RB Leipzig’s new signing Eljif Elmas has expressed his excitement and confidence ahead of his team’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday. The 24-year-old midfielder, who joined the Bundesliga side from Napoli in January, and thus, already has two games against Real Madrid under his belt this season, spoke to Spanish newspaper Marca about tonight’s game. Below are the most relevant quotes from the interview:
What state are Leipzig in heading into tonight’s game?
“We’ve gone through a difficult time, but we are getting better and better. We have confidence to face one of the best teams in the world. It will be difficult, no one needs to tell us that.”
What did he learn from facing Real Madrid with Napoli?
“When you play against Madrid you learn many things. All their players are intelligent, experts at their jobs. How can you not learn from Modric or Kroos! Any footballer who plays for Madrid has incredible confidence. It is another level in the world of football. Given this, you always have to give something more than them, and that is not easy. But let’s see what happens. They always attack, with very complete people in any part of the field.”
Will Leipzig approach this differently than Napoli did?
“They are different scenarios. Napoli is a team that wants to have the ball. Their pressure is different from ours. Here, Madrid will not have five minutes of peace. It’s pressing and more pressing. The coach has only told us that we can’t leave anything out. His level of confidence impresses me.”
Can Leipzig upset Real Madrid, who are the favourites?
“Who is Madrid not a favourite against? They’re always favourites. But in today’s football things happen that are not thought of. The favourite doesn’t always win. That’s why we believe it can be done. We are a team that always goes out to win. You have to follow the coach’s guideline: go 100% all the time.”
Analysis of Jude Bellingham
“A 20-year-old who plays like a 30-year-old veteran. How he stops the ball, how he moves... It’s impressive. You see him on TV and you may think that he is one who doesn’t run. But when you have him in front of you you can’t imagine how he runs for the team and defends. He is up the field and suddenly you realize that he has already come to defend. That makes him different. And with the ball he is great. He has perfect timing in the final part of the field, whether as a false 9 or going to the wing. It can’t be that he’s 20 years old!
“He always scores, because he has a motor that not many others have. He is in the defensive phase and it leaves you in shock because he has been able to reach your area. The ball always falls to him and he always puts it in.”
Favourite Real Madrid player?
“They are all amazing, but I am from the Balkans. It’s a choice with the heart: Luka Modric. His story is incredible with Madrid and Croatia. He is Ballon d’Or. I’m not saying that the others are not as good as him, but my favourite is Luka. Someone very special for the people of the Balkans. For me he is number one of all that was Yugoslavia.
“I already have many kits from Madrid. Well, apart from Bellingham, Vinicius, a player that I love: Rodrygo. He impresses me. He plays as a center forward being so small, but he is very fast. He jumps lines, he associates, goes to both wings and scores. Madrid’s attack is impressive.
“Can I highlight another one? Arda Güler, let’s not forget him. I didn’t get to play Fenerbhaçe, but I watch a lot of his games because I grew up there and I’m very fond of him. I always support him. He is very young, but he already has experience. I’m sure that in the coming years he will be one of the best in Madrid and in the world.”