuera del equipo. Estás fuera del grupo, siempre en el gimnasio, únicamente con Ruud y el preparador, Chamo. Y mientras ves a tus compañeros entrenar. Eso es lo peor, el querer ayudar al grupo y no poder hacerlo.
During your recovery period, each small step forward must have been a happy moment...
Yes, it was. But it’s finally over and I’m happy. I work to gradually recover my strength. I’m happy that my knee is not giving me any problems and now I’m ready to help the team, which is what I want most.

    Raúl: "The team has worked hard in preseason and now we must prove it"

    Carlos Cristobal / Translation by Manuel Arcedillo
    Raul sat down for an interview prior to starting his sixteenth league season as Madridista. He is confident that this squad can fight to win every title.
    How do you feel about the season which is about to begin?
    I’m excited, as all Madridistas are. There’s a new project and new players, very important footballers who have improved the squad. We want the Bernabeu to enjoy our game once more and we’re going to fight for every title.
    Has the excitement of the fans reached the players?
    Yes, we have felt the atmosphere created around the team mainly during the preseason games. We have played more games at the Bernabeu thanks to the Peace Cup and we received a very nice welcome. The same happened in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy. You can tell fans are looking forward to watching the games and seeing the new players on the pitch. We’re all anxious to win games. Now that the season is about to begin, we hope to pay back the fans with good football and victories.
    How were the first days of work?
    It all went well. We have a new coach who has brought new ideas to the team and we have adapted well to them. The main goal has always been to win games and showcase good football and we’ve been moving closer to achieving it with each game we played. We arrive in good shape to the start of La Liga.
    It’s a positive balance, then...
    Yes. Regardless of the match results, in preseason it’s paramount to build a team before the league kicks-off. The team has processed the new concepts and everything has turned out well. We didn’t have any injuries and every member of the squad has helped the team and taken part in games.
    What impression has Pellegrini made on you?
    He has caused good impression. His job at Villareal during the last years has been very good. He knows Spanish football and its players inside-out. He’s doing a great job. We’re happy about his ideas and the concept he has of the game. We are willing to give joy to fans and show what we have achieved so far.
    There have been several new signings and they have adapted well to the team...
    Yes. The squad is made up of nice people and that makes adaptation easier for the new players. They are very important players who want to do things right. They are adapting quickly and that’s good news because that way they can give everything they’ve got.

    Real Madrid winger Arjen Robben has confirmed he has accepted an offer to join Bayern Munich.

    The Dutchman's future has been the subject of intense speculation all summer following the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.

    A return to England has been mooted for Robben with Tottenham credited with an interest in the former Chelsea star, and in recent days Manchester United have also been linked with the player.

    However, Bayern Munich have stolen a march on their rivals by agreeing a €25million (£22million) deal with Real to bring the Dutch international to the Allianz Arena.

    Robben believes moving to Bayern is the best option for him as he is unlikely to be playing regularly for Real this season.

    "This morning I made my decision. This is the best choice for me," Robben told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

    Bayern are hoping to tie up a deal for the 25-year-old in the next 48 hours as they look to have him available for this week's clash with reigning champions Wolfsburg.

    Robben is the third Dutchman on his way out of El Santiago Bernabeu this summer following the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder in leaving the Spanish giants.

    The news of Robben's imminent arrival is sure to fuel speculation that Franck Ribery could leave Bayern before the close of the transfer window.