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Ancelotti talks Kroos, Vinicius, Tchouameni, Nacho, Simeone ahead of Real Madrid vs Atletico

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Photo by JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be looking to reduce the gap to the top of the table when they face off against neighbours Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Los Blancos are eight points below league leaders FC Barcelona and can cut it down to five to put some pressure on their rivals, who will be in action against Almeria on Sunday.

Real Madrid are stringing together a good run of form after their defeat to Mallorca earlier this month. The Merengues have registered five wins in a row across all competitions since then, most recently trouncing Liverpool 5-2 in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti will hope that his troops are able to carry on in the same vein of form when they lock horns with Diego Simeone’s men at the Bernabeu tomorrow. On the eve of the match, the Italian spoke to the media, excerpts of which are below.

On the team ahead of the derby: “We’re looking good. We come out of the Champions League with a good feeling. The match will be special, against a team that is in a good moment like us. It will be a nice duel as it was in the Copa.”

On Real Madrid’s unrivalled success in the Champions League: “Everyone knows how important the Champions League is for this club. But that doesn’t mean we won’t fight for other titles. I don’t know why we have won so many Champions League titles, but we will fight for everything.”

On how the team is shaping up: “We’re doing well, the team has improved. Kroos, Ceballos, Modric…. In general, the team is better. We are more focused”.

On the conditions of Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos: “They are fine and can start.”

On the future of Nacho Fernandez: “I see Nacho doing very well, next year… I don’t know. It has to happen that we’ll both be here. I hope so. I’d like to see him at Valdebebas and at the Bernabéu instead of watching him on TV.”

On Vinicius Jr never getting injured: “It’s rare, yes. He has spectacular genetics and he’s also very professional. I know he takes care of himself.”

On referee Gil Manzano: “It’s a derby and we all have a lot at stake. It’s always special to play Atlético because of the great rivalry. I know the referee is international and I think he will do well because of his experience. Gil Manzano is highly valued in Europe.”

On whether he is satisfied with the season so far: “No, because I wanted to be eight points clear in La Liga and not below the leaders and win the Spanish Super Cup. We haven’t been perfect.”

On Sergio Ramos’ international retirement and the ‘age’ factor: “The issue of age is like that of youth. If a player is good, you don’t have to look at his age. If a player is good, even if he is 17, he has to play. It’s the same with a 35, 36, or 37-year-old player.

“A coach has to assess what happens on the pitch every day. We have to see if he can deliver, that’s our job. Age can never be a factor in making a decision like that.

“There are people who tell me that I don’t use the youth team…. They forget that at the beginning I put in a 17-year-old goalkeeper, Buffon. I wanted to try him out. Also Paolo Maldini… Why did he play? Because he was better than others.”

On Nacho’s disappointment at not playing regularly: “For some time he didn’t play, and wasn’t happy. He didn’t complain and has always been professional. But, at the time he was ready. That’s what a player has to be. But I understand his disappointment. Tomorrow he will play at left-back.”

On the Negreira scandal and corruption in football: “At the moment there is no corruption, neither here nor in Europe. Referees fail, as any human being fails. That’s all. Sometimes we get angry when they fail, but I am very convinced that at the moment there is no corruption in football.”

On whether Tchouameni and Camavinga will play together: “I haven’t thought about the line-up yet. It’s a lie [laughs]. But they’re going to play together soon.”

On Diego Simeone: “I like him as a person because he is honest when he assesses the games. He is a successful coach, he has triumphed at Atlético by introducing a mentality and has made the team recognisable”.

On what he could learn from Simeone: “I would like to spend time with him because we love football. He has nothing to learn from me. I would like, for my personal experience, to understand his work on a day-to-day basis. How he prepares tomorrow’s game, for example. That gives you knowledge.”

On Vinicius Jr’s mental strength: “Is there anything we haven’t seen? No. What he shows on the pitch is what he tries to do in every training session. Almost every day, after training, he spends 10 or 15 minutes practising his finishing.”

On his future: “Do I think I’m going to continue? Yes, I’m quite calm. I only have to do one thing: win games.”

Source: Real Madrid TV

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti devises plan to prepare Real Madrid defensive ace for Bayern Munich clash

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Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Eder Militao has charted a remarkable recovery to return from an ACL injury he suffered on the first day of the 2023/24 season.

The Brazilian international came back to action in late March, featuring for a couple of minutes against Athletic Club – the very team against whom he had sustained the injury.

Following that, the centre-back has also featured sparingly in games against Mallorca and Manchester City, although he is yet to start a game.

Ancelotti has plan for Militao

Now, AS reports that Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has devised a plan for Militao to be ready to go when the team face Bayern Munich later this month in the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg.

Militao is expected to play an important role in the Champions League semi-finals. The coaching staff is counting on him to reinforce the team’s defensive capabilities.

The first phase of his reintegration into the dynamics of the competition, which was more psychological than physical, has already been completed.

Ancelotti has a plan for Militao. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ancelotti, who has now drawn up a special plan to give him minutes in order to get him ready (physically) for the semi-finals.

First Militao will be used in the Clásico today, depending on how the game goes. Then against Real Sociedad next week, on this occasion, the Brazilian could even likely be a starter.

At centre-back or right-back

Militao will have options to play against Bayern Munich in the centre of defence, alongside Antonio Rudiger, but also at right-back, as Dani Carvajal will miss the game because he picked up his third yellow card of the season at the Etihad.

It will all depend on how the Brazilian performs in the two remaining games against Barça and Real Sociedad before the UCL semi-final first leg on 30 April.

For the second leg, on 8 May, at the Bernabeu, Militao will compete on equal terms with the rest of the back four. There will be one more game between the two contests, against Cadiz, for him to get minutes. That’s what Ancelotti is counting on with the Brazilian.

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