Real Madrid are set to take on Eintracht Frankfurt next week at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The game in Finland will see the two sides fight tooth and nail for the UEFA Super League title, which will be the first silverware of the season for the winner.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the official channels of UEFA ahead of the clash and spoke about Real Madrid’s success last season and the squad for the new season, amongst other topics. Here are the snippets as revealed via Alfredo Pedulla.
The club manager first put into perspective his expectations from the team for the upcoming season. As expected, he did not show any sign of settling for less in his answer.
“There are six titles at stake and we want to fight for them all. Eintracht will put us in difficulty, but our players will arrive ready and our goal is to win this tournament.”
The Champions League winners are traditionally the favourites to lift the Super Cup, but there have been a healthy number of instances where the underdog has triumphed. Ancelotti explained why he thinks his men will come out on top.
“I think because of their professionalism, the players arrive ready. To be able to bring another trophy home in the first game of the season would be great, as there are 6 titles at stake and we want to fight for all of them.”
The manager could not have dreamt of a better storyline for his second managerial spell at the Bernabeu. He said that the new spell gave him a lot of satisfaction.
“I am very proud. It has been a special season for me personally, and for Real Madrid. Coming back to this club has given me a lot of satisfaction. We still remember fourteen. It is a very recent memory. A very special chemistry was also created with the fans, in a very special stadium.
The manager put out a particular word to the fans who fill the stadium and cheer the team on through thick and thin.
“All the gains we made were at home and thanks to that motivation that came from the stands. We were able to beat the greats, thanks to the great unity, as well as the quality.”
Ancelotti did not undervalue the role of the new signings and had only praise when asked to explain their impact on the team.
“We have Rudiger and Tchouameni, players who bring quality. I think we’ve brought in some of the best players in the world in their roles.”
Finally, he was asked if Eintracht Frankfurt were an opposition that deserved to be in the Super Cup. Ancelotti defended the Germans’ position by saying,
“It’s a deserved Super Cup final. Last season Eintracht did an extraordinary job. They were among the favorites but played some great matches. Against Barcelona, they won at the Camp Nou. They have a defensive interest and a great speed in transfers. It is a team that will certainly create difficulties for us but we are ready for them.”
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia
For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.
Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.
After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.
Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.
As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.
1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal
Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.
Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.
For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.
The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.
The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.
His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.
With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.
2. Concern shifts from right to left-back
The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.
Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.
Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.
David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.
The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.
Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.
3. No margin for error
Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.
Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.
The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.
Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.