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Rodrygo talks Real Madrid, Rudiger, Neymar, Nacho, World Cup



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

In an interview with Spanish publication MARCA, Real Madrid forward Rodrygo has said that Brazilian players get a love of love when they arrive in Madrid, adding that he hopes many Madridistas support Brazil at the World Cup.

“I always feel important in the national team. I feel like a leader in all the teams I play for. I dream every day about winning the World Cup for my country. That is what I always aim for when I go out on the pitch,” he said.

Rodrygo will team up with his club teammate Vinicius Jr at the World Cup in Qatar. Speaking about it, he said, “Hopefully, many Real Madrid fans will go with Brazil thanks to us. We are delighted with the affection that they transmit to us every day in Madrid.”

Brazil are clear favourites to clear the group stage phase as they are drawn against Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon. Once that is done, there is a high possibility that the South American team will square off against some of Europe’s top teams.

For Rodrygo, there are chances that he might come across his club teammates such as Antonio Rudiger or Dani Carvajal for that matter. Speaking in the context, he said he would like to avoid the face-off against Rudiger in particular.

“They are all good, but if I had to choose, I would eliminate Rüdiger with Germany, because he is a very strong guy, and it is very difficult to pass as a striker. I check it every day in training and, believe me, that’s how I’m telling you.”

“Crashing into Rüdiger is like crashing into a plane. It’s a crazy thing!”

Rodrygo moved to Real Madrid in 2019 for a fee reported to be around €45 million. While his initial years were tough, he has gone on to establish himself as a first-team regular, appearing in 19 games across all competitions while scoring seven goals.

So when asked about rating his development, he said: “7. I still have a lot to improve on.”

In terms of his Real Madrid career, he has proven to be a versatile asset for Carlo Ancelotti, especially during Karim Benzema’s absence.

“I can play on right, left, centre or behind the striker, what I want to do is help the team.”

“I already knew that I could act there [as a striker], it is not strange for me. I had just minutes left in that position. But I feel capable of playing on the right, on the left, as a centre forward or behind the striker. What I want is to help my teams,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the 21-year-old former Santos forward also spoke about the Spanish national team, saying that his fellow teammate Nacho deserved a place in the La Roja squad.

“I think so, that he would have deserved to go because he has had some very good years, always doing well. I can’t say much, because it’s not my country, but it seems a bit strange not to see him among the selected ones. I shouldn’t say much, anyway.”

When asked if he imagined playing for Brazil at the World Cup at such a young age three years ago, when he arrived at the club, Rodrygo said:

“Yes, why not. I imagined myself in the sense that I always prepared myself to succeed in football. Since I arrived at Real Madrid, my goals were two at the main level: to win the Champions League with Real, which, fortunately, I have already been able to do. 

“And, second, being able to play a World Cup with Brazil. Things have happened very quickly and I am tremendously happy with what has happened to me so far.”

On whether Brazil should build their game around Neymar, Rodrygo added: “Not so much, but we do know that he is our best player and we must do everything so that he is well on the field. If Ney works, we are all going to benefit and he will help us a lot. Playing for him is sometimes important.”

Talking about Brazil’s chances at the World Cup, he said: “We are not the big favourites just for having the five stars. We are among the strongest, that’s for sure, but there are other great National Teams. 

“In a World Cup there is no single favourite because there are very strong teams. We are aware that we have a very strong group and that we have everything to win the World Cup.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder trained away from the group last week, but has no injury – report



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

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.

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