Real Madrid will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid dropped their first points of the 2022/23 season across all competitions this past weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Osasina. And the reigning champions of Spain and Europe will be intent on producing a strong reaction after the disappointing result.
The game against Shakhtar Donetsk will give them the opportunity to just that and manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press on the eve of the game, outlining his team’s objectives as well as providing team news update.
On the Shakhtar game: “We all know that it is a very important game to get the group back on track. We are well prepared for this and the fact that we did not play a good game on Sunday counts. We want to show another attitude, another image.”
On team news: “Courtois won’t play tomorrow. Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez will return. The one who won’t be there will be Ceballos, who has had a problem with his hamstring”.
On whether Modric will start: “I’m not sure if he will start tomorrow.”
On Eden Hazard: “It is clear that each player knows his situation. If a player asks me for an explanation, I give it to him, but Eden has not spoken to me. He knows the situation, that the competition is very tough, as it happens to him to other players.
On Karim Benzema being criticised: “When he’s not at his best, people may have different opinions. But that’s normal and doesn’t affect us.”
On which among UCL and La Liga is difficult to win: “I always wanted to win the Champions League. La Liga is very important, but the Champions League is the most important in football and winning it means a lot.
“They are two different competitions, of course. Because one has 38 games and much less. Small details influence the Champions League and that’s not luck or bad luck. To talk about luck is to hide many things. I
“It’s as if I were to say that we were unlucky against Osasuna because we missed a penalty, it would be to hide that we were wrong in recovery or that Osasuna played very well. Small details are also a collective mentality”.
“And I add that Madrid is the one that takes the most care of these details in its history”
On Courtois’ condition: “He’s much better. We have doubts against Getafe, but it could be that next week he’ll be against Shakhtar and against Barça, obviously.”
On Xavi and Messi’s statement about best teams not always winning UCL: “I can’t comment on this. Everyone has their opinion.
“For me, playing football is many things, not just having a good time with the ball. You are not successful if you only do well one thing, especially in the Champions League. It’s easier to say that the Champions are won by the best.”
On whether Camavinga is better coming on as a sub: “I agree. When the game starts he has a more positional problem. It’s a matter of time, experience… It’s the aspect that will improve because he is a player with quality extraordinary. He is 19 years old, everything that happens to him is normal.”
On Shakhtar Donetsk: “They are a team that have had a lot of problems training, travelling… They have started well in the Champions League group, their style is similar to last year. They’re very vertical, with fast forwards and strong counterattacks. We have a lot of respect for them.”
Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January
Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.
For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.
According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.
For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.
For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.
Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.
For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.
Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.