Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal has responded to Gerard Pique’s claims that Los Blancos’ 14th UEFA Champions League triumph will not be remembered, saying that it is only he who does not want to remember this victory.
Speaking in an interview with El Pais (h/t AS), the 31-year-old shed light on several aspects, including injuries, mental health, his diet, and his best moments in the Madrid shirt.
On the other hand, he also shared his thoughts over Pique’s recent comments, saying,
“He won’t want to remember it. But for Real Madrid fans, the three comebacks reflect what our history is, our motto, not giving up until the end. And not just any team has that.”
We have seen a changed Carvajal
A few days back, we reported that Real Madrid are considering contract renewal for Carvajal, but this will only be offered if he consistently displays the level of performance he is showing right now.
Above all, we also explained how his consultation with a nutritionist was one of the reasons for his upturn and while speaking about his diet, he explained,
“I worked with a coach. It is important to value not getting frustrated, and not demanding too much. I was very demanding of myself.
“I didn’t allow myself to fail, I didn’t allow myself a bad game. You have to face it naturally, knowing the level you can give, and that fills you with confidence. If a player has confidence, things go much better for him,” he said.
Carvajal seems fitter
Carvajal has struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons. This season, however, he has looked sharp and fitter, and while speaking about his fitness, he added,
“Not having injuries allows you to have a lot of continuity, and to be in good physical shape every day. I feel good physically, fast. I’m putting in miles, and good efforts, knowing that I’m 31 years old and that the coach is also dosing me.
“I handle this well. You have to understand it too. Before it was more difficult for me. When I was younger, they would give me a break and I would say, ‘What about this one?
“You understand over the years that we are a group, we all have to support, whether you play more or play less.
“The last Nations League, in which I only participated in the extra time minutes and the penalty shootout, made me see the other side a little: now I have to add from the outside and I can also be very important,” he said.
Carvajal also revealed how he deals with constant criticism, saying that although it is hard on him and it affects his family, the fact that Real Madrid continue to have faith in him means a lot.
“I’m not going to deceive you and tell you: ‘I avoid it and don’t listen….’ Yes, you listen, and you read, and my father reads the press and tells me: ‘Look what he says here.’ And I tell him: ‘Dad, don’t read this, it doesn’t matter.’ I have had difficult moments at the game level, like in Glasgow.
“Or I remember that first leg in Paris  when I gave Mbappé a penalty… Poof. Many doubts: ‘he is no longer valid’, ‘he is old’, ‘he is no longer able to play for Madrid’, ‘he is slow’, ‘they are looking for a replacement.’
“It is hard, but from the first moment the club has shown their confidence to the maximum and I thank them from the bottom of my soul.”
Arda Guler and Zinedine Zidane’s advice
Arda Guler is still yet to play a game for Real Madrid despite signing for the club in the summer. The young Turk has had several bad luck with injuries, but he seems on track to recovery now.
Speaking about the youngster Carvajal said, “I approached him to encourage him: to be calm, that this is a process, that sometimes the body has to adapt, and to do everything in his power to come back stronger.
“Speak from experience, tell him: ‘You are not alone, you are not the only one who has had this happen to him.’”
He also revealed some of the best moments of his Madrid career and he revealed how former manager Zinedine Zidane made it happen.
“He told me: ‘Don’t look at the finisher when you have to put in a cross; choose the area: first post, penalty spot, second post’. And I said: ‘Well, I think if the shot goes to the near post we have finishing options.’ So it was.
“I think the moment in Lisbon [Ramos’ equalizer in the 93rd minute to force extra time in the 2014 final] and the comeback against City have been the most ecstatic moments. Inexplicable… Inexplicable,” he said.
Real Madrid like 44-year-old Premier League manager as a candidate to replace Ancelotti
The situation around Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Real Madrid could not be more confusing.
Real Madrid believe that the Italian tactician has not committed his future to any third party and are now interested in renewing his contract beyond this summer. They hope to close the deal by Christmas, per sources.
Concurrently, however, the Brazilian Football Confederation are confident that the coach will join forces with them next summer and see the manager have committed his future to them.
Real Madrid preparing for both situations
Indeed, it is Real Madrid’s priority to renew Ancelotti’s contract beyond this summer, when it is set to expire. However, they are aware that the uncertainty does not bode well and are preparing for the worst anyway.
Los Blancos thus have a long list of potential candidates who could take over in the event Ancelotti leaves. One name on the list is that of Roberto de Zerbi.
Mario Cortegana goes on to confirm the same as part of his latest report. The reliable Spanish journalist states that Los Blancos like the Brighton & Hove Albion manager’s profile.
But he adds that no move has been made yet, contrary to previous reports stating that contact had been established.
De Zerbi is seen as one of the best managers for the long haul, for he focuses his attention on developing his players’ profiles from the grassroots levels. Considering the youth riches in Real Madrid, he could indeed be a good fit.
Ancelotti’s latest stance
The Real Madrid manager has been largely coy over his future in recent months. He has said on numerous occasions that he is open to a renewal although talks do not appear to be progressing beyond the speculative stage.
Earlier this week, the manager spoke to the media and addressed the volatile topic of his future.
“I feel very comfortable in Madrid. In the future, what will happen will happen. I’m not in any hurry, I’m very happy,” he said, hinting towards continuing in Madrid.
Yet, nothing can be said for sure in the world of football until it actually pans out.