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Federico Valverde talks Ancelotti, World Cup, favourite position, Steven Gerrard comparisons

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Federico Valverde has been one of the top performers at Real Madrid this season, with the midfielder recently bagging the La Liga Player of the Month accolade.

In light of his excellent performances, Valverde praised Carlo Ancelotti for maintaining trust in his qualities while hailing his own development over the past few years.

“Now he is giving me more prominence, he already gave it to me at the end of last season. Carlo with a look is already telling you many things, which make you grow as a player and as a person. On Sunday I did not play as a starter. Before I used to get angry. Today I have learned,” Valverde told Ovacion (h/t MARCA).

The midfielder went on to talk about his development over the years, suggesting that he has earned his place in the Real Madrid team.

“The Fede Valverde of today is not the same as the one of three years ago. Through effort and humility I have earned my place in the team; today I feel very important”.

Valverde even responded to comparisons with Steven Gerrard made by Luis Suarez, saying: “It’s spectacular that they compare you with a player like that, with a star, a world idol. It’s spectacular, I do see characteristics of him.”

With six goal involvements in ten matches, Valverde has been extremely successful this season, even when deployed in a wide attacking role. However, the player prefers to play in the midfield as it gives him more freedom.

“I feel very good in the middle. I think that is where I can show my qualities the most and help the team, in defence and attack. When you play there you have more freedom than on the wing,” he added.

Finally, the 24-year-old Real Madrid star revealed his dream of winning the World Cup: “We have the illusion of winning the World Cup and bringing that little gift to the whole country that they deserve so much.”

Uruguay have won the World Cup only twice in their history: one in the inaugural year of 1930 and another in 1950. They have not won the coveted tournament since, but Valverde wants to make it happen in 2022.

I won the Champions League, but I want the World Cup more than anything,” he said.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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