Real Madrid will be aiming to extend their 100% run in the 2023/24 La Liga when they lock horns with Celta Vigo on Friday night.
Los Blancos have begun the campaign with victories against Athletic Club and UD Almeria, and will now come up against Celta, managed by former boss Rafael Benitez.
Having made a positive start to the season, Carlo Ancelotti & co. will be eager to continue on the same path and put rivals Barcelona under some early pressure.
Ahead of the game, Ancelotti spoke to the media in his customary press conference and confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga will be making his debut for Real Madrid.
“Yes, it will be Kepa,” the Italian said when asked if he had decided on who will be starting in goal.
Talking about the game against Celta Vigo, who are celebrating their centenary, Ancelotti said: “I think it’s special for them, it’s important, we’re looking forward to continuing our good run, the team is doing well, Celta played a good game against Real Sociedad, and we’re looking forward to continuing our good run.”
The Real Madrid manager also addressed the controversy surrounding RFEF President Luis Rubiales after his incendiary behaviour with a member of the Spain women’s national team, Jenni Hermoso, following their World Cup triumph.
“It is a very delicate subject. Like most people, it was behaviour that I didn’t like. It is not the behaviour of a federation president,” Ancelotti said.
When asked if Rubiales should resign, the Real Madrid boss replied: “I don’t get involved in those decisions, I’m not going to give my opinion.”
Moving back to the topic of the team and the mood in the camp, the Italian tactician said: “I think the team is good. I see a quality squad, motivated, with a lot of enthusiasm, so that’s the feeling I have at the moment.”
Luka Modric has had a strange start to the season, having not started either of Real Madrid’s matches, leading to speculations that he is unhappy over his situation.
Talking about the veteran, Ancelotti said: “Luka has already defined his future. He has no problem, he will contribute. It’s a special situation for everybody, for him it’s strange not to play from the first minute but he will contribute as always.”
The manager has been praising Jude Bellingham for the way he has started life at Real Madrid and once again touched upon the qualities that the midfielder brings to the table, saying:
“At Dortmund, he proved to be a very vertical player, even if he started in a central position. He is a very intelligent player who moves very well without the ball.”
On the possibility of any last-minute reinforcements to the squad, amidst continued talks of a late move for Kylian Mbappe, Ancelotti said: “No, I rule it out 100%.”
Having switched the formation to 4-4-2 this season, Ancelotti has deployed Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes in central positions in attack. Talking about the Brazilian pair’s adaptation, the manager said:
“Rodrygo was already used to playing as a centre forward because he already knows the position. Vinicius has adapted very well, he scored a goal.
“It’s easier for him to have a chance on the inside, because he can score with a touch, but not on the outside. Vinicius has to learn how to move around in the box and he’ll be more effective with us.”
The Real Madrid boss also touched upon the role of Federico Valverde in the new system and how it suits him, saying:
“I think the system, his position has changed a little bit. He plays further back than he did last year. That can help him more.
“He sees more of the field and has understood perfectly well that for him to play one-two touch is not his quality, he drives, he has an extraordinary quality running with the ball and he has to take advantage of that.”
The manager also spoke about Aurelien Tchouameni and his improved form, as he said: “I think Tchouameni is the same as he was in the first part of last season. After the World Cup he had an injury and wasn’t able to get back to the level he is now. He is showing the same as in those first months. He is a very important pivot for our game”.
The transfer window in Spain will come to a close on September 1. But, the trading period remains open until September 20 in Saudi Arabia, something that managers have expressed their concerns against.
When asked if he is worried about any late departures to Saudi, Ancelotti said: “I think our squad is closed and our players are thinking about our season. Someone may change his mind but I am not afraid of that.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid defender taken off with an injury against Las Palmas
There just does not appear to be any respite from injuries for Real Madrid.
Just when it appeared that they were close to having their full squad – barring the two long-term absentees – the Merengues have been struck down by fresh injuries this week.
Arda Guler, who was on the cusp of being named in the squad for the Las Palmas clash, injured himself in training on Tuesday.
And now, during the game against Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid have lost key defender David Alaba to an injury.
Close to the 40th-minute mark, Alaba went down on the ground clutching his leg and appeared to be in quite a bit of discomfort.
Soon enough, the medical staff arrived to take a look at the Austrian and seconds later he was off the pitch and straight towards the tunnel.
Lucas Vazquez came on to replace the injured Alaba, with Nacho Fernandez moving into the centre-back position alongside Antonio Rudiger.
Alaba’s injury leaves Carlo Ancelotti with just two fit centre-backs in Rudiger and Nacho, which is set to be a matter of great concern.
The hope will be that Alaba’s condition is nothing serious and that he is able to mount a quick recovery.