Deportivo will need to be perfect to beat Real Madrid, says Marchena

Deportivo La Coruna will need to produce a perfect footballing performance if they are to beat Real Madrid, according to defender Carlos Marchena.

The 33-year-old former Spain international highlighted the importance of not conceding an early goal in a bid to stop Los Blancos from getting comfortable.

“We will need to play a perfect game to win and Madrid will have to be slightly imperfect,” Marchena said in an interview with AS.

“We must be determined not to let them score early on because if they do then they’ll feel comfortable and start to play as they can.

“Right from the start we must do things right to try and win although from then on, depending on how the match is going, a draw would not be a bad result.”

Marchena went on to speak about his admiration for Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and also the pleasure he has taken from watching his career go from strength to strength.

“I knew Mourinho when he started out with Benfica, but not for long. He took over from [Jupp] Heynckes and we won almost every game until he left,” he revealed.

“He taught me a lot and I only have good words to say about him. I’m glad how things have turned out.”

Zidane said goodbye two months ago, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Goal.com / Shinichiro Ema

Jose Mourinho says Zinedine Zidane left his role as director of football at Real Madrid two months ago and rang him personally to make him aware of his decision.

Reports suggested that a rift had developed between the Portuguese coach and the Frenchman after Zidane made efforts to distance himself from the first team, a move which was supposedly against the wishes of the Madrid coach.

Zidane later denied that he had fallen out with the former Chelsea and Inter boss and implied that he was still keen on working for the club this season, but Mourinho has now revealed that the 40-year-old has not been involved with Los Blancos for some time.

“It has been two months since he said goodbye to us, saying he was looking for happiness, somewhere he would be happy,” Mourinho told Marca.

“He has decided to be a coach and that’s that. It’s something public, that everybody knows.

“His integration into grassroots football has been made public and he is getting ready to coach in France.”

Mourinho also stated that he did not understand why the story had only just been revealed.

“This story came out very late and I don’t understand it. He made his decision more than two months ago,” he added.

Mourinho: Sergio Ramos is one of the best defenders around when he's on top of his game

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Goal.com / Shinichiro Ema

Real Madrid trainer Jose Mourinho has voiced his opinion that Sergio Ramos is one of the best defenders in the world when he is on top of his game.

The Portuguese coach had dropped Ramos from the starting XI for Madrid’s Champions League opener against Manchester City, and a number of reports suggested that the centre-back had fallen out of favour.

However, the Spain international was reinstated against Rayo Vallecano, and Mourinho has stressed that he still rates the defender highly.

“When Sergio Ramos is on top of his game, he gives me everything I look for in a defender,” Mourinho stated at a press conference.

“He brings defensive stability, is strong in the air and from set pieces, and has leadership skills.

“He is one of the best defenders around in the game when he is in good form.”

Mourinho then went on to discuss the situation of Mesut Ozil, who has been struggling to replicate last year’s form in the opening weeks of the 2012-13 campaign.

He added: “He is working hard to improve. We have a great team with some superb players in midfield. A player who wants more playing time has to earn it.

“He is a player with a lot of quality, who I admire and who respects his coach. He will improve and reach top form again.”

Ozil has made eight official appearances for Madrid this term, but has yet to score, while providing one assist in the process.

Perez: It took Mourinho a while to understand what Real Madrid are about

Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Goal.com / Shinichiro Ema

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez feels that Jose Mourinho needed a bit of time to realise what it means to be part of the club, but believes the flamboyant coach has now adapted to life at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Portuguese trainer joined Madrid from Inter in the summer of 2010 and initially struggled to cope with the fans’ critical attitude toward the team.

However, Perez believes Mourinho now understands that the expectations at los Blancos are sky-high.

“Mourinho has taken a while to understand what Real Madrid is about. He was surprised by the club, the people and the fact that the fans whistle at the players and at him,” Perez stated at the club’s Assembly.

“He emphasised the fact that he had been at several clubs, in Portugal, Italy and England, but I told him that this is Real Madrid. A truly unique club.

“The club’s expectations are much higher than those of other clubs and if things don’t go to plan on the pitch, the fans start to whistle. Some players who have come here have failed to understand this concept.”

Real Madrid are currently preparing for Sunday’s Liga match at home against Deportivo La Coruna.

Cartoon of the Day: Prodigal son Kaka belongs to Brazil

After spending two years wandering in the international wilderness, Kaka has been welcomed back to the Brazil national fold – and he could not be happier about it.

Though he has not played a minute of competitive football for Los Blancos this season, the playmaker has been identified as the man to safeguard Mano Menezes’s job in charge of the Selecao as he was handed a recall to the squad for their up-coming friendlies against Japan and Iraq.

The former AC Milan icon himself admitted that he was surprised to have been included in the squad given his lack of playing time this season with the Liga champions, but revealed that the news was like receiving his first call-up all over again as he looks to reignite his seemingly-dwindling career.

A deeply religious man, Kaka has become renowned for displaying a t-shirt bearing the phrase ‘I Belong To Jesus’ in the Champions League final win against Liverpool. Goal.com cartoonist Omar Momani imagines how the 30-year-old might demonstrate his loyalty to the national side following what could prove to be a hugely significant moment for player and country alike…