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Ancelotti talks Vinicius, Benzema, Hazard, Rodrygo, Rudiger ahead of Real Madrid vs Barcelona

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to take a step towards qualifying for the finals of the Copa del Rey when they host arch-rivals Barcelona in the semi-final first leg on Thursday night.

It will be the third El Clasico of the ongoing season, with Los Blancos winning one and losing one each, the latter coming in the finals of the Supercopa de Espana.

Real Madrid will have revenge on their minds heading into the game, while they would also be looking to hurt Barça’s confidence by condemning them to a third defeat in a row in all competitions.

Ahead of the match, manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media and discussed what a match against Barcelona means, while also touching upon the situation of some of his players like Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo Goes, and Eden Hazard ahead of the Clasico.

On facing Barcelona and the preparations for the game: “We are preparing for the match with confidence. We have to play a complete game offensively and defensively and we are looking forward to playing because these are the most beautiful duels. We are very close to reaching the final and there are many things to enjoy.”

On Vinicius Jr: “Vinicius’ growth is a positive aspect. Being dependent on him is normal because at the moment he is one of the best in the world.”

On the last meeting vs Barcelona: “We have evaluated previous games against Barcelona and if we repeat the mistakes of the last game it will affect us but I don’t think it will happen again. We are close to winning a competition that is important for us.”

On the potential duel between Ronald Araujo and Vinicius: “Araujo is a very, very strong defender and it’s going to be a very entertaining match-up with Vinicius”.

On Eden Hazard: “Hazard is fine. He is training and he wants to have minutes. He can get them in the next few games. Rodrygo is also fine.”

On Rodrygo’s fitness: “Rodrygo feels good. But he has only trained once. We will decide.”

On choosing between Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga: “The important thing is that Tchouaméni is fine. He can play as a starter without any problem and the truth is that Camavinga is doing very well and that’s good for us.”

On the Negreira scandal: “I think there is no corruption in football at the moment. I don’t know who the referee is but I hope there is no problem.”

On Karim Benzema: “What Karim has done is very important and we thank him for it because he has helped us a lot and let’s hope he can do it this year as well.”

On Antonio Rudiger: “Rüdiger is always focused. He has improved his level a lot and I think he can improve his ball handling. With him and Militao the team is more solid.”

On whether Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will be benched: “Modric and Kroos might not play. We will see tomorrow. These are games where you need a lot of things. It is possible that because of the energy, Kroos won’t be in the game but because of the experience and quality he has an advantage over others. I have to think about it.”

On whether Real Madrid are extra motivated because of Super Cup loss: “The desire we have is not because of the Super Cup rematch but because we are close to a title and when that happens at Real Madrid the temperature rises.”

On the team’s situation compared to last season: “Compared to last year, we have two points less in the league but we are in the cup and last year we weren’t and we lost the first leg of the round of 16 and this year we didn’t. I’m convinced we’re going to win something but I’m not a magician.”

On the FIFA Best Awards: “In the Best Award the World Cup has mattered a lot and it is quite normal that Messi, Martinez and Scaloni have won and I congratulate them.”

On his votes at the FIFA Best Awards: “I haven’t really been interested in The Best awards. It’s quite normal. My three I can’t say because I have a conflict of interest but they are Real Madrid, for sure”.

On whether Camavinga will start: “Eight months into the season I don’t know who the starting 11 are. Every game I have to choose them because I don’t know.”

Source: Real Madrid Twitter

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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