Albiol: Real Madrid want La Liga and Champions League
Real Madrid are focused on winning both the Champions League and La Liga, according to defender Raul Albiol.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash against Valencia, his former club, the defender insisted there is a great atmosphere in the dressing room at the Santiago Bernabeu and that the team is committed to building on some outstanding performances this season and achieving the double.
His remarks come less than two weeks after Coach Jose Mourinho shunned the media in response to criticism over his team’s highly publicised indiscipline in a Liga encounter at Villarreal. Earlier in the season, unity among Madrid’s players was also questioned after accusations of a dressing room split following a bad-tempered Copa del Rey tie with Barcelona.
“The atmosphere is great, there is so much camaraderie among everyone, you just have to see it on the pitch,” said the central defender. “If there wasn’t such a good atmosphere, the team would not work as it does. We are very ambitious and we want both titles, La Liga and the Champions League. One last effort and hopefully we’ll do it.”
Los Blancos defeated Valencia 5-3 when the sides met at the Mestalla earlier in the season. The east coast club have been inconsistent in recent months, but Albiol, who made 131 Liga appearances for Valencia, believes the visit of Los Che to the Bernabeu on Sunday could pose difficulties for Madrid.
“The important thing is that we get three points and play well, but it will be very difficult because Valencia are in an awkward position after the last few weeks and they are still in third place,” said Albiol, who also had words of praise both for Valencia’s prolific striker, Roberto Soldado, and his own teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He (Soldado) is very difficult to play against, especially in the area, because he is very dangerous there. (Ronaldo) is a unique player. It will be many years until we see another player like him.”
Madrid will be looking to consolidate their six-point lead over Barcelona, who are away at lowly Zaragoza on Saturday and could temporarily halve the deficit if they win. Albiol insisted his side needed to play as they have been doing throughout the season, and with the continued support of their fans.
“There are still many matches to go and now we have only to think of the Valencia game,” said a cautious Albiol. “Although we have a good lead of six points, it can change from week to week. Although it will be difficult, we have to go out and attack and win and that is all that matters.”
To make sure you don't miss any of A Different League's Spanish coverage this season, follow the La Liga dedicated Twitter feed: @differentliga