Real Madrid will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Valencia in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Following the loss to Villarreal in La Liga this past weekend, it is imperative that Carlo Ancelotti & co. produce a strong reaction and progress to the finals of the Super Cup, where they would meet either Valencia or Barcelona.
Real Madrid are the current holders of the trophy, having won it last season and will look to successfully defend the title.
Ahead of the game against Gennaro Gattuso’s side, Ancelotti appeared in front of the press and discussed what it means for Real Madrid to win the Super Cup, along with several other topics.
On the Spanish Super Cup: “Titles are always important for this club. Last year it was a title that gave us confidence for the season. Hopefully, it can be the same in this Super Cup. We have to prepare well for tomorrow’s game and play well. Then we’ll try to go home with another title.”
On Real Madrid’s performances post-World Cup: “I think it was foreseeable that we wouldn’t be at our best at this stage of the season. The signs from training were good, I was surprised by the Villarreal game. We have to get back to doing things right; the defensive aspect wasn’t good.
“We have to work and show something different. We know how to defend much better. Tomorrow we have to apply ourselves, the defensive phase is important for us. Up front we have the quality we need.”
On not having any Spanish players in the lineup vs Villarreal: “I think it was a coincidence. I think the matrix of this club is Spanish, it’s clear. Madrid is a universal club, we have Spaniards, in the youth academy too. Madrid are the club that has produced the most players in the youth academy who play in La Liga.”
On whether the players are mentally burdened after the WC: “I don’t think it was too much of a mental burden. It could be that some people are affected emotionally, but we have to wait a bit to draw conclusions. We are hurt by Villarreal and I hope the team reacts tomorrow. It’s a very important test.
On Gennaro Gattuso: “We’ve had some great moments, we’ve won two Champions League titles. Memories forever. After that the relationship is not always good, we have had personal problems but I don’t want to talk about that.”
On the objective in the Spanish Super Cup: “We have to fight for every title, we think about winning everything. Now we will do everything we can to win the Super Cup. We don’t think about whether or not it’s an objective.”
On Gattuso as a manager: “A lot of coaches have come out of that Milan team. They don’t come to me now, but Seedorf, Pirlo, Gattuso, Nesta…maybe they have ‘learned’ something, an experience. Then each one puts his touch on the team. Gattuso’s teams have a very clear identity, they’re intense.”
On the team’s defensive problems: “I am convinced that we will see a compact, solid unit. The defensive aspect is not about quality, but about mentality and sacrifice.”
On whether physical problems led to defeat vs Villarreal: “It’s been years since we stopped doing very long physical programmes. There are a lot of games, not a lot of rest time. We haven’t scheduled any down time. We went down because we didn’t play well.”
On penalty shootouts: “We don’t train for penalties very much. It influences those who want to take them and those who don’t. Sometimes it’s hard to find five players who want to take them. The mental aspect is very complicated. It’s impossible to recreate the atmosphere of a penalty shoot-out in training”.
On playing in Saudi Arabia: “We are delighted to play the Super Cup here, because of the atmosphere we had last year.”
On Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr and Gareth Bale’s retirement: “Cristiano was a fantastic signing for Al-Nassr, we wish him all the best. The same goes for Bale, who retired yesterday. They will always be in the hearts of the Madridistas.”
Source: RFEF Official YouTube
Real Madrid were offered Man City loanee in January, club decided against move – Romano
Joao Cancelo’s loan move to Bayern Munich from Manchester City in the final days of the January transfer window came as a huge shock.
The Portuguese international signed for the Bavarian giants on a loan deal until the end of the season with a non-mandatory purchase option worth €70 million.
But, according to Fabrizio Romano, before his move to Bayern Munich, Cancelo was also offered to Real Madrid, who decided against signing any player in the January transfer window.
The Manchester City loanee has been on Los Blancos’ radars in the past, but the club made it clear that they are uninterested in signing any new players during the winter window.
As things stand, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are Carlo Ancelotti’s options at right-back, but there are concerns over their fitness and longevity.
But, as things stand, Real Madrid have no plans to sign a new right-back in the summer as they have full faith in both Carvajal and Vazquez.
Furthermore, Romano adds that the Merengues believe that they have a top right-back for the future in the form of Vinicius Tobias.
The teenage Brazilian joined the club in April last year from Shakhtar Donetsk on loan with a purchase option. He has been earning rave reviews for his performances for Real Madrid’s Castilla outfit under Raul Gonzalez.
So, there is a good chance that the Spanish and European champions will sign Tobias permanently.
All these factors seemingly compelled them against making a move for Cancelo when he was offered to the club last month. The Portuguese international has already made his debut for Bayern Munich and registered an assist on his debut.
Whether they decide to sign him permanently for €70 million in the summer remains to be seen. As for Real Madrid, though, there do not seem to be any imminent plans to reinforce the right-back position.