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Ancelotti talks Bellingham, Kepa, Lunin, Valverde, Rudiger, Kroos, Endrick ahead of Real Madrid vs Granada

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be eager to stretch their lead atop the La Liga standings when they lock horns with Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening.

Los Blancos reclaimed top spot in the league table following their 3-0 win over Cadiz last weekend, which was coupled with rivals Girona and Barcelona dropping points.

Real Madrid backed it up with a 4-2 win over Napoli in the UEFA Champions League and will be eager to continue that momentum when they host Granada this weekend.

Ahead of the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti attended the press conference, where he discussed the injury and fitness issues plaguing the squad, among other things.

On Bellingham and Kepa

Heading up to tomorrow’s game, Jude Bellingham’s availability was cast into doubts after he did not complete today’s training session with the rest of the team.

But, Ancelotti confirmed that the midfield sensation is okay and ready to play against Granada, as he said:

“Bellingham is fit to play tomorrow. He will be fine and he will play the game. It’s just that he’s had some discomfort in his ankle.”

Praising the young midfielder, he added: “Bellingham is very respected in the team not only for the goals he scores but for the work he does.”

On his form, Ancelotti said: “We have never asked Bellingham to score goals. He has to continue like that and there will come a time when he won’t score goals.”

The Italian tactician also confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga has also recovered and will be available for the game, but insisted Andriy Lunin will keep his place in the starting XI.

“Kepa is available. He trained today and for the first time, he has been medically cleared. We will continue with Lunin, so Kepa will have a week to prepare for the match against Betis,” Ancelotti stated.

On the injuries that have rocked Real Madrid this season, he added: “The injury problem is a general problem because the calendar is very tight at this time of year. We have to hold on and it can be an opportunity for the players who have had less prominence so far.”

“The objective this weekend is to continue to show quality and efficiency in the game. The key to this run of form has been the team’s collective effort,” he said, looking forward to the game against Granada.

Bellingham and Kepa are available. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

On the squad and winter transfer plans

Discussing the team’s current form and the level of depth in the squad, Ancelotti said: “Who knows if there will be a slump in January or February? In football anything can happen and we can’t plan for that. We know it will come and the important thing is to be prepared.”

When asked if Real Madrid will try to sign a striker as a result of the injuries, he replied: “A striker in the winter transfer window? The approach the club has taken is fantastic and the results are proving it.”

Building up to the game, there has been some talk of whether Ancelotti might give some respite to players like Federico Valverde and Antonio Rudiger, who have been playing without a break.

Regarding Valverde and his role, Ancelotti said: “It’s difficult to say where Valverde contributes the most because he contributes wherever he is placed.

“As a winger, as an inside player, as a pivot. He is very complete. He contributes a lot in many areas. He puts in a lot of energy and he’s a key player for us.”

Praising Rudiger’s contributions this term, he added: “The truth is that Rüdiger has shown a very good attitude. We’ll see him tomorrow. He’s a perfect centre-back for us.”

There was more praise in store for Bellingham and how he has adapted to the team so well, as Ancelotti said:

“Bellingham’s adaptation to the dressing room has been very good. Entering the dressing room is quite easy because the ego level of this squad is very low and for the new players it’s much easier.”

“I didn’t see Di Stéfano play. I’ve seen Cruyff and Zidane play and I think I was as surprised with Bellingham as I was when I first saw Kaka. He has a lot of Kaka in him.”

Ancelotti also had some words of praise for Castilla youngster Nico Paz, who scored his first senior goal for Real Madrid against Napoli.

“I think Nico Paz is doing very well. He had his role and I’ve already said that the youth players who are with us are ready to play. I have to give priority to the first team but it’s good that they are with us at the moment,” he stated.

On his and Kroos’ future

Real Madrid have some players with expiring contracts at the end of the season, one of whom is Toni Kroos. On whether the German will continue at the club, Ancelotti said:

“Kroos’ decision on whether to stay or not is his decision. He is very much loved here and he knows it. He keeps playing as usual, he feels very good with all his team-mates.”

Ancelotti himself sees his contract expiring at the club, but insisted he feels like he is still in the ‘honeymoon period’ as he remarked:

“For me, it’s a positive moment. On a personal level, I feel a lot of affection from everyone but I have to be careful because the difficult or delicate moment will come and we have to be prepared.

“Yes, I’m still on honeymoon with Real Madrid. We are in a very good moment and I feel a lot of affection around me.”

Ancelotti also referred to Real Madrid’s future signing Endrick who continues to impress at Palmeiras, saying: “We are watching what Endrick is doing. He is progressing very quickly and we are delighted that he can be with us next season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid to start pre-season today with only seven first-team members

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Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images

Today, according to a report from MARCA, only seven first-team players from Real Madrid’s first team will be returning to training at Valdebebas.

These players are Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Lucas Vazquez, Jesus Vallejo, Fran Garcia, Dani Ceballos, and Brahim Diaz.

Real Madrid and their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, are gearing up for what could be their most demanding season ever. 

With seven major titles on the line, including the European Super Cup, La Liga, the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the Copa del Rey, and the Club World Cup, they are set to play a staggering 68 games across all competitions over the next 11 months.

However, before diving into these intense competitions, the team will embark on a pre-season tour in the United States, where they will play three friendly matches against Milan on July 31, Barcelona on August 4, and Chelsea on August 7.

Limited firearms in the arsenal

Currently, however, only a few players have returned to training, while the rest are still enjoying their vacations following their extended participation in the European Championship and Copa America.

For those who are at the club, the challenge begins today at Real Madrid City, starting with medical tests in the morning and the first training session in the afternoon. 

Carlo Ancelotti will have only seven first-team members in the training today. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

Ancelotti will initially have a limited squad due to the absence of international players, who will join the team gradually after their holidays. 

For now, the seven players who have returned will train alongside Castilla players, who are also starting their training today to help fill out the first team sessions. 

Need for new signings

Ancelotti’s current squad consists of 22 players, including two goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders, and five forwards. 

This season will see significant changes, with the departure of legends like Toni Kroos and Nacho, as well as Joselu, one of the heroes from their last Champions League campaign.

On the positive side, the squad will be boosted by the arrival of superstar Kylian Mbappe and promising young talent Endrick. Kepa Arrizabalaga is also absent, but his return is still possible, depending on the situation with Lunin, whose future with the club remains uncertain. 

Additionally, the continuity of Dani Ceballos is in question, and Real Madrid is working on signing Leny Yoro to strengthen their defence.

As the summer progresses, these moves will help finalize the squad that Ancelotti will rely on to tackle the daunting task of competing for seven major titles. 

The preparation and integration of new and returning players will be crucial for Real Madrid as they aim to make history in the upcoming season.

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