De la Red: Casillas deserves Ballon d'Or

Iker Casillas - Real Madrid

Iker Casillas – Real Madrid

Ruben De la Red has tipped his former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas to win the Ballon d’Or this year after his stunning performances for Los Blancos and Spain.

After leading Jose Mourinho’s team to the Primera Division title, the goalkeeper then helped La Furia Roja defend their European title in Poland and Ukraine.

“The truth is, goalkeepers maintain a different outlook to the rest of the team,” De la Red, who retired as a player in 2010 due to a chronic heart problem, told AS.

“To me, saving a goal is just as important as scoring one. Through that, Casillas has done enough to deserve the Ballon d’Or.”

Other players thought to be in prime contention for the award are Casillas’ Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

Florentino Perez: Mourinho was slow to understand Real Madrid at first

Florentino Perez y Jose Mourinho - Real Madrid

Florentino Perez y Jose Mourinho – Real Madrid

Speaking ahead of Real Madrid’s Assembly of Delegates on Sunday, Florentino Perez revealed that Jose Mourinho had some troubles settling in at Los Blancos.

The construction mogul underlined that the job of the head coach at the Spanish capital club is very challenging and requires adaptation on behalf of the trainer, which did not come easy for ‘The Special One’.

“‘Mou’ took a while to understand what Madrid is. He’s coached in Portugal, Italy and England but this is something else. This is Madrid. We understand our own culture. But those who come in from outside don’t understand it,” Perez told AS.

“When ‘Mou’ arrived, he clashed with the club, the people, the fact that the fans would whistle at some players or even the coach. That’s even happened with some recently arrived players and they’ve got it wrong a number of times.

“But they’ve learnt. ‘Mou’ knows he’s worked at a number of clubs at the highest level. But as I tell him, Madrid comes first, next and after that. That’s the distance between us and the rest.”

Perez also conceded that the club passed on the chance to sign Manchester City star David Silva before they opted to buy Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen.

“I believe that we have best squad in Madrid’s history. We could have signed Silva, but I preferred Ozil. Silva is a great player, and on top of that he is Spanish. We like great players.”

The club president also had a word on Brazilian star Kaka, who has been linked with an exit from the Madrid club.

“Great players and Ballon d’Or winners like Cristiano and Kaka make it possible to make more revenue. In some cases, they have bad luck and suffer with injuries. We hope to have Kaka great again.”

Mourinho targeting third straight Real Madrid victory

Jose Mourinho says nothing less than a third straight victory will do for his Real Madrid side, as they prepare for the visit of Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

The reigning Liga champions have endured an underwhelming start to the campaign and already trail arch-rivals Barcelona by eight points.

But despite recording back to back victories in their last two games, Mourinho is still wary of the threat posed by Sunday’s visitors and says he will not be interested in the outcome of matches elsewhere in the division over the weekend.

“We need to win three consecutive matches for the first time in the season,” he stated in his pre-match press conference.

“We’re playing at home. Deportivo is a great team which plays well, with ambitious people who know what they want to do and we have to play with the pressure of knowing we are the favourites.

“We have to begin well and not think about other matches and if the players come out really strong, I’m sure that it’ll be easier to get the three points.”

The Portuguese coach then called on his side to refind their character of old and rued a series of individual errors for the points they have dropped so far.

“We can’t afford to give away any more points,” Mourinho added.

“I haven’t said that we can’t afford to lose more points. If your opponent is stronger than you, if they play well, if you are unlucky, if your striker misses five opportunities to get the ball in, if your goalkeeper falters at a key moment, matches and points can be lost.

“After playing as seriously as we played against [Manchester] City and Rayo [Vallecano], we hope that we see this seriousness and commitment again which enabled us to do what we did last season.”

Mourinho then responded humorously to a question on whether a midfield trio of Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil could operate alongside one another.

“If you want, give me the other eight. You select them and tell me,” he continued.

“You have done midfield and if you want, give me the defence and attack. If you want you can all make the team, tell me, and I’ll tell you if I accept the idea or not.

“In the next press conference, you can come and give me the players you have selected.”

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 / 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.