Real Madrid booked a place in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League after they managed to come away with a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
Los Blancos were far from their best and were trailing in the game thanks to Oleksandr Zubkov’s 46th-minute strike. But, Antonio Rudiger scored a heroic equaliser, putting his body on the line to do so, in the 95th minute to salvage a point for his side.
Real Madrid remain top of Group F with ten points, four clear of Shakhtar in second and five above RB Leipzig in third.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after and looked back on the performance of his team on Wednesday night in Warsaw.
On progression to the Round of 16: “We have reached this point in the season in good shape. We are in the last 16 of the Champions League. We have delivered and shown that we never give up. played very badly and this can happen in football, but the important thing is not to give up when things don’t work out. We’ve tried until the end.”
On the performance: “We played poorly because sometimes it happens. The game was controlled in the first half and we had planned to play more inside than outside. When we conceded the goal, everything got complicated, we lost balance and suffered on the counterattack.”
“The positive thing is that we never give up and beating Madrid is not easy. It is positive to go to the round of 16 because only those who go through to the round of 16 can win the Champions League.”
On the second-half changes: “We have changed the way we press with respect to the first half and they have found a space alongside Valverde and Rodrygo. It was annoying to fit in as soon as the second half started because the game got much more complicated.”
On Rudiger: “He has a cut on his forehead. He is mending it and emotionally he is fine. He laughs and is happy because he has scored an important goal.”
On Toni Kroos: “He will choose if he wants to stay or stop his career here. He has been one of the best, just like Rudiger. In the last minutes, we put a lot of crosses and we needed height. He with Militao is the best we have to finish off with a header.”
On Eden Hazard: “I made the changes to freshen up the team. He had difficulties like Karim. The rival’s midfield was very closed and he didn’t have many chances between the lines.”
On El Clasico: “When you play on Wednesday and then on Sunday you have all the time to recover well. I made changes to avoid problems. The problem was playing today because we played on Saturday night and we had a long trip.
“That was the reason for the rotations and not to think about the Clasico. Maybe whoever doesn’t play today won’t play in the Clasico either.”
Source: Real Madrid website
Real Madrid veteran has ‘adopted’ Arda Guler, is mentoring him in training
The current edition of the Real Madrid squad is full of young talents, who have shown remarkable potential in recent years.
Arda Guler is among the young players looking to make a mark in European football in the years to come.
The young Turk joined Real Madrid earlier this summer, rejecting many other European giants in the process.
Toni Kroos mentoring Guler at Real Madrid
Guler has not enjoyed the best of starts to his life at Santiago Bernabeu, as he is spending a brief time on the sidelines due to an injury.
However, Guler has not stopped working on his characteristics, as he looks to kickstart his Real Madrid career on a positive note.
To that end, the former Fenerbahce starlet is receiving some key support from one of Real Madrid’s midfield pillars in the form of Toni Kroos.
This is according to MARCA, which suggests that the German international is mentoring Guler in his early days at Santiago Bernabeu.
Kroos: huge ‘sponsor’ of Guler
The report highlights how Toni Kroos is a huge admirer of Arda Guler. The German had even heaped praise on the youngster from Turkey when he joined the club earlier in the summer.
Guler, therefore, is closely training with Kroos, whose years of experience, composure, and knowledge of football, could help the youngster grow at Santiago Bernabeu.
This fits in well with Carlo Ancelotti’s vision at Real Madrid, as the Italian boss wants youngsters to have room to grow, especially with guidance from some of the older guards in the team.
It is one of the key reasons Real Madrid wanted to stick to Kroos and Luka Modric, despite bringing in Arda Guler and Jude Bellingham in the summer.
Guler, therefore, has the stage set for him to start his Real Madrid career on a strong note. After impressing in training, the next step for the youngster is to make a promising debut, which is just around the corner.