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Ancelotti hails Real Madrid youngster after 4-0 win over Barcelona: “Played a top-class game”



Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Real Madrid slammed four goals past Barcelona in a high-voltage clash at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday to guarantee themselves a spot in the Copa del Rey final. A Karim Benzema hattrick stole the headlines, but the game showed an all-round display from the men in white.

The Merengues cruised from 1-0 down on aggregate to 3-1 up in a span of fewer than twenty minutes and put Xavi’s side under immense pressure. In the process, they reaffirmed their status as a team engineered for knockout football and playing under pressure.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team’s impressive result in Barcelona and spoke in detail about a plethora of topics. Here are the key takeaways from his post-match press conference.

Real Madrid’s coach began his post-match interview with his opinion on the course the game took and the differences between the two halves of play.

“It was a complete performance, otherwise we wouldn’t have won 4-0 here. In the first half, we struggled to get the ball out, but the first goal changed the pattern of play and in the second half we caused a lot of damage with our transitions because we found more openings.

“What I’m most proud of is that the boiler has warmed up again and when we’re warm, we do a pretty good job.”

The game marked the end of Los Blancos’ run of three successive Clasico defeats. When asked about what he changed this time around to turn the tide, he said:

“Our approach was the same as in the last two Clásicos. The only thing I did was add more depth to the game with Rodrygo. The minor details decided the game. The amazing detail of the first goal, which was fantastic, defined the second half.”

After Real Madrid’s recent game against Osasuna in La Liga, Ancelotti was heard telling the Pamplona-based side’s manager Jagoba Arrasate that they would meet again in the final of the cup.

“What I said to Arrasate was a joke, but that’s the reality. We’re thrilled to be playing in the final and I’m sure Osasuna are too. It’s going to be a final with a great atmosphere,” the coach told the media about the coincidence of his casual remark coming true.

Karim Benzema has well and truly turned the tables with his recent performances. The Frenchman has endured a difficult season in front of goal but now has six goals in his last two games. Ancelotti lauded his man for his comeback and revealed the factors that made it possible.

“The work during the break has certainly helped him. He’s found his best condition and with the quality he has, he makes a difference for sure. He’s still one of the best players in the world at the moment and when he’s in good shape he makes a difference.”

Ancelotti has long maintained that Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, alongside Karim Benzema, form the backbone of his team. He thus did not stop his praise with the Frenchman and explained how important the midfielders were on the night.

“These are games where personality and experience are hugely important. With the starting line-up, I looked to combine the energy of Rodrygo, Valverde and Camavinga with Modrić and Kroos’ experience. That’s vital in ensuring we stay strong when they put pressure on us. Both of them put in an incredible performance.”

Eduardo Camavinga was forced to start at left-back again on Wednesday after Ferland Mendy’s injury. The youngster delivered a convincing show with a whopping 27 defensive actions. Ancelotti spoke about the Frenchman’s versatility saying,

“He’s very young and he’s in really impressive form, whether he plays at the base of midfield or left-back. He played really well up against Rapinha and he’s getting used to that position. He played a top-class game, like all the others. I still think he’s a left-back in emergencies and he gives us another option there.”

Vinicius Jr’s fight towards the end of the game had Real Madrid fans at the edge of their seat as he lurked dangerously close to being sent off. Ancelotti reasoned out his decision to substitute the Brazilian at that moment.

“It was a game with lots of contact and tensions were running high. That can happen in big games and I took him off because he was on a yellow card and another one would have seen him miss the final. I didn’t want to risk it.”

There has been no shortage of criticism around Ancelotti and the need for a change of manager in recent weeks. When asked about whether the big Clasico result brought him a sense of vindication, the Italian maestro said:

“This wasn’t about vindication. What do I have to feel vindicated about? Nothing at all. I’m happy because I’m lucky enough to be coaching a great team at a great club. We celebrated qualification in the dressing room because it was a big challenge to come from behind and make the final. I’ll celebrate on the pitch if we win the Copa.”

Source: Real Madrid website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid eye €3.5 million-rated relegated Premier League striker to reinforce attack



Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Following a difficult season with troubles in La Liga and the Champions League preventing Real Madrid from retaining their crowns, Los Blancos move towards a transformative summer, full of innovations.

Real Madrid managed to clear plenty of unwanted figures at the club, with a huge relief on the wage bill. However, with an array of exits, the squad has contracted and thus replacements are being inquired.

Apart from the high-profile departure of Karim Benzema, fringe players have also bid their farewell.

Among those names is Mariano Diaz, who was Madrid’s backup striker prior to his withdrawal. Several names have been put on the table to fill his absence as the club largely aim to address their lack of depth.

According to Arancha Rodriguez (via RM4Arab), Leeds United striker Rodrigo Moreno is one of the names gaining consensus in the Madrid hierarchy. Moreover, Joselu has also been considered as a viable alternative.

The two favourites to replace Mariano have proven to be important figures for their clubs as both strikers maintain a starting role.

Playing for Espanyol, Joselu ended the La Liga campaign as the third top scorer, only behind Benzema and Lewandowski. Considering Espanyol’s relegation, such a feat looks even more impressive. The Spaniard secured 19 goals in all competitions.

On the other hand, Rodrigo Moreno recorded 16 goals last season across all competitions. Similar to Joselu’s case, the Spanish international also suffered relegation with Leeds, in spite of his good numbers.

With both players offering adequate output in struggling sides, Real Madrid’s interest is practical. Moreover, considering both Espanyol and Leeds were relegated, their asking price will undeniably lower, which enables the Merengues to sign one of the two targets at a more convenient rate.

It is claimed that Rodrigo has a release clause worth €3.5 million which Los Blancos would have to trigger to sign him from Leeds United.

It now remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti & co. go after the former Valencia man or move for Joselu instead.

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