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Courtois, Valverde react after Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool: “We know we can go far”



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are a force to reckon with in the UEFA Champions League. After winning the coveted trophy last season against all odds, the Merengues are on track to defend their title as they enter the quarterfinal stage as one of the favourites, after defeating Liverpool.

A dominant 5-2 win at Anfield virtually sealed the result in the first leg. However, it was crucial that the Spanish side stayed grounded for the home leg to ensure a stable progression. On Wednesday, Real Madrid did just that. A 1-0 win at the Bernabeu takes the team through to the next round with an aggregate score of 6-2.

Thibaut Courtois shared his thoughts after the 1-0 win in Madrid. Talking about the team’s performance on the night, he ran the media through the entire game from start to finish and how the balance kept shifting.

“It was a good performance from us. They tried to create chances, Alisson made a series of brilliant saves and until our goal came, we knew they were still in the game. Once we got that goal, the game cooled off a bit and we knew we were going to qualify,” he said.

The Belgian goalkeeper then commended his team for their maturity and handling of the situation with emphasis on the fact that their level-headedness was key. He also explained how Liverpool’s approach played into their hands, saying:

“They were also aware following the first leg, that we could punish them in behind if they went too crazy but they were looking for that goal early on just like Chelsea did last year, and that’s when the game could have changed. We showed real authority and maturity in how we went about the game. That was the key, not overthinking too much.”

Real Madrid will face one of Chelsea, Benfica, Milan, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Inter or Napoli in the quarterfinal of the UCL. When asked if he had any preference, Courtois said:

“We have to respect every team that’s made it through. There are a lot of good teams and we’ll see who we get drawn against. Last year we were unlucky to always be drawn against a big team, but that’s also a great way to progress.

“We’re confident and we know we can go far. We have to keep up this momentum and play like we did today and hopefully, it’ll be like that in the Clásico. We have to win.”

Federico Valverde did not have his best game on Wednesday as he struggled to make a tangible impact. He spoke to the media after the game and focused on how Real Madrid appeared in both halves with different mindsets.

“When you have such a big lead, we needed a bit more conviction in the first half to get that goal. In the second half, we switched that mindset, we did a lot more to get the win and that’s how the game ended.”

He also showered praise on Courtois for his match-defining performance in goal, including four saves from inside the box, saying:

“They created chances and Courtois came to our rescue, we’re starting to get used to last year now.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid could be in trouble with RFEF if too many Spanish players leave



It is astounding that despite being the biggest club in Spain, Real Madrid do not have many Spanish players to show for it.

Los Blancos do indeed boast of a special diversity in the dressing room, but their lack of locally trained players could pose problems according to MARCA.

The Spanish outlet confirms that UEFA does not mandate the inclusion of any minimum number of locally grown players for a club. However, the Spanish federation stipulates that a club in Spain must boast of at least eight players who meet a specific set of conditions.

Of the aforementioned eight candidates, there must be at least four players who have spent three seasons or 36 months at the club between the ages of 15 and 21.

Currently, only Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Federico Valverde, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Mariano make up the required number on that front.

The problem, however, arises with the condition for the other four players in the list of eight. RFEF stipulates that the second set of four players must have completed at least 36 months in teams attached to the federation of Spain between the ages of 15 and 21.

Only Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola, Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos tick the aforementioned box. However, all four players have uncertain futures at the club and are well-placed to depart in the summer.

There are thus big decisions to be taken over the transfer strategy for June. Real Madrid can work ways to ship all four players out, it would require the re-integration of players like Sergio Arribas, Miguel Gutierrez or Fran Garcia to ensure the fulfilment of the criteria.

With both Vallejo and Odriozola seemingly frozen out of Ancelotti’s plans, their departures from Santiago Bernabeu appear inevitable. Thus, the management could be forced to renew one of Asensio or Ceballos come June.

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