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Ancelotti talks Asensio, Vinicius, Valverde, Benzema, Sergio Ramos after Real Madrid 5-1 Celtic



Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Real Madrid clinched the top spot in their UEFA Champions League group after thrashing Scottish giants Celtic 5-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Luka Modric, Rodrygo Goes, Marco Asensio, Vinicius Jr, and Federico Valverde were on target for the reigning champions as they returned to winning ways after failing to do so in their last two matches.

Speaking after the match, manager Carlo Ancelotti lavished praises on his star performers on the night, in particular Asensio, who has had to endure a difficult season so far.

On Asensio: “Marco was the best of the match. He has played as a winger and has combined well with Valverde, who was more open, and with Carvajal. The combination between the three has been very good. 

“Most of the time Asensio has been as a winger. He has all the necessary quality when he enters the field to be able to make a difference. He has been forceful, effective with the ball and has sacrificed without it.”

On Vinicius Jr and Valverde: “It’s more a mental aspect of the players. Now they have more prominence and confidence, especially Valverde. He has changed radically from last season in terms of goals scored. Vini moves better without the ball and looks for good positions in the area. We have replaced Karim well, who was the protagonist last year.”

“The individual quality they have is evident. Character can limit individual quality, but the character of both is very strong because they are very serious and humble professionals. It’s amazing what they’re doing.”

On Valverde’s goalscoring run: “It would be good for him if he scored more goals because he has an impressive shooting quality. He can score a lot more goals.”

On the progression of youngsters: “They have no ceiling. They are doing well and have the possibility to improve in many aspects. Rodrygo, Vini and Valverde are doing well. Not having Karim has given everyone more responsibility, especially the forwards. They have taken on this responsibility and are fulfilling it.”

On Luka Modric and Toni Kroos: “It’s business as usual. If the young people surprise, Luka and Toni do not. They are always at a very high level. They handle the ball well and control the game. They are players with unique quality and experience.”

On Asensio’s attitude: “Asensio has endured and has had a good attitude when he hasn’t played. It has now helped him demonstrate his quality and what he brings to the team. When you are not happy, you can have a positive or negative reaction. He has had a positive reaction.”

On whether Vinicius and Rodrygo can star for Brazil in the World Cup: “I don’t know how many minutes they will play in the World Cup because it is not my decision. It is obvious that they can be protagonists. They are showing great quality and let’s see what happens in the World Cup.”

On Benzema and Aurelien Tchouameni’s fitness: “I don’t know which of Tchoumeni’s leg is affected. It is not a muscle injury, it is tendinitis and it has bothered him in recent days. The sensations are better and I think he will be like Karim on Monday. He has had a good feeling today and he will play on Monday.”

On whether Sergio Ramos should play for Spain at the World Cup: “Sergio Ramos has great experience and quality. He is physically well and for me, he has to go to the World Cup without a doubt. He is still one of the best centre-backs in the world.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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