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Ancelotti confirms injury blow ahead of Real Madrid vs Almeria: “Can’t replace his experience”

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid lock horns with UD Almeria on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu in hope of bouncing back to winning ways after the humiliating they suffered earlier this week.

Indeed, the La Liga champions were thrashed 4-2 by Girona away from home this past Tuesday, all but ensuring that the defence of their league title was over.

But with important games in other competitions coming up ahead, it is important for Real Madrid to return to winning ways and build some momentum heading into the final phase of the campaign.

On the eve of the match against Almeria, manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media, addressing the challenges that lie ahead of him and his team.

Talking about the prospect of facing Almeria, he said: “It’s the same difficulty as it is against teams that are playing for things. It’s a demanding game and even more so for us because we weren’t good in Girona.”

The manager also called for greater protection for players like Vinicius Jr, who are at the receiving end of rough and repetitive challenges from the opposition, saying:

“We are worried. It’s normal. He wants to do one-on-ones and dribbles and the only way to protect him is justice.”

Moving on, Ancelotti also confirmed the bitter injury blow to Luka Modric, while stating that there are no certainties he will be back in time for the Copa del Rey final.

“He got injured against Girona and I don’t know if he will make it to the cup final. We’re hurting, hopefully, we’ll have him for the important games that are left.”

On the defensive lapse of the team against Girona, Ancelotti said: “I think they got the message. They’ve done well defensively. I think they will play differently tomorrow than they did against Girona.”

With a crucial run of fixtures coming up ahead for Real Madrid, Ancelotti said that he was feeling optimistic about the team and they hope to repeat last season’s success.

“I’m an optimist by nature, I see a good atmosphere but it’s true that sometimes you don’t understand certain things, like with Girona, but we’re motivated and with maximum enthusiasm. We want to repeat last year,” he said.

Ancelotti also opened up on the team’s varying form and fortunes in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and stated that given the fixture schedule, there are bound to be ups and downs.

“It’s not a problem of getting stuck in or not, it’s a problem of concentration. You can never always be at your best. We have already said, and we are not the only ones, that the calendar is very tight. There are good days and others a bit less,” he said.

On the Merengues’ performance in La Liga this season, he added: “We think that we could have done better, that we have not been convincing and we have not had consistency. It’s a drawback but we mustn’t look back, we must look forward because there’s still a long way to go.”

Of late, there have been speculations that Zinedine Zidane is being prepped for a return to Real Madrid as Ancelotti’s future at the club is not certain. When asked if his continuity depended on the club winning the Champions League, he reassured:

“It’s not like that, my future is already written. Until 2024, after that, I don’t know.”

On managing the tight schedule given that they have just three days between the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, he said: “We’ll sleep over in Seville because it could end at any time. We’ll train when we get back and then we’ll concentrate on Monday to prepare for the game.”

Talking about Modric’s absence and how Real Madrid can replace him, Ancelotti said: “The one I see as the most similar in terms of characteristics is Ceballos, but we have different resources in midfield. What can’t be replaced is his experience in this type of situation.”

On whether he has seen any other player be targeted the way that Vinicius has been, Ancelotti said: “One thing is on the pitch and another off it. The one outside is bad for this society, the racism.

“The other is what happens on the pitch. It’s obvious that he gets kicked around a lot. In the past, it happened with Maradona or Pelé. But Vinicius is so strong that he can stop those attacks and he hasn’t had any injuries.”

Lastly, when quizzed if he had been following Erling Haaland ahead of the City semi-final next month, the Real Madrid boss said:

“I’m not thinking about the semi-finals now. There are two league games and one cup game left. City have no secrets, they have a great team with exceptional players, but I don’t even know if we’ll talk about it. But we’re going to enjoy this game for sure.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid superstar reveals how advice from Brazil legend helped him improve

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Even with all the excitement around Kylian Mbappe, it is Vinicius Junior, who continues to be Real Madrid’s biggest star.

In the past few years, the Brazilian has witnessed substantial growth, notably establishing himself as one of the best players in world football.

Vinicius’ rapid rise to prominence has been backed by numbers as well, with the forward racking up 82 goals and 75 assists in 262 competitive matches for Real Madrid.

Vinicius on receiving advice from Ronaldo

In a recent media interaction, Vinicius Junior, when talking about his success at Real Madrid, revealed that the forward constantly receives advice from his compatriot and former Real Madrid legend Ronaldo.

Vinicius particularly pointed out Ronaldo’s advice in 1v1 situations and how it has helped him improve in such scenarios.

“Ronaldo always calls me and gives me advice, he teaches me so many things. Since he told me that his favourite thing is a 1v1 vs a GK, I thought about it a lot and started working on it really hard,” Vinicius said (h/t Madrid Zone).

Ronaldo regularly speaks with Vinicius. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“Now, every time I’m in a 1v1 with a GK, I’m the calmest guy in the world. Ever since that conversation with Ronaldo, I stopped being afraid of making mistakes in a 1v1,” the forward added.

Vinicius has indeed witnessed an improvement in his 1v1 play in recent years, which has been reflected in his higher goalscoring numbers.

This season, the forward has netted 23 goals in all competitions while racking up 11 assists. His goalscoring prowess, coupled with his ability in 1v1 situations could prove to be critical as Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final next month.

The Brazilian international, though, will be up against a challenging defensive duo of Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck, who have been able to keep the opposition attacks quiet this season.

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