On Wednesday night, every Real Madrid player seemed more passionate than ever towards the club’s crest. The desire to complete the comeback over Barcelona was visible in the team’s every move and it was clear that they wanted the spot in the final more than the hosts.
Eventually, the visitors inflicted an embarrassing scoreline of 4-0 on their arch-rivals and derailed their cup campaign. They will face Osasuna in the final next month and look set to win their first Copa del Rey in close to a decade.
Federico Valverde did not have the best of nights on the field and lacked his usual spark playing in midfield. He took the time to talk to the media after the game at Spotify Camp Nou and gave his two cents on the ninety minutes that transpired.
“The important thing was to win it. It’s hugely satisfying because it wasn’t easy to win here. Being a goal down to Barcelona is always going to be difficult. We played some great football in the second half and we made the most of our chances.”
He then revealed the working of a player’s mind and the psychological blow one sustains by conceding a last-minute goal in either half. That, he insisted, derailed Barcelona’s game.
“When you concede a goal at the end of the first half, as happened to us in the first leg, your mind plays a crucial role. After the break, they gave us a lot of space and we were able to convert the opportunities we created.”
Looking ahead to the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna, the Uruguayan International shared his feelings and the approach the team would take.
“Now we have to enjoy another final for Real Madrid, with this club. We deserve to be here. It was incredible. I’m delighted for everyone who is part of Real Madrid. We have to enjoy this win, it’s special. It’s fantastic to get the win and book our place in the final.
“I don’t care about the result, I’m happy with any time we win and I try and enjoy the moment. Playing in a final is a huge responsibility but we will go there with the utmost respect for Osasuna. It’s going to be a brilliant final.”
Valverde drew a comparison between Real Madrid’s 5-2 win over Liverpool and the 4-0 win last night and highlighted the similarities between the progression of the game on both nights.
“It was fairly similar to the Champions League game against Liverpool. We started off calmly, we were patient in defence and then we started to find spaces and enjoy ourselves. We showed real patience and we were able to defend when we had to. Everyone got involved in the game and it came off really well.”
Karim Benzema’s Clasico hattrick was the biggest talking point on the night as he once again showed why he was the deserved Ballon d’Or winner last year. Valverde did not hold back his praise for the skipper and said,
“He’s unbelievable. I don’t care how many goals he gets, he’s an inspiration for everyone, an example to follow. He’s Real Madrid’s goal scorer, the Ballon d’Or holder and whenever he’s on the pitch, we have to try and get the best out of him and enjoy it.”
The midfielder concluded his interview with a shoutout to Real Madrid fans for their unconditional support and love through thick and thin.
“I’d like to thank all the people for their support, those who have come to the game and those who have been there through the bad times. It’s a team. If we stick together, players and fans, we can achieve great things. We have to continue on this path and I’m sure we’ll succeed.”
Courtois delighted to play first Copa final
Thibaut Courtois had a strong first-half performance against Barcelona and kept the Blaugranas from doubling their aggregate lead on two occasions in the first half. The Belgian spoke on Real Madrid’s challenging path to the Copa del Rey final.
“It’s my first Copa del Rey final with Madrid. I’m delighted to get there because it’s been a tough route: Villarreal, Atlético, and the semi-finals against Barcelona, but now we’re in the final. We’re thrilled to be playing in another final with this team.”
Losing three Clasicos in a row is a difficult reality to face, and the desire to turn it around was evident on every Real Madrid player’s face at Spotify Camp Nou. Talking about the events that unfolded on Wednesday, the goalkeeper said,
“The gaffer told us that we had to play the way we were playing. We didn’t play well in the Super Cup and we could’ve won here in the league but we didn’t. But we finished strongly today. From the start of the second half, at 0-2, they seemed a bit scared.
“Then we scored the third from the penalty spot and the fourth, which felt great. We’d lost to them recently and we wanted to win the Clásico. The image of winning it 0-4 is big. I’m delighted for the whole team because they fought hard.”
Finally, Courtois commented on Vinicius Jr’s clash on the field and his subsequent withdrawal from the game. He insisted that the Brazilian was a special player and that scuffles were a part of the sport.
“He was on a yellow card and it would have been a shame for him to get another. Players target him but these scuffles happen on the pitch. We need the best Vini Jr. like we got today and if he plays like that, then brilliant.”
Source: Real Madrid website
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.