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Ancelotti talks Isco, Bellingham, Guler, Vinicius, Kepa ahead of Real Betis vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Despite being riddled with injuries, coach Carlo Ancelotti has masterfully mitigated the impact of key absences.

Now aiming to extend his team’s exceptional form in La Liga as Real Madrid look to defend their position as table-toppers, Ancelotti has answered the press’s questions ahead of the encounter against Real Betis that is set to take place tomorrow in hostile territory.

Admitting the challenges confronting the Merengues, he made sure to give Betis their roses but simultaneously backed his men with aspirations of continuing their dominant form.

“Tomorrow’s game will be difficult. Real Betis are a well-organized and very solid team. We have to try to win and continue our great dynamic. We are confident,” he said.

The rumor mill has constantly been speculating over Ancelotti’s future as well as the possible arrival of Kylian Mbappe, who will be a free agent next summer.

Paying no heed to things being said on the grapevine, the Italian stated, “I don’t talk about these things.”

Football’s rise in the Middle East has seen some top names take their talents to Saudi Arabia, with both players and managers alike incentivized by the growing competition and financial strength on offer.

As such, Ancelotti was asked to comment on whether he had any offers from Saudi Arabia, to which he simply replied money was not the motive for him.

“I don’t have any offer. I have other ideas and other objectives. I don’t think about money. It’s not important for me.” he remarked.

The coach also expressed that Kepa Arrizabalaga has finally returned from his injury setback and will be available to guard the sticks for Real Madrid.

When asked to speak on the competition between him and Andriy Lunin, who has done incredibly well in Kepa’s absence, Ancelotti kept it vague, claiming:

Kepa is back and it’s good to have two great goalkeepers. I will choose tomorrow.”

Isco, who has enjoyed a stellar season, will be one of the biggest sources of attention as he will lock horns against his former club.

Ancelotti acknowledged his strengths, proclaiming, “I have watched him, he’s back to his level. I’m happy for him. He’s one of the players we have to control the most tomorrow.”

The four-time Champions League winner added the week’s worth of rest has done the team a world of good, expressing, “We have had time to prepare this game during the week. We have recovered well. Sometimes it’s good to have a week of rest, we can work more.”

Providing a positive update on Golden Boy winner, Jude Bellingham, Ancelotti stated, “He trained alone because he was recovering from that problem in his ankle. He has recovered well.”

When directly asked who will get the nod in the starting XI between Kepa and Lunin, Ancelotti once again did not reveal his cards but gave rise to the possibility of rotations, asserting:

Lunin was good but nothing has changed with Kepa, he has our full trust. It doesn’t matter who will play. We will be good. It could be I will rotate them in these games.”

Furthermore, the 64-year-old issued an update on Arda Guler, whose Real Madrid career has yet to take off due to the terrible infliction of injuries.

He’s almost back. He will train harder next week. I don’t know if he will be ready for the last game of the year or in 2024.” he claimed.

“Tchouameni and Arda Güler are close to returning with the team. Vinicius and Camavinga in 2024,” he added.

Sarcastically humoring a question asking him if he would go to Saudi Arabia for 500 million, Ancelotti said:

“I wouldn’t even have to book the flight. I would walk with my feet to go there. No, I’m joking. I don’t want money.”

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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