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Ancelotti talks Rodrygo, Hazard, pitch conditions after Cacereno 0-1 Real Madrid



Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

In their first game of the new year, Real Madrid would have hoped to put up a dominant performance and get off on the right foot. Considering that their opponents played in the fourth division of Spanish football in their first Copa del Rey clash of the season, one would have expected a landslide victory.

Yet, as has been the script in recent years, the underdogs did not show any sign of inferiority despite playing the European Champions. Cacereno took the game against Real Madrid with such strong intent that it could well have all gone wrong in the opening period itself.

Eventually, Los Blancos walked away with a narrow 1-0 lead thanks to a Rodrygo Goes strike. They now advance to the Round of 16 in the competition after getting through what could ironically be the toughest round.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team’s win on Tuesday and addressed topics including Eden Hazard and the state of the pitch. Madrid Universal brings you the snippets from his interview.

On whether his team deserved the win: “We couldn’t play the way we planned because of the state of the field. We are not used to playing like this but I am satisfied with today’s performance. The result is deserved.”

On his overall assessment of the game: “It’s difficult to fully assess the game because it was difficult to play tonight due to the pitch. Hazard and Rodrygo faced more difficulties and could not create many chances, but fortunately, Rodrygo managed to finish the match with a goal.”

On the poor condition of the pitch: “You can’t play football like that. This is not football and the stadium needs more work. Such things should be monitored by the officials. It’s good to see the kids fight and compete against the big boys. That’s good for the fans, but they want to see good football.”

On how his players adapted to the situation: “I liked the technical side of the players, I knew we had to struggle in this environment. This is our second clean sheet and that makes me very happy, we didn’t suffer as we expected and everything was fine.”

On his team’s aspirations to win the Copa Del Rey: “We are a team that can win and compete in all competitions. Our genes are not to give up and we will compete for all championships as best as possible.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

Canadian international says playing against Luka Modric was a ‘lesson’ for him



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are blessed to have the services and loyalty of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The duo have run the show in the Merengues’ midfield for close to a decade and continue to deliver flawless performances to date.

Of the two, however, it is the Croatian who deserves the higher credit. The veteran is now 37 years of age, yet dominates the middle of the park with grace and poise like none other.

Stephen Estuaqio, an FC Porto player and Canada International, spoke earlier this week about why he considered Luka Modric to be a special player and compared him with Kevin de Bruyne to support his stance.

“I played against De Bruyne, but I ran behind Modrić. I couldn’t play against him. It’s crazy how he dictates the game and controls everything. It was a lesson for me,” he said on The 90th minute on Youtube.

With his contract running out next season, Real Madrid are looking to renew his deal by one year come June. Yet, it is difficult to see him continue beyond next season and his imminent departure will mark the end of an era at the club.

Thus, Modric could be an altered role come next season. With a young midfielder, possibly Jude Bellingham set to arrive, the veteran could move into a mentorship role with the occasional appearance in big games.

This season, however, Carlo Ancelotti will continue to use him as one of the backbones of the side and deploy the maestro in the must-win fixtures coming up later this month.

At 37 years of age, Modric has started 16 La Liga games over 24 appearances this season in the competition. He has scored four goals and provided three assists in that process in addition to creating eight big chances with an average of 1.8 key passes per game.

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