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Ancelotti talks Rodrygo, Benzema, Valverde, Kroos after Real Madrid 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk



Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Real Madrid took a step closer towards qualifying for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 as they secured a 2-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

An early goal from Rodrygo Goes set the tone for Los Blancos before Vinicius Jr doubled their tally with a fine goal. However, the Ukrainian giants pulled one back through Oleksandr Zubkov before half-time.

Real Madrid had a flurry of chances in the match but lacked the clinical edge, which set up for a tense finish. However, they were able to see the game out without any hiccups, returning to winning ways after dropping points in La Liga over the weekend.

Speaking after the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted that he was satisfied with the outcome of the contest, but was not entirely pleased with the performance.

On the result: “I’m satisfied because the team played well, pressed and combined very well up front. We’ve had many opportunities But we weren’t right. The important thing was to have opportunities and we’ve had them.”

On the contributions from midfield: The top three have combined well, doing spectacular things. Valverde has contributed a lot with his punch. Kroos and Tchouameni have handled the ball well.

On qualification to the next round: “Next week we have the opportunity to go through the group winning and focus on La Liga. It is normal that the Champions League takes away your energy and this opportunity is very important.”

On the team’s intensity drop after 2-0: “The team relaxes when it can relax. We were 2-0 up and the game was controlled. Intensity is important, but it can’t always be done. We lowered the intensity thinking that the game was controlled and comfortable – a wake-up call because the game wasn’t over.

“Sometimes it’s normal for this to happen because we were playing very well and it seemed easy, but these games are dangerous. We’ve only given the opponent one chance behind. I’m not worried.”

On Rodrygo’s best position: He changed his position to put pressure on the centre-backs when the ball came out. He has played more inside with Karim and in some games, it can be done. With the ball, he has extraordinary quality and can play anywhere. His position was a change to try to defend with more pressure.”

On Benzema not scoring: “He has been very good and has been decisive with his quality and positioning. He has played for his teammates and has been present in the area. He hasn’t scored, but that’s the last thing on our minds. He has grown a lot in his condition and has made a complete match.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Nacho set to stay at Real Madrid, will be new club captain – report



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid have finally received some good news as MARCA confirms that Nacho has finally made his decision about his future, and is set to continue at the club for the foreseeable future.

His contract expires in the summer, and Real Madrid had tabled an extension for the player, which was not accepted by the Spaniard at the time. Now, however, he has decided to reject offers from Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.

Nacho will sign a one year extension, with the option to extend for another year if both parties reach an agreement.

His continuity also means that he will be the new club captain for the 2023/24 season, since Karim Benzema is leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer. Luka Modric will be second captain, followed by Daniel Carvajal and Toni Kroos.

Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken to the player, confirming that they trust him for next season in the team, which has gone a long way in helping convince the player.

The Italian gaffer also spoke about the Spanish defender’s contract situation after the game against Athletic Club yesterday, saying:

“Asensio, Nacho and Ceballos? We have explained them their roles. The club have offered them renewals. Asensio has preferred to leave, Ceballos and Nacho are still thinking about it.” 

While a centre-back by trade, Nacho has played across the defence for Madrid continuously, including putting shifts at left-back, right-back, and even centre-back.

His departure would have probably pushed Madrid to sign another defender, especially since they are considering selling Ferland Mendy if a good offer arrives.

Regardless of that, though, Madrid are moving to sign Alphonso Davies, and have already made initial contacts with the player. Bayern Munich have not rejected their advances.

Further, the los blancos management have already met with Davies’ entourage twice, cementing their interest in the Canadian ace.

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