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Ancelotti talks Benzema, Courtois, Mbappe, Vinicius, Man City, ahead of Elche vs Real Madrid



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid will look to stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga table to six points when they take on Elche away from home on Wednesday night.

Los Blancos reclaimed the top spot in the standings when they beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon. They now have a three-point advantage over their arch-rivals and can widen the gap to six, considering Barça will be playing only on Thursday.

Ahead of the game, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media during which he talked about the La Liga title race as well as Karim Benzema’s Ballon d’Or triumph, among other topics.

On preparations against Elche: “The preparation for the match, especially on a mental level, we have to push it a little more. It is normal to have a maximum concentration in high-level matches and it is a little more difficult to have it after a match that has cost you physically and mentally.

“We take that into account, knowing that we play for the same three points tomorrow that we won on Sunday.”

On Thibaut Courtois: “Tomorrow he will not be available. He is training normally and doing a good job. I think he will reappear on Saturday.”

On the Ballon d’Or gala: “We are very proud of what Benzema and Courtois have achieved. Modric and Vinicius have stayed close as well. I also want to congratulate Gavi, Alexia Putellas, Lewandowski, and Mané… And Manchester City. They had a fantastic season. We have a lot of respect for them.”

On whether he expected such a successful year: “No, I didn’t think so. What we have achieved so far has been very good. As I said, the fact of working at this club means that it can happen to you.

“There is everything you need to be successful: history, tradition, competition, the quality of the players, the atmosphere… But at the beginning of last season, I had many more doubts than now.”

On Iker Bravo: “He’s doing well with Castilla. We needed him today for training but tomorrow he won’t travel with us, he’ll stay with Castilla.”

On the Kylian Mbappe links: “I don’t know what the future is. I don’t know what can happen. The future of this club and this team is already written; I already said it last year. We have young players like Vinicius, Rodrygo, Camavinga, Tchouaméni, Valverde, Militao…

“They have already written the future of this team. The players change, surely next year’s squad will not be the same as this one, but these players have already designed the future of Real Madrid.”

On Vinicius finishing eighth in Ballon d’Or rankings: “I think so, that it is fair because this allows him to try to improve what he did last year, in which it was almost all new for everyone to see him with that continuity and quality. It will motivate him to do better.”

On Karim Benzema’s Ballon d’Or triumph: “We are very happy. We feel a bit of it. He has said that he is very proud of this award, he has also thanked all his teammates because that is what it is, an individual award thanks to the help of a team.

“We all congratulated him. It’s done, we have to think about the next one, and he can start tomorrow.”

On the changes in Benzema’s game: “Surely he has much more responsibility and feels much more like a leader in this team than he did eight years ago. He hasn’t changed much technically, his quality is the same. What has changed is his responsibility and his attitude towards the team, being much more of a leader.”

On Manchester City being voted the best team ahead of Real Madrid: “I don’t know the criteria. I think they don’t talk about teams because the best was Real Madrid, who won the Champions League. At the club level, I don’t know the criteria.

“It was very difficult for us to beat them in the semifinals. It was for a few details, and they won the Premier League. We have the utmost respect for this award, but we received the highest in May.”

On the keys to his success at Real Madrid: “The personal relationship is very important. With the professional aspect, in my opinion, you can get 100% from a footballer, with the personal you can get a little more.”

On being called a ‘Cholista’ (playing like Atletico):  “It’s a compliment. I saw Atlético against Athletic and it was a very entertaining game. After the game, I heard Simeone say that he was moved, and I agree. If they say that Real Madrid is Cholista, it’s a compliment.”

On Courtois’ Ballon d’Or ranking: “The striker who scores goals always stands out. That a goalkeeper has reached the seventh position is a good thing. I was never close to winning an individual title.

“It surprises me that some of our players like Kroos, Valverde, Militao or Alaba are not among the 30 finalists. Someone might think I have a conflict of interest. It’s true, I do.”

Source: SPORT

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid defender doubt for El Clasico, injury not serious though



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid fans were dealt with a massive blow when star player Antonio Rudiger was left out of the squad against Real Valladolid, allegedly due to knee discomfort.

The injury sparked fears over his absence in the upcoming Copa Del Rey semifinal against Barcelona.

However, according to a report from Sergio Quirante, Rudiger’s knee injury is not thought to be serious. It appears the decision to leave him out of the squad against Valladolid may only be a precaution, with the defender set to undergo ultrasonic tests tomorrow.

Rudiger, whose injury scare came just 48 hours before Real Madrid’s big game against Barcelona, has been a stellar success in the club’s backline this season.

The German international has emerged as a real leader at the back, using his experience and authority to good effect. Although Real Madrid’s defence has left a lot to be desired this season, Rudiger has been one of the bright sparks.

His potential absence, therefore, could serve as a major blow for Los Blancos, in their hopes to reach the Copa Del Rey semifinal next week.

Real Madrid are heading into this semifinal with a 1-0 defeat in the first leg, meaning keeping a clean sheet could be mandatory if they are to overturn the deficit and book a place in the final. Rudiger, in that regard, could prove to be a vital asset.

In the meantime, Real Madrid are heading into the Valladolid game with David Alaba and Eder Militao as two of the only reliable centre-backs in the team. Among the two, Alaba has struggled with injuries this season, so it will be interesting to see how Carlo Ancelotti deals with this tricky situation this afternoon.

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