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Ancelotti talks Valverde, Alaba, Vinicius, Lampard ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face off against Premier League heavyweights Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Real Madrid made it through to the last-eight stage of the competition by beating another English opponent in Liverpool. And they will be aiming to repeat that result again this midweek, especially after the disappointing defeat versus Villarreal over the weekend.

It will be a replay of last season’s Champions League quarter-finals, when Real Madrid prevailed over Chelsea despite the latter’s exceptional fightback at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media and discussed several topics ranging from the club’s ambitions in Europe to team fitness and the incident involving Federico Valverde and Alex Baena.

On the game against Chelsea: “We have to think it’s a 180-minute game and try to do well tomorrow. It’s not decisive, but we can help manage the second leg better. We’re looking forward to getting back in the Champions League and experiencing a magical night at the Bernabéu.”

On the second leg being away from home: “We have to take advantage of the fact that we play the first game at home to take advantage. I think we have played well at home and away. Last year we did well in every game and deserved to win the title.”

On wanting a final with AC Milan: “For me and for Paulo, Istanbul is not a nice memory (losing a final against Liverpool). I’m very fond of Maldini, he was my teammate and captain. If we can see each other on my birthday [on the day of the final] it would be good, yes.”

On Federico Valverde: “He has trained well. Fede has extraordinary human qualities and I don’t want to comment on what happened. Tomorrow he will give his all as always.”

On last year’s game against Chelsea: “We had a very bad time here and we have to respect Chelsea. They are not going through a good moment but they have a very good team. Sometimes when you’re at your worst, you bring out the best.”

On the outlook of the team: “We are focused on playing a complete game. If we can attack like we did against Barça, all the better.”

On Chelsea boss Frank Lampard’s lack of experience: “I don’t think my experience will change what happens tomorrow. Lampard has been a great player who I coached for two years. He knows these kind of games well and how to prepare his team. He has been here for a week, but he will do well in the time he is at Chelsea.”

On whether Real Madrid were lucky in UCL last season: “We deserved to win last year. We had to come from behind and we had more energy at the end. We deserved to win the Champions League last year and we will try to deserve this one. We played better than others.”

On David Alaba’s best position: “At the moment, I think Alaba is doing well as a centre-back.”

On the most difficult UCL matches last season: “There were difficult moments against Chelsea and City. We didn’t give the games away and we ended up winning the title.”

On how he feels about Chelsea’s current plight: “I am sad. I have great memories of my time at the club. I had two very good years there.”

On whether he will return to Chelsea: “No. I think Lampard will do a very good job.”

On Vinicius Jr: “Right now he is unstoppable. He goes on and on. He has spectacular continuity. What he does, he does every day. He always trains at his best.”

On the Benzema-Vinicius partnership: “It’s a group that are good with each other. They know when to joke and when to be serious. For me, managing this squad is very easy.

“Everyone recognises that I’m fantastic at management. But there are other things that show that this team is working well. If we win the Cup, this team will have won every title in two years, something teams never do.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

Harry Kane ‘very close’ to completing Real Madrid move, only final details remain – report



Jude Bellingham’s move to Real Madrid was finally closed earlier today as officially confirmed by Borussia Dortmund on their website. Yet, the offices at Santiago Bernabeu have not even taken a break to celebrate their success.

According to reports from Alfredo Pedullà, Los Blancos are now completely focused on the acquisition of Harry Kane. The English striker’s arrival is very close to approaching closure and only a few details remain to be sorted.

The Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur representatives reportedly held a meeting today over the striker’s transfer. The agenda was to agree on a number for the transfer fee.

The Premier League side began the proceedings with an expectation of €100 to €110 million in exchange for Kane. However, the Merengues suggested a lower point at €80 to €90 million, albeit with the option to include bonuses.

There is not much separating the two parties at the moment, and the minor gap will be bridged in the coming days. Overall, the meeting ended with a broad understanding between the two clubs.

Carlo Ancelotti sees the English striker as the centre-piece of his attack for next season given the recent departure of Karim Benzema. After all, Kane has been one of football’s most consistent goalscorers over the past decade.

Yet, Los Blancos cannot afford to let their guard down with one signing and will need to rope in at least two more names in attack to serve as backup options. The exits of Mariano Diaz, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard leave them with no squad depth, after all.

Kane has scored 30, 17, and 23 goals in his last three seasons in the Premier League and is the epitome of consistency. Further, he had three assists in his most recent league season and created 14 big chances.

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