Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that club captain Karim Benzema is ready to play his side’s last league game against Athletic Club while also citing that one must not forget that the Frenchman still has one more year left on his current deal.
Speaking ahead of Madrid’s final game of the 2022/23 season, the manager spoke on several aspects, including the team’s transfer plans, Benzema’s future and his own continuity.
When asked about Benzema, the manager said (h/t SPORT), “Benzema is ready to play tomorrow, he’s recovered.” He went on to add, “I agree with Benzema. Internet is not the reality. He has another year on his contract. I think it’s clear.”
At the same time, he subsequently admitted that Benzema is mostly on his way out. “The legends of this club have to retire at Real Madrid. This is what I believe and what the club believes. But the player maybe doesn’t think the same.”
In terms of the squad for the upcoming game, he mentioned, “We want to say goodbye to our fans. They’re all ready to play. Only Mariano won’t be there, the others are fine. We want to finish in the best possible way. Then we’ll rest and prepare for next season.”
Meanwhile, Benzema’s potential departure would mean Madrid will look to sign a new number 9. In this regard, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is said to be on the list and while addressing the same, the Italian said,
“Harry Kane? I’m sure you all are curious to see what will happen next season. But Kane is a Tottenham player and we have to respect this.”
He went on to add, “I think we’re going to have a different squad [next season]. There are players whose contracts are running out, but it will be a competitive squad and one that makes me very excited.”
Furthermore, the manager also confirmed that he will be at Real Madrid next season. “I’m happy at Real Madrid. No problems with the club. I’m very happy to continue and we will try to do better next season.”
Madrid’s main man also went on to admit that he cannot make everyone in the squad happy.
“It is true that some have had little prominence, but I have tried to keep all the players motivated. It is impossible to keep them all happy. Sometimes you have to put up with that discontent from the players. I feel that there are some who have played very little.”
Speaking about the plan for the next season, he added, “Next year’s squad will be very competitive. Obviously there are contracts that expire and there will be different players. But it will be competitive.”
“Yes, it’s true — Fran García will be our first signing,” Ancelotti confirmed, but refused to talk about Brahim Diaz’s potential arrival.
“Brahim Díaz? I can’t say anything on him right now, I can’t comment…”.
He also revealed that the likes of Nacho and Dani Ceballos will decide their own fate. “They know what we think of them. I think they have everything very clear. They are waiting for the end of the season to decide what they want to do. Everything is in their hands.”
When asked about Brahim Diaz, he simply said, “I can’t talk about him right now.”
Lastly, when asked how much would he rate the 2022/23 season, he said, “It’s difficult to rate yourself. What I can say is that it’s been a very long season. We’ve worked hard and sometimes I haven’t always been able to transmit a very high level of motivation.
“It’s not It’s easy to motivate every three days. I’ve given everything I could give. I put myself on a positive note, but next year I’m going to do better,” he concluded.
Real Madrid defender taken off with an injury against Las Palmas
There just does not appear to be any respite from injuries for Real Madrid.
Just when it appeared that they were close to having their full squad – barring the two long-term absentees – the Merengues have been struck down by fresh injuries this week.
Arda Guler, who was on the cusp of being named in the squad for the Las Palmas clash, injured himself in training on Tuesday.
And now, during the game against Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid have lost key defender David Alaba to an injury.
Close to the 40th-minute mark, Alaba went down on the ground clutching his leg and appeared to be in quite a bit of discomfort.
Soon enough, the medical staff arrived to take a look at the Austrian and seconds later he was off the pitch and straight towards the tunnel.
Lucas Vazquez came on to replace the injured Alaba, with Nacho Fernandez moving into the centre-back position alongside Antonio Rudiger.
Alaba’s injury leaves Carlo Ancelotti with just two fit centre-backs in Rudiger and Nacho, which is set to be a matter of great concern.
The hope will be that Alaba’s condition is nothing serious and that he is able to mount a quick recovery.