Sergio Ramos has urged his Real Madrid teammates to focus on winning the Copa del Rey Final, rather than take note of any distractions.
The defender was talking ahead of Madrid’s meeting in the Cup final with city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Los Blancos have seen continued Press coverage surrounding Jose Mourinho’s position and his relationship with the dressing room and captain Iker Casillas.
“We know the rival that we face, it’s a great rival and a team that has brought out the best in each player this year since Diego Simeone took over,” reflected Ramos to reporters this week.
“It will be a really tough game with a title at stake. When you play on your pitch is a bonus on a personal level, but it’s fair because the stadium will be divided equally for the fans of both teams and I hope ours can enjoy it a little more.
“The last thing we should worry about now are the rumours, the important thing is the group - Real Madrid is bigger than we are. When a title is at stake there shouldn’t be anything more important than that. We’ve opted to prepare well for the final and we’re ready for it to be here and to add another title to our trophy shelf.
“Are Madrid favourites? There are no favourites in a final, either squad can win and both have done plenty. We’re extra-motivated after the Champions League elimination and we’re in good form for the final and the injuries are no excuse. Finals are played to win and that’s our attitude.
“If we lose would it be a failure? Failure in terms of the title, but personally you have to feel satisfied with the work you’ve done, with the effort.
“You can lose, but there are different ways to do it. If you lose then let it be with an attitude. Anything can happen in football but there’s no need to be pessimistic.
“We’ve got the Copa left and we’re going to fight for it. We have to finish the match feeling good personally and collectively and with the fans going home happy.”
Ramos was appearing in place of Coach Jose Mourinho.
“The Coach can answer his questions and I’ll answer mine. We’re here to talk about football, not about anyone’s future.
“I don’t think that there’s a question the Coach would answer that I can’t answer myself. I’m one of the captains. Sometimes the coach comes out, sometimes the players.
“I don’t mind coming out and I do it happily. I’m not here to talk about Mourinho, only about the final. They tell me that there’s a Press conference and I have no problem going to it.
“Mourinho’s preparation? The Coaches take care of motivating the players for these matches and if there’s something that I like about our Coach it’s that he tries to motivate the group as much as he can with talks, videos, preparing the match the best way possible.
“When we take to the pitch, it all depends on the players. He pulls out all the stops and then it’s up to us. We all row in the same direction so that things go right.”
Ramos has only just returned to full training after a two-week lay-off with a hamstring injury.
“The boss knows how I am, I’m ready and I’m the first player that wants to bring the best performance to the pitch.
“The most important thing is that the good of the group, the final, and we’ll see how we did the next day.
“Is Pepe available too? Of course, the Coach has all of us available and he decides - we have to respect him. There is nothing wrong with any player, nor with Pepe. He hasn’t been pushed out - he’s training with the team just like everyone else.”
The game could reunite Ramos and Pepe with Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa, who they were involved in a physical clash with in the first League derby of the season.
“The match we had should serve as an example to learn from, both for them and for us, in order to not tarnish the image of the game. I learned something that day and I hope that they did as well.
“That people enjoy it, without any nonsense, each player defending his squad with respect. We’re mature and we have experience.
“We serve as examples for many people and loads of kids will be watching the match.”
Think you know your Spanish football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!