Real Madrid News
Ancelotti talks Benzema, Militao, Ceballos, Rodrygo, Vinicius ahead of Real Madrid vs Al Hilal
Real Madrid will be aiming to lift their second title of the 2022/23 season when they take on Al Hilal in the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday.
Los Merengues have already won the UEFA Super Cup this season and will be gunning to add another trophy to their cabinet, especially with some question marks being raised over their recent form in La Liga.
Real Madrid made light work of Al Ahly in the semi-finals on Wednesday, beating them 4-1. And as they gear up to face Al Hilal, who defeated Flamengo in their semi-final clash, manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media, discussing various topics including the potential availability of Karim Benzema and Eder Militao.
On the FIFA Club World Cup: “We are close to a very important title. I ask the team to enjoy this match. It’s the match of hope, of desire.”
“The world champion is the one who wins tomorrow’s match. The Champions League champion is the European champion. This is an event that doesn’t happen every day. It happens from time to time. First, we have to enjoy it and then try to win it”.
On facing Al Hilal: “Al Hilal is a good team, with individual quality, with a lot of Saudi internationals who did well in the World Cup. We respect them and they showed their quality against Flamengo. We also respect the event, it’s a very important event, it doesn’t happen many times in your career to be able to have these matches.”
On the availability of Benzema, Courtois, Militao: “Militao, Benzema, and Courtois have a chance to play. If not, they wouldn’t have come here.”
On his midfield combination: “We have enjoyed Ceballos and his momentum. Kroos has played well in this period. Luka too. Aurélien is back from injury. I always ask them the same thing, it won’t change much beyond this moment of Ceballos, important to us.”
On the second half of the season: “It’s important, we’re here as we were last year. It’s a good time, we have to start with a Club World Cup final, which is a very nice thing to do.”
On Al Hilal manager Ramon Diaz: “Ramón Díaz was a good striker, very strong, very intense, with skill in the box. He always left positive things. It’s the first time we’ve faced each other as coaches. I will greet him with affection.”
On his selection: “I have the advantage of five changes. Those who don’t start can contribute by coming in later, it has happened many times. It’s complicated but the players understand their role. Starting is important, but coming in later is important too.”
On Karim Benzema: “We have to take into account Karim’s age but also what he brings. He didn’t contribute at the beginning because of injury, but he did well before and I’m convinced he will do well next year.”
On links to Brazil national team: “Brazilian national team? My situation is very clear. I have a contract until 2024.”
On the team’s recent form: “We’ve come to the end of a long road and we have to finish it well. This final can give us a boost for the games to come. We were hurt by what happened against Barça and Mallorca, but these things happen in football. We are confident. The squad has improved compared to last year.”
On the evolution of football: “It is no longer a South America-Europe final. Football is changing. The World Cup showed us that. Football is becoming more and more global.”
On the team’s condition post-World Cup: “Until the World Cup, the team has been good. After that, January cost us in terms of points and injuries. The players are now progressing physically. We’ve reached an important moment in the season by getting players back.”
On Vinicius Jr: “I think the same about Vinicius today. If we think we have a problem, we have to find a solution.”
On Rodrygo Goes: “Rodrygo has the ability to score a lot of goals, many of them important. I’m not going to bet because I’m already risking my card with Valverde.”
On playing in Rabat, Morocco: “We love Rabat. It’s a beautiful, clean city…. The people have welcomed us very well. The training centre is great. All we need to do is win tomorrow’s match.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid News
Real Madrid have made Man City defensive target a top priority for the summer
Although Antonio Rudiger has had success since joining Real Madrid last summer, the club are in need of more depth and players that can form the backbone of the defensive unit in the years to come.
As part of their plans, Real Madrid are prioritising a move for Josko Gvardiol in the coming summer, reports 90 Min.
The outlet suggests Gvardiol will be one of the most wanted prospects in the market, with both Real Madrid and Manchester City eyeing a move for the Croatian international come the end of the season.
Formerly of Dinamo Zagreb, Gvardiol has enjoyed immense success since his move to the Bundesliga in 2021. He has impressed onlookers with his skill, organisation and discipline, which, coupled with his versatility, make him an appealing target for any European giant.
Gvardiol was also one of the top performers at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping Croatia finish third in the competition. His performances have not gone unnoticed, with Real Madrid among the clubs who have been keeping an eye on the defender for a while now.
However, signing Gvardiol will be a tricky task for Los Blancos. The player still has a long-term contract at Leipzig and could cost up to €85 million, as reported by 90 Min. Not to mention, the competition from Man City could be significant.
Real Madrid have no shortage of alternatives, though, with the club notably closely monitoring Portuguese defensive whizkid Antonio Silva, among others. So it will be interesting to see how the Spanish giants approach the market in this coming summer.