Ahead of Real Madrid’s La Liga encounter against Sevilla later tonight, defender Alex Telles has claimed that Los Blancos duo Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes have what it takes to become Ballon d’Or winners in the future.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had claimed that both Vinicius and Rodrygo can win the Ballon d’Or like Karim Benzema did this year. And Telles, echoing the same sentiments, said (h/t AS):
“They have all the quality to get there. They can get what they want with work. They are young, fast and skilled, with very Brazilian characteristics. I know them well, I have to be prepared to face them, although not just the two of them, because Madrid has many stars.”
When asked if he had been in contact with the Real Madrid attacking duo since arriving in Spain last summer, Telles responded:
“They’re my siblings. I always talk to them in the Seleçao. They are world top, it will be nice to meet them again but there is no friendship on the field, it will be a fight and after finishing we will talk. I hope for the best in their games, but after Sunday.”
There had been a lot of controversy generated around Vinicius Jr’s ritual to celebrate his goals by dancing, with the Brazilian even being subjected to racist abuse. Giving his opinion on the matter, the Sevilla left-back said:
“With respect you can do what you want. We Brazilians like to celebrate with joy, to be happy. And the goal is the highest point in football. I think that Vinicius did not disrespect anyone.”
When asked about the daunting prospect of facing an in-form Real Madrid side at the Santiago Bernabeu, Telles said:
“If we are afraid we do not go out into the field. You have to go with passion, as we played the second half against Valencia and in various sections of the season. They are a very strong opposition but we are excited.”
Bellingham, Brahim start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Granada
Having reclaimed the top spot in the La Liga table last weekend, Real Madrid will be eager to consolidate their position when they host Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Real Madrid are currently on a four-game winning streak across all competitions, having beaten SC Braga, Valencia, Cadiz, and more recently Napoli.
Despite the spate of injuries affecting the squad, Carlo Ancelotti & co. have found a way to keep the winning momentum going and will be eager to bag another victory at home tomorrow.
Granada, meanwhile, find themselves at the opposite end of the table, but there could be a case of the new-manager bounce, for they recently replaced Paco Lopez with Alexander Medina as their head coach.
Real Madrid go into the game without Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Arda Guler, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric, and Vinicius Jr., all of whom are injured.
Here’s how Ancelotti could set his team up at the Santiago Bernabeu when they take on Granada tomorrow.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is fit again and has been included in the Real Madrid squad list to face Granada after missing the last four matches. However, Andriy Lunin will again be preferred in goal tomorrow, as was confirmed by manager Ancelotti during his presser.
Ancelotti has a decision to make his team selection as tomorrow’s game could be a good chance for him to rotate. At the same time, with no midweek fixture coming up, the Italian could be tempted to stick with his strongest XI.
As such, the Real Madrid manager could continue with the centre-back pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy should take up the full-back positions on the right and left sides, respectively.
Since the injuries to Camavinga and Tchouameni, Toni Kroos has operated in the pivot midfield position, albeit with support from Federico Valverde. Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos will get another starting opportunity in the injury-enforced absence of Modric.
Jude Bellingham is fit and ready to play despite an injury scare during training earlier today. The 20-year-old Englishman will start in his usual role as the attacking midfielder and pose a threat to the opposition backline.
Ancelotti opted to partner Brahim Diaz with Rodrygo Goes in the attacking department against Napoli earlier this week. Given how the two performed, the manager is unlikely to tinker with the pairing.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Valverde, Ceballos, Bellingham, Brahim, Rodrygo.
Carlo Ancelotti will turn to Joselu to reinforce the attacking department during the game, while young Nico Paz is likely to get more minutes again after scoring his first senior goal for Real Madrid against Napoli.
Captain Nacho Fernandez is likely to come onto the pitch to provide some relief to one of the two centre-backs during the latter stages of the contest. Fran Garcia could replace Ferland Mendy.
Young forward Gonzalo Garcia is another academy talent who could be in for some minutes on Saturday.