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Ancelotti talks Vinicius, Modric, Rodrygo, Valverde, Nacho after Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid

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Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Tuesday night saw one of the UEFA Champions League’s most special clashes as last edition’s finalists Real Madrid and Liverpool engaged in action at Anfield in the Round of 16. The game did not disappoint with an incredible comeback scripted by Los Blancos and seven goals scored on the night.

The first half was more evenly balanced, and both teams shared the spoils at the halfway mark, with the scoreline at 2-2. However, the Merengues went out blistering in the second half, putting three more goals beyond Liverpool to settle the result.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media after his team’s special win at Anfield and spoke about the dynamics of the game amongst other topics. Here are the snippets from his interaction.

On the performance of his team: “Winning at Anfield isn’t easy and doing so in a convincing manner is even more difficult. We’re very pleased about that. The team showed that they’re improving and that they’ve been at a good level in February after a tough January.

“The season doesn’t stop and we have to be at our best. We’re pleased and we’re confident we can do well.”

On the contrasting halves of action: “We struggled a lot at the start, but in the second half we made a difference. We didn’t expect to get off to such a start, but as is often the case with this team, we stayed calm and gradually got into the game thanks to the quality we have.”

On what changed in the second period: “The forwards were highly effective and we created problems when we broke out of their pressure. We sorted out the defensive side of things and in the second half, we made a difference. We looked for our front players, who were outstanding today.”

On the second leg: “We have gained an advantage from the first 90 minutes and now we have to manage the second 90 in Madrid well. Liverpool are a highly competitive team and unfortunately, the tie isn’t over. Liverpool are a great team because they play at a high tempo and that’s tough to come by in Europe. It’s going to be tough for us.”

On how his approach last night was distant from last year’s final: “I tried to field a line-up to ensure we played a more open game than in the final because this is a knockout tie. We went for a dangerous forward line.

“Rodrygo did a fantastic job defensively and really helped us a lot. We had a different strategy compared to the final.”

On pushing through despite being two goals down: “I remembered the semi-final against Manchester City. It was inevitable that we’d have to suffer. We said to ourselves that we could struggle, but the important thing was to remain calm and keep our emotions under control.”

On the importance of players’ mentality: “This is where the veterans really help a lot. Everyone showed composure because it was a long game. You keep cool by trusting in the quality you have. You have to prepare the team to stick to the strategy you have set out.”

On Vinicius Jr: “Right now he’s the most influential player in world football. No other player has this consistency.”

On Luka Modric: “He’s the same Modrić as always. The best Modrić you can see in a match: consistent, confident, and great on the ball. In times of trouble, he’s been essential in getting us out of trouble.”

On controlling the game in the second half: “I told Luka to press Fabinho in the first half, but he found more on the left wing, and in the second half we put Valverde there.

“Nacho always performs. He has a football intelligence in defence that not many have. We sorted it out well in the second half.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Rodrygo talks about teaming up with Kylian Mbappe: “A dream to play with the best”

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Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Image

Real Madrid forward Rodrygo, who is currently training with the Brazilian national team for the Copa America in the United States, expressed his excitement about the prospect of playing with Kylian Mbappe. 

Rodrygo emphasised that it would always be a pleasure to team up with Mbappe, whom he considers one of the best players in the world.

Rodrygo mentioned that it would be a great honour for him to play alongside the future Real Madrid forward. 

“For me, it’s a pleasure to play with Mbappe, I always made it very clear. He’s going to help our team a lot, he’s going to help make it even stronger than it already is,” said the forward as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.

What about Rodrygo’s place in playing XI

Mbappe and Rodrygo are set to join forces at Real Madrid starting next season. Interestingly, the Frenchman’s arrival could potentially impact Rodrygo’s playing time. 

Despite the competition, though, the forward remains optimistic and prefers to focus on his current role with the Brazilian national team rather than speculate about his future at the club.

Rodrygo is eager to play alongside Kylian Mbappe. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“It is always a pleasure, but now is not the time to divert the focus, I want to be focused on the national team. 

“Mbappe is also playing the (European) championship with his national team and I want to be focused here.

“But always making it clear that it is a pleasure and a dream to play with one of the best in the world,” he added.

Rodrygo is focused on Copa America

As Rodrygo prepares for his first Copa America with Brazil, he aims to demonstrate the same high level of performance that he has consistently shown with Real Madrid in recent years. 

He recalled a memorable moment from the 2021/22 Champions League semifinal against Manchester City. 

In that match, Rodrygo scored two last-minute goals that forced extra time, ultimately securing Real Madrid’s place in the final, where they defeated Liverpool.

Rodrygo hopes to replicate such extraordinary performances with the Brazilian national team during the Copa America. 

His main goal with the national team is to have impactful moments that contribute to the team’s success, similar to his crucial role in the Champions League semifinal.

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