Rafa Marin: “I see the match against Real Madrid as a personal challenge”

Rafa Marín, the 21-year-old defender who is currently on loan at Alavés from Real Madrid, has given an interview to Marca, in which he talks about his experience at Alavés, his ambitions for the future, and his relationship with Real Madrid.

Marín, who was born in Guadajoz and started his career at Sevilla before joining Real Madrid’s youth academy in 2016, has been a key player for Alavés. He will face Real Madrid tomorrow night at Mendizorroza.

“In the end I have been there for many years in Madrid, but the team faces tomorrow’s test with great enthusiasm after the defeat against Girona where we did not find ourselves with the confidence that we have had in the previous games,” Marin said. “But football is like that, and it gives you another game to make up for it. On Thursday in Mendizorroza, with our people, our fans and the truth is that we hope it will be a nice, hard-fought game and that the three points stay at home.

“I see the match against Real Madrid as a personal challenge to see my level.”

Marín also revealed his admiration for Jude Bellingham — a player that doesn’t really have any weaknesses.

“Well, what don’t you see in Bellingham?” Marin asked. “The truth is that if you leave him space, he makes a pass. If you close him quickly he dribbles you. For me he has everything a footballer needs to have. He is showing it with goals and assists, and also with that defensive character that also contributes a lot to the team. He is a fairly complicated opponent to defend, but at the same time a nice challenge.

Marín also expressed his gratitude for Raul, his Castilla coach — a man he revers.

“Raúl has always been an idol for all Real Madrid fans, for his role as a player and his way of playing that character,” the Spanish center-back said. “Well, the truth is that he does not deceive and he conveyed the same as a coach. That character, that grip, that energy, he transmitted it to you day by day and in each training session it doesn’t matter whether it was regenerative or whether it was pre-match. In the end he wanted the maximum from each player and that leads you to give everything in the game.”

Marín also talked about the possibility of coming back to Real Madrid, who currently have an injury crisis at center-back and may be looking to reinforce as early as this winter.

“That is very difficult,” he explained. “In Madrid there are the best and what is sought with my loan is to improve as a footballer, to gain that experience that I did not yet have and still do not have because, well, the level of LaLiga and the players is very high and getting higher and higher. You have to work hard, improve physically and mentally and get as tough as you can.”

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