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Ancelotti talks Vinicius, Tchouameni, Kepa vs Lunin debate, Negreira case ahead of Real Madrid vs Almeria

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

After the disappointment of the Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid will be itching to bounce back when they take on UD Almeria in La Liga tomorrow night.

The Merengues currently second in the La Liga table, a point behind leaders Girona, but with a game in hand, and will be eager to grab a victory and stay at the top or close by.

There are no fresh injury worries to deal with either for Real Madrid, with Thibaut Courtois, David Alaba, and Eder Militao the only players unavailable.

Ahead of tomorrow’s game at the Santiago Bernabeu, manager Carlo Ancelotti appeared for his customary pre-match press conference, discussing the goalkeeping debate and Vinicius Jr.’s performances among other things.

Ancelotti’s decision to constantly rotate his goalkeepers, Andriy Lunin and Kepa Arrizabalaga, for games has led to a debate among the fans, with both players making big errors in the last couple of matches.

But, the Real Madrid manager insisted that there was no debate about it at the club and everyone was clear about their roles, saying: “There is no such thing as immaculate goalkeepers. The debate is outside and I listen to it but there is no debate here.

“There is no internal debate. I accept the outside debate, but I’m the one who chooses the goalkeeper,” he reiterated again.

After a series of important matches, Ancelotti was asked if he was planning to rotate his players against Almeria tomorrow, to which he replied:

“There are players who deserve to play, I have to take into account those who haven’t recovered well. I think they will all recover. The objective is not to give minutes but to win the games.”

After the cup defeat to Atletico Madrid, Ancelotti pointed out the ‘sin of youth’, with players unnecessarily giving away possession leading to their opposition’s third goal. When asked to elaborate, he said:

“It’s not a criticism of the team, with a bit more control we could have done better in extra time. Sometimes when you’re tired you have to have the ball more and lose it less. It was a collective thing and not an individual one. We were in total control and we could have avoided unnecessary counter-attacks or dangers.”

Vinicius Jr. had a spectacular game against Barcelona in the Super Cup final, but failed to repeat those heroics against Atletico on Thursday. On whether he had spoken to the Brazilian, Ancelotti said:

“The last time I spoke to him was on Tuesday. I thanked him for what he said and for the three goals in the final against Barcelona. I thank him for what he does, for what he tries to improve, and for scoring a hat-trick in a Super Cup game.”

On the two losses against Atletico this season, he added: “I try to be as objective as possible. In the league defeat we did badly and from there we improved.

“The cup game was very well played, there were situations that cost us, we weren’t sharp at the back but we created a lot of chances. It was a great opponent. They were two extraordinary games.”

Aurelien Tchouameni did not start against Atletico last time out, but made a major mistake leading to Antoine Griezmann’s goal in extra time. On that moment, Ancelotti said:

“He played his best game in the Super Cup final. In the cup he was tired, he could have done better in Griezmann’s goal, there is no doubt about it.”

On the Negreira case investigation and referee assignment for matches, the Real Madrid manager commented: “I have confidence in the refereeing system. We have to respect the investigations and we will see what happens.”

About the criticism directed towards his team, the Italian said: “I don’t give my opinion, I listen, and I look at what’s going on in the dressing room. We’re in a good dynamic, we’re in good shape, we’re playing very good football. Everyone is doing well, now we have the chance to work harder and that will be good for us.”

Discussing the opponents for tomorrow, Ancelotti insisted that Almeria were not a team to be taken lightly, as he said:

“We are focused on the Almería game. The data says they only have six points, but they deserved to beat Girona and put Barça and Atlético in trouble. They’re alive and they’re going to fight tomorrow. We’ll have to be ready.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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