NEWS | 07/11/2015“We know it won't be an easy game and we'll require the utmost concentration to avoid making any mistakes”, he added.
“We need to impose our playing style during the match but even then it will be a difficult challenge. We'll be required to play with the utmost concentration to avoid making any mistakes. Sevilla have a great manager, great fans and a great team. They have quality, physicality... They're a very hard team to play against and just need to rediscover their form of the last few years. I'm hoping they don't managed to that in this match. It'll be a tough game because in every department Sevilla are a top level side”.
“We still have to finalise the final squad for this game, but Gareth will be included. If he's made it into the squad that means there's a chance he'll play, but we still have to see for how long”.
“He's in the final stages of his recovery. We've decided to leave him here so he can get back to 100% fitness. He's in good spirits, but he won't be travelling to Seville. On a personal level, the club sent out a statement that we all agree with and there's not much else to say about the matter. He returned the other day, trained, did his work for that day and that's all I'm going to say. Karim has our full support”.
“He still needs a bit of time to get back to full fitness. We don't want to take any risks. Everyone who works with Karim knows what he's like and all his team-mates and the club are fully behind him. The most sensible thing to do now is wait to see what the findings are”.
“We're not taking any chances with him. We knew he had a muscle strain and that's still the case, so we don't want to risk it and make things worse. I have total faith in Kiko and we'd rather not take any chances”.
“The team seem happy to me and have been training excellently. Cristiano is scoring for fun and looks happy to me. He scored three goals in training today. I read that his agent said he's happy and that he'll finish his career here. If he's as happy and effective as he showed today then I'm at ease. I hope he's here for years to come and continues scoring hatfuls of goals”.
“He's a fantastic player, I like the eagerness he has to play and take part. As a manager I have a responsibility. He's been out injured for 55 days and I'm delighted that he's itching to play again. He's an important player for us, not just for two or three games but for the whole season”.
“I've already made a comment about the matter with the Colombian national team. With the rules as they are, if he's called up then he has to go. I hope he scores 5 goals in each game. What really matters to me though is that he comes back healthy. He's in the squad and there's a chance he'll play”.
Last match before the Clásico
“The biggest concern I have right now is preparing the team for the Sevilla clash. I'm not making any plans about the Clásico just yet. My only thoughts are on ensuring that we're in the best possible shape to play in a difficult ground”.
What Cristiano said to Blanc
(Benítez whispers something in the press officer's ear) “What did I say to him? If no one knows, then I've made my point”
The president's conversation with Cristiano
“You're all aware of the president's relationship with Cristiano and of Cristiano's level of professionalism. That aside, I remember us winning that game. We're through to the last 16 and there's no need to keep going over what was said”.
“Do you think you're going to have a job in a year's time? You can't know that. None of us can be certain about what will happen in the future. Cristiano is happy and training to score loads of goals. Sevilla's stadium is a happy hunting ground for him. I hope he continues scoring lots of goals and winning titles for us for many years to come”.