Real Madrid News
Real Madrid defender admits to feeling the pressure after joining the club: “It’s not easy”
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg clash against Liverpool, defender Antonio Rudiger admitted that he felt the pressure of playing for the Merengues after his arrival in the summer.
Rudiger joined Real Madrid last summer, arriving on a free transfer after his contract at Chelsea expired.
The German international has not had it easy in his first year at the Santiago Bernabeu, having to compete with Eder Militao and David Alaba for starts while also making a few missteps along the way.
And, he acknowledged that playing for a club of Real Madrid’s stature comes with a great amount of pressure, but one gets used to it with time.
“To be honest, considering the history of this club, it’s not easy to play here. A lot of pressure, but at the end of the day, you live with it and it’s easier,” Rudiger said.
“In these months I have experienced many new things. Everything is much bigger than before with all due respect to all the clubs I have played at.”
Rudiger, who was at the losing end last season with Chelsea against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, opened up on the atmosphere at the stadium, saying:
“Last year it was very hard for me to play at the Bernabeu as a visitor because of the result. When you play against Real Madrid you feel something different in the atmosphere of the Bernabeu. For me, it’s an honour to be here and play with Benzema, Modrić, etc…”
Rudiger wants sharper start vs Liverpool
Rudiger acknowledged that Real Madrid were slow to get off the blocks in the first leg at Anfield, even though they came out with a 5-2 win. And the German urged that the team must make a sharper, livelier start tomorrow night at the Bernabeu.
“We have to start the game better than we did at Anfield. Find the balance between defence and attack because we already saw what happened in the first 15 minutes,” he said.
“As I said before, we don’t have to be sleepy in the first 15 minutes. This is very important for us. We have to gain confidence.”
Rudiger also said that Real Madrid will need to be wary of Liverpool, who showed their level when they thrashed Manchester United 7-0 in the Premier League not so long ago.
“Yes, they have a good counterattack. They played against a great rival and won 7-0. We have to be prepared.”
Imparting some advice on his young teammate Vinicius Jr, Rudiger added that the Brazilian must focus on his game and not get goaded by opposition, while also admitting that the referees needed to do better with him.
“I think it’s 50/50. Obviously, he has to focus on the way he plays but that’s difficult when you’re being provoked so much and you’re young. He’s learning but I think the referees have to do a better job”.
Source: Real Madrid Twitter
Real Madrid News
Real Madrid midfielder trained away from the group last week, but has no injury – report
With the international break underway, several Real Madrid players have been called up for national team assignments. The stars who have not travelled for international duty have continued to work at the club’s Valdebebas training facility to prepare for the restart.
Toni Kroos is one such player who has remained in Madrid, having retired from international football back in 2021.
However, there had been concerns growing around the 33-year-old’s physical condition as he regularly did indoor work last week and was not spotted in group training with his teammates.
Now, Sergio Quirante has come up with an update on Kroos’ situation, stating that even though the midfielder largely did individual work inside the facilities over the last week, he is fine and has no injuries.
Taking advantage of the international break, the former Bayern Munich superstar is understood to have gone through an individual program to prepare for the final, decisive stretch of the 2022/23 season.
Kroos not being injured comes as a big positive for Real Madrid, ahead of important games against Real Valladolid and Barcelona within the first five days of April.
The rest of the Real Madrid midfield contingent – Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, and Dani Ceballos – are all away on international duties and could return with some fatigue from the travel.
So, it is important that Kroos is fully fit and ready to go as Real Madrid look to cut down the gap to the top of the table in La Liga and also make it to the finals of the Copa del Rey by overturning a first-leg deficit against Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Kroos has played 37 matches this season, chipping in with two goals and five assists in the process. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it is still unclear whether he will renew or hang up his boots.