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



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

Nacho set to stay at Real Madrid, will be new club captain – report



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid have finally received some good news as MARCA confirms that Nacho has finally made his decision about his future, and is set to continue at the club for the foreseeable future.

His contract expires in the summer, and Real Madrid had tabled an extension for the player, which was not accepted by the Spaniard at the time. Now, however, he has decided to reject offers from Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.

Nacho will sign a one year extension, with the option to extend for another year if both parties reach an agreement.

His continuity also means that he will be the new club captain for the 2023/24 season, since Karim Benzema is leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer. Luka Modric will be second captain, followed by Daniel Carvajal and Toni Kroos.

Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken to the player, confirming that they trust him for next season in the team, which has gone a long way in helping convince the player.

The Italian gaffer also spoke about the Spanish defender’s contract situation after the game against Athletic Club yesterday, saying:

“Asensio, Nacho and Ceballos? We have explained them their roles. The club have offered them renewals. Asensio has preferred to leave, Ceballos and Nacho are still thinking about it.” 

While a centre-back by trade, Nacho has played across the defence for Madrid continuously, including putting shifts at left-back, right-back, and even centre-back.

His departure would have probably pushed Madrid to sign another defender, especially since they are considering selling Ferland Mendy if a good offer arrives.

Regardless of that, though, Madrid are moving to sign Alphonso Davies, and have already made initial contacts with the player. Bayern Munich have not rejected their advances.

Further, the los blancos management have already met with Davies’ entourage twice, cementing their interest in the Canadian ace.

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