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Ancelotti talks Benzema, Militao, Vinicius, Modric, Valverde after Al-Ahly 1-4 Real Madrid



Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid reached the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup by steamrolling past Al-Ahly by a mammoth scoreline of 4-1 on Wednesday night.

The Egyptian side fought valiantly to make it pull a goal back after Real Madrid went two up thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde. Luka Modric’s missed penalty did not help the nerves.

But two injury-time goals from Rodrygo Goes and Castilla prodigy Sergio Arribas sealed the deal for Los Blancos.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team’s win and discussed several topics including the performance, and the upcoming final against Al Hilal, and provided injury updates. Here are the snippets from his interaction.

On the semifinal performance: “We controlled the match well for an hour, but then we thought it was done and it opened up. We then finished well. The team’s improving and we did well today because it was a match where we had everything to lose and nothing to win.”

On reaching the final: “We controlled the game pretty well. It’s a great feeling to reach the final.”

On the nervy final 30 minutes: “When it was 2-0 it looked like we‘d won the game and that’s not the way football is. We slowed down and thought we’d won. We have to play well and remain focused until the final whistle. It was like that for 10 or 15 minutes until Modrić’s penalty.”

On playing the final against Al-Hilal: “We’re up against a team that won the semi-final by playing well and deserved to be in the final. We have to respect this team. They’ve got good players and play well collectively. They’ll be excited to play in the final and so will we.”

On his plan for the final: “We have to prepare well for the match, provide clear instructions to the players and devise a good game plan. We have players who can handle this type of pressure extremely well.”

On Flamengo’s elimination: “Football’s changing because there’re a lot of teams all over the world that can compete, fight and win too. I was surprised that Flamengo were eliminated, but they’re in pre-season and their fitness level isn’t at its peak and the rest of the teams, who are in the middle of the season, are at their peak.”

On the support in the stands: “The atmosphere was great for Real Madrid and I want to thank the fans. It was a nice and fair game against a side that played well and gave it everything.”

On the status of injured players: “They’re not fully recovered. Karim is quite well but Militão is a bit more doubtful. They will train in the run-up to the game and then we will make decisions. Carvajal, who had a fever today, is back, and Asensio, who has a slight strain from the Mallorca game.”

On Vinicius’ performance: “He likes to play football wherever he is. His game was very complete. He scored a fantastic goal and was always dangerous. He is the same Vini Jr. that you always see.”

On Federico Valverde: “I’m happy because he played a good game. He has produced the goods, shown his quality, and scored. Little by little he’s coming back.”

On Luka Modric’s missed penalty: “Sometimes you miss them. Luka has always done very well. We have to choose the best one to take it and I’m pretty sure who the best penalty takers are: Karim, Modrić and Asensio. It’s very complicated to practice penalties because the environmental factor can’t be replicated in a training session.”

On the youth system: “It’s very important for us. The youth system is a very important element and nobody here overlooks it. In the first team, there are players of a very high level, who have won the Champions League, and it is not so easy to give minutes to youth team players.

“That said, there are very good players in the youth team and the coaches are doing a good job with them. They will soon be with the first team.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder trained away from the group last week, but has no injury – report



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

With the international break underway, several Real Madrid players have been called up for national team assignments. The stars who have not travelled for international duty have continued to work at the club’s Valdebebas training facility to prepare for the restart.

Toni Kroos is one such player who has remained in Madrid, having retired from international football back in 2021.

However, there had been concerns growing around the 33-year-old’s physical condition as he regularly did indoor work last week and was not spotted in group training with his teammates.

Now, Sergio Quirante has come up with an update on Kroos’ situation, stating that even though the midfielder largely did individual work inside the facilities over the last week, he is fine and has no injuries.

Taking advantage of the international break, the former Bayern Munich superstar is understood to have gone through an individual program to prepare for the final, decisive stretch of the 2022/23 season.

Kroos not being injured comes as a big positive for Real Madrid, ahead of important games against Real Valladolid and Barcelona within the first five days of April.

The rest of the Real Madrid midfield contingent – Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, and Dani Ceballos – are all away on international duties and could return with some fatigue from the travel.

So, it is important that Kroos is fully fit and ready to go as Real Madrid look to cut down the gap to the top of the table in La Liga and also make it to the finals of the Copa del Rey by overturning a first-leg deficit against Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Kroos has played 37 matches this season, chipping in with two goals and five assists in the process. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it is still unclear whether he will renew or hang up his boots.

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