Speaking to the club’s official media, Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez has spoken about what it means for him to be the first captain of the team.
An academy product, Nacho has been with Real Madrid for 20 years now, having joined the Merengues way back in 2003. The 33-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Spanish capital club and has been a valuable member of the team for years now.
A leader in the dressing room, Nacho has captained Real Madrid previously, but he has now been appointed the first captain following the summer departure of Karim Benzema. And, the veteran cantera is excited at the opportunity, as he said:
“Being captain is very nice and a very important challenge.”
“I’ve been here my whole life, not only in the first team but in all the categories. Representing this club is the best thing that can happen to me. I’m a home-grown man and I’ve been captain many times, but being Real Madrid’s first captain is very special.”
Talking about the responsibilities that the club captaincy entails, Nacho said: “The responsibility that comes with it is to keep fighting and winning titles, that doesn’t change. I always try to fight for my team and win games with this crest, which is what you are taught from the time you are a little boy.”
“I was taught very well since I was a child what the values of this club are and now I’m going to try to pass them on. My dream was to make my debut with the first team but being first captain is something different. As the moment gets closer, I’m believing in it more,” he added.
On what it means for him to be the captain of the team, Nacho stated: “The team and the fans show me their affection every day. Being captain means being a leader and being the best teammate for everyone else.
“I’m proud and happy and with the help of this great team everything is easier.”
It must be remembered that Nacho was set to be out of contract this summer, with his previous deal with the club expiring on June 30. And after much deliberation, the 33-year-old decided to pen a new one-year deal to continue with the club for one more season.
Opening up on his decision to continue, Nacho said: “Even if there are difficulties over the years, it’s always worth it at the end of each season to extend my contract for another year.
“I take it with the same enthusiasm as I did in my first game. I think this year is going to be very nice for everyone.“
Finally, Nacho also spoke about the team’s pre-season tour of the United States of America and its importance, saying:
“This pre-season is special, as they all are. I’m proud to be here. In Los Angeles we feel at home, we’ve been coming here for many years. With the recognition that the club has, they know you all over the world. It’s a reason to be happy for the affection that the fans show us.”
Real Madrid defender taken off with an injury against Las Palmas
There just does not appear to be any respite from injuries for Real Madrid.
Just when it appeared that they were close to having their full squad – barring the two long-term absentees – the Merengues have been struck down by fresh injuries this week.
Arda Guler, who was on the cusp of being named in the squad for the Las Palmas clash, injured himself in training on Tuesday.
And now, during the game against Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid have lost key defender David Alaba to an injury.
Close to the 40th-minute mark, Alaba went down on the ground clutching his leg and appeared to be in quite a bit of discomfort.
Soon enough, the medical staff arrived to take a look at the Austrian and seconds later he was off the pitch and straight towards the tunnel.
Lucas Vazquez came on to replace the injured Alaba, with Nacho Fernandez moving into the centre-back position alongside Antonio Rudiger.
Alaba’s injury leaves Carlo Ancelotti with just two fit centre-backs in Rudiger and Nacho, which is set to be a matter of great concern.
The hope will be that Alaba’s condition is nothing serious and that he is able to mount a quick recovery.