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Ancelotti talks Pique, Benzema, Rodrygo, Hazard, winter transfers ahead of Rayo vs Real Madrid

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Barcelona have not stopped the pressure on Real Madrid through this season, and have, as it stands, gone top of the league with a 2-0 win against Almeria. Carlo Ancelotti’s men will want to defend their title as they take on Rayo Vallecano tomorrow night.

Rayo have picked up where they left off last season, and sit ninth in the league this season with five wins out of 12 games. While they are 14 points clear off Madrid, they have lost just one game at home this season and could prove to be a nuisance for Los Blancos.

Ahead of the fixture, Ancelotti spoke to the media as part of his pre-game press conference, the quotes from which are brought to you by Madrid Universal.

On the game: “Rayo play very well at their stadium, it will be a complicated game.”

On Marco Asensio: “Asensio can play in two different positions and he does it well. He combines very well with Valverde.”

On Karim Benzema: “Benzema will not play tomorrow. His sensations are not good.”

“I think Benzema will play against Cadiz, though. Rudiger will not.”

“Are we not risking Benzema because of the World Cup? No, no. We look at the facts and the facts say Benzema cannot play.”

“We have managed to do well without Benzema but of course, we will need him after the World Cup.”

“Benzema’s lack of participation in some matches allows us to show players with a lot of quality, like Rodrygo, Valverde, Vinicius.”

On Gerard Pique: “He was one of the strongest defenders of his era in football. An intelligent and organised player. It is important that you decide to stop, like he did, and that the club does not have to decide for you. I wish him all the best for his future.”

On Rodrygo: “Rodrygo has a great future as a no. 9.”

“Rodrygo’s best position is as a centre-forward or second striker. I see him more as a striker than as a winger — that’s not his best position.”

On Eden Hazard: “The competition with the other players is big here. There are players who have played less minutes than they deserve.”

On the winter transfer window: “Our idea is not to make moves during the winter market.”

On Iker Bravo: “All the Castilla youngsters are progressing well. We will use them when it’s their time.”

On the UCL draw: “We are not worried. We could get PSG, Liverpool, Milan, or Inter. But it’s not a worry for us.”

Source: Real Madrid TV

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder set to sign a four-year contract with the club

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

In a major development, journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin is reporting that Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has decided to sign a new contract with the club and will pen a four-year deal to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 26-year-old midfielder’s current contract with Real Madrid stands to expire at the end of the season. And there had been conflicting reports over whether he would be offered a new deal by the Merengues.

But the Spaniard has managed to turn things around spectacularly in recent weeks, putting up top displays one after the other, helping Real Madrid emerge out of a poor run at the start of the new year.

It has convinced the club to hand him a new contract and it seems like things are moving swiftly on the renewal front for Ceballos.

Indeed, as per the update from Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, Real Madrid have decided to offer him a new four-year contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2027. It will see the midfielder receive an improved salary to the one that he is currently earning.

And Ceballos has decided to sign the deal. The former Real Betis ace has always maintained that he wants to continue at the Bernabeu beyond the current campaign. And the two parties could now be close to shaking hands on a new contract.

Ceballos joined Real Madrid from Real Betis back in 2017, arriving as one of the most talented young midfielders in La Liga. However, he found the going tough initially, thanks to the hegemony of the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.

The Spaniard spent a couple of seasons on loan at Arsenal before returning to the club in 2021. If not for an injury while away at the Tokyo Olympics, Ceballos could have been sold that year.

Having returned to action in January last year, he has slowly but surely gained importance in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans. And he is now set to be rewarded with a new four-year contract by the champions of Spain and Europe.

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