It is a special night in the Spanish capital tomorrow as Atletico Madrid make the trip to the centre of the city. It is, indeed, the Madrid derby. In the Copa del Rey, no less.
Both teams are coming off tough games in the round of 16, with Real Madrid coming back from 2-0 down to win 2-3 against Villarreal, and Atletico escaping an upset vs Levante courtesy of two second-half goals.
The last clash between the Madrid giants ended 1-2 in favour of Carlo Ancelotti, who took to the media as part of his pre-game press conference.
On the game: “Tomorrow’s game will be very special. A derby is always special. We are happy and can’t wait to play at the Santiago Bernabéu again after so long.”
On Luka Modric and Toni Kroos: “Modric and Kroos? They understand very well their role and what I ask them. They know there’s a lot of quality inside this squad. It’s a moment of transition. I talked to them about this at the start of the season.”
“Modrić and Kroos can play together, obviously. I am sure about that and I have no doubt they will still be important.”
“Modrić and Kroos have contributed a lot and will continue to contribute. I have no doubt with them. Of course they’ll still play together. Nothing has changed.”
On rotations: “Rotations are key for success. All the players must stay motivated.”
On Federico Valverde: “Valverde is not at his top form after the World Cup. We are waiting for him to recover.”
On Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos: “Would it be fair to leave Ceballos and Asensio on the bench tomorrow? No but we need to always rotate in this part of the season. I’ll use the best XI tomorrow.”
On injuries: “Alaba will play tomorrow. Tchouaméni, Hazard, Carvajal and Lucas are out.”
On Nacho: “Nacho? He can play everywhere and he always does it very well. Of course he prefers to play as CB and I know it. That’s why he will start as right-back tomorrow (laughs).”
On January transfers: “The squad is closed until June. No movements will happen.”
On Tchouameni: “Tchouameni will be available for Sunday’s match.”
“Tchouameni is not comfortable if he plays with another DM in a midfield 3, Camavinga is better under that aspect.”
“A double pivot of Camavinga and Tchouameni? It could be an idea for the future.”
On Brazil rumours: “Rumours of coaching Brazil? No, there’s nothing. I would tell you.”
On Camavinga: “Camavinga was spectacular vs Athletic Club. He amazed me, especially under the defensive aspect.”
On Fran Garcia: “Fran Garcia? He came out of our youth academy and we are evaluating him, but we won’t make decisions until the end of the season.”
Source: Real Madrid TV
Official: Real Madrid squad list to face Atletico Madrid | La Liga
As Real Madrid gear up for their biggest test of the 2023/24 season so far against Atletico Madrid, manager Carlo Ancelotti has released the squad list for the game at the Civitas Metropolitano.
The biggest news is the inclusion of star forward Vinicius Jr in the squad, with the Brazilian seemingly making an ultra-swift recovery from his injury to make himself available for the Madrid derby.
Meanwhile, Jude Bellingham also makes the squad list after there were some concerns about his situation as he had a stomach issue on Friday.
Arda Guler has trained with the team but is still not ready for his debut while Dani Carvajal also misses out with injury. Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao remain long-term absentees.
Ferland Mendy makes a return to the squad list for a La Liga match after having recovered fully from his injury.
Youngster Nico Paz is still missing due to a knock that led to his absence in the midweek Champions League clash against Union Berlin.