Real Madrid continued their 100% win record this season with a 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. However, it was a nervy affair for Carlo Ancelotti’s men who did not get the lead until the 80th minute.
Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio got on the scoresheet for Los Blancos on the night to take the team to the top of Group F. They are now two points clear of second-placed Shakhtar Donetsk who dropped points against Celtic on Matchday 2.
Ancelotti spoke to the press after his team’s 2-0 win and spoke about his reflections on the game and individual players. Here are the snippets from his press conference.
On Federico Valverde’s improvement: “Fede Valverde loves football. He trains very well and has improved after getting consistent minutes.”
On Aurelien Tchouameni’s performance: “Tchouameni is extremely intelligent. When you have so much quality, it’s easy to prove yourself.”
On what makes the French midfielder special: “Tchouameni always wants to learn and asks a lot of questions.”
On where Tchouameni must improve: “It’s true that Tchouameni has to improve, particularly when carrying the ball. But his football IQ is what made us sign him.”
On him showing emotions on the sidelines: “Being angry or nervous during games is normal. I don’t remember myself being calm during a match.”
On what makes the team special: “This group of Real Madrid players is so special because they’re all massive Madridistas. That is important.”
On playing for Real Madrid: “The Real Madrid shirt carries a lot of weight. The players are Madridistas just like the fans and understand this responsibility very well.”
On Karim Benzema’s absence: “With Benzema, our style of play wouldn’t be different. Maybe we would have better moments, but other than that no changes. We will see if he can train in the upcoming days or not.”
On Eduardo Camavinga: “When the scoreline of a game changes, Camavinga’s energy level drops. He has to learn how to put himself in a good position when we need to control the game on a tactical level.”
On whether Benzema would return for the next game: “If Benzema is not completely comfortable, he won’t play. We will not take any risks.”
On the target he set for Valverde: “I told Valverde that if he didn’t score at least 10 goals this season, I will tear up my coaching license and leave.”
Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January
Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.
For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.
According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.
For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.
For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.
Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.
For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.
Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.