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Ancelotti talks Vinicius, Bellingham, Courtois, Militao, Kroos, Ballon d’Or ahead of Granada vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Newly-crowned La Liga champions Real Madrid will lock horns with relegation-battlers Granada at Los Carmenes on Saturday evening.

Following their win over Cadiz last weekend, coupled with Barcelona’s slip-up to Girona, Real Madrid’s status as the new champions of Spain was confirmed.

Carlo Ancelotti & co. celebrated their coronation by defeating Bayern Munich to secure a place in the finals of the UEFA Champions League this midweek.

All eyes will be on the Wembley showdown against Borussia Dortmund next month and the manager will look at the remaining league games as an opportunity to fine-tune the team’s performances and give chances to some of the fringe players.

Ancelotti confirmed as much in his press conference today, stating that he will be making rotations against Granada.

“We have to do a lot of things. We are playing tomorrow and we have to respect our opponents and the competition. These matches will help us prepare for the final. I will make rotations, but everyone will play,” he said.

“It’s been a very demanding season. I will give rest days after the games.”

There has been a lot of noise surrounding Vinicius Jr. and a potential Ballon d’Or win this year after the season he has had. When asked if the Brazilian can win it, Ancelotti replied:

“It’s not giving itself away today. He’s doing well, he’s got the final and the Copa America. He’s close to winning it and if he finishes well he can win it.”

Praising him and compatriot Rodrygo, Ancelotti added that the Brazilian national team are lucky to have them.

On where Vinicius stands among the best in the game, the manager replied: “He is among the best. It depends on the moments and this is Vinicius’ moment. He helped us to be in the final and win the league.

“I don’t want to forget the others. It’s Real Madrid’s moment, until June 1, then you don’t know, it could be Dortmund’s.”

Vinicius can win the Ballon d’Or reckons Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

On being asked if he thought Vinicius would reach this level, the Real Madrid boss said:

“When I arrived I had only seen him on TV. He seemed to me to be a player with spectacular talent. He has put a lot of things around this talent. More runs, more goalscoring efficiency.

“Thanks to a lot of hard work in training. He is a professional who deserves what he is achieving.”

Amidst speculations claiming that Thibaut Courtois could start in the UCL final against Borussia Dortmund ahead of Andriy Lunin, Ancelotti provided an update on the goalkeeping situation at the club, saying:

“Courtois is going to play, he needs minutes. I have to keep Kepa in mind as well, he deserves to play a game. Lunin also has to be ready to be able to play. I have to evaluate it.”

Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas, though, advised Ancelotti that Lunin should play ahead of Courtois at Wembley. Responding to that, the manager said:

“I respect what Casillas says (that Lunin has to play) and I’m very fond of him. I don’t want to get into this debate because I have almost a month to think about it, I haven’t thought about it.”

On Thursday, Real Madrid confirmed that Aurelien Tchouameni had suffered a stress injury in his left foot, which cast doubts over his availability for the UCL final. On the midfielder, Ancelotti said:

“We have doubts that he can make it to the final, we will see his progress.”

The Real Madrid boss also confirmed that Eder Militao will get minutes in the final La Liga games, adding: “Militao is going to play these games and the rest of the central defenders will rotate more.”

Ancelotti also highlighted the defenders’ contributions in the attacking third, saying: “The defenders have scored a lot of goals. Lucas and Rüdiger too. We only lacked Militao’s goals.”

Providing an update on Jude Bellingham, who played the Bayern Munich game after taking a painkiller injection, Ancelotti said:

“He’s fine, he’s going to rest like everybody else, he doesn’t need more or less than the others. I’m going to rotate in these four games, he’s going to get in these rotations.”

Before signing off, Ancelotti was asked if he feared Toni Kroos could leave Real Madrid once the season was over, to which he replied:

“Before the Bayern game, I thought that if we were eliminated I would talk about the future of the players, but as we have won we’ll leave it for a month from now.”

Source: AS

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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