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Ancelotti talks Kroos retirement, Tchouameni, Nacho, Mbappe ahead of Real Madrid vs Real Betis

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be playing their final La Liga game of the season tomorrow when they lock horns with Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It will be the final game that legendary midfielder Toni Kroos will play at the iconic stadium having announced his retirement.

Tomorrow’s contest could also prove to be captain Nacho Fernandez’s final home game ahead of a possible summer departure.

These topics featured heavily in manager Carlo Ancelotti’s pre-match press conference today heading into the contest against Real Betis.

Kicking things off, the Real Madrid boss shed light on how the team was preparing for the game against Real Betis, with an eye on the Champions League final versus Borussia Dortmund in a week.

‘It’s preparation for the final, we’ve worked well this week. It’s the end of the league, we want to finish it well, it’s a fantastic season, we’ve done well from start to finish,” he said.

“It’s the farewell of a legend of our club, we have to enjoy it, it’s an important day. It’s been a deserved league, with a very high score, it’s the easiest league of my career to manage, for the atmosphere, for the squad…. Very, very good.”

The chat then moved to Kroos’ retirement announcement and how he viewed it, to which Ancelotti remarked:

“Veteran players, legends, have to choose their destiny. Toni has made that decision and we have to respect it. We have to see him off as best we can. I respect his decision, it’s the decision of a man with balls, it’s the reality.”

On how Real Madrid plan to replace someone of Kroos’ stature, he added: “Replacing someone like that is almost impossible, but this squad has the resources in the young players to take responsibility and follow the path marked out over the last ten years.

“Every year it loses pieces, but it doesn’t lose the atmosphere, the attitude and the commitment, they have to maintain the clean atmosphere that exists. It depends on each individual, but I don’t think it was a complicated decision for him.”

Kroos’ final home game for Real Madrid tomorrow. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

On whether he spoke to Kroos to try and get him to reconsider his decision, Ancelotti replied:

“He was convinced. To say goodbye like that would be ideal. Then you have to have the courage to do it and I have a lot of respect for what he has done.”

During the press conference, Ancelotti confirmed that Aurelien Tchouameni was definitively ruled out of the UCL final, saying: “He’s ruled out for the final, but he’ll make it for the EURO.”

On whether the veterans will have to step up for the final part of the season, he said: “This generation has won titles and I believe it will continue to win them, and now we have the chance to win another one.”

Youngster Mario Martin has been called up to the first-team squad again for the Betis game after featuring against Alaves and Villarreal.

When asked if the 20-year-old has what it takes to remain with the senior setup in the future, Ancelotti said:

“He is progressing very well, he can be in the squad without any problem, he has quality and a good attitude. He, like other youth players, we can think that in the future he will be in the first team.”

Going back to the topic of Kroos, Ancelotti was asked to say what made the German international so unique, to which he responded:

“A very high and very consistent performance, with no drop-offs. One of the few who knows how to manage the tempo of games with possession. His passing is unique. He has contributed a lot to football, he is one of the best midfielders in history.”

When asked to pick his favourite game of Kroos, the Italian replied: “It’s difficult to choose one, because he has always played with a lot of continuity. He has always stood out.”

The matter of Kylian Mbappe then came up with Ancelotti being asked about the Frenchman’s possible involvement in the Olympics this summer.

“I don’t go into these issues. I like the Games, if I can I watch the Italian teams,” he said.

Finally, Ancelotti addressed the future of captain Nacho Fernandez, saying: “He hasn’t decided yet, we are waiting, but we are not in a hurry. After the season he can choose what he wants to do next season. Now his idea is to try to win the 15th.”

Source: AS

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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