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Ancelotti talks Benzema, Rodrygo, Mbappe, Rodriguez, Mendy ahead of Real Madrid vs Espanyol



Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be gunning to bounce back to winning ways when they host RCD Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos head into the game on the back of a disappointing run that has seen them fail to win any of their previous three matches, which includes a loss to Barcelona in Copa del Rey.

With a crucial week up ahead with matches against Liverpool and Barça, it becomes important for the reigning champions of Spain to get a win tomorrow and build some momentum.

Ahead of the contest against the Catalan outfit, manager Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media and provided an update on the fitness of Karim Benzema and discussed the links to Kylian Mbappe, among other things.

On preparations for the upcoming matches: “We worked in a way we don’t usually do. We’ve done tactics, offensive work that we haven’t been good at…. We’re fine, ready for tomorrow and to stop Liverpool and Barcelona.”

On the Negreira scandal: “It is a very complicated subject. I prefer to talk about other things that are more important to us.”

On Karim Benzema: “He’s had a knock on his ankle, it’s swollen, he won’t be able to play tomorrow and he trained individually today. He will be available for Wednesday’s game [vs Liverpool].”

On the game against Espanyol: “It’s an important moment because we want to arrive at Camp Nou with a good feeling, winning tomorrow and progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals.”

On Benzema’s issues affecting the team: “It’s inevitable that it will affect us, he is very important to us. Last season he scored a lot of goals. He has not reached that level and it has affected us. In the second half of the season, he has been important and he is going to be more important. We are confident that he will help us.”

On who will replace Benzema: “Rodrygo is going to be the centre-forward.”

On Benzema’s future: “I’m clear about what will happen to Benzema next year, but I’m not a magician.”

On Eduardo Camavinga’s role: “I see Camavinga as an inside player and in an emergency, he can play as a left-back.”

On whether Alvaro Rodriguez is ready to start: “Yes, he has no experience, but no one has it when something starts. He has the quality to play from the start, yes.”

On whether he wants to sign Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid: “You can ask me that question today, in three months, in two weeks… it’s a question I’ll never answer.”

On Rodrygo’s best position: “Rodrygo has to play where the team needs him. Sometimes it’s better to put his quality on the wings, sometimes he’s better between lines. It depends. He’s very good, that’s what he has to take advantage of.”

On the importance of defence: “The defensive aspect is a collective commitment. Now they are pressing higher, they are more solid and it gives us confidence because the quality is there, even if there are times when you can’t see it or when the strikers fail. The basis of defensive work, with this quality, is very important.”

On Espanyol: “It is a team that is fighting for something, they have a spectacular motivation, I expect a solid match, with few spaces, they have Joselu who is very dangerous in the aerial game.”

On whether the recent poor form reminds him of 2015: “I don’t have to go back so far, it happens every year when there is a moment a little more difficult than usual, the criticism comes. Last year after Barcelona and at Everton. It’s my job.”

On Ferland Mendy: “Ferland Mendy has recovered. He will train with the team on Sunday and be available against Liverpool.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Atletico Madrid News

Real Madrid star approached by Atletico over summer move, player wants to stay



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Dani Ceballos is one of the players who has Real Madrid on the fence after his recent resurgence. The club appeared certain to part ways with the player during the commencement of the 2022/23 season but no longer find the decision as straightforward.

According to reports from MARCA, Real Madrid are in no hurry to renew Ceballos’ contract. Though his deal runs out in the summer, the Merengues prefer to focus fully on the competitions they are alive in instead of entering auctions for his renewal.

Ceballos has given Los Blancos the signal that his priority is to stay and is waiting for an offer from the board. However, nobody from the administration has contacted him yet.

Sniffing a moment of opportunity, Atletico Madrid have entered the scene and conveyed their interest in signing the midfield star. Los Rojiblancos have already called his entourage twice in recent weeks and a move away from the Bernabeu cannot be ruled out.

At 26 years of age, the Spaniard wishes for regular starts and playing time. It would be difficult for such demands to be met in Real Madrid owing to the sheer number of young prodigies rising in the middle of Los Blancos.

Come next season, Ceballos could be lost in the mix of Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde and veterans like Toni Kroos, while Jude Bellingham could also arrive.

Ceballos has made 19 appearances for the defending champions in La Liga this season, providing one assist in that duration. At just 10 starts and 44 minutes averaged per game, however, his role is clearly centred around the bench.

Moving to Atletico Madrid could thus work well in his favour for he is almost guaranteed playing time in Simeone’s system which is in dire need of a quality attacking midfielder.

The player is currently on international duty with La Roja for the Euro qualifiers. In the team’s opener against Norway, he came on at the hour mark and made a strong cameo with three key passes and a big chance created.

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