Albiol on past legends and Athletic Bilbao

January 16, 2010 at 7:25 am | Posted in Vikingo News! | Leave a comment
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Speaking to Real Madrid’s official site, the Spanish  centre back recalls such Madrid legends like Sanchis, the changes in the club, and a whole lot more…

You’ve been a Madridista for six months. Have you realised yet what it means to be a centre back at Real Madrid?

It is a great responsibility on a daily basis. You have to do your best in every game because there is little room for error. That’s what makes you improve as a player. My goal upon arrival was to be a centre back here for many years and prove I can play on this team. I hope never to fail.

Some legendary Real Madrid centre backs achieved that status due to playing on the team for many years. Do you see yourself making history as they did?

I’ve only just arrived and you have to do your best for many years in order to make history. I have a lot to improve on to reach their status. You have to take things slowly and work very hard. Hopefully, once I retire, I can look back and say I was a centre back at a great team like Real Madrid. This Club has had great centre backs throughout its history.

Goyo Benito, Santamaria and Pirri marked an era on the team…

I am very young and never watched them play, but my dad has told me about the great Real Madrid centre backs of his day. I remember Sanchis and Hierro.

What do you remember of Sanchis?

Everyone talks well of him. His positioning and delivery of the ball made him one of the great Real Madrid centre backs. He had a lot of character and personality.

What do you remember of Hierro?

I think he was one of the best centre backs in football history. He was very elegant. It was a delight to watch him play. It is a real pleasure to have the chance to talk to him on the Spanish national team.

The first leg of La Liga is about to end. What do you think so far?

I think it’s been good. We’ve gradually improved on our game and we hope to continue doing so. We can’t afford to make any mistakes because Barcelona are taking many points. We’ll have to take as many as we can to win the title.

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona have chances of becoming the winter champs. Is this a league of two teams?

Valencia are six points behind, which isn’t a great distance, but Barcelona and Real Madrid are the ones fighting for the title presently. Whoever wants to win must take many points. You can’t let any go.

You’ll face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. They are doing well in Spain and in Europe. What do you think will happen?

It will be a complicated and tough match. It will be intense and we’ll have to do our best. They will put a lot of pressure on us. They want to defeat us, so we’ll have to run a lot and work very hard. Every player likes to play at San Mames because of the atmosphere. We hope to play a good game and to take three points.

What are games like at San Mames?

The crowd puts a lot of pressure and games become tough. I guess the atmosphere will be three times more impressive when Real Madrid play there.

Do you expect a hostile reception?

They’ve said we’ll get it, but we have to remain calm.

What are Athletic most dangerous at?

They are good at aerial plays and second efforts in attack. The serve many crosses into the box. They’ve done this for many years and we’ll have to cancel their virtues. We feel comfortable and we are going to try to win from the start.

What’s changed at Real Madrid for the team to receive positive criticism now?

We all know each other better. It was a matter of being patient with the team because there are many new players on the squad. We feel more comfortable on the pitch now. We all help out more and work harder on collective efforts. That, and the fact that we’ve got great players, makes everything better for us. If we carry on this way we’ll become a difficult side to beat.

Can the team do even better?

You can always aspire to do more. I’m sure we can improve everywhere because we have enough time to do so this season. We are all very excited and we want to win both La Liga and the Champions League.

Your performances at home couldn’t be better. The victory against Mallorca was incredible despite the snow…

We’ve also improved in our home games in the league. We want to do even better so that fans have even more fun. We want to give them a Champions League final at the Bernabeu.

Is the Bernabeu crowd very demanding?

It is as demanding as the Club. Its greatness makes it necessary.

Pepe’s injury generated much talk regarding the signing of a new centre back. As a defender, how does that feel?

We’ve lost a great centre back and there aren’t many of us. We’ve also got Metzelder, Garay and Sergio Ramos, but it’s normal for people to talk about it. I think the fact no one’s arrived reflects the faith the Club has in us. We can prove to be worthy to cover for Pepe.

Will the key to winning La Liga lie in the return leg? Barcelona have more complicated away games than yours…

Maybe, but anything can happen. They could win every single one of their away games. We have to focus on taking more points. We hope to take the six remaining in the first leg. The winner will be the team with the most points. Barcelona haven’t lost and it doesn’t look like they will. We have to watch out and avoid dropping any points.

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