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Ancelotti talks Benzema, Courtois, Hazard, penalty duties after Real Madrid 1-1 Osasuna

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s winning streak in the new season came to an end on Sunday night as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Osasuna at home. Los Blancos had 22 shots, three big chances and hit the woodwork twice on the night but could not pick up all three points.

Vinicius Jr scored a sensational goal from outside the box late in the first half but the visitors equalised in the 50th minute through Kike Garcia. Captain Karim Benzema had the chance to seal the game in the 78th minute but missed from the penalty spot. 

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press after his team’s draw and addressed topics including the penalty miss and Eden Hazard. Here are the key quotes from his presser.

On the missed opportunity: “We deserved the win but we missed a penalty. It’s normal, setbacks happen. This is football.” 

On Thibaut Courtois’ injury: “Courtois will undergo exams tomorrow and we will see how he feels. It’s not a serious injury but we have to see if he can play on Wednesdays.”

On Karim Benzema: “It has not been his best game, but obviously he is not so fresh and he needs to work. He hasn’t played for a month.”

On Benzema missing the penalty: “Benzema is the best penalty taker in the squad. He scored an important one vs City last season and this won’t change.”

On not playing Eden Hazard: “We needed Mariano’s abilities tonight, not Hazard’s.”

On his team’s performance: “Our team was slow in the first half. I made changes in the 2nd half because we needed fresh legs and more intensity.”

On the international break: “I don’t blame the international break. I wanted to give minutes to the players who trained all week in Madrid.”

On whether his team deserved the win: “We conceded two shots and didn’t play at a high rhythm. But we deserved to win.”

On the result: “Tonight’s game wasn’t good but it happens, it’s a long season. Now we will start a new winning streak.”

On how the players took the result: “The players are sad because we didn’t win. This is the reason why won titles last season. We’re not happy with this draw.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

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

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(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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