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Ancelotti talks Benzema, Courtois, Vinicius, Valverde after Real Madrid win FIFA Club World Cup



Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

A second trophy of the season was written in the stars for Real Madrid as they got the better of Al-Hilal in an eight-goal thriller on Sunday night. In retrospect, Los Blancos would not have wished to cut it as close, yet, all that matters is the silverware won. 

Vinicius Jr, Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde were all on the scoresheet in Morocco as the men in white put five past Abdullah Al-Mayouf. The win serves as the right propellant ahead of a key UEFA Champions League clash later this month and a difficult half of the season in La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team lifted the trophy and jubilantly spoke about the performance of several individual players. Here are the snippets from his press conference.

On winning the Club World Cup: “We had a good tournament and we’ve shown improvement over the last few games. We have a lot of quality up front and we need to improve on some mistakes at the back.”

On the injury situation: “Karim has returned and Militão and Courtois will be back soon. This title gives us a boost for the rest of the season. We have the desire and the will to do our best in all competitions and every minute of every game.”

On the stadium and atmosphere: “The atmosphere was fantastic. The city, the hotel and the training camp have been terrific as well. We have been very comfortable and Morocco seems to bring me good luck, so I hope to come back. We’ve had a good time and we’re going home with the title and the happiness of all the Real Madrid fans here in Morocco.”

On Vinicius winning the golden ball: “Vini Jr. just keeps on growing. He started at the beginning of last year and is a symptom of the team’s progression. Little by little, we have won the Champions League and the World Cup title.

“He’s doing very well and we’re delighted with him. He keeps improving and now he makes a difference in every game and is proving to be much more effective and gets on the scoresheet in almost every game.”

On pushing themselves forward: “Vini Jr. was upset by the defeat in Mallorca, but he prepared well for this tournament, which luckily we managed to win. Now we feel this trophy will give us a new impetus and we’re raring to go.”

On Vinicius’s status in coming games: “He’ll have a rest for a couple of days because he can’t play on Wednesday against Elche because he’s suspended. The rest will be good for him, but he’s not showing any signs of fatigue.”

On his special stints at Milan and Madrid: “They’re two football clubs and two families that are managed excellently by Berlusconi and Florentino Perez. They’re the biggest fans of their clubs and Real Madrid’s legacy derives from its history and tradition. We’re overjoyed to be part of this history.”

On Fede Valverde hitting the 10-goal target set by him: “I’m pleased because I don’t have to tear up my membership card. He’s had a tough time and he’s getting back. He contributes a lot in different aspects. He’s scored two goals and gives us so much energy on the pitch. With his energy and Vini Jr. on the other wing, we’re going to pose a real threat up front.”

On Tchouameni’s substitution: “It’s just a knock. Nothing more.”

On football improving in other continents: “I love football. It’s a joy to see that it’s improving all over the world. There’s not as much difference between a European team and an African or Asian team anymore. The other continents are developing very quickly.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Canadian international says playing against Luka Modric was a ‘lesson’ for him



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are blessed to have the services and loyalty of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The duo have run the show in the Merengues’ midfield for close to a decade and continue to deliver flawless performances to date.

Of the two, however, it is the Croatian who deserves the higher credit. The veteran is now 37 years of age, yet dominates the middle of the park with grace and poise like none other.

Stephen Estuaqio, an FC Porto player and Canada International, spoke earlier this week about why he considered Luka Modric to be a special player and compared him with Kevin de Bruyne to support his stance.

“I played against De Bruyne, but I ran behind Modrić. I couldn’t play against him. It’s crazy how he dictates the game and controls everything. It was a lesson for me,” he said on The 90th minute on Youtube.

With his contract running out next season, Real Madrid are looking to renew his deal by one year come June. Yet, it is difficult to see him continue beyond next season and his imminent departure will mark the end of an era at the club.

Thus, Modric could be an altered role come next season. With a young midfielder, possibly Jude Bellingham set to arrive, the veteran could move into a mentorship role with the occasional appearance in big games.

This season, however, Carlo Ancelotti will continue to use him as one of the backbones of the side and deploy the maestro in the must-win fixtures coming up later this month.

At 37 years of age, Modric has started 16 La Liga games over 24 appearances this season in the competition. He has scored four goals and provided three assists in that process in addition to creating eight big chances with an average of 1.8 key passes per game.

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