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Ancelotti talks Vinicius, Benzema, Courtois, Militao ahead of FIFA Club World Cup semi-final



Photo by JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

With pressure mounting on Carlo Ancelotti, the Real Madrid manager will be aiming to lead the team to the second trophy of the season in the form of the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Merengues are set to play their first match in the tournament tomorrow when they lock horns with Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the semi-finals.

Following the defeat to RCD Mallorca in La Liga, it is imperative that Real Madrid produce a strong reaction on Wednesday night and earn a place in the final, where they will face the winners of Flamengo vs Al Hilal.

On the eve of the game, manager Ancelotti addressed the media, touching upon various topics including his team’s injury list and the controversies surrounding Vinicius Jr.

On the FIFA Club World Cup: “The Club World Cup is a very important event. To get here means you have done well. We have a lot of fans here and we want to make them happy. Winning would mean a new impetus for what’s to come.”

On Vinicius Jr: “It seems that the problem is Vinicius but the problem is what surrounds Vinicius. This problem needs to be solved. Vinicius is not guilty, he is the victim of something I don’t understand.”

On facing Al Ahly: “They are a team with a great history, one of the most important in world football. They have a good organisation with skillful players and it’s going to be a competitive match. They have the same desire as us to win. We have a lot of respect for them, especially a club with a very important history in African football.”

On Courtois, Benzema and Militao’s availability: “All three are on the list because it means they can recover for the final. We’ll see, we preferred to leave them in Madrid to follow the best treatment. We’ll see if they’re ready for Saturday’s game.”

On the rival fans: “A club with such a history obviously has fans close to the team. It’s going to be an entertaining game. I think we have a lot of Madrid fans and that everyone will enjoy a competitive game with two teams who are looking forward to playing in the final.”

On playing in Morocco: “In Morocco, they have shown us all their affection. The facilities are fine, the weather is good… We are delighted to be here. We’ll be here for a week and it would be great if we can go back to Madrid with the title”.

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Manchester City join race to sign €40 million-rated Real Madrid target



Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Manchester City have now joined the ever-growing list of admirers for Celta Vigo midfielder and Real Madrid target Gabri Veiga, reports Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.

The 20-year-old midfielder has emerged as one of the breakout stars of La Liga this season, having impressed with his goalscoring abilities from the centre of the park. Indeed, the youngster has notched up nine goals in La Liga and his exploits have made the giants of Europe sit up and take notice.

Real Madrid are said to be interested in Veiga’s services heading into the summer. The Merengues have Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Dani Ceballos on expiring contracts and it is unlikely that all three will be renewed, especially with Jude Bellingham being on the agenda.

In case of Modric and Kroos, even if they stay, it will likely be for only a season at the most. Hence, Los Blancos could require more than one central midfielder come summer, with Veiga emerging as an option.

The 20-year-old was also attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid. Now, Manchester City have also jumped on the bandwagon of clubs interested in Veiga’s services.

The Cityzens, who are battling Real Madrid for Bellingham as well, are set to lose Ilkay Gundogan in the summer when his contract expires. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva’s future is also far from certain, thus necessitating the signing of another midfielder.

Veiga has a release clause worth €40 million in his contract with Celta Vigo, which should not be a problem for either Real Madrid or Manchester City.

Celta Vigo president Carlos Mourino recently admitted that the midfielder could leave the club in the summer, saying:

“We don’t want to sell Gabri Veiga, but they are going to buy him from us. And we can’t do anything there. We know some of his offers and it is impossible to reach them.

“There are several teams behind Gabri. Real Madrid? They haven’t asked us, we don’t know if they will have called the player. Of the top 10 in the Premier League, four have asked about him.”

It will certainly be interesting to see whether Real Madrid are prepared to go all out for Veiga’s signing or decide to entirely focus on their pursuit of Bellingham.

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