NEWS | 17/09/2019 | Alberto Navarro (Paris) | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero/Antonio Villalba"The Champions League is a competition that really motivates us and we've proved that in recent years", declared the centre-back.
"We're looking for that balance in our play. We're improving. In the second half of our last game, we eased off a bit, but I believe that the team's performing better. What we need to do is to perform for the whole 90 minutes. We're close to playing the way we want to and that's an area that we're going to improve in. This team is capable of being a strong side and having a good season. There are a lot of games to play and nobody's going to play every minute. You've got to place your trust in the whole group, just as we always have done".
Year of transition
"The aim is always to win, we always harbour that ambition; we're competitivie and are at a club where there are massive demands. There's no such thing as transitional years, we always want to win. That ambition doesn't change and ahead of a game like tomorrow's, we always approach it with the same humility and respect for the opposition. Regardless of whether it's a year with a lot of changes or not, we always want to win".
"It's not going to be a straightforward game because we're up against opponents with real quality, but it's true that there are players with immense quality who won't play tomorrow. These things happen. In any event, we're expecting a difficult game, regardless of who plays. Our plan is to try and perform well throughout the 90 minutes. PSG on their own patch is never an easy prospect".
Playing without Ramos
"He's an exceptional player, our captain and everyone respects him because he deserves it. He's a key player for us, but we're a group and have to know how to play without some players. We've got a really good squad and we all have to step up and do as best we can, no matter who plays".
"It really excites me. This competition is one that we've always enjoyed and playing in France is special for me. I can't wait for kick-off to come around and go out and give of my best, as always. The team continues to improve, we're in good shape and want to get off to a good start. We know how tough it is to win this competition, so we'll be trying to get off to the best possible start. Experience is always a bonus but it isn't everything. Just like every season, it's a case of starting from scratch and it won't be easy. We know what PSG are all about and how tough it'll be. They've gained Champions League experience in recent years and we know how to approach top-level and high-intensity games".
Recipe to win Champions League
"I'd like to have the special recipe to win it, but the important thing is to never give in. We've done things that seemed impossible in recent years and I don't think that it comes down to the draw. You've got to be ruthless and put games to bed when you get the chance. There are also the fine margins, which make all the difference at the top level. That places big demands on you and you have to believe that you can win every game".
Is Benzema a leader?
"Of course. With no Ramos and Marcelo, he's the oldest player in the team. He's been one of the leaders in the dressing room for many years now and has the squad's respect. He's a player who's in excellent form and is extremely important in terms of our attacking play. He's right in the midst of hitting maturity, is a fine all-round player and we need him in these kinds of games".
Hunger to win silverware
"I'm still motivated, I've always been competitive and am raring to win and continue to win. Madrid is a demanding club and a lot is asked of us and we have to learn to compete and that's a character trait, it's part of my make-up and I won't change. Whenever I play football, I go out to win".
"He's a player with immense quality. He's settling in very well. There are several members of the squad who speak French and that helps too. I think that he'll continue to feel ever more at home".