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Carvajal: “I’d eat broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner if it would stop the injuries”

The right-back spoke about his situation and those of various teammates.

Elche CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

It’s Champions League week and that means there was a player press conference for Real Madrid, with Dani Carvajal the man selected ahead of the Shakhtar Donetsk game. He discussed his return from his series of injuries, but first analysed this Wednesday’s match by saying: “We’ll have to see how Shakhtar Donetsk come out, as they might be expected to sit back but they might have to attack more given their situation in the group. I think we are capable of beating any team in the world in a Champions League match, although I don’t like to talk about the label of favourites. We’re just thinking about topping this group.”

On his recurring physical issues, Carvajal explained that he has made some changes in the way he looks after himself. He revealed: “I am keen to show my best level once again and I’m working on that. The coach is managing my minutes well. I’m trying to find the reasons for the injuries. I have looked at all possible causes for the injuries, whether the way I’m training or the way I’m resting. I’m trying to find solutions through diet, adopting a stricter diet without gluten or wheat. It’s quite strict, but it’s working well for me. But, I welcome anything that works well for me, even eating broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

On his chances of returning to the Spain squad for the November fixtures against Greece and Sweden, the right-back said: “I feel like I’m 100 percent and I feel I could compete tomorrow and Saturday. I’d love to go back as it’s always a matter of pride to wear that red shirt. I haven’t been able to play for the national team for some time due to my physical issues, but I’d love to go back and help the team in the two huge finals for Qatar World Cup qualification.”

Carvajal on Vinícius situation with Brazil

Carvajal was then asked about several of his teammates one by one, with the defender asked about Vinícius and his own national team situation. On the Brazilian’s snub from the latest Seleção squad, he said: “This is more of a question for the Brazil coach. He is playing spectacularly well. For Vini to have some rest in the November break, the truth is that this can help us for our very tough December that lies ahead.”

Carvajal on Alaba’s adaptation to Real Madrid

In defence, Carvajal has a new colleague this season in the form of David Alaba and he was asked about the Austrian’s first few months, replying: “He is a fantastic player and person. He is a clear leader and anyone who watches our matches can see that. He is adapting well and we’re trying to help him adapt to Madrid and LaLiga as teammates. With Nacho, Militão or Vallejo, he is understanding whoever he works with. Without Ramos there, you notice that of course. It’s not the case that one single player is now in charge, as we have a large squad and everyone is important. There isn’t one leader.”

Carvajal on what Mendy brings to this side

Asked about another defensive colleague, this time Ferland Mendy, Carvajal said: “He is fantastic. He grew a lot under Zidane and now he is one of the best players in the team. We really noticed his return.”

Carvajal on Hazard’s injury issues

Carvajal was also asked for some insight into Eden Hazard’s situation, given that both players have suffered injury nightmares over the past couple of seasons. On the Belgian, Carvajal said: “His situation isn’t easy. It might seem that he is carefree, but he does care and does all he can for his body. He is trying to get out of this injury situation. I think the coach is managing him well, letting him train apart at times. I’m sure that when he gets back up to speed he can prove he is a top player, as he’s one of the top 10 players in the world for sure.”

Carvajal on Andriy Lunin’s lack of minutes

There was one question asked in Ukrainian and, as almost always happens when Real Madrid are playing Shakhtar Donetsk, it was about Andriy Lunin and his standing in the squad. Carvajal had praise for the young goalkeeper, saying: “Andriy is one of the most professional players I have come across in my career. He trains very hard every day and works hard at Valdebebas, every day and even on days off. His problem is just that he has the best goalkeeper in the world in front of him.”