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Real Madrid veteran looking forward to Barcelona clash in US: “Clásico is never a friendly”

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

In an extensive interview with Real Madrid’s media channels, veteran midfielder Toni Kroos has pressed on the importance of the pre-season tour, saying that these tours are always hard as it more or less sets the tone for the season.

The midfielder also stated that facing Barcelona in the pre-season El Clasico will be exciting, stating that a game against the Catalans is never a friendly encounter.

Real Madrid will take on Barcelona on July 29 and when asked about the fixture, the 33-year-old, he said:

“It’s a special game and in a special stadium, it’s what the game deserves. This is probably one of the games that is not friendly. I think that a Clásico against Barcelona is never a friendly. 

“This type of game will help us get into rhythm, it will be our third meeting for us there. And I think we will improve every game.

“The team will have already had two games to get back together after the summer and it is always important to recover the feeling of playing together. And I hope that against Barcelona we are at that point. 

“I hope we can play good football, a good match for our fans there, and win because against Barcelona it’s never a friendly.”

The midfielder also said that going to the United States is always a special feeling. In the span of two weeks, the record European champions will play as many as four games against AC Milan, Manchester United, Juventus, and Barcelona.

Speaking about the tour, the 33-year-old said, “It is special to travel to the United States because it is the only opportunity for us to play there during the year. 

“We always want to go there in the summer and see our fans, who are many. Every year we see the enthusiasm with which they receive us and seeing four cities with four games is very good.”

He went on to explain the gravity of these games, saying, “Pre-season is always hard work because you try to get the bases that will help you throughout the season or that should. 

“It’s what we do. We continue working with and without the ball, which is more or less the same every year. There isn’t that much time because we have these nine days here and then we start with the preparation games.”

Kroos, who will look to try new combinations along with new signings Jude Bellingham and Arda Guler, said that these games are really important for the team to pick the rhythm.

“There are four games ahead and the games mean you don’t have as much time to train as hard. The games are important to pick up the rhythm, so these days here are very important to get the bases for the whole season”.

When asked about the importance of the preparation, he added: “The most important thing is to get up to speed, especially in the first game, and recover the feeling of being on the pitch.”

Kroos also hailed the atmosphere of the United States, saying Real Madrid and Manchester United are the two clubs who have the most following in North America.

“There is always a great atmosphere in the United States. Real Madrid and Manchester United may be the two clubs with the most fans there.

“I expect a great atmosphere, I think it’s also a great opportunity for them to see us play because during the season all our games are in Europe. So these games in the United States are always a great opportunity.”

Lastly, he went on the add that football in the United States is slowly growing and the fact that they will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup shows how serious they are about the sport.

“You can say that football in the United States is improving, growing. They organize the 2026 World Cup so I think their idea is to grow and it shows. Now you see more players coming to the MLS.

“It will improve, grow and get bigger and bigger. And that’s the idea. Especially with the World Cup in mind. It’s always good if teams are growing. I think the United States has a lot of potential in football. There are many great cities like Orlando to build great football teams,” he concluded.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid out-of-favour defender now unlikely to leave the club

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid missed out on the signing of Leny Yoro after deciding not to match Manchester United’s offer for the 18-year-old defender.

With the French prodigy now on his way to the Premier League, Los Blancos are assessing their options before deciding whether to sign a new centre-back or not.

As things stand, the reigning champions of Spain and Europe seem to be leaning towards relying on their existing options rather than going into the market.

Jesus Vallejo unlikely to leave

As such, MARCA reports that the likelihood of Jesus Vallejo leaving the club have now significantly reduced.

Indeed, the 27-year-old out-of-favour defender now appears more and more likely to continue at Real Madrid beyond this summer.

Set to stay. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Vallejo returned to the Santiago Bernabeu after finishing his loan stint at Granada during which he hardly played due to injury and fitness woes.

As such, reports suggested that Carlo Ancelotti & co. were not planning on counting on him next season, even though he was handed a new shirt number recently.

But with the Leny Yoro operation collapsing and Real Madrid not keen on recruiting anyone from the market at this point, the Spanish ace is now unlikely to leave the club.

With David Alaba still sidelined, Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao will start the new season as the first-choice centre-back pairing and Vallejo will serve as the backup while Aurelien Tchouameni will also be an option.

Vallejo, for his part, wanted to stay put and see out his contract which expires in 2025. And, as things stand, it appears that the player will get his wish.

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