[RMTV] You have already played 340 matches for Real Madrid and won 14 titles with him. In your experience, what is the most important thing in this game against Barcelona and in competitions such as the Spanish Super Cup?
My experience at this club is that we want to win every competition we play. It doesn’t matter what kind of games it is or where we play. This is also our goal for these days here to win first tomorrow and then take this cup. It’s clear. We are ready. Now we’re going to train a bit here to see the terms and conditions, but I clearly know we’re here to win.
[MARCA] I want to ask about your lawsuit this season which you started with a groin injury. What was the rehabilitation process like? Have you had any doubts at any point? And could this be one of your best moments in your career in terms of football and physics?
Well, the beginning of the season was a bit difficult for me because I have never started a season in a professional career with an injury that I had been struggling with for several months, as I was talking about. It was a moment to stand, because I didn’t want another season with pain and bad feelings. I found I had to stop and did so. I lost a few matches, that’s true, but I used this one, and it was the best way to get to a perfect state when I came back. I think it worked very well. And this is my good time, it’s true, but it’s hard to say it’s the best moment in my career. I have lived many good years and it is hard to say that this moment is the best. However, it’s a good time for sure. After the break I went back to playing football, I feel good physically, that’s for sure. It is hard to say, however, that this is the best moment. I was lucky to have a lot of good times.
[AS] You have won the derby and the Classic this season, being much better than your rivals. But you won in different ways: with Atlético you had 61% of ownership, and with Barcelona 48%. You set the rhythm of the game of Real Madrid. How do you feel more comfortable? When you give the ball back and look for a counter or taking the initiative?
Everyone who knows me well knows that I always prefer to have the ball. It is very clear. The important thing, however, is that a good team can adapt to the match. He knows what to do to win the game. Sometimes you do it with more possession, sometimes with less. If your attack speed is as fast as we are, you may or even have to take advantage of that. Then you give your opponent some play to create some space. This, too, could be a way of controlling the game, but with less possession. I always prefer to have the ball [śmiech]. For me, the best match would be one with 90% possession and the score 1-0, for me that fits [śmiech]. However, you always have to adapt well when playing against teams of the quality you are playing against, in order to find the spaces that we can use to create something. This is what a big team does. Owning a lot without creating something is pointless. You have to find a good way to win games … with as much possession as possible, if you ask me [śmiech].
[OkDiario] Real Madrid seem to be a very big favorite. Could your enemy be overconfidence in Barcelona’s performance and their sporting situation?
No. The truth is that maybe we are in a slightly better position in the league than Barcelona, but my experience from these 8 years here is also that there is no favorite in the Classic. This is a unique match where anything can happen. Additionally, tomorrow this match is like a final and for many years we have seen that anything can happen in a final. Moreover, there is no doubt that there is a lot of quality in the Barcelona team as well. For me, there is no favorite in the Classic. It’s always hard to say what’s going to happen, but sure, we want to win [śmiech]. There is no doubt about that.
[EFE] As for the previous question, what are the new features in Xavi’s Barcelona compared to Koeman’s team you played against in the league?
The truth is that I haven’t seen many Barcelona games lately. [śmiech] We had our games and I have other things to do besides watching football all day. But in general, I know the players who play for Barcelona. Today it may be difficult for us to say who will play because they have some doubts. It is not known who can play and who cannot. It’s a bit hard to prepare for their eleven, but overall they have a lot of quality players. From the outside, however, I cannot say what has changed after Koeman was changed to Xavi.
[El País] I want to ask about Alaba. Is this the player you remember from Bayern? Has he changed in something? His football is different? What is the difference?
I think he has seen a very good development. When I left Bayern he was much younger and played as a full back. This has changed, in my opinion it is a big change in position. You play a completely different role as a side defender than as a stopwatch. Before that, at Bayern, he always played on the side when I was there. Then he sometimes played as a stopwatch, which he does here. It did not surprise me that he acclimatized so well. I know its quality on and off the pitch. He is a good boy who very quickly integrated with the team. Seems like he has been here for many years, or so he plays. I think it is very important to us.
[dziennikarz z Arabii Saudyjskiej z tłumaczem] In your last 5 matches you have recorded four wins and only one draw. Why such a high level and this qualitative leap?
There was one draw, but there was also one defeat [śmiech]. I guess you forgot about it, but we also lost one game. I would prefer this draw there [śmiech]. Overall, we have improved a lot in the last 2-3 months. Not only in the results, but also in the way the game is played. I already mentioned that we won a lot of games at the beginning of the season, but we never played very, very well. It’s a long way, but you have to play well to win something. I have no doubts about it. If you don’t play well, you lose points sooner or later. But we improved, we played very well, also in very tough games. However, we have to go further. It’s still only January and you don’t win anything in January. Well, apart from a possible Super Cup. But you have to go further, because even in the league you can see that there is a team more or less close to us and if we stumble, they will be in front of us. Keep going because you win the titles towards the end. If we think it’s okay, we’re going to have problems.