Friday, February 06, 2009

Pepe: I think Cristiano's mom wants him at Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo's mother wants the World soccer player to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid, according to fellow-Portugal international Pepe.

"Cristiano Ronaldo's mother has a dream: seeing her son play for Real Madrid. And everybody knows that mothers carry great weight," Pepe told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) in an interview.

Pepe is a great friend of Ronaldo's and he plays for a club, Real Madrid, that has been after the winger for a long time. Last year, the operation to sign him failed over the staunch opposition of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Pepe, a great fan of Ronaldo, explained that his mother, Dolores, wants him to move to Spain soon.

"Both his mother and all his family as well as himself have made it clear that their dream is to play for Real Madrid. It is a dream that his mother has and a dream that he has too. Now we will see what happens," the centre-back said.

As to Ronaldo's chances of settling in in the Spanish capital, Pepe has few doubts.

"He would not have any problems. This is a very great changing-room atmosphere. They received me very well, and with Cristiano there would not be a problem either."

Pepe smiles each time he thinks of Ronaldo - who turned 24 last Thursday - as a sidemate. He stresses, moreover, that the superstar portrays an image that does not clash what he is really like.

"People have an idea of him as a person which is completely different from the real thing. I have known him since he played for Sporting Lisbon and he is a very simple person who, like any human being, likes to dress well and to have the best stuff. Since he is in a position to buy the best, he does so."

The Real Madrid defender thinks Ronaldo's personality is perfect for a major club, contrary to popular belief that he may be inclined to behave like a conceited prima donna.

"Ronaldo is an incredible person. He likes to jump and joke with everyone. He is the Portugal captain, but he is the first to be jumping around with everyone else," Pepe said.

One of the season's debates is the permanent comparison between Ronaldo and Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, as to who is the better player?

Pepe votes for Ronaldo.

"They are different soccer players. For me, Cristiano has more points in his favour because he heads the ball well, he is stronger and he scores goals. Messi has quality, dribbles and scores goals. For a team boss, I think Cristiano is better because he is more complete," he said.

The Brazilian-born Pepe, whose full name is Kepler Laveran Lima Ferreira, also spoke of Real Madrid's chances in an edition of Spain's La Liga that is clearly dominated by Barcelona.

He insists that the league is not lost, although the Catalan side has a 12-point lead over its arch-rival from the capital.

"Of course not. It is not impossible to win. It does not depend on us, but we have to keep fighting and put pressure on Barcelona," Pepe said.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Paco Buyo: Iker Casillas is the Best goalkeeper in the World

This weekend, Iker Casillas will equal the record for most appearances by a goalkeeper at Real Madrid, equalling the tally of 454 encounters set by Paco Buyo.

The two shot-stoppers were present together in Radio Marca program, ‘Intermedio’ to have a chat and share their opinions of each other.

“Right now, Iker is the best goalkeeper in the world,” Buyo expressed.

“He is a very complete goalkeeper. Aside from his humility, he has a lot of confidence in his abilities, he’s able to visualise the game and he’s a great professional.

“He demonstrated this during Euro 2008 at the time he became one of the key figures to help Spain victory the title. In addition, Buffon, the only other goalie who can challenge Iker, is not at his best at the moment.

“To be a great ‘keeper, you must be psychologically and physically strong and have great technique. Because of that, I believe Iker is number one,” he reiterated.

Buyo joined Madrid from Sevilla in 1986 and played until 1997, at the time he was 39, picking up six league titles and two Zamora trophies. Casillas, at the time asked if he would play until that age, responded: “I do not believe I can play until then.”

“Once I start to feel that I am not well physically, I will stop and open the door to others. There are lads underneath me and it is necessary to give them an opportunity too.”

San Iker, who signed a life contract with Los Blancos almost exactly a year ago, continued to pledge his allegiance to the club.

“Real Madrid is my home. I’ve been here since I was nine years old and I have never played for any other side.

“If I do leave one day, it will be because another player has taken over from me and I am no longer needed. And at the time that day comes, you will see a few tears from me,” he declared.

Finally, Casillas gave his thoughts on Madrid’s title chances this campaign.

“Right now, the only thing we can do is to make sure we do not stumble and hope to see what happens to Barcelona.

“We are doing well at the moment, but if there are days at the time Barca are losing with half an hour to go and Messi enters the game and scores two goals… there’s not much we can do,” he explained.

Casillas will make his 454 club appearance this Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu against Racing Santander.

Butragueno against new elections at Madrid

Emilio Butragueno has said that Real Madrid should scrap presidential elections and choose a plan that will make the club the best in the world and stick to that.

Madrid' former star striker and vice-president is concerned with the state of things at the Santiago Bernabeu and believes that changing presidents every few years causes problems.

Instead, Butragueno would like an English-style system put in place where the board can plan for years in advance, but retain the club's tradition by being strictly answerable to the fans.

"We were named the best club of the 20th century due to the trophies won, but also by the way the club behaved. WHhat has happened now is bad for everyone and to say the opposite makes no sense," he told AS in an interview to mark 25 years since he made his first side debut for Real Madrid.

"I honestly think that the fans need to push for a change. It is not great that there are elections every four years and that the club has to go through the process of voting.

"If Madrid wants to be the biggest club in the world then the question about which plan is the most suitable has to be asked. Then use that."

Butragueno perhaps tempted back as part of the side of a new president, particularly if Florentino Perez runs again, but he is not after the top job himself.

"I will always be attached to Real Madrid, wherever I may be. Whether Real Madrid is attached to me is another thing because right now it is difficult," he continued.

"I have been the vice-president and there is not a lot more I can do. I do not want to be president at all.

"But it is difficult because in the first place I do not know who is going to put themselves forward and nor do I know if anyone will offer me anything."