INTERVIEW | 15/07/2015Speaking to Realmadrid.com and Realmadrid TV, the coach offered his first impressions as the team's tour gets underway.
Following the end of Real Madrid's second day of work in Australia, Rafa Benítez gave an interview to Realmadrid.com and Realmadrid TV, sharing his opening impressions on the beginning of the Whites' pre-season tour.
Iker Casillas has left Real Madrid after many years at the club...
Iker is a living legend at Real Madrid and the best goalkeeper in the club's history. We all know how important he has always been. He has made the decision to leave and to go to another club. As coach, I have to respect that decision and wish him the very best of luck. I believe that he will remain in the hearts of all Madridistas and from here on I wish him success, I hope that everything goes really well for him and that he enjoys being at a great club and in a great city. There's not much more to say, except to express my respect and admiration for him.
As regards the team, Cristiano Ronaldo has now joined up with the group. How has he looked?
He's a fundamental player for us. It's great that he's here with all the group. By meeting him and starting to exchange our thoughts with each other, we will be able to progress in terms of the dynamic of the group and get to know him better, so as to get the best out of him and so that the team can make the most of everything he has to offer.
Training is up and running in Melbourne. It's the first time that Real Madrid have visited Australia. What are your impressions?
They're really positive. It's a spectacular place, despite the climate. Although, having coached in England, I like it when the pitches are quick. There's a culture centred around sport and hard work. At this moment in time, it's good for us to be able to increase the time we've spent together and on the pitch. With the intensity and attitude the players are showing in the way they work, right now we're in a position to bring the best out of ourselves.
These days are above all about hard work and pushing the squad...
Pre-seasons are there to work, to get to know each other, and the conditions we have are good. The fact that it isn't as hot as in other places means that you can really work hard and it's a great help to us that the pitch is in the right condition to circulate the ball and for the kind of intensity with which we want to do things.
What are the objectives of this pre-season?
We want to get to know the players and for the players to get to know us, and to try to bring Real Madrid an idea of play that's in line with who Real Madrid are. This time together really helps in that regard.
Once the pre-season period is finished, what will you expect your team to show?
I want Real Madrid to be Real Madrid. I want us to be a team that go out to win every game, that take the initiative, are assertive, that attack as well as in recent years and that defend a little bit better, to achieve that balance that will enable us to win more games and have a greater chance of winning trophies.