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Ancelotti talks Rodrygo, Vinicius, Modric, Kroos, Ceballos after Real Madrid 3-1 Atletico Madrid



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Much like their previous fixture in Copa del Rey against Villarreal, Real Madrid secured another thrilling comeback victory in the cup competition, defeating neighbours Atletico Madrid 3-1 in the quarter-finals.

Los Blancos were pegged back early in the first period by former striker Alvaro Morata and the Rojiblancos hung on to their lead for a large part of the game until Rodrygo produced a piece of magic to equalise and force the tie into extra time.

With Atletico Madrid losing Stefan Savic to a red card, Carlo Ancelotti’s men capitalised and Karim Benzema scored in the first half of extra time before Vinicius Jr added a wondergoal late on to secure the tickets to the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Ancelotti addressed the media after the game and here are the excerpts from his post-match press conference.

On the key behind the win: “The key is that there has been more commitment from everyone. The bench is helping us a lot and this stage of the season requires a bench where everyone can contribute. We have too many games.”

On the game: “Today was a very tough and competitive game against a very strong opponent. They were better in the first half and the second half was very good from our side and we put in as much energy as we could. A play of individual quality allowed us to level the tie and the support of our fans put us well on track for extra time.”

On what changed at half-time: “I was very angry against Villarreal at half-time, but not today. The team didn’t play well in the first half, but we had the resources to improve. I changed Luka’s position by putting him higher up, but more than a change of strategy it was a mental change after the break.”

“The changes gave us more energy and quality up front. It’s very difficult to understand how a team plays so badly in the first half and so well in the second. It’s difficult to explain.”

On Vinicius Jr: “He played well. He was very excited and looking forward to playing in front of his home fans. He played a very good game, fighting until the end. His goal was the reward for a lot of hard work and what happened before the game was unfortunate, but he was focused on the game.”

On Rodrygo: “His Achilles tendon was bothering him and I substituted him. The goal he scored was fantastic, with his quality. What is very complicated he makes very simple. He is a very important player for us.”

On Savic’s red card: “I don’t remember Ceballos’ play, but Savic’s seemed clear to me. Atlético played very well and in a different way than usual. They handled the ball well in the first half and it’s normal that it’s upsetting to lose after a game in which they played well.”

On the demanding fixture schedule: “It is too demanding and with too many games, but it is what it is and you have to face it in the best possible way. It doesn’t allow you to get players back to 100% and it causes injuries.

“We have to look to the youth team. Today Mario Martín played, who is a young prospect, and there are others who can also help us and do well.”

On the form of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos: “Leaving Kroos and Modric on the bench is difficult for me, but also having players on the bench who are doing very well like Ceballos and Asensio. It’s a transition, but with players of this level it’s complicated.”

On Dani Ceballos’ renewal: “I don’t go into this. The club knows very well what I think. He is contributing a lot.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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