New Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui stated his “total faith” in the players he has, suggesting that the club may not do any more transfer business before the end of the month.
Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for €100 million this summer and have been linked with Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and a world-record move for Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar. But Lopetegui played down any transfer talk.
“It’s not a priority right now,” Lopetegui said. “Signing players is not something in our hands, but winning is.
“Right now we’re focusing on getting the best out of the squad we have which is a squad we love, we have a lot of talent and we’re going to work with it.
“We like the players we have and I have no doubts about the squad I have. Our players have a fantastic attitude, and people are going to see a Madrid side with a lot of talent. The important players are the ones that are here, not the ones that are not.”
The arrival of Thibaut Courtois means there will be a fight for the No. 1 spot at the Bernabeu with Keylor Navas this season.
Navas started the UEFA Super Cup against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night but their city rivals scored four goals with just five shots on goal in a 4-2 win. Courtois has been tipped to take over and make his debut after moving from Chelsea for £35m this summer, but Lopetegui insisted it’s good to have competition.
“They’re two great goalkeepers … I don’t think there’s a magic formula,” he said. “I believe in managing and analysing the situation week in, week out. They’re both lads who have proven their ability at the highest level. I think it’s a good problem to have.”
Real Madrid have five goalkeepers in their squad and Lopetegui added: “We won’t continue with five goalkeepers. We will stick with three and we will make the decision when we have to make the decision.”
Having being fired as the Spain boss before the World Cup in controversial fashion, Lopetegui was asked how his current Real Madrid squad compares to the team he left during the summer.
“You can’t compare them, it’s like comparing a tomato to a biscuit, they are different, excellent, made differently. We have sufficient talent to be a great team,” he said.
Lopetegui said the main thing on his mind was getting off to a strong start in the league as Madrid look to compensate for their woeful last campaign, when they finished 17 points behind champions Barcelona and below Atletico Madrid.
“We have to focus on our games right now because the three points tomorrow are worth the same as all the other games, so we have to realise the season is starting now,” added the former Spain coach, who faces a daunting task following Zinedine Zidane’s trophy-laden two-and-a-half-year tenure.
“I’m really impressed with the enthusiasm the players have to revindicate themselves and with the talent they have. We want to win this league title, it’s the competition which examines your work every day. My biggest concern is to make sure we are capable of competing.”
Adrian Odriozola, one of Real Madrid’s summer reinforcements, returned to training with the group on Saturday and Casemiro trained despite asking to be taken off on Wednesday night with what appears to have been a minor scare.
Jesus Vallejo continues to work on his own as he recovers from a hamstring injury and is the only player who is not available to Lopetegui ahead of his first game at the Bernabeu.