February 25, 2011
The Madridista striker scored his 100th official goal against Olympique Lyonnais
Karim Benzema scored his 100th official goal on Tuesday in Real Madrid's Champions League Round of 16 match against none other than the striker's former team, Olympique Lyonnais.
List of Benzema's 100 official goals
Benzema's first goal dates back to 2005 in a Champions League group stage match against Rosenborg. But he only exploded onto the scene in 2007/08, when he scored 33 times and finished as the Ligue 1's top scorer and won the Bravo Trophy.
Once a Madridista, Benzema's first goal wasn't long in the waiting. The striker scored in Week 3 in Real Madrid's 5-0 win against Xerez. Over the last year and a half, he has scored 22 goals in La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League.
Not only was Benzema's strike against Lyon his 100th official goal, but it was also his fifth in the current edition of the Champions League.
Mourinho: "The fact that we're fighting to win three titles makes it easy to motivate my players"
Jose Mourinho addressed the media prior to leaving for A Coruña with the team.
"Riazor will be a tough venue. Deportivo have only lost at home against Barcelona and Almeria. It's always been complicated for Real Madrid to win there, but the team managed to win last year after many years failing to do so."
"Canales was injured today during a training session in which players didn't come into contact with one another too much. You can never control when a player gets injured. There is no way to protect a player against injuries."
"Arbeloa is a player a coach can always count on. He is always available and concentrates hard regardless of how long he's on the pitch. He is always ready for the coach and the team. He is never the best player on the pitch, but that's not his role. He controls his opponent and is versatile. He is a team worker and I like him very much. I like all defenders and they're all doing well."
"My team is very motivated because we must win all three competitions. The fact that we're fighting to win three titles makes it easy to motivate my players."
"Only one of the eight teams that have played the first leg of the Champions League Last 16 won at home. Small details make all the difference."
"It's very easy to show my men a yellow card. Some teams never get booked for identical actions and others are less protected. You only need to look at the last two weeks in the Champions League to realise this. A yellow booking would be a red card for us."
"We are having a very good run in La Liga and we don't top the table only because of Guardiola's Barcelona. Pep is a very prestigious coach. The time one has coached isn't important; it's what you achieve that counts. Guardiola has done enough to be regarded as one of the best coaches in the world."
February 14, 2011
February 13, 2011
Iker Casillas was sent of for marginally kicking Callejon on his right foot as he tried to clear the ball right outside the box. Other teams would have deflated following such a decision, but Real Madrid pulled rank and doubled their efforts to win.
Di Maria had to come off for goalkeeper Antonio Adan, who made his First Division debut tonight. Khedira soon had two chances to score the opener. Marcelo would net the only strike in the evening from a fantastic shot near the left post, after being assisted by Ronaldo (24'). Adebayor then had a chance to seal the match on the 39-minute mark, but his lobbed shot hit the crossbar.
Real Madrid concentrated hard in the second half and sycronised their movements in defence and attack, making extraordinary efforts to thwart Espanyol's counterattacks.
The Whites continued to have most of the chances on goal in the game. Adebayor came close to netting a second strike twice more, but Kameni defeated him on both counts. Espanyol didn't have many chances, but Adan proved to be a solid keeper, clearing all the shots that were on target.
Real Madrid made a great impression and took three very important points that keep them five points behind the leaders. They will now concentrate on defeating Levante next week at the Bernabeu.
February 12, 2011
Cristiano Ronaldo: "I like to work with the best, and I consider Mourinho to be the best coach in the world"
February 10, 2011
Jose Mourinho sat down with RealmadridTV for the first programme in a new series of exclusive interviews called Real, in which supporters will learn about the most personal side of Madridistas.
Congratulations on reaching your first final as Real Madrid coach and in your first season here no less. The fans are delighted, the team seems to be united, focused and hungry for titles. But how did you feel to lead them to that final?
I think it’s just a little step, not what I want from my team. If you tell me the highest moment during my period at Real Madrid was reaching the Copa del Rey final I would be very disappointed. It’s just a step, the first step. When I was at Chelsea, the first step was playing the Carling Cup final, also in mid-season. It’s just a step. I want more from my team. I want my players to be motivated about playing this final, but we can’t have it be the peak we strive for.
Nine games were played in January, two a week for your men. That’s intense and difficult. But do you think if you put a positive spin on things, this period may have accelerated the progression of the unity within the team?
I think the team’s been united from the beginning. I believe the best thing we’ve had so far was facing Sevilla and Atletico in two difficult ties. They weren’t good in terms of the championship, but they were in terms of gaining experience in knockout rounds. The Champions League awaits, and to play against Sevilla and Atletico isn’t very different to playing Champions League knockout rounds. I think it was good for the team, in terms of experience, to play the first game at home against Atletico and defeating them, in order to be able to have the victory advantage at the Vicente Calderon. We won the first leg in Seville 1-0, so we also had the advantage in the second game. I believe this may have been good training for us before the Champions League.
The last 16 is coming up in the Champions League, and judging from what we’ve seen in the Copa del Rey run, your players have shown an appetite for knockout games. Is this a good sign going into the tie with Lyon?
I love knockout stages. Love them. I think they are designed for people who are mentally strong because the pressure is there all the time. Details make all the difference: having to score one more goal, or to concede one less… A small mistake can make all the difference. I remember, for example, when Real Madrid faced Olympique Lyonnais last season, everyone thought the 1-0 result of the match in Lyon was good enough for the second match. It probably isn’t good enough. You never know when a 1-0 defeat is good enough. I remember Real had a chance to score a second goal in the return leg at home and they didn’t, so in the second half Lyon drew 1-1, and after that the game was over. This sort of pressure is something I feel comfortable with. I don’t feel pressure because the Champions League is arriving, but rather an appetite to play it.
You’re renowned as a cup specialist. What is it that makes you successful in knockout games?
As I said, you need to be mentally strong in knockouts and, at the same time, you need to analyse your opponents very well because small details can make a real difference. I’m used to playing first legs (whether at home or away) to win. It doesn’t matter if you’re home or away: the first match is one you must try to win. You don’t sometimes, but that’s the direction you must take. You shouldn’t wait for the second match to resolve the situation. Is the first match at home? OK then, let’s try to win. Is it away? OK, let’s try to win that too. I think that’s a good approach.
You work with players like Mesut Ozil, Ronaldo, Kaka and Di Maria to name but a few. Despite having managed for a number of years now, are you still impressed with the technical ability and talents these players possess?
Yes. These are players everyone likes to see in action. Naturally, I am the coach, but I’m also a football lover, so when I’m on the bench you could say I have time to enjoy some aspects of the game. Naturally, I build the team. These players are working for the team and I’m lucky in that respect. Whatever way you choose to describe their talent, they are team players who work for the team. That’s good.
Which player has impressed you most?
I can say, for example, that Arbeloa is the kind of player who doesn’t impress people because he’s not Maradona, Zidane or that sort of player, but he’s the kind of footballer that impresses coaches. And he impresses me because, on a scale from 0 to 10, he is not a 10, but he’s never a 6 either. He’s always between 7 and 9. You can always rely on him. He usually faces the best player on the opposing team and keeps him in his pocket. I’m very calm on the bench whenever he plays down either wing. Of course, he can’t attack down the left because it’s not his natural position, but he’s the kind of player you need on a team.
You have managed and achieved success with teams in Portugal, England and Italy. After half a season as coach of Real Madrid, how do you deal with the pressure that comes with managing big clubs?
I don’t deal (laughs). I don’t feel it. It’s the same responsibility to coach Real Madrid against Atletico Madrid than it is to coach Uniao Leiria playing against another small team in Portugal. You have to give as much as you can in every match and try to win and enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if your opponent is a small or a big team. You just have to enjoy it and feel privileged to be there.
You’ve have worked with, and come up against, many big names in football. Who would you say has been your biggest influence as a coach?
I think I'd say myself. Thinking alone, asking questions to myself, studying reactions I had, studying decisions I made, studying what happened during the match, what I felt during the match, what I thought during the match… Trying to devise training exercises to work on things we need to explore… I think it’s me against myself.
Away from football, who has been your biggest influence?
I’ve been married more than 20 years, so you can imagine my wife and I share a lot. She doesn’t like football nor understand much about it, but she knows me well, so I can say she’s always been a good influence on me.
Who is the real Mourinho? Who really knows you?
A circle of family, which isn’t big; a circle of friends outside football, which isn’t big either; and the people who I’ve worked with at every club, and there are many between players, directors and staff. I open myself completely to these people and they know exactly who I am and how I am. Those are the people who know me better.
How would you like to be remembered in football?
I’m not worried about that. I just want to live in my kids’ greatest memories. In football you make history with results, so I’m not worried about it. In 50 years, someone will ask “Who was the first coach to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or?” Jose Mourinho. “Who was one of the three coaches to win two Champions League titles with two different teams?” I was one of them. “Who was one of those who won championships in three different countries?” I was one of them. History is written by what you do, and I don’t care about it.
What do you hope to achieve at Real Madrid?
You know, I give my best. And when I give my best because I trust my work, I feel results will arrive. That’s what I want. I don’t want to be able to just say I coached Real Madrid once. I want to be able to say I coached Real Madrid and, during my period on the team, we won this and that. That’s my objective.
If you had to describe Real Madrid in just one word, what would it be?
Huge… and so difficult (laughs).
And one word to describe yourself?
...So difficult, too (laughs).
How would you like someone to describe you to someone who doesn't know you?
As a good guy and a very good coach.
February 09, 2011
Iker Casillas picked up the Community of Madrid award on behalf of all his teammates
The Spanish national team and head coach Vicente del Bosque were presented with the Gold Medal of the Community of Madrid as well as the Gran Cruz del 2 de mayo(2 May Great Cross) on Tuesday in recognition of their remarkable accomplishment in South Africa last season. Iker Casillas picked up the award on the team's behalf.
Community of Madrid President, Esperanza Aguirre was accompanied by VP and Advisor of Culture and Sports, Ignacio Gonzalez and President of the Spanish FA, Angel Maria Villar during the presentation.
"This is a collective award, not an individual one. I thank the president for this recognition. It is an honor and a pleasure to receive it on behalf of all my teammates. We must also thank the Community of Madrid for a wonderful celebration," stated Casillas.
Aguirre concluded by adding, "they deserve these awards because of their winning spirit, their faith in victory and their eagerness to improve every day. It is an honor to present the Great Cross and the Gold Medal. They do justice to your talent and your values, both of which we admire dearly."
"Ozil is winning our hearts over," commented Jose Mourinho shortly after Real Madrid’s victory against Real Sociedad. With the German midfielder doing practically everything right, there is no questioning the head coach’s theory. Ozil has eight assists on goal in La Liga and three in the Champions League, and he has scored nine goals so far this year.
It may be too early to speak about another record falling by the way side; even during a season that has Real Madrid rewriting almost every chapter of the history books. But Mesut Ozil is already the team’s top assist man of the last two seasons with similar numbers to those put up by Higuain and Marcelo but with even faster assist rate.
What’s more, Ozil has already scored nine goals on the year (five in La Liga, three in the Copa and one in the Champions League) and is the third top scorer in the team in league and Cup action