Real Betis midfielder Sergio Canales spoke to Marca today in the build-up to this afternoon’s clash between Real Madrid and Real Betis (4:15pm CET) in what will be the first game at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.
Canales’s interview was quite lengthy, so we’ve just included the Real Madrid related bits below.
Is Karim Benzema the best player in the world?
“Yes, in my opinion, today and over the years, Benzema is making a lot of differences and it shows. Obviously Madrid as a club and as a squad is incredible, but right now he gives them a huge plus.”
What has changed about Canales since he was a Real Madrid player 12 years ago?
“Man, then has nothing to do with now... It’s true that I had just started there, I still didn’t really know what football was and what it demanded of you. What I have experienced has been a roller coaster, but above all I have taken advantage of the things that football has given me, both the good ones and the injuries, and I have tried to learn from every moment. Now, after a long period, I find that strength not only on the pitch but on a day-to-day basis.”
On Real Madrid’s transition and new faces, as well as their “physicality”
“They are adding very young players, who are also competitive and give you that ‘plus’ in important games. And although it is true that they are very physical players, they are also very good technically... The other day we saw the pass from Tchouaméni to Vinícius in the goal, Valverde is playing as a winger scoring goals... They’re not just physical, although it is true that today the soccer player is already a prepared athlete in all areas and that is the leap in quality that you give him.”
Is Benzema the player they fear the most?
“Madrid has Modric, Vinícius... anyone can win a game, but it is true that Benzema, today, gives any team a huge leap in quality. For me now he himself makes a difference, but last year he also played. You have to go out and compete no matter who plays, try to go out and win knowing the difficulties.”
Is the key to keep a clean sheet today?
“That is fundamental, but With Madrid if you are winning 0-2 in the 85th minute they can beat you 3-2. It was the key the last five seasons, but that doesn’t mean anything. You have to give them an uncomfortable match and with long possessions.”
Canales hasn’t scored in 16 games at the Bernabeu..
“It is always a good time to score, regardless of who it is. But hey, a goal is always special and if it helps to win, even more so. And it is also true that scoring there makes any player excited. But the three points from the Bernabéu are just as important and add up to the same amount as those you win at home against any rival. We have to be aware of that, each game is very important, many times a lot of importance is given to the end of the season, but the points are worth the same as those of matchday 1. The nine out of nine that we have is a jump and this — it’s the same in the end.”