April 30, 2009
Los Merengues' captain knows that the game at the Bernabeu takes on an added significance due to the fact that anything other than a home win would give the Blaugrana the advantage again.
"We are playing in the Bernabeu and Madrid have to be the favourites," he told AS.
"Either team are capable of winning, of course, but the atmosphere and the fans will help us.
"We have to have faith in ourselves and how we play and we know that we have a chance to cause Barcelona problems.
"It is a game that is always special because of the rivalry, but it is obvious that we are playing for the title which will make it even more special.
"They are playing for a lot, but I think we have even more to play for."
Madrid are four points behind Barca with six games left to play in the league and Raul knows that unless they collect three points it could be the end of the title race.
"If we win on Saturday then we will have a greater chance. Anything other than a victory would make things difficult for us," he continued.
"Both teams have done very well this season because ewe have had a great run of form and so have they. But they have had some difficulties in recent games and we have to try and play better than them.
"One of Barcelona's strengths is that they have a great team, very balanced. All the players are important.
"A team is judged by trophies, but this is one of the best teams in their history. They have some outstanding players and others that are not so well known, but that are also playing very well."
April 28, 2009
April 26, 2009
The Portuguese player was guilty of kicking Javier Casquero, punching Juan Albin and also verbally abusing the officials as he was taken from the pitch.
He will now be out for the rest of the season and will play no further part in the title chase as Madrid look to close the gap on Barcelona at the top of the table.
With six games left this season the defender will also miss the first four matches of the next campaign.
There was good news from the Committee too though as Gonzalo Higuain had the yellow card that he picked up against Getafe rescinded.
That booking was the fifth of the season for the Argentine and he would have been suspended for the game with Sevilla this weekend, but will now be free to play.
Higuain is the top scorer for Madrid and his goal in the dying moments on Tuesday kept up the pressure on Barcelona at the top of the table.
Him scoring might well have landed Pepe in more hot water though as he ran onto the pitch to celebrate the goal, after he had already been dismissed.
Real Madrid are likely to appeal the decision by the Committee and they will have ten days to do so.
April 23, 2009
Having apologized profusely immediately following the game for his on-field assault on his opponent, Javier Casquero, the Portuguese has now broken his silence after taking some time off to reflect on the incident.
“These are the worst days of my life. I do not have any desire to return to playing football,” he said in an interview with Marca from his home in the Spanish capital.
“I have seen the replays of the incident, but I do not recognize myself. I lost my cool and I went crazy, but that is not me.
“The worst punishment is going through what I’m experiencing now. If I see that there’s no chance of me returning to football again, then I will try something else.”Pepe is expected to be handed a significant suspension and fine by the league and by his own club, which could effectively end his season and
Real Madrid snatched three points in a heart-stopping game. Getafe scored the opening goal and Higuain netted the equaliser just before half-time. Albin scored for the visitors close to the end, but Guti drew the score again from a masterly free-kick. The winner came from Higuain's feet two minutes into overtime.
Both sides had several chances on goal at the start of the fixture. Getafe, far from simply focusing on defending, had the first when Soldado sent the ball over the crossbar on the 3-minute mark. A few minutes later, Granero crossed the ball into the box and Soldado defeated Casillas with a header (9').
Marcelo reacted and tried his luck with a long shot in the 11th minute; Van der Vaart failed to find someone to finish off many of his free-kicks; Raul came close to scoring when Marcelo gave him the ball following a great run down the left wing (16’)... Meanwhile, Getafe tried to distance themselves on the scoreboard and Soldado nearly scored in a one-on-one with Casillas, but his shot was off target.
Just when it seemed the Blues were sure to go into half-time with a favourable score, Gonzalo Higuain stepped up, took advantage of a mistake made by the opponent's defence and scored. This counterattack began when Gago clerared the ball, sending it to Raul, who controlled it with his chest and passed it to Higuain.
Robben came on for Van der Vaart in the second half, but had to be replaced by Drenthe 15 minutes later because of an injury. Getafe brought Belenguer on for Mario. Nothing changed much at the start of the last 45 minutes, but Real Madrid had slightly more chances. Ramos and Huntelaar nearly scored on the 50-minute mark, while Getafe focused on playing touch football. Keeper Stojkovic defeated Huntelaar in a one-on-one (71') in just one of many ventures in attack the Whites had in just a few minutes. He was also forced to defeat Higuain, and Belenguer covered his back when Ramos seemed to have vanquished him (79'). Real Madrid kept trying, but Getafe got the upper hand when Albin scored from a counterattack on the 84-minute mark. This could have been a hard blow for the Madridistas, but Guti pulled rank and scored from an impressive free-kick, levelling the score once again.
Moments later, Casquero was tackled inside the box and awarded a penalty, but his strange shot -in the manner of Palenka- was saved by Casillas. The crowd went wild and, during the frenzy, Higuain scored an amazing goal far from the box with his left foot. In the end, Real Madrid earned an amazing victory and are very much alive in the fight for the title.