Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hopefully we can reach the Champions League final in our stadium"

Raul is anxious to win another Champions League title, but more importantly, the Real Madrid captain wants the team to recover the prestige lost in recent years.
It is an important match for Zurich, but what about for Real Madrid?
Us too. It is an important match. We feel that this is our competition. It is the most prestigious and we want to be at the top. In recent years we haven't been at the level that Real Madrid deserves. Hopefully we can reach the Champions League final in our stadium.

What kind of motivation is there with the final being played at the Bernabeu? And what about the pressure of not making it past the Last 16 in the last six years?
The fact that it is at our stadium adds a lot of incentive, but we must recover the prestige lost in recent years and soon. There is no better way to start than with Tuesday's match. We want the three points. We must take small steps to pave the way and have options at the end.

This is perhaps the most competitive team in recent years. There are now no excuses.
The club has made a great effort to strengthen the squad. The players have increased the level of this squad. We have been working well since the preseason and played well in our first two league matches. We hope this is the right road to take and we want to qualify for the next round as soon as we can. If we can finish top, then great. It would really make our jobs easier.

How many Zurich players do you know?
One who used to play for Osasuna. We will watch some video of their last few matches on Tuesday to have a better idea. I know they are second in their league and have only drawn one match. They have trouble on the road. I am sure they will be tough being that Real Madrid is coming to town. We must be ready and focus. It will be much easier if we play like we have in recent matches.

Pellegrini is resting players with so many matches on tap. Do you prefer to play evrey match?
Everyone on this squad must feel significant and that is the case. We know how much is demanded of us with matches every three or four days, and we all want to win. It is good that there is competition, that minutes are divided and that we reach the final few months well rested. It is a wise decision.

You are highly valued in Spain, but what about in Europe?
I feel valued and respected and I am very proud of my career. I am happy to be able to play at this level after 15 years and with the teammates I have.  I am satisfied with the enthusiasm there is to win titles and I hope Real Madrid accomplishes its objectives this year.

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