SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (SEPTEMBER 18, 2018) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH, JULEN LOPETEGUI, SAYING: "They (AS Roma) left Atletico (Madrid) out of the group stage, then they kicked Barca out and they reached the semi-finals.
I think it's an improved team, the squad is more complete and bigger, with the same coach and therefore they are used to their playing system.
So, I expect a rival that's even tougher than last year.
Roma will force us to play a magnificent match to overcome them, which is what we want in this first Champions League match." 2.
WHITE FLASH 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID CENTRE BACK, SERGIO RAMOS, SAYING ON FRENCH STRIKER ANTOINE GRIEZMANN: "Ignorance is very daring.
When I listen to this guy talk (Antoine Griezmann) I remember a lot of players like (Francesco) Totti, (Gianluigi) Buffon, (Paolo) Maldini, Raul (Gonzalez), Xavi (Hernandez), (Andres) Iniesta, Iker (Casillas)… players who have won everything and that titles fill their place but they don't have an award like the Ballon D'Or, therefore everyone is free to express their opinion but I think he should take advice from his coach Cholo (Simeone) or players of his team like (Diego) Godin, or Koke who have certain values which I think would be good for him.
However, I have always said he is a great player and I wish him the best." STORY: Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said on Tuesday (September 18) his defending champions are ready to start their bid for a fourth consecutive Champions League trophy when they host Italian side AS Roma.
Lopetegui said their Group G rivals, who they play on Wednesday (September 19), have even improved from last year when the Italians reached the semi-finals after knocking-out Barcelona and added Real will have to perform to the highest level to win.
Lopetegui refused again to say which goalkeeper will play in the Champions League, having three time Champions League winner Keylor Navas compete with recently signed Thibaut Courtois for a starting place.
Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos said Madrid's all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo marked an amazing era at the club but that they can't keep living in the past now that the Portuguese is in Italy playing for Juventus, and added the playing style has changed since the Euro 2016 winner moved.
Asked about French striker Antoine Griezmann saying he is "at the same table" of Barca star Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, and hinting he deserves the 2018 Ballon D'Or, Ramos answered saying: "ignorance is very daring" and advised him to get different values from people like Atletico's Diego Simeone or Diego Godin.