Real Madrid play one of their most important matches of the 2022/23 campaign on Sunday as they take on bitter rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final in Riyadh.
Los Blancos have been well below their best since the restart of the season after the World Cup. And it was again visible during the semi-final encounter against Valencia, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side relying on penalty shootouts to progress to the final.
With a challenge against the La Liga leaders now awaiting, the Merengues cannot afford a slip-up, especially with questions already being raised over the team’s recent run of form and results.
On the eve of the blockbuster El Clasico final, manager Ancelotti attended his customary press conference and shared his thoughts going into the match on Sunday.
On the importance of winning the Spanish Super Cup: “All titles are important to have confidence and have a good atmosphere in the locker room.”
On Barcelona’s need to win the trophy: “We have the same need to win as they do. We fight every day to get to this moment and the team is motivated as always. They are comfortable and used to this kind of pressure and we are very confident.”
On the possibility of winning the sextet: “This thought is not in our head. Our thought is to fight in all competitions and that’s it. I think that’s what we have to do and not think about something that is really very complicated and very difficult.”
On whether Real Madrid have a ‘full belly’ with trophies: “It’s not true. We are talking about players who have not won last year. They have started winning in 2013 and they will never have a full belly because they have a mental quality that is very high. Also because we are in a very demanding club and it doesn’t allow you to have a full belly.”
On the state of the pitch: “I liked the state of the pitch the other day. We got into an issue that has led to a lot of messes and I don’t want to say what I wanted to say. It’s better grass than at home, that’s for sure.”
On the El Clasico final: “You have to do a lot of things right to beat FC Barcelona. It’s not just thinking that intensity is the key. The key is to play a complete game in all aspects.”
On Karim Benzema: “Benzema is back. This gives us a lot of confidence for the next games. He is too important for us. The team has coped well with his absence and he’s going to help us a lot now.”
On the injuries: “When we have injuries it worries us a bit, but besides the two who have stayed in Madrid, only Lucas Vázquez will not be able to play. The rest should be fine.”
On Eder Militao and Eduardo Camavinga: “Camavinga has recovered well and Militao trained without problems. It’s hard to recover from extra time but we’ll be fine for the game.”
On new signings: “We don’t need any more players in this market.”
On Cristiano Ronaldo: “Yesterday we saw Cristiano and he is happy, motivated and likes this new adventure and the decision he has made.”
On the areas to improve: “There are things we have to improve in defence. The block against Valencia was good but we had a positional problem. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”
On Xavi’s comments that he would be ‘killed’ if he doesn’t win titles: “Winning is the burden of coaches. Xavi knows it well.”
Source: Real Madrid Twitter
Real Madrid closely following the progress of 19-year-old Brazilian centre-back
Real Madrid have made it a habit to identify and sign the best young talents from Brazil in recent times. The Merengues recently signed Endrick Felipe from Palmeiras, although the striker will join the club in 2024, once he turns 18 years old.
Now, according to journalist Bruno Andrade on UOL Esporte, Real Madrid have set their sights on 19-year-old Brazilian defender Robert Renan.
The teenage centre-half came through the ranks at Corinthians and went on to make 13 senior appearances for the Brazilian outfit. He left the club last month to sign for Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg as part of the operation involving Yuri Alberto.
Renan is yet to make his debut for Zenit, but Real Madrid have had their eyes on the 19-year-old for a while now and have been closely following his progress and performances.
The teenage defender is currently a part of the Brazil U-20 team at the South American U-20 Championship in Colombia. And he has performed admirably in the tournament, featuring in each of his team’s five matches so far.
Renan’s performances in the U-20 Championship are said to have further piqued the interest of Real Madrid.
The report suggests that Los Blancos will continue keeping tabs on the young defender’s development at Zenit over the coming months.
With Nacho Fernandez’s contract expiring at the end of the season and Jesus Vallejo’s future uncertain as well, Real Madrid could use a defensive reinforcement in the summer to support Eder Militao, David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger.
Established players such as Josko Gvardiol have been linked with a move to the Bernabeu.
Renan, too, could be an option for Real Madrid in the summer. But, as things stand, the interest in the Brazilian is at a very nascent stage and the Merengues will continue to track his progress at Zenit, where his contract runs until 2028.