Real Madrid will be aiming to extend their 100% run in the new season when they lock horns with local rivals Atletico Madrid at the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday night.
Currently seated at the top of the La Liga standings, the Merengues could lose their spot to Barcelona, who face Elche later today. And the reigning champions will need a win against their neighbours in order to go into the international break as the league leaders.
On the eve of the game, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti attended his customary pre-match press conference during which he discussed various topics ranging from Karim Benzema’s injury to the controversy surrounding Vinicius Jr’s celebrations.
“Benzema won’t be there tomorrow but he has started working alone,” Ancelotti confirmed. However, he did not give away who would start in place of the Frenchman, as he said: “I have an idea but I won’t say it.”
On Real Madrid’s form and momentum heading into the derby, Ancelotti said: “We arrived well, on a good run, against a strong rival, it is a special match and that is how we prepare for it.”
On the racist abuse against Vinicius Jr, he added: “He’s fine as usual, he wants to play and win this match. He and the club have issued a statement so now let’s talk about football, and it should be noted that in Spain I don’t see racism.”
On the derby: “It will be a competitive match. They don’t expect anything new and it will be a very competitive duel, a good football match because there are very good players on both teams. The match is open, but there is nothing definitive. rivalry is normal.”
On Antoine Griezmann’s peculiar situation at Atletico: “It sounds a bit strange but I don’t like getting into these discussions, every coach has to make decisions, Simeone and Atletico have been and are doing well in Spain and Europe.”
On Eder Militao’s availability: “He is ready to play and trained well. He can play from the start or play a few minutes of the game, I have to think about it.”
On Diego Simeone: “He has a great relationship with his players, he is able to build that bond and that’s an important part of being a coach.”
On Vinicius and the support he has received: “It’s something we don’t touch on in the locker room, these are topics that are not normally discussed in the locker room, we usually talk about football.”
“Racism is one thing, what happens on the field is another, there is a lot of talk about provocations, but racism is a much more important issue than what happens on the field. But we will not address the issue of racism, as Vinicius spoke well in his statement.”
On if he has any advice to Vinicius: “No, I’m not his father, I’m not his brother. I’m his manager.”
On the atmosphere at the Metropolitano: “I’m not worried, we’re going to play a football match, in the rival’s field and the pressure from the stands supporting their team is normal. Period. There’s nothing to say. We played against a rival strong and nothing else.”
On Rodrygo: “He has had more minutes and he is making the most of it. You have to be patient, keep improving, he’s taking advantage of his opportunity and learning from the players who have more experience. That helps him have more confidence.”
On Asensio’s call-up to Spain national team: “This is football, he is very happy to have been called up to the national team, he has the ability to go to the national team.”
On why Real Madrid perform better in the second half: “We use the strategy of the tiredness (laughs). The rivals think we are tired and we take advantage of it.”
Source: Real Madrid Twitter
Real Madrid forward’s contract extension is imminent
If there’s one thing to note about Karim Benzema’s career trajectory, it is that he has only improved over time.
Just last season, the French international enjoyed his finest individual campaign till date, with 44 goals and 15 assists in all competitions.
However, a question mark lingers around the club captain’s future, with his current contract set to expire next summer. A new update has emerged around the Los Blancos legend’s contractual situation, which is set to put a smile on every Madridista’s face.
As per the latest information provided by transfer insider Fabrizio Romano on the ‘Here We Go’ podcast, Karim Benzema’s contract renewal with the European champions is imminent.
Despite turning 35 in December this year, the veteran remains in the conversation for being the best striker in the world, alongside Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski.
So much so that the five-time Champions League winner is the favourite to win his first-ever Ballon d’Or later this year.
Whilst Benzema has suffered a knee injury this term, he has still managed to register three goals in five league starts.
With all signs pointing to the Los Merengues icon still being at the peak of his powers, it only makes sense why the club are intending on tying him down to a brand-new deal.
Alongside Vinicius Jr., Karim Benzema has managed to form the deadliest forward duo in Europe since the start of the 2021/22 campaign. And considering Real Madrid’s aim to triumph on multiple fronts for the upcoming seasons, it is vital that the experienced goalscorer stays put at the club.
Despite the successful coup of Aurelien Tchouameni, handing Benzema a fresh contract may be the club’s signing of the season.