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



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

Real Madrid locker room angry with Barcelona midfielder’s ‘unsportsmanlike’ behaviour – report



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

While the evident frustration among the Real Madrid players was quite visible following the recent 1-2 defeat against Barcelona, the feeling of vexation was not really limited on the field.

Journalist Mario Cortegana, while writing for The Athletic, has confirmed that once the players got into the dressing room, the environment had an air of anger and frustration. 

Players from each team had a go at each other right till the end, especially the likes of Dani Carvajal and Arnau Tenas, who had to be separated by several members from both teams.

Interestingly, before the aforementioned incident, Barcelona midfielder Gavi was already causing some trouble on the field. The youngster did not shy away from putting his body on the line throughout the game and it annoyed Madrid players to the extreme.

First, he pushed Carvajal in one incident and after that, he entangled himself in an off-the-ball clash with Dani Ceballos. The Madrid midfielder first had a collision with Robert Lewandowski and as the game moved on, Gavi made note of the incident.

During the run of play, Gavi pushed Ceballos with his shoulder and it did not settle well with the Madrid players and manager Carlo Ancelotti. The players and the manager were disturbed by Gavi’s behaviour and considered it ‘unsportsmanlike’.

On the other hand, there was frustration involving refereeing decisions as well. It must be remembered that in the 82nd minute, Marco Asensio found the back of the net to send the Madrid fans into a frenzy.

The celebration, however, was cut short as VAR disallowed the goal for an extremely tight offside. “We are sad, frustrated,” a dressing room source told The Athletic. “What happened? A guy looking at a TV in Madrid has decided La Liga.”

Ancelotti, on his part, said: “The disallowed goal? I don’t know, I really don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I’m leaving with this doubt. If the VAR is sure.”

“I leave this match very proud. I don’t think we deserved to lose today,” he added.

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