Introducing his own CL debut as Real Madrid boss, Julen Lopetegui stated: "We’re excited about stepping into Champions League, and we are ambitious. It makes me feel proud, responsible and very excited about a competition which I don’t need to explain what it means to us, as well as there being no need to explain what Real Madrid mean to the Champions League.
We’ll come up against a very difficult opponent. Last season Roma knocked Atlético out in the Group Stage, Barcelona in the quarter-finals, and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. They’re a side that has improved, and the squad is more complete, and has more depth. They also have the same coach, and continue to pile up on the way they play. I'm expect a general stronger opposition than last year one, and a tough game. They’ll make things difficult for us, and force us to work hard to beat them. I expect an ambitious and aggressive team. They’re ready to play that way. They look after the ball well, and are ambitious as well.
Three wins in a row? You can only take your hat off to the players and their coach. Now I’m stepping into each competition with desire, enthusiasm and confidence that we will win. Feeling some pressure when training such a club as Real Madrid is perfectly normal.
Varane? The players are having great experiences and winning a World Cup is extraordinary and definitive in the progression of the player. All this makes the player better and gives him more personality and confidence. We’re delighted with Varane, with Sergio, with Nacho, who has grown a lot, and with Vallejo, who is young but will definitely help us. The line-up decisions are made thinking about how we’ll approach each match, and we have a lot of matches coming up so we’ll look for the best options for each match. We've got a lot of depth in the changing room, and different options in each game.
The fast pace in San Mamés was due to the opposition going about their game in a different way. When we feel that the best thing is to up the pace, we’ll do it and when we believe that it’s the ball that has to move fast, we’ll do that too. Everything depends on each game.
The goalkeepers? I’m not going to say anything about them. We’ve got great options in the goal, and I’m sure that we’ll get the decisions right. We’ll see how things go bit by bit. I feel we’ve got great options in the goal and whoever plays, we’ll be well represented. Keylor is very good. Fighting and competing because he’s a competitor and is doing what we expected of him, like his teammates.
Marcelo and Modric? After the World Cup we’re getting them involved gradually, things will even out as time goes by. We’ll always look for the best options, but we have a lot of depth in the squad. Modric is fine, getting better and better. He is resting after his long summer, past through matches and training. Mariano can be part of the eleven at any time, or come on from the bench. I’m sure he will help us a lot. Vinicius is very young, and when we believe that he can help us. We’ll decide what we have to decide. Cristiano Ronaldo? We only focus on our squad, which we’re very happy with, and it’s ready to fight for every title. We’re convinced that we’re going to have a great journey in every competition".