Real Madrid News
Ancelotti insists Courtois still in contention for El Clasico, more tests to be done tomorrow
Just a while ago, reports from several media outlets claimed that Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out of El Clasico against Barcelona this weekend.
The 29-year-old did not train with the rest of the group earlier today and it was believed that he will not be ready in time to face the Blaugrana at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon.
However, manager Carlo Ancelotti has now claimed that the Belgian international could still be in contention to feature against the La Liga leaders as he had ‘good feelings’ in training today.
As quoted by Serge Quirante of DAZN, Ancelotti said: “Courtois trained today, he felt good and tomorrow they will have another test.”
This comes in complete contrast to earlier reports and offers Madridistas a glimmer of hope that Courtois could still feature when Barcelona come to town.
The 29-year-old has been a clutch performer for Real Madrid over the past year, and had a huge hand in their La Liga and UEFA Champions League triumphs in the 2021/22 campaign.
While he may have not kept a single clean sheet in La Liga this season, the Belgian international had still made key contributions, up until his injury.
As informed by Ancelotti, the former Chelsea goalkeeper will be subjected to more tests tomorrow before his availability for the blockbuster clash on Sunday can be determined.
If he is not passed fit, Andriy Lunin is all set to line up between the sticks for the reigning La Liga champions. The Ukrainian has started in each of Real Madrid’s last four matches in all competitions, but a Clasico will be a whole new experience for the young custodian.
Real Madrid News
Kovacic speaks ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea: “Strange to have Modric as a rival”
In less than two weeks, Real Madrid will play hosts to Premier League giants Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the change being that the first leg was played at Stamford Bridge back then, which Real Madrid won triumphantly.
So, even though they lost the second leg 3-2, Los Merengues progressed on aggregate. At one point in the second leg, Real Madrid were 3-0 down and looked to be crashing out of the tournament.
But, that is not how the match played out as Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, sending in a stunning outside-of-the-boot pass for Rodrygo to guide home. That forced the match into extra time and Karim Benzema then scored to seal an aggregate win for his team.
Mateo Kovacic, a former Real Madrid midfielder, was on the losing side with Chelsea on that fateful night. And the Croatian has now spoken to Sportske Novosti, about that moment of magic from Modric last year as well as the prospect of facing Real Madrid again.
“We were good against Real Madrid last year, especially in Madrid. Then Modrić invented that trivela assist for Rodrygo… We have to be at 120% against them. They immediately punish every minor mistake. Although I repeat, we are also a difficult opponent for them, we showed it,“ Kovacic said.
On the prospect of facing his close friend and national teammate Modric, Kovacic added: “[laughs] how the draw arranges it… It won’t be easy for us because Real Madrid is always the most dangerous team in the Champions League.”
“It’s a strange feeling to have Modric as a rival. There were hard fouls last year because neither he nor I pull back. We will fight for sure. I play on the left, he’s on the right, we will see who wants what. But I wouldn’t like to hurt him,” he added.
Chelsea had met Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League during the 2020/21 campaign as well and had managed to eliminate them at the semi-final stages on their way to winning the title.
While the Blues have not been in the best of form this season, they have the star power and quality in their ranks to hurt Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be at their best to get through to the next round.