Nacho was the player selected to speak to the media on Monday, ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Liverpool. The centre-back was asked about Mohamed Salah’s recent interview in MARCA, in which the Egyptian said that Liverpool have improved while Real Madrid have lost some important parts since the 2018 final.
On that, Nacho replied: “Salah wasn’t wrong. Since then, they’ve won the Champions League and we’ve lost Cristiano Ronaldo. But, I don’t think there’s such a big difference. I think we’ve always been a very competitive team. We have a great squad. Salah has a point, but we’re not focusing on things like that and we’re instead focusing on the match tomorrow.”
With Real Madrid having started playing three centre-backs in recent matches, Nacho was asked about the new system and how the defenders are adapting to it. He said: “I think we are performing well whether we play a back four or a back five. We’re ready for what the coach asks. We’re in a good run. Whatever system we’re asked to use, it’s important to respond on the pitch. It doesn’t matter what system we use, we need to give our all on the pitch and secure a good result in this first leg. They have three great forwards, who connect well. I don’t know about there being favourites. We’ll leave that debate for others.”
Discussing his own individual form, he was asked if he thinks he’s playing some of the best football of his career and if he thinks he can earn a place in the Spain squad. Nacho replied: “I had already played many matches at the club, but if I had to pick one season then maybe I’d pick this one. It’s all about moments. I hoped to be called up the last time, but I hope Luis Enrique will change his mind and that I can be on the next list.”
There was also a lot of talk about contracts, such as Sergio Ramos’. On the captain’s situation, Nacho said: “The best thing for Real Madrid would be for him to stay and the best thing for Ramos would be for him to stay.”
However, Nacho did acknowledge that his own future partly depends on what happens with Ramos. The Spaniard stated: “Logically, if Real Madrid renew Ramos or sign a centre-back then these are things that have an effect. I’ll look at that later and discuss it with the club and my family. I think that’s normal for any player. I’ve not spoken with the club yet about my situation. I have this season and another season left on my contract. It would be my dream to finish my career here, but I go season to season. If things become more complicated than they’ve been until now, which hasn’t always been easy. then I might take another decision. As a player, it would logically be nice to try out another league, but right now I’m happy and in my home, where I want to be, and we’ll take the best decision in the summer.”
Finally, he was asked if he is concerned that Real Madrid might be about to move on from so many Spanish players at once, with his and Ramos’ futures uncertain and with Lucas Vázquez and Isco also linked with moves away. On that, Nacho explained: “I think part of the reason for our success over the years is that there has been a squad with lots of Spaniards and homegrown players. Then there are situations that don’t depend on us, projects that grow little by little. As I’ve said before, what is best for Real Madrid is the most important.”