Real Madrid News
Ancelotti’s message to Real Madrid players ahead of Chelsea clash: “Play a complete game”
Real Madrid are set to lock horns with Chelsea once again, in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
Coming on the back of a 2-0 victory, the Spanish giants are in pole position to book tickets for the semifinals. However, they cannot afford to be too complacent, knowing Chelsea have more than enough ability to turn the game on its head.
Speaking to the players ahead of the game, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti gave a rousing speech to the players, urging them to keep up the same level of performance as they have shown in the last couple of matches.
“We have to play a complete game. We have to demonstrate the desire, commitment & attitude that we had in the 1st leg and in the game last Saturday,” he said (h/t El Chiringuito).
Although Real Madrid have performed poorly in the domestic league, they have been quite impressive in the Champions League under Ancelotti. They dismantled Liverpool in the Round of 16, and are in the driver’s seat to beat Chelsea as well.
Quite recently, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a sly dig at Barcelona stating how some clubs do not have the luxury to play midweek matches. He was referring to the Catalans, who have been knocked out of both Copa Del Rey and Europa League this year.
Courtois’ comments came in the midst of a heated environment that has been established between Barcelona and Real Madrid, following Joan Laporta’s public criticism of Los Blancos.
The incident led to Real Madrid posting a video, trying to showcase how General Franco had played a key role in shaping Barcelona.
Nevertheless, the Real Madrid players would look to keep the off-field drama aside as they look to focus on the coming game against Chelsea.
Real Madrid News
Real Madrid have not ‘given up’ on Karim Benzema’s renewal yet – report
The cloud of uncertainty over Karim Benzema’s future has served as a major headache for the Real Madrid board, as they kickstart their team planning ahead of the new season.
Recent reports claim the Frenchman is strongly considering a move to Saudi Arabia, after receiving a lucrative €150 million offer from Al Ittihad. He was close to renewing his contract at Santiago Bernabeu not too long ago, but it appears the tables have turned lately.
Nevertheless, Real Madrid are yet to give up on Benzema and still harbour hopes of renewing his contract in the coming weeks, reports Alfredo Matilla.
The Spanish journalist suggests Real Madrid have not closed the file on Benzema. Coach Carlo Ancelotti has recently met the forward to clarify his future and it appears the club are set to do everything they can to keep hold of the player.
Benzema’s departure, after all, could put the club in a major dilemma, where they must either sign a top-class striker or settle for a low-cost alternative for the entirety of next season.
Harry Kane has been earmarked as the ideal replacement for Benzema. But his acquisition could potentially jeopardise Real Madrid’s bid to sign either Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe in 2024. The club have also faced difficulties negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman.
As far as the low-cost options are concerned, Real Madrid are interested in Roberto Firmino, who will become a free agent in the summer.
However, the Brazilian international is not the most productive striker around and his struggles in front of goal could put more pressure on players like Vinicius Junior next season.
Real Madrid, therefore, will hope to keep hold of Benzema’s services for another year. Unfortunately, though, the player has given a cold response so far and left training early, without speaking too much.
So it will be interesting to see whether or not the veteran striker opts to remain at Bernabeu for another year.