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Here’s what every Real Madrid player said on Media Day: “Vini is a top five player in the world”

A summary of the quotes from every player who spoke on UEFA’s Champions League Final Media Day.


Tuesday was Real Madrid’s Media Day ahead of the Champions League Final, with Carlo Ancelotti holding a press conference and with almost all of the players speaking to the press after training. Here comes a summary of the main quotes from all of the players who spoke during the session.

Courtois: “Maybe you go to sleep earlier than usual”

Thibaut Courtois was one of the first players to speak, after finishing up the workout with the other goalkeepers. Previewing the game against Liverpool, he said: “It’s my first Champions League final with Real Madrid so I’m very excited for it and I hope to win it. With Luis Díaz, Salah, Mané, Firmino and Jota, they have great players and can get in behind. It’ll be a good game. In terms of preparation, maybe you go to sleep half an hour or an hour earlier than you would in another week, and eat slightly better. But, we just focus on our job.

The goalkeeper was also asked about the possibility of penalties. He said: “I’ve seen a few videos. I’ll keep it at the back of my mind and it’s something you can go over just beforehand. They just played the final against Chelsea and have scored in a penalty shootout.”

On the atmosphere he expects at the Stade de France, he said: “I think they could have given us more tickets, like 30,000 and 30,000 each side. I know the Madridistas there will give their all for us. We’ll also feel the support of everyone going to the Bernabéu to watch on the screens.”

Benzema: “Vini is a top five player in the world”

Karim Benzema isn’t feeling different to any other week, telling the media: “I don’t feel any pressure, we’re going to enjoy it. I don’t think there’s any other club where you can have the magic nights that we’ve had this season, with the crowd pushing us onwards. If we don’t give up even when entering stoppage time, it’s because of the crowd. Maybe we had some luck along the way, but you make luck when you keep pushing. When we saw that we had six minutes of stoppage time against City, I said ‘six is a lot of time for us’.”

On facing Liverpool again, he looked back to the 2018 final and said: “Not a lot has changed since we faced them before, but we’re not going to focus on them too much. We’ll focus on how we can play. We’ve already defeated three clubs that were favourites to win this Champions League.”

Discussing his strike partner Vinícius, Benzema said: “I always talk to him a lot on the pitch, because I think he can make even more of a difference if he concentrates just a little bit more. But, I’ve told him to keep playing as he does. He’s young in age, but he’s already experienced on the pitch. He’s played over 100 games. I don’t know why we don’t talk about Vinícius more when discussing the best players in the world. I think he’s in the top five.”

The Frenchman was also asked about Kylian Mbappé during his appearances with the media, but played that matter down. He said: “We have a Champions League final coming up, so now is not the time to talk about these little things.”

Camavinga: “I came to Real Madrid to play matches like this”

Eduardo Camavinga spoke too and did so in a very impressive Spanish for someone who only arrived last summer. He said: “I’m very happy with the season and it’s going to be a great match on Saturday. I’m very happy and relaxed. When I came here, it was to play matches like this. I just focus on doing my thing and, when the coach calls on me, I’m happy to go on.”

Marcelo: “Roberto Carlos has always been an example for me”

Marcelo appeared on RMTV alongside Roberto Carlos and that produced a nice moment. “I don’t even know what to ask you,” Roberto Carlos joked, just patting Marcelo on the back constantly.

“You’ve always been an example for me,” Marcelo replied. “It’s about preparing well and giving your all. We want to and think we can win this final. As a captain of this club, it’s not just a matter of pride, it’s a responsibility.”

Vallejo: “I work hard to be ready when I’m called upon”

Jesús Vallejo discussed his lack of minutes and his attitude to this season, stating: “I just work hard to try to be ready when I’m called upon. I didn’t have much time after the Olympics and then it has been an intense season.”

Rodrygo: “My most important goal was the one vs Chelsea”

Rodrygo previewed his first Champions League final, saying: “I’m very happy about this run of good form. Now, I have my first Champions League final. Of course, this is a different kind of week and you’re a bit more nervous. But, I’m always quite relaxed in general.”

Asked which of his big moment goals was the best or most important, he picked one and said: “It’s the goal against Chelsea. I felt I was having a good season, but I needed to score more. After that one, I started to score more often. I think that was a difficult tie against Chelsea, as I didn’t see us coming back.”

Nacho: “This is the nicest season I’ve had at Real Madrid”

Nacho has already experienced many Champions League finals, but he’s just as excited for this one. He explained: “It has been the nicest season in my time here. We were so consistent in the league and then there were goosebump-inducing nights at the Bernabéu in the Champions League. Every match is special for me, but imagine how cool a Champions League final is.”

Vinícius: “Rodrygo, Militão, Camavinga, Valverde and I are just starting our story”

Vinícius was one of the most in-demand players at Media Day. Speaking about this being his first final, he said: “Rodrygo, Militão, Camavinga, Valverde and I are just starting our story here and we’re enjoying it a lit. This week has been a lot of fun so far.”

On his impressive season, he added: “I’m glad I could score so much and give so many assists. I feel more confident and that’s important. I think I have more experience and I have been working hard.”

Casemiro: “We approach this final as if it was our first one”

Casemiro is one of the other players who knows what it’s like to prepare for a Champions League final, but he is viewing this one as if it were the first. The Brazilian explained: “We never gave up and we’ve always believed, even when the scoreboard was very against us. They say ‘until the end’ and we embrace that. We approach this final as if it was our first one. We are already thinking about the game and planning it. Maybe I think so much about each possible moment of a game because I live football so intensely.”

Carvajal: “It’s just 90 minutes, 11 vs 11 and one ball”

The 2021/22 season hasn’t been easy for Dani Carvajal, who reflected on the campaign so far: “It was tough because I had my injury and then I got COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia during the Super Cup. But, over the spring months I’ve felt good. Now, I have my fifth Champions League final. I’ll enjoy it and try to win it for Real Madrid.”

Asked what advice he has been giving to the younger players who are coming into their first Champions League final, he said: “We tell them to enjoy the game. It’s just 90 minutes, 11 vs 11 and one ball.”

It was put to the Spaniard that the game could be decided on the flanks, depending on how much he, Mendy, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold combine defending with attacking. To that, Carva said: “I won’t give away too much, but yes, I think this will be one of the keys to the final.”

Alaba: “I feel really good, I’ve prepared well”

The big question in terms of team news ahead of the final concerned David Alaba’s fitness. The Austrian confirmed that he is recovered, saying: “I feel really good. I’ve prepared myself very well. I’ve worked very hard these past two weeks.”

Discussing his first season at the club overall, he replied: “Maybe Militão and I needed a bit of time, but we get on very well and the rest of the team make it easier for us. I try to help the team with my qualities. We have a really strong team with great individuals. It has been really crazy, especially the last three home Champions League games. We are very glad to reach the final.”

Hazard: “My ankle and my mind are both good”

Eden Hazard is another player who comes into the final with some fitness concerns and he said: “I had minutes in the Cádiz game. Maybe I need some more minutes, but the ankle is good and my mind is good.”

On facing Liverpool, he said: “I played against them for seven years, but it’s a slightly different Liverpool to what I remember from my time in England.”

Kroos: “I can’t explain how we got here”

Toni Kroos is an expert in playing Champions League finals, both with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Previewing this one, he said: “I’m really excited for this game. You train and want to train well because it’ll be a tough game, but this is my sixth final so I’m used to this. It’s important to enjoy the game. I think that if you enjoy it then you’ll play better. We can now make a very good season into a spectacular one.”

Discussing the run against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City, he reflected: “I can’t explain how we got here! Many people thought we’d be eliminated by now, which is normal if they see us losing to Manchester City by two with the 90th minute approaching. But, it’s only over when the referee blows the final whistle. We did it, but I can’t explain it. I think it’s about the mind, because physically we were destroyed against Manchester City.”

Valverde: “Saturday could be one of the most important days of my footballing life”

This will be Fede Valverde’s first Champions League and he explained how excited he is: “We’re enjoying every minute, because I’ve worked hard and my family has sacrificed a lot to reach this point. Saturday could be one of the most important days of my footballing life, along with debuting for my country.”

Modrić: “Age shouldn’t matter, just your performances”

Luka Modrić spoke too and explained how he remains so motivated to keep playing. He stated: “Champions League nights at the Bernabeu are truly unexplainable. But, we’re lucky to play at that magic stadium and we’re grateful to the fans. I hope there will be many more nights like this. When you win once time, you want to win again and keep winning. I’m glad I can still play at this level. But, I’ve always said that age shouldn’t matter, just your performances.”

Lucas Vázquez: “Liverpool are playing at the highest level, but we’re Real Madrid”

Lucas Vázquez famously doesn’t feel the pressure of Champions League finals, as everyone who saw him walk up for the first penalty in Milan can testify. On this year’s final, the Spaniard said: “It has been a really nice journey, but now we’re only thinking about the final. I think it’ll be really difficult, as they’ve shown all season that they’re playing at the highest level. But, we’re Real Madrid. It would be incredible to bring the trophy back to Madrid. We haven’t done it since 2018.”

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