Training [+] | March 7-8, 2014
The majority of the internationals were present for the third practice of the week. Alonso trained indoors with Pepe (stomach flu), who also split his time on the training pitch. Khedira still continues his recovery.
Both Illarra and club president Pérez share a birthday and were greeted by the team before Saturday’s training began. Alonso and Pepe were able to train at the same rate as their teammates, but Arbeloa was unable to train because of a knee injury.
Absences: Arbeloa, Khedira (injury)
Yellow card alert: Ramos (9)
- Pepe (stomach bug) was called up for Levante but may not play.
- Arbeloa’s injury is unlucky; he will rest for a few days before attempting to train.
- Isco has shown recently that he can play in the team’s preferred formation and is closer to starting because of that. Ancelotti even compared him to Seedorf, who was in a similar situation at AC Milan.
- Zidane to El Confidencial: “I enjoy [being a coach]. It’s what I want to do. When I stopped playing football I went on to do a lot of different things. But in the end you have to come back to the thing that gives you energy and that gives you life. If possible, you should do what you want and, for me, that’s football. I think it’s the place in which I can contribute something, transmit what I feel and what I know.”
- Varane’s surgeon reportedly says the player is fully recovered and can resume playing twice a week.
- Florentino Pérez was a guest on La Sexta’s Salvados, which will air Sunday. When asked by the host if he had any involvement in the Neymar transfer saga he replied with a smile, “You know perfectly that I did not. And it seems ridiculous to me to answer that.”
- The team had dinner at El Espigón around 8:30 Thursday night. Ancelotti told the press he was invited and that Zizou paid. Ramos made the reservation, and only four players were absent: Alonso, Arbeloa, Khedira and Pepe. The technical staff was there as well, and the restaurant owner commented on the good atmosphere at the dinner. Jesé and Isco left together, as did Ronaldo and Ramos. A partial seating chart is here. [+ ∙+]
The flight home from the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony (from CR7 eMag) - no sound
Atlético Madrid 2-2 Real Madrid (March 2, 2014) | La Liga, MD 26
- Benzema scored the fastest goal in the Madrid derby (134 seconds) since Nistelrooy in 2008.
- Bale/Benzema/Ronaldo = 72 goals ; 11/12 Benzema/Higuaín/Ronaldo (118 goals) = 78 at this point in the season
Next training: Wednesday
Next match: Levante (H) Sunday, 7 PM CET | 2 PM EST
Schalke 04 (1-6) Real Madrid: Celebrations (February 26, 2014) | Champions League, Round of 16 (1st leg)
Schalke 04 (1-6) Real Madrid: Goals (February 26, 2014) | Champions League, Round of 16 (1st leg)
- Benzema - 13’ | 57’ (Ronaldo assist)
- Bale - 21’ (Benzema assist) | 69’ (Ramos assist)
- Ronaldo - 52’ (Bale assist) | 89’ (Benzema assist)
- The trio of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo is responsible for 70 goals.
- RM becomes the first club to score 153 goals away from home in the Champions League.
- Worldwide media have their say in the goal fest.
- Ramos matches Hierro for 7th most appearances in the UCL with Real Madrid (68 matches).
Next match: Atleti (A) Sunday, 5 PM CET | 11 AM ET
Iker Casillas sets another Spanish record: 952 minutes without conceding a goal.
- Carlo Ancelotti: “It was a very important moment in the game and he made an incredible and important save because minutes later we scored the second. Iker was decisive.”
- Dani Carvajal: “Casillas’ save was essential. He is a keeper with great reflexes, and we’re used to his great saves.”
- Sergio Ramos: “I’ve always said that for me Iker is the best goalkeeper in the world.”
Sami Khedira visits the team prior to Schalke match | February 26, 2014
Khedira, who is recovering in Germany, stopped by the team’s hotel to wish them luck. He will be present at tonight’s match.
Training [+] | February 24-25, 2014
Absences: Khedira (injury)
- Bale was confirmed as a starter, as well as Ronaldo, who Ancelotti said is “especially motivated” because of his two-week inactivity.
- A decision on which fullbacks will start hasn’t been made yet, but Ancelotti declared that Coentrão are Marcelo have both recovered from their knocks, so one of those will start at LB.
- Alonso discussed his role in Ancelotti’s midfield: “My role is more positional; I’ve dropped back and now play just in front of the back four. I have more responsibility and I have to cover both full-backs so that they can join the attack. But were are not limited to playing 4-3-3, we are quite flexible and have the players like Illarra, Luka and Di María… so we can change they system when necessary.”
- Although he’s gotten over his injury and in good shape, he said he’s “still working on his recovery.”
- According to Xabi, Ronaldo was frustrated not being able to play but is primed for Wednesday’s game.
- The perfect route to the Round of 16
- RM has scored in 21 consecutive away goals in the Champions League (42 goals in 11 wins, 6 draws, 4 losses).
- Ronaldo makes his return to competition since February 11.
- French paper Le Monde forced to pay RM €300,000 in damages for linking club to doping doctor
Kickoff vs Schalke (A) is Wednesday, 8:45 PM CET | 2:45 PM ET.
Raphaël Varane on Télefoot | February 23, 2014
TF: This [knee] injury was the first challenge of your career?
RV: It’s true that it was a halt, but it wasn’t a useless period. I’ve learned, my mind is stronger. I’ve learned how to handle complicated situations. It’ll serve me in the future. I know my body better. It can help me develop my career.
RV: I learn from Ramos, Pepe and Cristiano. I’m lucky… Arriving at 18 wasn’t easy but each time, inch by inch, I start to assert myself more and more.
TF: Cristiano told me that you’re a fantastic player.
RV: Coming from Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s an honor. Yes, I have a good relationship with him. I learn a lot from him. He’s a great player and professional.
[Rafa also revealed in the interview that the players like to tease Cristiano.]
TF: Who will be the World Cup’s top scorer?
Training | February 23, 2014
Before beginning Sunday’s recovery session, Casemiro was congratulated on his 22nd birthday. The 10 starters against Elche remained indoors as the the other players were put to their paces on the practice field. Modrić missed training so that he could attend the funeral of a former coach.
- League leader for the first time since May 2012
- Article worth a read: Zizou (by Sid Lowe)