Real Madrid are in dire need of change at left-back after Ferland Mendy’s regression. The French defender has not lived up to the hype that surrounded his transfer and his poor fitness record does not help his case.
On that front, Fran Garcia is the favourite to take over duties at left-back. Real Madrid used their right to first refusal to secure the youngster’s services for the 2023-24 season and now place their hopes on him.
The young left-back spoke after the fourth day of pre-season and covered a plethora of topics including his adaptation to the club, his stint at Rayo Vallecano, and his teammates. He began his interview with a description of why he felt preseason was vital.
“We know that these are long seasons, with many competitions, and we have to be prepared in the best possible way and prepare well for the friendlies.”
Returning to the club after a long hiatus, Garcia is now reunited with several players he teamed up with in the junior ranks. He spoke in length about his return home, saying,
“I was lucky enough to meet some of the players in this dressing room in the final stages of Castilla, as I used to go up to training from time to time. It’s like a family and there’s always a good atmosphere. That’s very good. I’m happy to be here and to keep growing.”
“It is a source of great pride and excitement to be here after three years away. To return to what has been my home since I was 13 years old makes me happy and proud after so much hard work.”
Reports state that Carlo Ancelotti sees Garcia as a regular starter at left-back for the upcoming campaign. He highlighted the key takeaways from his sessions with the tactical mastermind thus far.
“He is close and tries to correct any playing situation. He tries to correct certain positions or levels that I need to be in when coming off the ball or in the game. I’m happy with both him and the coaching staff because this closeness, especially for new players, helps a lot.”
Speaking in depth about how demanding pre-season at Real Madrid was, Garcia took special mention of Antonio Pintus who is known to push his players to the limit in terms of fitness.
“The first days are a lot of work, especially these first weeks for the readaptation after the holidays. There is also a lot of gym and the work with Pintus on the pitch that we are all familiar with.”
Last season, the 23-year-old defender played part in all 38 La Liga games for Rayo Vallecano. The statistic speaks volumes about his quality on the field but also goes to show his top-notch physical condition. Garcia attributed his fitness to the immense personal attention he gives it.
“I’ve always loved taking care of myself and I’ve had a lot of dedication to that area. To be able to be here and to be able to grow up in this facility and everything we have on hand is amazing. I enjoy it as if I were a little kid.”
Garcia is a product of Real Madrid’s Castilla setup and has spent many years improving and honing his skills at the Valdebebas. He fondly looked back on his initial days at the academy and his development since.
“I see a boy who left home with hope and desire to come and do what he loved the most at the club of his dreams. I had the opportunity to grow and forge my career both as a player and as a person because I left very young.
“Rayo has also given me the opportunity to continue growing and maturing as a person and in football. To come back here as a man and try to prove that I can play here.”
Finally, the left-back revealed the fact that surprised him the most about Real Madrid’s new signings Arda Guler and Jude Bellingham.
“I highlight their ability to adapt coming from other countries. They are developing very quickly like the rest of the group and that speaks very well of how we do things here.”
Source: Real Madrid website
French midfielder admits considering PSG move before Real Madrid called him
Aurelien Tchouameni has had an exciting start to his career at Real Madrid. Since joining the club for almost €80 million last summer, the young Frenchman has now become a pivotal figure in Real Madrid’s midfield unit.
However, prior to his move to Santiago Bernabeu, the midfielder was closely linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
In a recent interview, Tchouameni opened up on his links to PSG but revealed his decision to join Real Madrid.
Aurelien Tchouameni on PSG links
Talking about speculations linking him to PSG, Tchouameni said (h/t Madrid Zone), “PSG? Frankly, I thought about it. It’s a very big European club, we want the French clubs to succeed.”
“But honestly, when Real Madrid calls you, it’s very complicated to say no,” Tchouameni added.
The midfielder was linked with a move to PSG during his time at AS Monaco. Les Parisiens wanted to sign the youngster as part of their plans to reinforce the midfield unit.
Tchouameni, though, ended up opting for a move to Real Madrid, which turned out to be a prudent decision from the midfielder’s end.
Tchouameni’s career at Real Madrid
Aurelien Tchouameni made a total of 50 competitive appearances during his maiden season at Real Madrid.
Although the Frenchman was not entirely a first-team regular in Carlo Ancelotti’s setup, his stature in the team is expected to grow in the coming years.
Especially as Toni Kroos and Luka Modric move on at the end of the season, there is scope for Tchouameni to become a first-team regular in the Real Madrid midfield in the years to come.
The former AS Monaco starlet has already played a crucial role in the starting eleven so far this season and it is only going to continue as the season progresses.