Real Madrid fell to a 1-0 defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday night in what was a fairly neck-to-neck encounter. In the end, it was a first-half penalty from Yannick Carrasco that separated the two sides at full time and gave Simeone’s side three points.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press after his team’s loss and addressed topics ranging from the upcoming UCL final to the areas where his team needed to improve.
Vinicius Jr, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric did not start the game against Los Rojiblancos, but the manager assured that they would be back for the next game.
“Vini, Benzema and Modric are starting next game. We need these games to get into rhythm for the UCL final.”
Speaking about Luka Jovic, who got a rare start on the night, Ancelotti said that the Serbian international played despite having health issues.
“Jovic played despite having gastroenteritis yesterday.”
The manager did not hold back when asked about Federico Valverde, and had big words for the Uruguayan midfielder.
“Valverde is a STARTER now.”
The coach then mocked at the media for not asking about penalties, referring to the criticism of Benzema last week.
“We don’t talk about the penalty today?”
Ancelotti then spoke about rotating the squad and said it was necessary to avoid any injuries. Heading into the Champions League final, he maintained that it was the priority.
“Our priority right now is to avoid physical problems. That’s why we will rotate a lot. That’s the priority.”
When asked about the final against Liverpool in Paris, the manager said they would begin preparation later in the month.
“We will start working on the UCL final after the Cadiz game. We will have two weeks before the game.”
Three league games remain this season, and Ancelotti said that he would continue to rotate players during those games.
“We will rotate all the players in these La Liga games. We have time to recover and be ready for the final on the 28th.”
With the league won, domestic results carry no importance for Los Blancos. He did not show any regret over the result in the derby, saying that they did not need points. On the contrary, though, Ancelotti said that their second-half performance was much better.
“We didn’t need points today. We needed to rest the main players and let the ones who have played less play.”
“We were not happy because we missed a lot of passes during the first half. We were better in the 2nd half.”
Real Madrid’s academy breakout star was close to signing for Atletico in the past – report
Nico Paz has burst onto the scene at Real Madrid after his recent heroics. The youngster was long hyped as Castilla’s brightest upcoming star, and his performances in recent games prove why.
Paz was the hero when Los Blancos took on Napoli earlier this week. Coming off the bench, he netted Real Madrid’s winning goal with six minutes left on the clock, thus scoring his first-ever goal with the first team.
Turning the clock back
As revealed in a recent update by AS, Paz’s arrival at Real Madrid was by no means a simple operation. It was made possible only through rigorous scanning and profiling done by the clubs scouts in Tenerife.
The youngster, at the time, was the crown jewel of the youth team in Tenerife. He was only 11 years old when the administration established contact with his father, back in April 2016.
It was only then that Real Madrid was made aware of Atletico Madrid’s strong interest in signing the player.
Los Rojiblancos had already made an important offer, and it was thus only Real Madrid’s timely intervention and negotiation that secured Paz’s signing.
An interesting clause
Paz’s entourage were naturally thrilled by the interest from Real Madrid and possible transfer. However, they had one clause that they insisted be met.
The Argentine ace’s entourage insisted that, as opposed to staying in the club facilities, Paz would reside with his family who would move to Madrid with the player. They value the family nucleus dearly and wished to keep the player in his comfort zone outside of training.
Needless to say, the green light soon arrived and Real Madrid won the race of Atletico Madrid. The rest, as they say, is history.