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Drenthe and Robben eager for more

Published: Thursday 27 September 2007, 17.54CET
With Real Madrid CF off to a flier in Europe and poised to regain top spot in Spain tonight, caught up with Dutch duo Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben.
by Paul Bryan
from Madrid features

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Published: Thursday 27 September 2007, 17.54CET

Drenthe and Robben eager for more

With Real Madrid CF off to a flier in Europe and poised to regain top spot in Spain tonight, caught up with Dutch duo Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben.
Having enjoyed a brief taste of UEFA Champions League action with Real Madrid CF, Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben are keen to shine in next Wednesday's Group C trip to S.S. Lazio.

Late arrivals
The Netherlands duo joined from Feyenoord and Chelsea FC respectively in the summer and made their competition bows for Madrid in the 2-1 home defeat of Werder Bremen on Matchday 1 last week. Drenthe entered the fray in the 77th minute for Guti while Robben had to wait until six minutes from time to take over from Raúl González. The substitution of two local favourites, who had played key roles in the victory, for the Dutch flyers underlined the new Oranje flavour at Madrid, with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wesley Sneijder also in action.

Room for improvement
Drenthe, who will not play in tonight's home game against Real Betis Balompié, when a win would send Madrid back to the top of the Primera División, spoke to about the thrill of top-level European football. "Every player wants to play in the Champions League," he said. "I want to play well in all the matches I play. I'm only 20 so I want to grow as a player and as a person. By the end of the season I want to say to myself: 'Royston, you've made progress.'

Spanish lessons
"It's nice for me that there are so many Dutch people here, especially as I can't speak Spanish yet," he added. Thankfully, there is no real problem as his new coach, Bernd Schuster, has found a common language. "He speaks English to the players who can't speak Spanish," Drenthe said. "In the short time I've been here, it's been very nice. It's not difficult to live here. I've got a Spanish teacher. I think that in six months or a year I'll be able to speak Spanish well."

Warm welcome
Robben, who made his Madrid debut against Bremen, was equally happy to get a run-out. "I've been training for a long time and I was happy I could make my first appearance," he said. "The warm welcome I got when I came on gave me a very special feeling. That's why you play. You play for the fans and you want to show them how good you are."

Challenging campaign
According to the 23-year-old, he and Drenthe have a job on their hands to secure regular football with Madrid going so well. The nine-time European Champion Clubs' Cup winners appear likely to mount another serious challenge this season, although Robben knows from experience how hard it is to claim the continent's top club prize. "It's too early to talk about winning the Champions League," he said. "Every game is a new one for us and it's important that we focus on each one. We have a lot of quality but we have to show it in every game."

Last updated: 27/09/07 19.49CET

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