Real Madrid are not a one-man team, says Ozil

Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil has played down the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo to the side, ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash with rivals Barcelona.

The two clubs meet on Wednesday evening for the first leg of their semi-final and, while noting Ronaldo’s importance, the 24-year-old insisted a match of this magnitude cannot be determined by an individual.

“We are all aware of Cristiano’s class,” he told Bwin.

“He is one of the best players in the world and has always shown his importance to the team.

“But, we are a team, not just Cristiano or another player. We have to work as a team if we want to succeed.”

The former Werder Bremen starlet also spoke fondly of the Clasico fixture, and insisted los Blancos would be aiming to secure a first leg advantage at Santiago Bernabeu.

“We appreciate that Barcelona are a very strong team with great players, but we prefer to focus on ourselves.

“We are at home and our goal is to win the game.

“It is the biggest derby in the world and is always a special game to play in.”

Roberto Carlos: Real Madrid are focused and confident

Roberto Carlos insists the Real Madrid squad is “focused and confident” heading into their Copa del Rey semi-final match against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Los Blancos have had a turbulent season with rumours of dressing room bust-ups and players losing faith in coach Jose Mourinho.

However, Carlos, who won three Champions League titles in 11 years with Real Madrid, revealed after watching the players train that he saw a different side to what has been reported.

He told the press: “I see a group with a good atmosphere despite their critics. I see people that are focused and confident.

“Real Madrid are in a good moment. They have to concentrate, live and enjoy the game.

“Much remains in front of this team and they are on the right track.”

And despite the recent criticism received by Mourinho, Carlos thinks he is the right man for the job.

 “Mourinho has extensive experience in all competitions. Everyone says the same thing, that he is the best coach in the world,” he added.

“He will prepare the team very well. We know the opponent is very strong, but a full Bernabeu is a spectacular setting and I can see this being a great game.

“The Clasico is the best game of the season. Whether in the league, cup or Europe, they are very important games. I’ve played in many, have had many good moments and I have also suffered.”

Sahin: I wasn't happy at Real Madrid or Liverpool

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin has admitted that he was not happy at Real Madrid or Liverpool and that led to a drop in his performance levels.

The Turkey international rejoined the German champions earlier in January after 18 months away from Signal Iduna Park, and he revealed that he wanted to move back to the club so that he could enjoy his football again.

“I can only play 100 per cent when I am happy. This wasn’t the case at Madrid and Liverpool,” he told Ruhr Nachrichten.

“That’s why I wanted to return to Dortmund.

“I just hope this story here will last for a long, long time. I know where I want to be, and I am there now.”

The 24-year-old also refuted claims that his period at Santiago Bernabeu was a failure, and argued that had he not been injured, he would have become much more important to the Spanish champions.

He added: “I thought about this a lot, it cost a lot of energy. I know things would have been different if I hadn’t been injured. But that was my fate.

“It might have looked like I failed. I would not see it like this. During my time at Madrid, I suffered injuries to my intra-articular ligament three times over a short period of time.”

No magic wand to stop Cristiano Ronaldo, says Roura

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura says his team always finds it difficult to defend against Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Blaugrana travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday for the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final against the Blancos.

Roura has warned his players there is no easy solution to stopping Jose Mourinho’s men, and highlighted the danger of their No. 7 in particular.

“We know about Cristiano’s qualities, but it’s always difficult to stop him,” the coach told reporters on Tuesday. “We have to be concentrated. There is no magic wand.

“Cristiano is a great, great player. It’s understandable he is scoring goals against us now when before he wasn’t.”

Barcelona are 15 points ahead of third-placed Madrid in La Liga, but Tito Vilanova’s assistant insisted that the Copa del Rey is a completely different proposition.

“I understand people commenting on how well we are playing,” Roura added. “But they will be very dangerous. We are playing in Madrid against Real Madrid and that’s always difficult.

“In the league we are in a comfortable situation. We have earned that. This is a different competition and we have to try and achieve a positive result there [in Madrid].

“With the squad they have, I don’t think Madrid will be conditioned by the players they have missing. I expect an intense and complicated Madrid. I don’t think it will be any different than it normally is. They are super-competitive.”

Arsenal continue to be linked with out-of-favour Camp Nou striker David Villa, but Roura denied any knowledge of the Spain international being set to be sold any time soon.

He added: “I have no proof of any Arsenal interest in Villa. He is our player and that will stay the same until the end of the season.”

Barca defeated Malaga 6-4 over two legs in the quarter-final to set up this latest Clasico clash, while Real Madrid went through 3-1 on aggregate against Valencia.

Rexach: La Liga struggles make Real Madrid more dangerous

Ex-Barcelona forward Charles Rexach feels that Real Madrid’s struggles in La Liga make them an even more dangerous opponent in the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

The reigning Spanish champions currently sit only third in the league table, trailing Barca by 15 points, but Rexach believes the Blancos now have the advantage because they can focus on other competitions instead.

“The fact that Real Madrid have nothing to play for in La Liga any more makes them all the more dangerous in the Champions League and Copa del Rey,” the 66-year-old told reporters.

Madrid lock horns with the Blaugrana in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, with the first leg taking place at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Head coach Jose Mourinho and his men will have to deal with Manchester United in European club football’s elite competition.