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Ancelotti talks Courtois, Valverde, Kroos, Isco, Sergio Ramos ahead of Real Madrid vs Sevilla

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Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Real Madrid continued their winning form by registering a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Elche this midweek, with Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema among the scorers.

The reigning Spanish champions, though, will brace themselves for a tough contest ahead as they take on Sevilla on Saturday. It is a must-win game for the league leaders, especially with FC Barcelona breathing down their necks.

Heading into the game, Carlo Ancelotti attended the press conference, offering his thoughts on Isco’s return, along with providing a fitness update on key players.

“The team is fine, we are in a good moment. Sevilla are trying to recover from a difficult period and now they’re better. It will be a tough game,” he said when asked about the game.

Ancelotti confirmed the return of Thibaut Courtois, suggesting he ‘will play tomorrow’. The Real Madrid manager also vowed not to rotate, adding: “I won’t rotate tomorrow. All the players are fine.”

Ancelotti went on to praise Federico Valverde, who has emerged as a key player for Real Madrid this season, firmly establishing himself as a first-team regular.

“Valverde is showing a great level. We’re very happy for him because he’s a very good person. His shooting technique is almost as good as [Marco] Asensio’s,” he said.

Ancelotti backed another key midfielder Toni Kroos to continue at Santiago Bernabeu as well. “Toni Kroos is very calm ahead of his future. He will think about his future in January. But I think he will continue at Real Madrid.”

The Real Madrid manager was asked about his players’ prospects in the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Responding to the question, Ancelotti offered uncertainty but suggested that the timing of the competition could lead to players returning on top form.

“We don’t know what will happen after the World Cup. We will have to give our players some days off after the tournament. The best thing of this World Cup is all the players will arrive in top form, in the middle of the season. The other years the players were all exhausted during summer,” he said.

Ancelotti was also asked about some of the former Real Madrid players, including Sergio Ramos, who started his career at Sevilla. He hailed the legendary Spaniard as ‘one of the best in the world‘.

As for the returning Isco, he added, “Isco back at the Bernabéu tomorrow? I’m happy to see him again and meet him. He’s been a great player for Real Madrid.”

Isco played for Real Madrid from 2013 to 2022, featuring in over 350 competitive matches in the process, before he eventually joined Sevilla on a free transfer this summer. He will be one of Sevilla’s creative lynchpins when they take on Real Madrid tomorrow.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid have made Man City defensive target a top priority for the summer

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Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Although Antonio Rudiger has had success since joining Real Madrid last summer, the club are in need of more depth and players that can form the backbone of the defensive unit in the years to come.

As part of their plans, Real Madrid are prioritising a move for Josko Gvardiol in the coming summer, reports 90 Min.

The outlet suggests Gvardiol will be one of the most wanted prospects in the market, with both Real Madrid and Manchester City eyeing a move for the Croatian international come the end of the season.

Formerly of Dinamo Zagreb, Gvardiol has enjoyed immense success since his move to the Bundesliga in 2021. He has impressed onlookers with his skill, organisation and discipline, which, coupled with his versatility, make him an appealing target for any European giant.

Gvardiol was also one of the top performers at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping Croatia finish third in the competition. His performances have not gone unnoticed, with Real Madrid among the clubs who have been keeping an eye on the defender for a while now.

However, signing Gvardiol will be a tricky task for Los Blancos. The player still has a long-term contract at Leipzig and could cost up to €85 million, as reported by 90 Min. Not to mention, the competition from Man City could be significant.

Real Madrid have no shortage of alternatives, though, with the club notably closely monitoring Portuguese defensive whizkid Antonio Silva, among others. So it will be interesting to see how the Spanish giants approach the market in this coming summer.

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