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Ancelotti talks Bellingham, Rodrygo, Nico Paz, Brahim, Joselu, Modric after Real Madrid 4-2 Napoli



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid pulled off yet another late, but dominant victory over Napoli on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten in Group C of the UEFA Champions League. The Merengues went behind early in the game, but a quick-fire double from Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham gave them the lead before half-time.

Napoli eventually equalised two minutes after the break and a hard-fought battle ensued. In the end, however, Los Blancos conjured two goals in the final ten minutes to record a 4-2 win at Santiago Bernabeu.

Speaking to the media after the thumping result, Carlo Ancelotti shared his thoughts on a plethora of topics including the game on the night, the team’s form and individuals who stood out. He began by breaking down the clash against Napoli and his men’s showing on the night.

“It has been a match against a rival with quality. At the level of playing with the ball we have done well, without haste, and managing the exit well from behind. We were able to do better in the defensive aspect. We were tidy, but not aggressive.”

“When it seemed that we didn’t have enough energy to win, we proved the opposite and that’s why we won the game. We are tired and we have had players with cramps. It’s normal because it’s been an open and very intense game,” he added on how his team came back from behind to win.

“There have been many transitions on the part of the two teams and we have ended up quite tired. We have time to recover until Saturday,” he elaborated on the aftermath of the clash.

Real Madrid were shoddy in defence in the opening spell of the game, but Ancelotti’s mid-game tweaks enabled a turnaround and improved stability. Speaking on the defence performance, the manager said,

“The derby showed that we conceded three goals with crosses and I think we were not able to control the penalty area with the two centre-backs.

“We are now quite well at the defensive level, but today we could be more forceful, especially when we had the low block. The two goals conceded are things that we must evaluate. We are satisfied, but there have been two situations that could be avoided. Despite this, we were lucky enough to score two more goals than the rival,” he added.

Jude Bellingham was the central figure when Real Madrid bettered Napoli in Naples earlier this year and was once again in the spotlight last night. The youngster scored once and provided one assist in yet another masterclass in the final third.

“Surprise every day and every game. Not only to us but to everyone. It is a gift for soccer. The teammates and the fans are delighted with him and the whole world of football, who sees a player with this potential and this positive image,” Ancelotti said about the Real Madrid starlet.

He also commented on the impact Bellingham had on the team and called him the ‘ideal player’ for the modern game.

“I hope he can continue like this. I don’t get into the issue of the money it has cost, but it has been a spectacular signing. We have to keep in mind that he is 20 years old. He is the ideal player for today’s soccer: of intensity and that covers the fast field.”

Staying on the topic of the English protege, Ancelotti emphasised that while special, Bellingham still had his areas to improve.

“He is serious, professional, and has adapted very well to the locker room. He works and understands himself very well with others. He has to improve his Spanish [laughs]. No one is perfect.”

Star of the show. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Finally, the manager was asked if the new signing could be compared to Zinedine Zidane in terms of position and impact on the field, to which he said,

“It’s hard to compare him with Zidane. They are two different generations. Bellingham has presence in the box that Zidane did not have and Zidane had an individual quality that Bellingham does not have. Modern football wants players who are physically strong and able to cover a lot of field quickly.”

Real Madrid boast of a frightening marquee lineup when all players are fit, but football is about a whole lot more than names on paper. Ancelotti made it a point to praise the players on the bench who have an equally important role through cameos.

“Players have arrived who, without a doubt, have improved the quality of the squad such as Brahim, Joselu and Fran García. They are contributing something important to the team, we are living beautiful moments and we will do everything to keep this moment going.”

One such star who came off the bench and impressed was Nico Paz. The youngster came onto the field in the 65th minute and scored the winner for Real Madrid close to 20 minutes later.

“He provided what everyone expected. It’s a special night for him. He is a player for the future of Real Madrid because he has all the qualities that a player who is part of the Real Madrid squad has to have. In a moment of need, that’s what we need,” the manager said on the Castilla star.

He also showered praise on Rodrygo Goes who has been in red-hot form in recent games and once again found the back of the net against Napoli.

“I have seen many forwards with bad times and there you have to not lower confidence and the player does not lower his arms. He never lowered his arms and the day he scored the first goal he made the click that changed him. It was just a matter of time.”

Ancelotti then made a big announcement by revealing that none of the injured players would be back for Real Madrid’s next clash.

“We can’t get anyone back against Granada, but I think that against Betis it may be Modrić. We will prepare the match against Granada with these players.”

Finally, the Italian tactician gave his two cents on Joselu’s performance on the night which included a goal in just 30 minutes of play.

“He has done his job. Not just today. I’m not just asking you to score goals. He works very well and will continue to work. That he scores goals is good for him, but a player has to apologize when he doesn’t work and he has always worked very well.”

Source: Real Madrid website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder set for a change in roles heading into the new season




(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Federico Valverde, the dynamic midfielder for Real Madrid, is once again on the cusp of adapting to a new role under the guidance of coach Carlo Ancelotti, reports Mario Calderon for Mundo Deportivo

Valverde’s remarkable versatility has been a key asset for Real Madrid, allowing him to excel in various positions on the field. This adaptability has been crucial for the team, and it seems another transformation is on the horizon for the 25-year-old Uruguayan.

The team chances and so does Valverde

His potential shift in role comes amid changes within the team, notably the reassignment of the number ‘8’ shirt to Toni Kroos. 

The German midfielder’s responsibility for constructing the game will likely be shared among several players to ensure a seamless transition.

Here, Valverde’s ability to quickly grasp new concepts will be a significant advantage for both him and Ancelotti. Even during the current period, with many players still absent, Ancelotti is already strategizing on how to best integrate everyone into the team dynamics without compromising performance.

Federico Valverde might play a different role at Real Madrid next season. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Marcelo Bielsa must be credited

Valverde’s recent experiences with the Uruguayan national team in the Copa America under coach Marcelo Bielsa have further honed his skills. 

Bielsa entrusted Valverde with the captain’s armband and deployed him in a deeper role, where he was responsible for initiating plays from the back alongside his teammate, PSG’s young pivot, Manuel Ugarte. 

This experience has enriched Valverde’s understanding of the game, adding another layer to his already impressive skill set.

As the new season approaches, Valverde will need to re-establish himself in whatever role Ancelotti deems fit—be it as a winger, a pivot, or even a full-back, a position he has previously played under former coach Zinedine Zidane. 

Regardless of where he is positioned, Valverde’s importance to the team is undeniable. His versatility, coupled with his ability to adapt quickly, makes him a pivotal player for Real Madrid’s upcoming campaign.

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