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Ancelotti talks Tchouameni, Benzema, VAR, Girona penalty controversy ahead of Celtic clash



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti has been all over the news in recent days for taking a direct dig at the referees and VAR after his team’s draw at the weekend. Amidst all the talk and speculation, the manager faced the press ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League clash tomorrow where he even addressed the elephant in the room.

Los Blancos have secured qualification to the next round but are yet to seal the first place to their name. A win on Wednesday would do the deal and that will be the only objective against Celtic. Here are the snippets from Ancelotti’s press conference.

On the importance of tomorrow’s clash: “Tomorrow’s game is very important because we want to top our group.”

On accusing the referees after the last game: “I didn’t accuse the referee the other day because I would never talk bad about the referees.”

On Aurelien Tchouameni: “Tchouameni will NOT play tomorrow.”

On Benzema’s recovery: “Benzema is training right now and we will see how he feels. Then we will decide if he’ll be in the squad for tomorrow.”

On the penalty called on Marco Asensio: “That against Girona wasn’t a penalty. I know the rule very well. I’m not stupid. At the beginning of the season they explained us that’s not a penalty.”

On tomorrow’s opponents: “Celtic will play their game with intensity and passion. It will be an open game. We want to give our best version tomorrow.”

On facing a ban for his comments: “The possible sanction for my words? I don’t know, I don’t lose sleep on this. But I said what the whole world thought. It wasn’t a penalty.”

On VAR: “I think VAR is a good thing but the referee should always be more important during the games. VAR has to help the referee, not be the protagonist.”

On whether Benzema was intentionally missing games: “Benzema missing games because of the World Cup? This is bad faith. You don’t have to think this. We have to remember he’s 34 and sometimes he misses some games.”

On the team’s poor run in the last two games: “We made mistakes against Leipzig and Girona. We talked about it and I hope the players will fix these aspects tomorrow.”

On Benzema’s availability: “We have to see how Benzema feels after the training today. If he makes the squad I’ll have to decide if he starts or not.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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