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Ancelotti talks Rodrygo, Bellingham, Enzo, Guardiola, ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to move to the top of the La Liga standings when they take on Villarreal at Estadio de la Ceramica on Saturday afternoon.

Los Blancos are level on points with leaders Barcelona, who have a tough assignment against Atletico Madrid on Sunday. So, a win against Villarreal tomorrow would put Carlo Ancelotti’s side in a good position in the La Liga title race.

However, a win will not be easy as Real Madrid have appeared a tad scratchy in their two games since the resumption of club football. And with Villarreal winning each of their last five matches in all competitions, they will make things difficult for the Merengues.

On the eve of the game, Ancelotti appeared in front of the press and fielded questions from the media, excerpts of which are as follows.

On the death of Gianluca Vialli: “It is a sad day for me with the passing of Vialli. A friend. May he rest in peace.”

On the demanding schedule: “We are used to playing every three days. The squad is pretty good after the World Cup and we have a tough game tomorrow but we’re in good shape. We are confident of playing a good game.”

On what he wants for Three Kings Day: “When I was a child, the presents came to me in Santa Lucia on 13 December and I am not used to asking the Three Kings for anything. The challenge is to match and try to improve on what we did in 2022.”

On Villarreal: “Villarreal have changed a bit with Setién. They play very well and with a very clear identity. I think it will be an entertaining game because we want to play a good match. The squad is good and I see the team focused and motivated.”

On possible winter exits: “Nobody has come into my office to talk about leaving this winter. Everyone is focused on what we have to do. We have a lot of games and the whole squad is going to be used.”

On Quique Setien: “Setien likes attacking football with good positioning of the players on the pitch. It’s going to be an open game and to win there we have to bring our best.”

On whether he considers himself a genius: “I consider myself a person who does a spectacular job and who sometimes gets it right and sometimes wrong. And I am lucky to be at the best club in the world.

On Pep Guardiola calling himself a genius: “Guardiola is a great coach and he continues to give something good and something interesting.”

On players’ fitness levels: “Those who made it to the World Cup final have not lost their fitness. It is different from those who stopped on 9 November. But the players nowadays are very professional and always train. They never stop at 100 percent and are always in good condition.”

On team selection: “Most of those who didn’t play against Cacereño will play. For every game, I will choose the best players possible. Also in the Super Cup, which is an important trophy for us.”

On Rodrygo: “For me, Rodrygo is a starter. Every game is important for us whether he starts or not. When Benzema was injured he did well as a centre-forward. He has so much quality that it doesn’t matter what position he plays in. He does well in any attacking position.”

On transfer links to Jude Bellingham: “Bellingham has shown at the World Cup that he is a great midfielder, but so have others. Enzo Fernandez has played very well. Gavi and Pedri as well. Bellingham is one of those very good midfielders, but I’ll stick with the ones we have.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mhlomuli

    January 7, 2023 at 2:16 am

    Madrid is a great world class team capable of winning the laliga and the champions league. We great players like Luka Modric, Benzema, Toni kroos and Dani Cavajal. They are doing a great job. But age is a bit jealous. I think the coach need to play young players as well. So that they gain more experience and confidence before sunset. All the best to Madrid team on the next match.

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Real Madrid News

Barcelona key duo expected to miss Copa del Rey second leg vs Real Madrid



Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

It hasn’t been a good week for Real Madrid, who look all set to relinquish their Spanish league title to arch-rivals Barcelona come the end of the season, following a narrow defeat to the Blaugrana at the weekend.

However, as Real Madrid enter the international break, there is some positive news for Carlo Ancelotti and his men.

As reported by Toni Juanmarti, Barcelona look set to miss out on their two star players in Ousmane Dembele and Pedri due to injury, ahead of the upcoming second-leg semifinal tie against Real Madrid, in Copa Del Rey.

Real Madrid are heading into this game with a 1-0 defeat in the first-leg, meaning they must beat Barça with a two-goal margin in order to book a place in the final. The absence of both Pedri and Dembele, to that end, could be a major boost for Ancelotti.

Pedri, who was expected to return to full fitness for the second leg, has suffered a relapse. It has set his return back to three or four weeks late, meaning the youngster will not return until the April 23 tie against Atletico Madrid.

The situation is not much different for Ousmane Dembele. The explosive attacker is recovering slower than expected and though he was tipped to return in the league game against Real Madrid this month, he remains a major doubt for this Copa Del Rey tie.

However, Barcelona did register a narrow victory over Los Blancos even without these two individuals, so the task is definitely cut out for Ancelotti and his men as they look to exact revenge against the Catalans in Copa Del Rey next month.

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