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
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.