Shakhtar Donetsk manager Roberto de Zerbi spoke to the press ahead of his team’s UEFA Champions League group stage clash against Real Madrid which takes place tomorrow evening. Zerbi spoke about Real Madrid, Benzema, and Ancelotti extensively.
“Butragueño, Hugo Sánchez, Míchel” de Zerbi said when asked what comes to mind when he hears Real Madrid. “That Madrid from when I was a child. For some it is the Galactico club: Zidane, Ronaldo, Bechkham... And if they are younger, like my son, then Cristiano, Bale, Zidane and the Champions League... But it doesn’t matter: Madrid is always Madrid.”
“A team with a very good coach, who is a reference for Italian coaches.” de Zerbi said about Real Madrid. “A team with players of two types. He has veterans who won everything, cases of Benzema, Kroos, Modric, Carvajal, Casemiro, Kroos, Carvajal, Alaba, Courtois; and then young people who are already very strong and who are going to be stars, for sure: Vinicius, Valverde, Militao...”
De Zerbi was also asked about Karim Benzema, and whether or not he should win Balon D’or this year.
“Definitely. For me, for years he has been the strongest center forward of all,” de Zerbi said. “For me, a small advantage for Benzema (over Lewandowski). I choose Karim.”
When asked about his tactical set up tomorrow, de Zerbi said “Well, I insist: we try not to change our discourse, our DNA. But what is ahead will be Benzema, Modric, Casemiro, Vinicius, Alaba ... The desire to expose our idea does not vary. If we are already defeated, it is better to stay at home. The game is played at 10 at night, and at that time it is cold in Kiev; at home we can be 23 degrees. If we are going to be cold, we are going to give meaning to that cold.”
Finally, de Zerbi spoke about his admiration for Carlo Ancelotti.
“He is an important figure, and not just because he is a winner. He has always been ahead. He has always rewarded the quality of the players. He was one of the first Italian to collect as many 10s on the field. He did it at Milan with Kakà, Ronaldinho, Seedorf and a 9. Just for that, I, as an Italian coach, have to be grateful to him. He has always known how to adapt to the times. He really is a reference.”