Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro has issued a warning to the club’s Champions League opponents Borussia Monchengladbach: “In Madrid, we do not play finals, we win them.”
Madrid enter the final matchday on seven points from their five group games – one point behind Borussia Monchengladbach, whom they host on the final day, and behind Shakhtar Donetsk due to their head-to-head record.
Real Madrid news this week is focused on the possibility of them dropping out of the competition at the group stage, having never failed to progress through the groups in any of their previous 24 attempts.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Casemiro told reporters, as quoted by Marca: “The whole dressing room and the whole atmosphere of this club has the feel that this is a final. We approach the game as a final. In Madrid, we do not play finals, we win them. We win them with our heart and with our soul.
“We know that it is the most important game of the year. We do not think about anything else. Of course, there is a rival team and they are first in the group. But we value that everything depends on us. We will give everything.
“We don’t think about anything else, because we just want to win. We are going to die on the pitch and we know that if we win we are inside.”
Casemiro also addressed the possibility that Los Blancos do not progress through to the Round of 16 and the possibility that they enter the Europa League.
He insisted that despite the extra matches, this would be the preferrable option compared to dropping out of Europe altogether, as it would mean another trophy to compete for.
“I want to qualify in first. But if we must stay out, I prefer to be third and compete for a trophy,” he added. “And to win the Europa League. But we only think about qualifying.”
When asked about the need for rotations at the club amidst a packed fixture schedule, the midfielder added: “We are not machines and I also have to rest. I have stayed on the bench three times, it is normal.
“We all need rest and the coach made it clear that he has everyone. ”
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is back for the encounter, with Casemiro commenting: “For me, talking about Sergio is an honour. He has been at this club for a long time. Nacho and Varane also do things well, but Sergio is one of the best of all time. leader for us and we are happy that he returns.”
Image via Marca