Real Madrid hosted Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in midweek in a thoroughly entertaining game that ended 1-1 courtesy of goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Vinicius Jr.
Carlo Ancelotti will have his bombastic side eye on the second leg, but must first overcome Getafe on the weekend in the league.
Ahead of the Madrid derby, the Italian gaffer spoke to the media as part of his pre-game press conference.
“We want to win tomorrow. Our focus is not on City,” he started.
He was asked if him and Pep Guardiola were the best coaches in world right now. Humble as ever, the four-time Champions League winner denied the claim, saying, “No. There are many others also.”
With Eder Militao back in contention for the second leg after missing out on the first one due to suspension, Ancelotti has a few doubts over his choice of centre-backs for the City game.
“I have many doubts over who will play as a CB vs City.”
As for tomorrow, there will be a fair few rotations. Thibaut Courtois is expected to start despite that, while there are doubts over other positions.
“Courtois will play tomorrow. Vinicius..we will see whether he starts or not. But he will play tomorrow. I talked to him, he feels very good.” Ancelotti declared.
“Vincius is the best player in the world, or very close to be,” he added in praise of the Brazilian.
“We will play a very demanding game tomorrow, against a team that’s fighting relegation so I will use a fresh and energetic XI. Some players are tired, so I won’t risk them tomorrow.”
“I won’t tell you who will play tomorrow because I don’t want to give Getafe an advantage.”
Ancelotti did provide an injury update, though, confirming Ferland Mendy and Dani Ceballos’ presence for the game after both picked up injuries in the last month.
“Ferland Mendy and Ceballos return to play tomorrow.”
The latter is set to become a free agent in the summer though. “We will decide what to do (with Ceballos and Asensio’s contracts) very soon.”
On the contrary, though, he confirmed the absence of three key players, who apparently picked up some discomfort vs Man City.
“Benzema, Alaba, and Rodrygo received some blows on Tuesday.”
Source: Real Madrid
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.