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Ancelotti talks Rudiger, Hazard, Kroos, Valverde, El Clasico after Shakhtar 1-1 Real Madrid



Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

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

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid superstar duo contacted by Saudi Arabia, club aware of the situation



Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

As we approach the final phase of the 2022/23 campaign, Real Madrid are facing immense pressure to renew the contracts of two of their veterans Karim Benzema and Luka Modric.

According to a recent report from Josep Pedrerol, Real Madrid have been made aware that Saudi Arabian clubs have contacted the two, with the aim of bringing them to the Middle East to enhance their league.

Modric has been facing an uncertain future with his contract expiring at the end of the season. While he is in talks with Madrid over a renewal, the midfielder has also been approached by Saudi Arabian clubs, as they look to enhance the league by roping in stars from Europe.

Al Nassr notably made headlines earlier in the year by bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Since then, Saudi clubs have been linked with moves for players like Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard and even Lionel Messi.

Modric, too, is considered one of the top targets for Saudi clubs. Although the midfielder has expressed his desire to continue at the Bernabeu for at least another year, a deal with Real Madrid has not materialised. This has opened up a window of opportunity for Saudi clubs to make their move.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema was reported to be close to finalising a renewal recently, but an agreement is yet to be reached. The Frenchman has had his share of struggles with injuries and fitness this season, which has led to questions about his longevity and future at Real Madrid.

While the links to a move to Saudi Arabia have not been as prominent for Benzema, it is expected that the Saudi clubs may jump on any opportunity to lure the striker to the Middle East.

Real Madrid are aware of the situation and are working to secure the futures of their star players. However, with the prospect of lucrative contracts being offered by the Saudi Arabian clubs, the players themselves may be tempted to make the move.

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