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Ancelotti talks Rodrygo, Militao, Modric, Bellingham, Mbappe, Haaland ahead of Mallorca vs Real Madrid



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Following their UEFA Champions League encounter against Manchester City, Real Madrid will revert their focus to La Liga as they face off against RCD Mallorca on Saturday evening.

With Barcelona not very far in the table and the Clasico coming up next week, Real Madrid cannot afford any slip-ups and must avoid getting distracted by the Man City clash coming up in less than a week.

On the eve of the game, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in his customary press conference, providing an update on the fitness situation of some players, including Rodrygo, who did not train with the team today.

Kicking things off by detailing what kind of contest he expects against Mallorca, the Real Madrid manager said:

“Difficult, competitive, hard-fought, against an opponent with an extraordinary collective attitude. It will be intense. We will try to match what our opponents do very well, which is commitment.”

There were questions about the availability of Rodrygo after he did not train today. There were also doubts over whether Eder Militao would be able to pay. Answering those questions, Ancelotti said:

“The whole squad will be available and the priority is tomorrow, not Manchester. We have a lot at stake, but like all teams. We remain confident and tomorrow is vital.”

When further probed about Militao, who has not started a game in nearly 250 days, the Italian tactician replied:

“I repeat what I said: they are all available and tomorrow I will put out the best team. Militao is also available.”

Ancelotti then provided an update on the situation of Luka Modric, who continues to shine in the limited minutes he gets, stating:

“I see him well physically, no matter when I put him in. It’s a good moment for him, that’s what I think. That physically he is fine.”

There have been concerns growing about Jude Bellingham’s recent performances and lack of goals, but Ancelotti waved those off by saying:

“His goalscoring rate has slowed down, but he’s been a great surprise. He’s doing his job, which is more of a midfielder, but football-wise he’s doing very well, he’s not lacking anything, just the goals, which will come back sooner or later.”

Apart from Bellingham, some other big-name players like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland also failed to shine on the big stage in the UCL quarterfinals this week. When asked for his opinion on that, Ancelotti replied:

“Calm down, calm down. It may be that in the first legs they didn’t give their best versions, but there are other games coming… and watch out. Watch out for the three you mentioned.”

The manager also commented on the situation of captain Nacho Fernandez by saying: “He has played a lot of games and he is Nacho, always reliable, but when you play so much, you can also make more mistakes.

“He’s a player with a lot of confidence and personality. He has been useful and will continue to be useful.”

Militao will be available vs Mallorca and could start. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

On whether he had given much thought to what happened in the game against Manchester City, Ancelotti replied:

“No, I haven’t. The good thing about football is that everyone has a say, the bad thing is that there is an examination. If I take a medical exam they’ll say ‘come back in September’, but in football it’s not like that, anyone can have an opinion.”

Real Madrid’s physical level and intensity appeared to drop in the second half against Man City this week, but Ancelotti insisted that everything was okay with the players, saying:

“The physical sensations are very good and, although in the second half we dropped off a bit, we had the 2-1 lead and we were looking to manage it, nothing more, but physically they are all fine.”

Having changed the positions of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr. against Man City, Ancelotti hinted that the system might be here to say, saying:

“Maybe. Vinicius is very humble and has understood that this system can be good for the team, playing more on the inside. It’s something I’ve spoken to both of them and they were in agreement.”

On whether he will continue using Aurelien Tchouameni in defence, Ancelotti said: “Well, he’s one more resource we have, but always bearing in mind that he’s a great pivot.”

Finally, Ancelotti was asked if it would be a big risk to put Militao on the field against dangerous forwards like Vedat Muriqi and Cyle Larin after his lengthy layoff. In response, the Real Madrid boss said:

“It’s a thought we have in our heads, but if I see a player well, I don’t think about the minutes he’s played or the time he’s been out.

“I put someone in a Champions League final who was coming off injury and I did it because I saw him well. The question is whether he is available.”

Source: AS

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Real Madrid News

How Real Madrid can cope with Brahim Diaz’s AFCON leave



Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face a significant challenge in the middle part of the 2025/2026 season.

The 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, which could lead to the temporary loss of one of their key players, Brahim Diaz.

Brahim Diaz, an integral part of Real Madrid’s squad, is likely to be called up to represent Morocco in the tournament.

Under FIFA regulations, Real Madrid cannot refuse to release him for international duty. His potential absence could create a void in the squad during a crucial part of the season.

Diaz, whose contract with Real Madrid runs until 2027, has been a standout performer. In the recently concluded season, the 24-year-old scored 12 goals and provided 9 assists in 44 appearances for Los Blancos.

His contributions have been vital to the team’s success, and his absence will certainly be felt.

Three potential solutions for Real Madrid

To mitigate the impact of Diaz’s potential absence, Real Madrid could look to other talents within their squad. One promising option is Arda Güler, often referred to as the “Turkish Pearl.”

In his debut season with Real Madrid, the 19-year-old showcased his abilities despite having a relatively reserved role for most of the campaign.

Güler’s prominence increased towards the end of the season, especially after Real Madrid had already secured the league title. He finished the season with 6 goals in 12 appearances, demonstrating his potential to step up when needed.

Güler’s ability to play in advanced midfield positions and his knack for scoring could make him a suitable replacement for Diaz during the AFCON period.

This opportunity could also accelerate the player’s development, providing him with more significant playing time and a chance to solidify his place in the team.

Another option for Real Madrid would be to make a signing in the summer of 2025 to cater for Brahim’s vacancy.

Currently, the name of Germany and Leverkusen ace Florian Wirtz has been mentioned as a possibility for Real Madrid in a year.

His versatility and vision on the ball make him a good option to replace Brahim Diaz in the squad.

Lastly, with the absence of signings, Real Madrid can look into their youth side and call up Nico Paz to the first team for the one month Brahim Diaz will be out for.

The 19-year-old scored 11 goals and 4 assists in the just-ended season, with one of the goals coming in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli when he had his chance in the first team.

He has the vision, drive, and skillset that make him a like-for-like replacement for Brahim Diaz.

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