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Solari's tournament of torment

Published: Wednesday 3 November 2004, 8.34CET
Real Madrid CF's Santiago Solari knows the UEFA Champions League can be "treacherous". features

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Published: Wednesday 3 November 2004, 8.34CET

Solari's tournament of torment

Real Madrid CF's Santiago Solari knows the UEFA Champions League can be "treacherous".

By Andy Hall

Midfield player Santiago Solari was in outstanding form as Real Madrid CF made another step along the road to a UEFA Champions League recovery with a 1-0 home victory against FC Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 3.

Superb performance
For many pundits, Solari was the star man on the night, but the Argentinian has a different view. He told "I thought that everyone had a good game simply because we won. I don't believe in individual performances, when you win the whole team wins and when you lose, the whole team loses."

Long trip
Madrid have made the long trip to Ukraine for the return fixture this Wednesday, and Solari is hoping that another united team performance can see the Spanish giants scoop another three points to help them in their campaign to reach the last 16. However, he knows it will not be easy.

Respect due
"Dynamo are a young, competitive side that like to set the tempo of the game," he said. "They have a perfect balance of quality midfield players and strong, swift players on both wings. The thing that impressed me most was their lack of fear - they love to press forward and attack whenever they get the chance."

New boots
The game in Kiev will see Solari play his first game in a new adidas F50+ boot. The 28-year-old is one of 50 players who will be giving the new boot its first professional airing in the Champions League and UEFA Cup this week. Unlike many players, Solari is oddly unsentimental about his boots. "Players always think that certain objects will bring them luck, but with boots you change pairs so quickly that it's difficult to keep a special pair," he said.

Favourite brand
However, boots are a vital tool of a footballer's trade, and having started his career wearing adidas - just as his father Eduardo, a former Argentinian international, did - Solari is in no mood for a change. "I've always liked their boots," he said. "My dad usually used their products when he was a player and a coach and, for that reason, I have always had a special fondness for what they produce."

Near misses
With a little luck, the new boots can help get Solari a goal or two after he was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet against Dynamo at the Santiago Bernabéu. He remembered: "I had a couple of chances from the left side from a tight angle but Kyiv's keeper had a great match so I can't complain."

Treacherous competition
Certainly, Madrid could do with another source of goals from midfield as a place in the last 16 is far from guaranteed. "The Champions League is, without doubt, the most competitive tournament in the world and also the most treacherous - you can be at the top of your game but make one mistake and you can be out. That's what I love about it," he said.

Away points
"Getting though the group is not going to be easy just as it hasn't been easy for us up until now. Roma and Dynamo made us suffer and we lost in Germany [against Bayer 04 Leverkusen]. We have three games left - two away and one at home and we have to make sure of getting points outside of the Bernabéu."

Santiago Solari is one of over 50 players to introduce the new adidas F50+ boot in this week's UEFA Champions League Matchday 4 and UEFA Cup Matchday 2 matches

Last updated: 03/11/04 13.18CET

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