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

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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

Manchester City forward rejected Real Madrid after trials – ‘Good experience, but it’s in the past’

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Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

When Real Madrid took on Manchester City last at the Etihad Stadium, they were humbled by a 4-0 thrashing that sent them home.

The game had Manchester City written all over it as the men in blue dominated from start to finish, generating almost five times as much goal threat as Real Madrid.

The final nail in the coffin on the night was delivered by a certain Argentine sensation who had been on the field for just two minutes.

Coming on in the 89th minute, Julian Alvarez found the back of the net in the first minute of added time and secured the win for his side.

Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s second-leg clash against the Merengues, the World Cup winner revealed that he was close to signing for Real Madrid in 2011 when he was still an eleven-year-old player with no professional contract.

He played a tournament in the Real Madrid colours, impressing the administration and management and doing enough to secure a deal.

However, his dream was cut short by FIFA’s rules which implied that a player under 16 could only sign for a club if his entire family moved with him. That, however, was not an option for Alvarez’s family.

“I was there for about 20 days. I was just 11 years old. To go to Spain, all my family had to move. It’s already in the past.”

Julian Alvarez scored against Real Madrid last season. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The young striker eventually signed for River Plate where he shone across all levels to earn a move to Manchester City in 2022. He now stares at another game against the club he could have represented and is determined to give his best tomorrow.

“It was a good experience but it’s in the past. Now I’m different, I’m a professional player. If we listen to what Pep tells us to do, we are going to win,” he said on his thoughts on Real Madrid.

When asked if he would like to score tomorrow against Los Blancos, the youngster did not hesitate in admitting that it would be special for him.

“Of course, I’d love to score again. Last game I was only able to play five minutes and I scored. This time I’d love to play a bit more and of course score.”

Finally, the World Cup winner spoke on Manchester City’s goal of defending the UCL title and why it was a very demanding ask from the men in blue.

“It’s going to be hard [to retain the Champions League]. Last season was hard, this season will be hard again. But we know what we have to do and we have the things to do it again.”

“We always learn, especially winning five different competitions, we learned a lot. But we always see the next game and we always focus on winning, winning, winning the next game,” he added on the team’s approach.

Source: Manchester Evening News

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