Nacho and Kroos, in training this Tuesday in Bergamo DANIELE MASCOLO / Reuters
One day before the Atalanta-Real Madrid of the eighth of the Champions League (21.00, Movistar Champions League), football exposed one of those paradoxes that are so much theirs. The Whites, winners of 13 European Cups, feel that they face the unknown against the Italian team, whose greatest conquest is an Italian Cup in the sixties. Both Toni Kroos and Zinedine Zidane acknowledged at a press conference that they have never come across a rival like this. "They play differently from the teams we know," the German confessed.
The European duel measures a squad that causes the least number of things in their matches against another that aspires to make the plot run as quietly as possible waiting for a final blow. The more insanity for the Gasperini boys, the better. Last Sunday they nailed four in half to Naples, the same ones that they already did to Rome, Lazio or Torino. The reverse of this plan? They have also taken their blows: Liverpool endorsed them five at home in the group stage. In Serie A, fifth, they have 53 goals for and 31 against. Madrid's statistics are more measured: 42-19.
“We have seen videos, but when you have never played against a team, it is something new. We don't have much experience against Atalanta. We are going to prepare in the best way. And what is clear is that it will be very difficult, "said Kroos. “I see it important to control his offensive game. We have to defend well, adapt, but we will always try to do our football. We want a more controlled match, in addition to the ball. The Champions League begins now ”, settled the midfielder, who warned that each one will have to contribute more to the flood of casualties. Nine, exactly, including Ramos, Benzema , Carvajal, Hazard and Valverde. They asked the German if he had any explanation for such physical misfortune, and he resolved the question with his usual daily routine. "I'm almost never injured and I don't know what injured players do, I don't know what they do at home, or how they do rehabilitation, nor am I in their bodies … I know what I do, but I don't know what happens" .
"This year, maybe we have been a bit boastful," says Gasperini
Without so many explanations, Zidane also admitted the uniqueness of the Atalanta. “It is a different rival, with its specificities. They are very offensive, good at attacks and physically strong. We have to answer and play our football ”, he pointed out.
Between him and Gasperini there is a common past. When ZZ played for Juve, the Italian coach worked in the club's lower ranks. "If Zidane played tomorrow, he would be extremely worried," the coach from Bergamo complimented him at noon. "I can't anymore, I'm a wreck," the Madridista replied gratefully in the afternoon. More seriously, the Atalanta coach called on his team not to lose their identity: “Being ambitious does not mean being presumptuous, nor being uptight. This year, maybe we've been a bit of a show off at some point. You always try to get the best results, but we don't have to feel pressure. Sometimes that has complicated our lives, "he argued.
" We cannot change our way of being because our characteristics have allowed us to get to where we are. We are not going to force ourselves to change, but when playing against a team like this there are several things to take into account. Attention must be higher, "warned the Italian, who awarded Madrid favoritism.