After a couple of months of hiatus, Real Madrid resume their UEFA Champions League journey tomorrow night as they take on RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie away at the Red Bull Arena.
Real Madrid go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a resounding 4-0 win over Girona in La Liga and will be riding high on confidence.
However, RB Leipzig are not an opponent to be taken lightly, something that Carlo Ancelotti & co. are aware of having lost to the Bundesliga club in the group stages of the Champions League last season.
“We’re in a good moment, excited and motivated. We like this competition a lot. The opposition is strong, intense and with quality in front of them. We have to play a complete game, especially defensively,” manager Ancelotti said previewing the game.
When asked to review the season so far for Real Madrid, the Italian tactician replied: “I don’t know if it’s the best season of my career. It’s the best run because I’ve never lost just two games at this stage.
“I’m very happy with the group, it has quality, nobody is protesting. We’re doing well despite the absentees thanks to the team’s character and personality to overcome the problems.”
Having named Vinicius Jr. the best player in the world after the win against Girona, Ancelotti heaped further praise on the winger, saying:
“If he plays like he did against Girona, he makes a difference. He has quality, intensity. What stands out is the continuity to do things consistently for 90 minutes. The opponents end up going down physically and that’s the most important thing he has.”
Ancelotti was asked if Toni Kroos, who had accompanied for today’s presser, was enjoying his best season at Real Madrid. In response, the manager said:
“It’s difficult to say it is his best season because it’s always the best. His quality hasn’t changed, it’s always been there. He’s playing in a team with a lot of energy and he stands out for handling and tempo and he’s doing very well.”
On Kroos’ contract situation and whether he will renew with Real Madrid, Ancelotti stated: “The decision he makes has to be respected. You have to stop at the top but you have to choose the moment.
“His performance since he started playing has always been the same. He is very continuous. A player has to stop at the highest moment, just like a coach.”
Further adding, he said: “The biggest motivation is to play football, nothing else. He likes to play football a lot and we all respect him. Of course, he can continue.”
Discussing Real Madrid’s hunger and motivation to always excel in the Champions League, the manager said:
“My motivation is high because I like what I do. I like the squad, the players. For Madridismo the Champions League is the most important thing. We are going to fight and compete, I don’t know if we will win. We’ll start tomorrow against a strong team.”
On the injury-enforced absence of star midfielder Jude Bellingham, Ancelotti said: “We never think about those who are missing. Without Bellingham we have won four games out of four. Those who have replaced him have done well. He is a very important player for us, like Courtois or Militao. It’s an opportunity to be motivated.”
After regularly rotating his goalkeepers, Ancelotti has recently stuck by Andriy Lunin as his preferred option. When asked if it will be the Ukrainian or Kepa Arrizabalaga starting tomorrow, he replied: “I already know who will play tomorrow but I’m not going to say.”
On whether Brahim Diaz will start in Bellingham’s absence, Ancelotti replied: “Brahim is one option, but there are others.”
On the chances of Dani Carvajal continuing at centre-back again, he said: “Leipzig are very good at set pieces. Carvajal has played very well as a centre-back. Should I take him off? I have to think about it.”
Commenting on whether Kroos should come out of retirement and play for Germany in the Euros later this year, Ancelotti said: “Toni Kroos has the right to choose what he wants. The European Championship is an important competition and it can be good for him.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid do not want to pay ‘crazy money’ for top defensive target – Romano
As has been reported by multiple reliable sources today, Alphonso Davies is likely to be on his way to Real Madrid from Bayern Munich in the summer.
It has been suggested that the 23-year-old Canadian left-back already has a verbal agreement with Los Blancos over a transfer either this summer or in 2025, when his contract with the Bundesliga champions runs down.
Now, the idea is for Real Madrid to start negotiations with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached for the summer window.
Real Madrid will not pay crazy money
Amidst all this, Fabrizio Romano has come out with an update claiming that Real Madrid do not intend to pay ‘crazy money’ to sign Davies from Bayern Munich given that he will be entering the final year of his contract.
The Italian transfer expert claims that Real Madrid have been the preferred destination for Davies for a while now and that the personal terms between the two parties will not be an issue at all.
So, a summer move would now hinge on Bayern Munich’s asking price for their left-back.
Romano states that the Bavarian giants will attempt to tie Davies down to a new contract until May or even June.
But if the left-back, who is demanding hefty wages worth around €20 million, does not agree to sign, they will be forced to sell instead of losing him for free next year.
In that scenario, Real Madrid will be best-placed to sign Davies, although Los Blancos will not go overboard with their spending on the Canadian.