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Ancelotti talks Messi, Benzema, Hazard, Endrick, Brazil ahead of Valladolid vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

La Liga football returns as the current champions of Europe and Spain are back in action tomorrow night to take on Real Valladolid away from home.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men currently sit second in the table, just two points shy of Barcelona. However, their recent form has been somewhat concerning.

Madrid have won just one of their last three games in La Liga, and two of their last five in all competitions. During this time, they have slipped below Barça in the standings despite winning El Clasico rather comfortably.

Ahead of tomorrow’s game, the experienced Ancelotti seemed chipper as always as he faced the media for his scheduled pre-game press conference.

On the team’s morale: “The team feels good. Benzema has recovered and feels perfectly.”

On the World Cup players: “All the players who played the World Cup are fine and ready to play.”

On Modric, Tchouameni, and Camavinga: “Modric, Tchouameni and Camavinga trained individually today but are fine and ready to play. Of course, I’ll give priority to the players who trained more in the past days.”

“Modric, Tchouameni and Camavinga can play tomorrow.”

“We preferred to give Modric, Tchouameni and Camavinga some rest after the final. But the truth is, they haven’t had much rest.”

On the hectic football schedule post-WC: “Our calendar is very exigent. We are going to play many games until March.”

On the Brazil NT rumours: “I don’t know, I want to stay at Real Madrid. I’ll never ask the club to let me go.”

On contract renewals: “I’m not worried, neither is the club. All the players are focused and I’ll use them until the end.”

On Messi being the GOAT: “Messi the best in history? He’s a great player but I can’t say who’s been the best. There have been so many wonderful players… Maradona, Di Stéfano, Cruyff.. I don’t know.”

On Endrick: “I met him last year, we talked a bit. We are very happy to have signed him. He is a great talent.”

On Courtois’ form: “It’s not his fault if we have conceded more goals. We have not defended well. We have to improve.”

On Benzema’s being kicked out of the French NT: “I can’t say anything about France NT decisions. They evaluated Benzema’s situation and that’s it. We are sure Benzema will help us a lot this season.”

On ‘tiki-taka’ being dead: “No (laughs). It’s important to have possession but also defense and counter attack. Sometimes you need that to win games.”

On winter transfers: “Entries are closed, because we have a great squad. We don’t know about the departures, because perhaps some players who play less will want to leave.”

On Eden Hazard: “Hazard is fine, he has trained well. I see him better than before the World Cup. He’s done a good job and I’m going to use him more in this part of the season.”

Source: Real Madrid TV

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Real Madrid News

How Real Madrid can cope with Brahim Diaz’s AFCON leave

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Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face a significant challenge in the middle part of the 2025/2026 season.

The 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, which could lead to the temporary loss of one of their key players, Brahim Diaz.

Brahim Diaz, an integral part of Real Madrid’s squad, is likely to be called up to represent Morocco in the tournament.

Under FIFA regulations, Real Madrid cannot refuse to release him for international duty. His potential absence could create a void in the squad during a crucial part of the season.

Diaz, whose contract with Real Madrid runs until 2027, has been a standout performer. In the recently concluded season, the 24-year-old scored 12 goals and provided 9 assists in 44 appearances for Los Blancos.

His contributions have been vital to the team’s success, and his absence will certainly be felt.

Three potential solutions for Real Madrid

To mitigate the impact of Diaz’s potential absence, Real Madrid could look to other talents within their squad. One promising option is Arda Güler, often referred to as the “Turkish Pearl.”

In his debut season with Real Madrid, the 19-year-old showcased his abilities despite having a relatively reserved role for most of the campaign.

Güler’s prominence increased towards the end of the season, especially after Real Madrid had already secured the league title. He finished the season with 6 goals in 12 appearances, demonstrating his potential to step up when needed.

Güler’s ability to play in advanced midfield positions and his knack for scoring could make him a suitable replacement for Diaz during the AFCON period.

This opportunity could also accelerate the player’s development, providing him with more significant playing time and a chance to solidify his place in the team.

Another option for Real Madrid would be to make a signing in the summer of 2025 to cater for Brahim’s vacancy.

Currently, the name of Germany and Leverkusen ace Florian Wirtz has been mentioned as a possibility for Real Madrid in a year.

His versatility and vision on the ball make him a good option to replace Brahim Diaz in the squad.

Lastly, with the absence of signings, Real Madrid can look into their youth side and call up Nico Paz to the first team for the one month Brahim Diaz will be out for.

The 19-year-old scored 11 goals and 4 assists in the just-ended season, with one of the goals coming in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli when he had his chance in the first team.

He has the vision, drive, and skillset that make him a like-for-like replacement for Brahim Diaz.

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