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Ancelotti talks Asensio, Kroos, Modric, Valverde, Rodrygo ahead of Espanyol clash



Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid will look to maintain their 100 percent record in the 2022/23 La Liga intact when they lock horns with RCD Espanyol on Sunday night at the RCDE Stadium.

Los Blancos have won their first two league games against UD Almeria and Celta Vigo in La Liga and have registered three victories in three, in all competitions if we count the UEFA Super Cup triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt.

And the reigning champions of Spain and Europe will be hoping to carry forward the same form and extend the run when they travel to Catalonia to face Espanyol.

On the eve of the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in his pre-match press conference, where he discussed the futures of exit-linked players like Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz while providing a fitness update on the squad.

“I don’t know anything new about Asensio, if there are good options for him and for the club, it can be evaluated,” Ancelotti said on the matter of Asensio, who is linked with Arsenal and Manchester United.

“If Marco leaves we are not going to sign anyone because we don’t need it,” he further added.

On the subject of Mariano Diaz, the Italian tactician said: “We count on Mariano, but he has the best striker in the world ahead of him.”

Dani Ceballos had also been linked with a summer departure, but Ancelotti confirmed that the midfielder will stay at the club, saying:

Dani Ceballos had also been linked with a summer departure, but Ancelotti confirmed that the midfielder will stay at the club, saying: “Ceballos is going to stay and we are happy about it, he is going to have more minutes because he deserves it.”

Along with Ceballos, Ancelotti also promised a bigger role for Rodrygo Goes, stating that the Brazilian will start more games than he did last season. “This year Rodrygo is going to have a more important role, he will play more games as a starter,” he said.

“We can replace him with Vinicius, we can try him with Karim as a striker or we can put him in Karim’s place,” Ancelotti added.

Providing a fitness update on the squad, Ancelotti confirmed that Toni Kroos has recovered from his flu and will be in contention, but ruled out three players from the game. “Kroos recovered well. Nacho and Odriozola are absent as is Vallejo, who had problems,” he confirmed.

Today marks the tenth year anniversary of Luka Modric’s transfer to Real Madrid and Ancelotti hailed the legendary midfielder, saying: “Modric has been a good signing for Madrid. His career has been very continuous and he has always played very well, with a very high level.

“He can still play for a long time because I see him fresh and highly motivated. I think he will continue for more seasons.”

The manager also spoke about the departure of midfield general Casemiro, who has joined Manchester United, as he said: “It is not just a technical problem, it is also the good relationship we had. When Casemiro left we felt sorry and sad. Today he is going to start his new stage and we wish him the best.”

Explaining his thought process to use Federico Valverde out on the wings regularly, Ancelotti said: “Valverde has shown that he can play on the wing, I don’t know if he has the quality to play there, but he has taken to the position very well and gives us a lot of energy there. He allows us to have more intense games.”

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Real Madrid News

Nacho set to stay at Real Madrid, will be new club captain – report



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid have finally received some good news as MARCA confirms that Nacho has finally made his decision about his future, and is set to continue at the club for the foreseeable future.

His contract expires in the summer, and Real Madrid had tabled an extension for the player, which was not accepted by the Spaniard at the time. Now, however, he has decided to reject offers from Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.

Nacho will sign a one year extension, with the option to extend for another year if both parties reach an agreement.

His continuity also means that he will be the new club captain for the 2023/24 season, since Karim Benzema is leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer. Luka Modric will be second captain, followed by Daniel Carvajal and Toni Kroos.

Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken to the player, confirming that they trust him for next season in the team, which has gone a long way in helping convince the player.

The Italian gaffer also spoke about the Spanish defender’s contract situation after the game against Athletic Club yesterday, saying:

“Asensio, Nacho and Ceballos? We have explained them their roles. The club have offered them renewals. Asensio has preferred to leave, Ceballos and Nacho are still thinking about it.” 

While a centre-back by trade, Nacho has played across the defence for Madrid continuously, including putting shifts at left-back, right-back, and even centre-back.

His departure would have probably pushed Madrid to sign another defender, especially since they are considering selling Ferland Mendy if a good offer arrives.

Regardless of that, though, Madrid are moving to sign Alphonso Davies, and have already made initial contacts with the player. Bayern Munich have not rejected their advances.

Further, the los blancos management have already met with Davies’ entourage twice, cementing their interest in the Canadian ace.

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