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Ancelotti talks Hazard, Camavinga, Rudiger, Alaba after Espanyol 1-3 Real Madrid

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Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid continued their 100 percent start to the new season as they defeated Espanyol 3-1 at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday night.

Vinicius Junior put the defending champions of Spain in front just 12 minutes into the game, but Espanyol fought their way back into the contest and equalised close to half-time through Joselu.

For most of the second half, Real Madrid pushed hard in search of a goal, but were unable to find a way through until the 88th minute when star man Karim Benzema stepped up and made it 2-1 to all but secure the victory for his side.

Deep into stoppage time, the veteran French international scored another goal to make it 3-1 and ensure that Los Blancos walked away with all three points.

The result sees Real Madrid climb back to the top of the La Liga standings, ahead of Real Betis, who are the only other team to win three in three, on goal difference.

Speaking after the match in his press conference, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti lamented over the lack of intensity from his team after the first goal was scored, which allowed Espanyol a way back.

“We had a very good start. We controlled the game well and struck early. We then dropped our intensity a bit, we weren’t effective up front and it became more difficult after they equalised because there were a lot of stoppages,” he said.

But the substitutions which saw Ancelotti introduce the likes of Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo Goes helped Real Madrid turn things around in the latter stages.

“The game became end to end and that suited us. Camavinga was already instrumental last season. When the game is stretched his energy gives us a boost, just like that of RodrygoValverde or Vinicius,” he said.

“The reason we won the game was because we had more energy than our opponents on the pitch.”

Explaining his decision to not bring on Eden Hazard, Ancelotti said: “Hazard might have been an option, but I didn’t want to unbalance the team. We already had Rodrygo, Vinicius and Karim playing. Bringing on another forward could have been risky.

“He has my full backing and it’s not a problem if he doesn’t play, doesn’t get on the pitch or doesn’t warm up.  He will get playing time. I’m not Hazard’s, Benzema’s, Mendy’s, Camavinga’s or Valverde’s coach. I’m Real Madrid’s coach.”

Further explaining his selection and substitution calls, he said: “Each game is a different story. If I’d started with Rodrygo and Camavinga we might not have had so much control in the first 25 minutes.

“If Kroos and Modric had come on instead, we might not have had that energy that we had. But choosing is like betting. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Today, the Real Madrid coach made a good bet.”

“If I wanted to protect a player I’d leave them at home. I made four changes and it could’ve been five. But I could’ve used any player and I decided to send on Dani for the last change because he’s got more experience.”

On his decision to start Antonio Rudiger at centre-back and move David Alaba to the left-back position, Ancelotti said: “I wanted to have more aerial presence and Rudiger perhaps has more than Alaba. But Alaba is incredible going forward.”

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MU Shorts

How Manchester United’s pursuit of Dutch star could benefit Real Madrid

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The highly anticipated transfer of Leny Yoro to Real Madrid has encountered an unexpected obstacle, with Manchester United’s surprise entry into the race. 

The Red Devils have successfully negotiated a substantial €50 million+ bid with Lille, leaving Real Madrid’s chances hanging by a thread. 

This means the only factor still in favour of Real Madrid is Yoro’s strong desire to wear the iconic white shirt, a dream he has harboured for a long time.

As things stand, Real Madrid face significant hurdles. For once, Lille are exerting pressure on the player to accept Manchester United’s offer, given its considerable value. 

On the other hand, Real Madrid are hesitant to match this figure, creating a stalemate. Additionally, Manchester United are eager to secure a top-notch defender, especially with the departure of Raphael Varane, a former Real Madrid player. 

This sense of urgency is driving United’s pursuit of Yoro, making them a formidable competitor in the transfer race.

A glimmer of hope for Real Madrid

Despite these challenges, one crucial factor continues to give Real Madrid an edge in the race for Yoro’s signature. 

Leny Yoro only wants to play for Real Madrid. (Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

As it turns out, Manchester United are also considering Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt as a priority target. De Ligt has given his nod to the move and has instructed his representatives to disregard other offers. 

This development provides Real Madrid with a much-needed advantage in the pursuit of Yoro, as United’s focus is divided between two top defenders.

While Manchester United have made progress in negotiations with both De Ligt and Yoro, it is unlikely that they will recruit both players. 

Given De Ligt’s readiness to make an immediate move, Manchester United are expected to prioritize his transfer, leaving Real Madrid as the sole contender for Yoro’s signature. 

This twist in the tale gives Real Madrid a glimmer of hope, as they can now focus their efforts on convincing Yoro to join their ranks.

Yoro’s dilemma: To wait for Madrid or join United

Yoro’s preference is to join Real Madrid, but the club has yet to indicate its willingness to match Lille’s accepted fee from Manchester United.

This has led the Ligue 1 club to favour a transfer deal with the Premier League club. 

If Yoro is to make a move this summer, he faces a difficult decision: either wait until 2025 to join Real Madrid for free, which Lille are unlikely to accept, or agree to a transfer to Manchester United, which would benefit the French club. 

The fate of Yoro’s transfer hangs in the balance

Real Madrid are locked in their pursuit of Leny Yoro. (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

The outcome of Yoro’s transfer now hangs precariously in the balance. Real Madrid’s reluctance to match Manchester United’s offer and Yoro’s personal preference for the Spanish giants are the key factors in this high-stakes transfer drama. 

Will Yoro choose to wait for his dream move to Real Madrid or opt for a switch to Manchester United? Only time will tell. 

In the end, Yoro’s transfer will have significant implications for all parties involved. Real Madrid’s hopes of landing their top target hang in the balance, while Manchester United’s urgency to recruit a top defender has thrown a spanner in the works. 

Lille, too, are eager to cash in on their prized asset, and Yoro’s decision will determine the fate of his transfer.

But with United going after De Ligt, it could end up playing into the hands of Real Madrid, helping them land their top target to replace Nacho.

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