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Ancelotti talks Courtois, Benzema, Kroos, Modric, Tobias ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid

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Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that the likes of Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois will certainly start against Villarreal in the Round of 16 of Copa del Rey.

Speaking during the press conference ahead of the game, which is scheduled for Thursday, January 19, the manager first admitted that the team is in a difficult situation after losing the Spanish Super Cup final against Barcelona.

“It’s an opportunity to get out of this difficult moment that usually happens in the season soon. Tomorrow is a difficult game but we have great motivation,” the manager told the media.

Answering the question as to which players will start, the Italian said: “Courtois and Benzema are going to play, yes.”

Furthermore, he also admitted: “Vinicius Tobias will be in the squad for tomorrow. He could contribute in the game.”

When asked about the possible changes, including that of Toni Kroos’ role, the manager added, “[Kroos] is not the only option to play as a pivot. We are thinking about this. When Tchoaumeni is not there, Camavinga can also be an option as a pivot.”

While assessing a certain Eduardo Camavinga and his frequent substitutions at half-time – seven times that it has happened this term, the Italian stated:

“His change against Valencia was a change for physical reasons because he did well. With Barcelona, he was good defensively. I have a lot of confidence in him. It is true that I have taken away many times and I have not always been fair but trust is total.”

Real Madrid’s injury list has only grown ever since the players returned from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. So when asked about the workload, the manager said,

“What was not foreseeable were the injuries that have affected us such as Tchouameni or Alaba. This has affected because it was not foreseeable. The fact that January was complicated was foreseeable. 

“Everybody thinks Real Madrid is dead but we have to be calm and confident because the season is very long. We’re never going to give up. We’re going to get out of this. When? I don’t know,” he added.

When asked if the current Real Madrid team was in a decline and needed a change, the legendary manager insisted that the Merengues are in a transition as he replied:

“This is a young team. Everyone talks about Kroos, Modric, and Benzema but we also have to talk about Valverde, Vinicius, and Tchouameni. I think it is the start of a new cycle because some players are reaching the end.

“There are some players who have made history in this club and others are entering the career. It is a moment of transition. And the day Luka, Karim and Toni stop playing there are others who will take command.”

As far as the current physical health of veterans like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos is concerned, the manager admitted, “Kroos is very well. Luka is different but little by little he will return to give his contribution this season.”

On his reluctance to use players from the club’s academy, at a time when the likes of Gavi and Pedri are thriving at Barcelona, Ancelotti said:

“Real Madrid doesn’t forget the youth system. There are players who are progressing a lot and in the future they will be important. The 2004 players we have are very good and soon they will be very useful for the team.”

The manager also had words reserved for Nacho Fernandez. “Nacho is a very reliable defender. He is certainly a player who can contribute very well. 

“We have been very optimistic in defence. We have conceded six goals and five have been avoided with a little more pessimism,” he added.

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

‘We will see’ – PSG manager coy on Kylian Mbappe’s future

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique has asked for patience regarding Kylian Mbappe’s future, saying that everyone must wait for the player and PSG to make an official announcement.

Now that the Ligue 1 team has qualified for the UEFA Champions League semi-final, the player is rightly expected to focus on the continental glory, keeping aside his impending move to Real Madrid.

Speaking after his side’s 4-1 win over Barcelona in the UCL quarter-final, Enrique said that he cannot comment on anything unless Mbappe himself releases a statement.

“Let’s wait for Kylian to speak about his future. When Mbappe and PSG will speak in public, we will see,” said Enrique as quoted by Fabrizio Romano.

“It’s like a process. Until Mbappe goes and speaks in public, I’m just here waiting and staying silent,” he added.

What’s going on with Mbappe?

Mbappe’s time with PSG is coming to an end as his contract expires this season, and if reports are to be believed, he has chosen to depart as a free agent.

Reports suggest he is set to join Real Madrid, with rumours of a contract already in place.

Kylian Mbappe scored two goals against Barcelona. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Now, it was suggested that PSG’s elimination from the Champions League could have hastened the process, potentially bringing Mbappe’s move to Madrid closer. 

However, their qualification for the semi-final, and the chance of facing Real Madrid in the final, mean any official announcement will likely be delayed.

As for the player, he revealed after the match that his future will not change even if PSG go on to win the UEFA Champions League. 

“Playing for the team from my country’s capital is very special, I dreamed of these play-offs when I came to PSG. It’s a great day for the club,” said the forward.

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