Real Madrid will face off against fellow title contenders Girona in a top-of-the-table La Liga clash tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid currently hold a two-point lead over Girona in the table and a win on Saturday would consolidate their position at the top of the table.
It is a huge game against Michel’s side and Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti previewed the match during his press conference today while also providing important updates regarding the fitness of some of his key players.
“It’s going to be a demanding game because Girona are doing the best along with Real Madrid and we have the utmost respect for them,” said Ancelotti, kicking things off.
“Girona are a team with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of desire and we know that. Tomorrow’s game won’t decide anything in La Liga but one of the two teams can take advantage.”
Girona will be without manager Michel tomorrow as he is suspended for the game. On whether it will affect the visitors, Ancelotti said:
“Football belongs to the players. The presence of the coach gives confidence to the team but I don’t think it is decisive. I missed two games and one we won by eight goals and another we beat Celta. The coach’s absence is not a determining factor.”
Moving onto the fitness of Antonio Rudiger and Vinicius Jr., both of whom did not feature in the last game against Atletico Madrid, the manager stated:
“Rudiger is feeling good. He had a good feeling in training today but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see how he feels. Vinicius is fine.”
“Yes, Vinicius is definitely ready to play the full 90 minutes. Nacho will be fine for Tuesday,” he added.
On the team’s situation as a whole, he said: “We have held up well in January and now in February comes the Champions League. We are doing well despite the emergency at centre-back and we can look forward to a positive month.”
The injuries had forced Ancelotti to play Dani Carvajal in central defence against Atletico. And if Rudiger is not fit for tomorrow, the situation could repeat. When asked what advice he gives the right-back about playing in central defence, the manager said:
“To Carvajal I can’t say a lot of things when he plays as a centre-back. He has a partner who is more experienced and that’s the one who gives the advice. In training we work on it with as much time as we can.”
On the goalkeeping situation and the decision regarding who between Andriy Lunin and Kepa Arrizabalaga will start, Ancelotti explained:
“The issue of the goalkeepers is an issue that has arisen with the loss of Kepa in November. For me it’s not difficult to choose who plays, it’s difficult to choose the replacement and I want to have both involved because neither of them deserves to be the replacement.”
Earlier today, comments surfaced in which Toni Kroos’ mother stated that he should sign a new contract with Real Madrid. When asked for his thoughts on it, Ancelotti replied:
“Kroos’ renewal is a decision he will make at the right time and in the best way.”
On whether he thinks that Kroos might end up retiring at the end of the season, the Real Madrid boss said: “I think that if Toni Kroos retires in four months’ time it means that he has character, that he has balls.”
Meanwhile, there have been a lot of speculations flying around regarding Miguel Gutierrez and Real Madrid having an option to re-sign him from Girona next summer. Ancelotti himself reportedly would be happy to have the left-back at the Bernabeu.
However, when asked about it, the Real Madrid boss was tight-lipped, saying: “All the players in Miguel Gutiérrez’s situation are controlled by the club. Miguel has done well at this stage and in the summer we will make the right decision again.”
Ancelotti also discussed the poor spell Rodrygo has been enduring in front of goal of late, after going through a bright patch of form.
“I can’t tell Rodrygo not to think about scoring goals because he is playing and contributing very well. The important thing is that he continues like this,” said the manager.
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid midfielder on Kylian Mbappe’s potential arrival: “He’s always welcome”
Over the past few years, the story of Kylian Mbappe’s move to Real Madrid has dominated media outlets regularly. The 25-year-old has been at the club’s doorstep several times in the past, but the deal was never complicated.
There, is, however, something different about the rumours this time around. Mbappe has openly announced his departure from PSG not only to the administration but also to the dressing room, when his contract expires in the summer.
Furthermore, it has also been reported that Mbappe’s arrival has also been announced in the Real Madrid locker room.
Comment from a player
Despite rumours strongly doing the rounds, there has been a queer silence from the offices and dressing room of Real Madrid over Mbappe’s possible signing.
However, Los Blancos’ star midfielder Federico Valverde broke the ice over the World Cup winner’s arrival, saying,
“Kylian Mbappé is a great player, he’s always welcome,” he said via El Chiringuito.
As revealed recently, the Merengues have tabled a proposal involving wages between €19 million to €22 million per season, a Ballon d’Or clause of €15 million and a massive signing-on bonus for the player.
It remains to be seen, however, if the Frenchman’s entourage are satisfied with the offer.
Mbappe’s arrival will bring another of world football’s elite names into the dressing room at Santiago Bernabeu.
With Vinicius Jr already firmly rooted in the left-wing position, however, Mbappe will not have his preferred position available at Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti thus sees three possible tactical adjustments to fit Mbappe into his dynamics. Two of the aforementioned three ideas see a 4-4-2 adopted with Rodrygo being dropped, while a 4-3-3 would mean Real Madrid sacrifice a midfielder like Eduardo Camavinga.
Needless to say, the pressure will be on Ancelotti to find a role for the Frenchman superstar without affecting the team’s current dynamics or balance.