Diego Lopez has reflected on the ‘maximum rivalry’ he is looking forward to seeing when Real Madrid host Atletico Madrid this weekend.
Week 7’s Saturday night fixture sees Atleti travel across the city for the first Madrid derby of the season, with both clubs currently unbeaten in La Liga.
For Los Blancos’ current No 1, the match carries that added extra, regardless of League situations.
“The derby is a game of maximum rivalry and we are really looking forward to it. You can really feel the passion and the fighting spirit in these matches,” Lopez reflected in an in-house interview.
“It’s a game where we have to battle, give it 100 per cent and come away with the three points.
“We’re up against a great side and if they play their best cards they are very dangerous. The greatest danger is that they are a very closely knit group, they’re all in it together and they know exactly what they’re doing.
“We have to exploit any little weaknesses they may have and rely on the quality of our team and our style of football to try and come away as winners.
“In Real Madrid it’s all about winning, we can’t slip up in any game and especially when we’re playing at home.
“Every game is different for me and I try to be consistent. It’s a crucial match, but so was the one against Elche and all the others.”
Lopez finds himself still as Madrid’s No 1 this season, despite Jose Mourinho’s exit and Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival in his place as Coach.
“What has really struck me has been his professionalism and that of his team, especially [goalkeeping Coach] Villiam Vecchi, who is closest to me and who I train with every day.
“He is very talented and we are learning a lot from him, he is very close to the players and he is very organised…little by little the squad are learning to do what he wants us to do.”
In competition with Iker Casillas for a starting spot, the 31-year-old considered the strengths a goalkeeper must have.
“There are a lot of aspects that a good goalkeeper must master. Above all I try to be at 100 per cent physically and mentally.
“That’s why we have daily training sessions, relaxation and all the other day to day aspects of a professional player.
“When match time comes around I look for the maximum concentration and motivation so that every game is special and I can live it as though it were the last game ever.”