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Ancelotti talks Courtois, Benzema, Rudiger, Militao ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona



Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to move to the top of the La Liga standings when they host arch-rivals Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Los Blancos are second in the table, behind Barça only on goal difference. They will need to pick up all three points to reclaim pole position on the table.

Coming into the game on the back of a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid will need to be at their best to get one over their eternal rivals.

On the eve of the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media where he provided updates on the injury situation of some players while also talking about the importance of El Clasico.

On preparations for El Clasico:  “As always, but we must add what this match represents for everyone, the quality of the two teams. But it is prepared in a similar way, although we must add the emotional aspect, the pressure…”

On Thibaut Courtois: “He’s pretty good, but it’s true that he’s trained very little, he’s not comfortable and he’s ruled out. We’ll see for the following Sunday, but now he just needs to train.”

On Antonio Rudiger: “He’s fine, he has no discomfort, he’s comfortable, he’s a warrior, and he’s very excited.”

On Real Madrid doing better than Barcelona in the second half of matches: “I think they are characteristics of the two teams that must be taken into account. It is true that we do better in the second half, I don’t know if it will affect the match.”

On whether Rodrygo will start or be used as a sub: “He is an extraordinary player, forceful, now I am giving him more minutes and he has shown what he is. He can play in all the positions upfront.”

On changing the squad and tactics like last season: “There are no inventors of football, it was invented a long time ago and it is clear that I am not going to invent it. It is clear that last year I wanted to invent something.

“As for mentality, the Paris team (from the Champions League final), of course, has everything, mentality, attack and defend. We have to play a complete game and only then can we win games and titles.”

On Barcelona: “They have only drawn one league game and they are in a good dynamic in the championship. They have had some problems in the Champions League that can happen in that competition, but in the league, they have been spectacular.”

On last year’s Clasico loss and its impact: “I haven’t put up the video from last year. The players know the rival very well. Last year’s match is not going to affect it, this is another year, another Clasico, another competition.

“We hope to play a good game and we want to present a good image. But it is not a life-or-death match. It’s special, but the season is too long. We want to win, of course.”

On whether a defeat would do more damage to Barcelona: “I don’t know how it would affect them, we have to think about winning the game. It’s a team that has the resources to have a great season.”

On Eder Militao’s season: “He is doing very well, at a very high level, he has individual quality, physical quality, of a high-level central defender.”

On Karim Benzema: “I’ve seen him much better this week, his condition has improved a lot. I’m convinced that tomorrow we’ll see the usual Karim.”

On Barcelona’s style of play: “Their history speaks clearly, they continue with a style that the fans and the club like. It is an idea that has given them success and that they continue to have. Other clubs have other ideas.

“I think that having only one style is not the best for me. The players change and the most important thing is to have the players comfortable with the style they play.”

On if he watched Barcelona vs Inter Milan: “I think we played differently from Inter, but it’s true that what Inter showed in the game was brave. They didn’t lower their arms after the goal, they played effectively upfront. It will be a different and an even match.”

On what Rudiger offers to the team: “Rudiger brings strength in duels, heading in both areas. It is not a surprise that he scored at the end. Like Militao, they have this quality of the header. What he brings more are his mentality and his personality. A winner who never stops in training. He is a very pessimistic defender.”

Source: SPORT

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Real Madrid News

Atletico Madrid ‘approach’ Real Madrid, Arsenal midfield target over summer move



Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

According to AS, Atletico Madrid have made the first approach for Celta Vigo midfielder Gabri Veiga, who has also been linked heavily with a move to Real Madrid and Arsenal.

The 20-year-old midfielder has emerged as one of the most exciting young prospects in Spanish football this season, having already netted nine goals in La Liga.

It has alerted a series of top-level clubs, with the likes of Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid all being linked with the youngster, who has a €40 million release clause in his contract with Celta.

Real Madrid are in the market for midfield reinforcements and have identified Jude Bellingham as their top target, but Veiga is also said to be on the agenda at the Santiago Bernabeu

However, recently, the Galician club’s president confirmed that there had been contact from clubs in England, but stated that Real Madrid had made no approach.

On top of that, a report from MARCA quoted a club source saying that they were not contemplating signing the 20-year-old.

Amidst this, it has now emerged that Atletico Madrid have made an approach towards signing Veiga from Celta Vigo in the summer transfer window.

The Rojiblancos are also in the market for new midfielders amid question marks over the futures of Saul Niguez and Geoffrey Kondogbia.

While Diego Simeone’s side have taken a first step, the report indicates that Veiga, in case of the absence of interest from Real Madrid, would prefer to join Arsenal.

So, the Colchoneros will need to put in efforts to convince the 20-year-old to choose them over a move to the Premier League club come summer if they are serious about adding the talented youngster to their roster for next season.

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