After roping in the league title this weekend, Real Madrid will host Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals second leg.
Los Blancos are down 4-3, but are still very much in the tie. Their night could have been much worse, in fact, but individual brilliance from Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema pushed the capital outfit to shore.
The world will have its eye on this game, and nobody knows that better than Carlo Ancelotti. The first manager to win the top five league addressed the crowd as part of his pre-game press conference ahead of the game.
On the players: “They are fine and very motivated, we could play another Champions League final. We know it will be very difficult but we are confident.”
On the matchup vs Manchester City: “City and Real Madrid have different qualities. Personality is a very important aspect, also the individual qualities. Champions League is very difficult, we will need more than just our hearts.”
“City have the advantage and we have to play a good game. The atmosphere is very good after winning La Liga, we can do it tomorrow.”
On Casemiro’s return: “Casemiro’s return? He will surely help us in defense. We need to play better collectively. We worked on the defensive aspect and I believe you will see the improvement.”
On Vinicius: “Vinicius has improved a lot in his scoring ability. He’s colder in front of the net and now he takes his time to decide what to do. He’s much more mature now.”
On choosing between Valverde or Rodrygo: “Valverde or Rodrygo? I don’t have doubts. It will be a long game, it’s not important who will start, it will be important who will end it.”
On David Alaba: “David Alaba will NOT play tomorrow.”
“Alaba has been a very important player for us this season but Nacho will be important too tomorrow.”
On Luka Modric: “He has not changed during the years. He’s a very professional player, he’s excellent, extraordinary…a tremendous player with enormous qualities, both physically and technically.”
On their attack: “We have improved the offensive aspect. Karim, Vinicius, Asensio, Modric, Kroos… sometimes we suffers against low blocks because we don’t have a very tall 9.”
Source: Real Madrid Twitter
Real Madrid forward set for talks with Arsenal this week – report
With less than six months left on his contract, Marco Asensio looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid very soon. The Spaniard has not yet started talks to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, which has garnered the eyes from several top clubs across Europe.
One of the clubs interested in his signature happens to be Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is said to be a fan of the player, and will try to be bring him to North London on a free transfer this summer.
According to Mirror, Asensio’s agents will fly to London this week to get an a better understanding Arsenal’s interest in the player. Talks are scheduled with Arsenal, among possibly other clubs.
Asensio’s priority remains to extend with Arsenal, but not at ‘any cost’. The winger is looking for raise with his new contract to go along with a four-year deal. The report states that he currently earns around €130,000 per week at Madrid.
The 27-year-old has been waiting for an official offer from Los Blancos for a while, but the club will wait for March or April before taking a decision on his extension.
Asensio took a while to grow important for Carlo Ancelotti this season, but has been featuring regularly on the right-wing lately. He even scored in 2-0 win against Valencia in midweek, taking his tally to two for the season, excluding three assists as well.
Arsenal are definitely looking to add more firepower to their squad for next season, having already brought in Leandro Trossard in the winter. Asensio could serve as the perfect backup to Bukayo Saka, who has been in incredible form all season.