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Ancelotti talks Bellingham, Brahim, Rodrygo, Valverde after Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan

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Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid went two goals down quickly in the first half of their first pre-season friendly on Sunday night. Playing against AC Milan, the Merengues faced the heat but roared back to life in the second period.

A brace from Federico Valverde followed by a strong strike from Vinicius Jr helped Los Blancos pull off a comeback and start their pre-season on the right foot.

An elated Carlo Ancelotti faced the press after the team’s win in the United States and spoke about a plethora of topics including the system and Jude Bellingham. Here are the snippets from his press conference.

The manager first spoke about the debutant on the night, Jude Bellingham, and had only words of praise for the midfielder. However, Ancelotti remained critical about the specific areas where the team needed to work harder.

“I was really impressed with Bellingham. We have things we have to alter, like the way we played out from the back. We tried to play more through the middle than out wide in order to make the most of space between the lines.”

He further elaborated on the new signing’s incredible ability in the middle of the park, urging the team to adapt to his profile at the earliest. Speaking on Bellingham’s importance in the system, he said:

“Bellingham played very well and the team has to get used to his quality, which is unbelievable. His arrival into the box is hugely important for the team. I like the system but we saw a few mistakes. We didn’t play the ball out as we should have but I was pleased with the game overall.”

The topic of the English prodigy did not end there, as the coach was asked to elaborate on what made the former Borussia Dortmund star such a unique player. Commenting on the same, Ancelotti stated,

“He’s a fantastic player, very important for us because he’s a complete midfielder and he brings real pace and intensity to the game.”

“He moves extremely well without the ball and he’s different from the other midfielders we have. He makes the most of the free space and adds another dimension to this squad, which is fantastic.”

There was another young starlet who made his first appearance in a while for the club – Brahim Diaz. The Italian tactician counts on the youngster for the upcoming campaign after his two-year stint at AC Milan and had promising words about his performance.

“He came back strong. After two seasons with Milan, he has the ability to play for Real Madrid. He has quality in that position, he plays nicely between the lines and he’s another option for us. I hope we can enjoy his football all season.”

Ancelotti then elaborate on the areas he felt the squad had to improve on in the coming weeks and highlighted the cohesive pressing to be a primary front.

“We have to try and press higher up. With the diamond in the centre of the park, we press more through the middle. It’s not the greatest system from a defensive point of view but I have to adapt to the players and find a balance between defence and attack.”

Finally, the Italian gaffer made a massive revelation by stating that he would count on Rodrygo Goes as his primary striker if the team was to play in a 4-3-3 formation and outlined the other considerations taken into account.

“If we’re going to play 4-3-3, my central striker is Rodrygo, who did it brilliantly last season. On the left, we’ve got Arda Güler and Valverde. We could also play with a number 10 and a central striker, like Bellingham and Rodrygo.”

Source: Real Madrid website

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Copa America 2024: Rating ever Real Madrid player’s performance at the tournament

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Real Madrid had as many as five players representing them at the Copa America 2024 in the USA, with four of them being in the Brazil national team while another playing for Uruguay.

While Dani Carvajal enjoyed success with his national team at the Euro 2024, the story was much different for his Real Madrid teammates at the Copa America.

Indeed, it was a tournament to forget for the Brazilian contingent of Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo Goes, Eder Militao, and Endrick as they failed to go past the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Federico Valverde’s Uruguay finished with the bronze medal in the tournament seeing off Canada in the third-place playoffs via penalties after failing to defeat Colombia in the semi-finals.

Here’s how the five Real Madrid stars fared for their respective nations at the Copa America in the USA.

Brazil

Vinicius Jr.: 6/10

After enjoying an excellent season with Real Madrid, Vinicius was handed the responsibility of leading Brazil at the Copa America, especially with Neymar unavailable.

Kicking off with a dull showing against Costa Rica but showed up against Paraguay, scoring a fine brace to help his team to their only win of the tournament. A booking in the game against Colombia meant he sat out of the quarterfinal loss to Uruguay due to suspension.

Rodrygo: 5/10

An underwhelming showing from the Real Madrid forward who was handed the No. 10 shirt for the Copa America. Deployed as a centre-forward for most of his appearances at the tournament, Rodrygo hardly appeared like a threat in attack.

Rodrygo and Endrick failed to impress. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Eder Militao: 5/10

It was a mixed bag for Eder Militao at the Copa America as there were some indications of him returning to his best while he was also caught out at times and his passing from the back was sloppy. Guilty of missing his penalty in the shootout loss to Uruguay in the quarterfinal.

Endrick: 4/10

Bestowed the No. 9 shirt at the biggest tournament of his career so far at the age of just 17, Endrick failed to step up for Brazil.

A late substitute in each of the three group games, Endrick started in the quarterfinal against Uruguay in Vinicius’ absence but looked overawed by the occasion and failed to make any sort of impact.

Uruguay

Federico Valverde: 7/10

Federico Valverde stepped up for Uruguay. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

One of the stars of the show for Uruguay in their third-place run at the Copa America, Valverde was a consistent performer in midfield for La Celeste, putting in all-round solid displays while also catching the eye with his set-piece delivery.

The Real Madrid midfielder even scored a goal in the group game against Bolivia and dispatched his penalty in the shootout win against Canada in the third-place playoff.

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