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Ancelotti talks Militao, Nacho, Mendy, Valverde, Cubarsi, Yamal ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona

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Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to kill off the La Liga title race and take a decisive step towards lifting the title when they take on Barcelona tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid currently have an eight-point lead over Barça in the table with seven games left to be played in the season.

A victory on Sunday would stretch their advantage to 11 points, taking them ever so close to being crowned the champions of Spain.

Momentum is also on their side following the hard-fought UEFA Champions League quarterfinal victory over Manchester City.

On the eve of the match, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti appeared in front of the media for his customary press conference and discussed a variety of topics, including the fitness situation of Ferland Mendy.

“The team has been recovering. There are players who need one more day, like Mendy. They will all be in the squad. Mendy was tired and we’ve given him a day’s rest,” said Ancelotti, kicking things off.

The Real Madrid boss then discussed the criticism that his team received for the way they played against Manchester City at the Etihad this week, saying:

“I’m not surprised, everyone has an opinion. You have to manage the defensive and offensive aspects. There are games where you have the ball less than normal and you have to do it well. I haven’t seen any Madrid fans sad, yet. We are happy.”

Former Real Madrid star Casemiro revealed in an interview earlier this week that Ancelotti got very emotional about the midfielder’s exit back in 2022 and it had made the manager cry. When asked about it, the Italian said:

“He was a legend and when he leaves it is an emotional moment not only for me but for all Madridistas.”

Meanwhile, there have been a lot of speculations about another Real Madrid icon, Nacho Fernandez, over the past 24 hours, suggesting that he could leave the club in the summer. Addressing that, Ancelotti remarked:

“He has to decide his own future. He played a spectacular game, from a top level defender, as he is, has been and continues to be. A great centre-back.”

The Real Madrid manager also hinted that Eder Militao could be ready to start against Barcelona tomorrow, saying:

“Tomorrow he could be a starter. He’s fine, he’s training, he’s only missing minutes. He wants to play and could be an option for tomorrow.”

The Italian tactician also lavished a lot of praise on Federico Valverde, a future captaincy candidate, calling him ‘irreplaceable’.

“It’s hard to say what he can improve. His season is the season of continuity. He is a team player and that is decisive. Wherever I put him, he contributes. He contributes as a winger, as a pivot, he gives assists, goals. He’s irreplaceable for me,” he said.

Ancelotti sees Valverde as irreplaceable. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

On what he expects from tomorrow’s El Clasico against Barcelona, the Real Madrid boss stated:

“It’s going to be a very competitive opponent, who are doing very well. We are convinced that it will be a classic as always, it will be very hard fought. It’s a great opportunity to get closer to La Liga. Barcelona are a very lively team.”

On the penalty shootout win against Manchester City, Ancelotti stated: “We usually ask the players how they are, it’s an important moment and you have to be ready.

“Everyone helped, including Kepa, and we had a lot of reports on the shooters and it went well. [Goalkeeping coach] Llopis did a great job.”

On Antonio Rudiger’s match-winning penalty, he remarked: “We rehearsed on Monday and he scored all three. The technical aspect is secondary, the emotional aspect is more important.

“You have to be calm and confident, the players have to be honest and sincere. Sometimes it’s hard to find five players to shoot and the other day there were more than five who wanted to shoot. We chose those who were the most convinced.”

Ancelotti was also effusive in praise of two of his staff members, Davide Ancelotti and Francesco Mauri, as he said:

“They contribute, he and Mauri. It’s a high-level, young coaching staff. They bring a lot of enthusiasm and they make me doubt a lot. They get on well with the players, they are very serious and professional.

“For my age, when enthusiasm is sometimes lacking, it’s important to surround yourself with enthusiastic people. The atmosphere is healthy and clean and they bring out the best in us. It’s not just the players. The atmosphere is made up of everyone, the coaching staff, the players… it’s part of the success. They stay with me.”

The Real Madrid boss also gave his two cents about two of Barcelona’s most exciting youngsters, Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, stating that they have a bright future in the game.

“The connection between veterans and youngsters is very important. Cubarsi and Yamal are a surprise for everyone, they are very young and they will have a very successful future,” he said.

On whether there is a possibility of him using a three-man defensive system, Ancelotti remarked: “We don’t rule it out. When there is not much time left, you have to defend, I might put five defenders or seven, and perhaps two goalkeepers. The bus can’t be used.”

Ancelotti also spoke about the quality that veteran midfielder Luka Modric boasts and how the veteran will never settle for being a rotation player, saying:

“He’s never going to accept to be the backup. He has the same quality and enthusiasm as 10 years ago, that’s why he’s never going to accept the role of the substitute.”

On how the season has gone so far for Real Madrid, Ancelotti remarked: “We are doing well. The cake is ready and all that’s missing is the icing on the cake this month. We’ve arrived well, we’ve got the players back and we need to put the icing on the cake this month.”

Ancelotti also praised Mendy, calling him as one of the best in the world in his position, stating:

“He has a contract, he is very important for us. He cares about contributing and he does a fantastic job. For us he is the best in the world. To dribble past him is not easy, we see it in every training session.”

There was also praise for Rodrygo, for having emerged out of a difficult moment in the season and delivering the goods again, as Ancelotti said:

“I think he’s doing very well. He has had delicate moments because he didn’t score and it was complicated to manage the moment, but he has always worked and scored again. He’s very important for us. He’s in good shape and tomorrow he’s going to rest… until 9 o’clock.”

Concluding, Ancelotti highlighted where the strength of this Real Madrid team comes from, saying:

“Everyone puts team success before personal ego. To see a commitment like the other day is rare in a top level team.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder issues fitness update ahead of UCL final – ‘It is very difficult’

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid officially played their final game of the league season this past weekend and the focus now shifts to the UEFA Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1.

The Spanish champions have the glorious opportunity to secure their 15th Champions League title this on Sunday.

But heading into this clash, Real Madrid are likely to miss out on the services of one of the key players – Aurelien Tchouameni.

The Frenchman will likely be ruled out for the UCL final due to an injury incurred earlier this month.

Tchouameni on UCL final

Speaking ahead of the final, Tchouameni admitted that it would be very difficult for him to participate in the UCL final.

“I can run, I think it is very difficult to play in this final and we have more players who can be in my position. The important thing is that we are going to win this Champions League,” Tchouameni said.

Tchouameni is certain to miss UCL final (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Frenchman added that he would try to help the team any way he can, stating, “If I can be the MVP from the bench, I’ll do it.”

Considered by many as the future of the Real Madrid midfield, Tchouameni has played a valuable role in the middle of the park this season.

His versatility, coupled with his ability to spread the play and put pressure on the opposition have served as key to Real Madrid’s success.

Although Tchouameni might not feature in this final, the player expressed his optimism about the Real Madrid team, adding, “I really want to play in this final, but I’m sure we will reach more finals [in coming years].”

Finally, Tchouameni expressed his happiness at Real Madrid, stating, “It’s an incredible feeling to be at Real Madrid.”

Formerly of AS Monaco, Tchouameni has featured in 88 competitive matches since joining Real Madrid in 2022. With Toni Kroos retiring, he is expected to play a crucial role for the club going forward, although not necessarily in the upcoming Champions League final.

Source: RMTV

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