© foto di Acero/Alterphotos/Image Sport
José Mouinho appeared in the Real Madrid City pressroom the day before his team debuts at the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) against Alcoyano at the El Collado stadium. The white team’s coach analyzed the game that Pepe, Alonso, Özil, Ramos, and Ronaldo aren’t called up for and the academy players Álex and José Rodríguez will be traveling to: “I don’t see that it’s going to be easy to win the playoff game on Alcoyano’s home turf. Our people won’t have it easy tomorrow because we’re going to a field full of motivation, hope, and cheerfulness. We want to win the playoff, and if we win tomorrow, that's best. If we come home with an open result or a small step toward classifying, that’s not bad. I respect the opponent and their cheer. Our people won’t have it easy tomorrow.”
The Portuguese coach talked about the importance this new competition opening tomorrow has for his team: “All the competitions and all the games are important. We’re going to Alcoy to play against a team that hasn't been at the top of football for a time, but we respect them and we know about the game's difficulty. We respect Alcoyano and the competition, that’s the first thing. Last year we got to the round of eight and before that they eliminated the team a long time before.”
He gave an advance on part of the selection, some of the absences, and the two main new players: “I’m not calling Pepe, Ramos, Özil, and Ronaldo. Alonso isn’t traveling either. The others are called up by regulations and because we don’t have any others. No less than seven players of the first team can play. Since Nacho, Morata, and Jesús are signed for the second team, they don’t enter in. We have to go with those who are available. The academy players Álex and José Rodríguez will be traveling.”
Asked about his relationship with Toril, the Real Madrid Castilla coach, he was sharp: “We have a normal relationship. There are not any wars. I do my work on the first team and he does his on the B team. I have three players that he can use when he wants and I can let them go. That is a positive thing for both of us, because he has the possibility of using three players with a good level, and I have players who have minutes, even if they don’t play much on the first team. He has his autonomy and I think it is good he does. We play with a game system and model different from his and there are players who play on Castilla in positions that don't exist on the first team, like nine and a half, and that's where Jesé plays. Our sideline players play high and his play low. There are few points of contact between the two ways of playing. In that sense, the guys are the ones who are affected. Our relationship is normal and I respect his autonomy. I don’t say anything to the press that I haven’t already said internally. I don’t ever do that. Toril knows about everything I’ve talked to you about. He knows that with me, Nacho will never be central, but he has his autonomy. He has to know if it is more important to help a player’s progression or to end up fourth, fifth, sixth, or ninth."
When questioned about the academy players Nacho and Fabinho, he revealed: “Fabinho is a player who has the age that almost all Castilla’s players should have. If there isn’t sufficient level to play on the first squad at 23 or 24 years, you’re not going to make the first team at 27 or 28 years. When there are players of 18 or 19 with potential, you're watching their training process so that some of them get to the first team. Fabinho is at that place where he could make it or not, and that’s why it seems positive to me that he, Alex, or José Rodríguez are on the reserve team. In addition, the last two are going to be called up tomorrow because they have the potential and the age to make the first team in a definitive way. In this sense the criticism I’ve received doesn’t make sense, because I am the champion of those coming up. Between 1999 and 2003, Pavón, Luis García, Álex Pérez, Olalla, Corrales, Aranda, Carlos Sánchez, Dorado, Meca, Miñambres, Borja, Zárate, Fernando, Portillo, Valdo, Rubén, Raúl Bravo, and Aganzo made their debut, and out of all of them, the ones who had the best career in Real Madrid were Pavón and Raúl Bravo. With Pellegrini, Marcos Alonso, Mosquera, and Juanfran made their debut, with a total of nine minutes among them. With Juan de Ramos Parejo, Gary, and Tébar debuted. Before Codina and Bueno, and before that Miguel Torres with 25 games, and he’s been an important man. And Nieto, Mejía, Paredes, Riki, and Núñez… I want players who stay on the first team.”
Concerning the chants and insults that Cristiano Ronaldo receives every time he plays away from home, Mourinho said: “I don’t think what they say changes people. That’s what there is and it isn’t easy for a player to be insulted at each game he plays away from Bernabéu. What’s important to me is that he doesn’t respond with insults or a lack of manners. Sometimes there are complications in his reactions to the public or to some opponent, but he never responds with bad manners. I’ve never seen him do it.”
Varante was another one of the names about which Mourinho gave his opinion: “Raphaël made his debut here last year against Rayo and against Ajax in the Champions. Now he's got 10 or 15 games behind him playing for the first team, and it's a surprise only for those who aren't paying attention." Finally, and in reference for his favorite for the Ballón D’Or, he was clear: “To me, that’s closed. For our part, the campaign in favor of the one we believe deserves to win it is closed. We have begun the period for respecting those who vote and we will respect their decision in the end. What’s important is to win games.”