Ahead of Uruguay’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualification clash against Argentina tonight, Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde spoke to MARCA about what to expect from the game.
During the interview, the 25-year-old tipped his hat to Argentina, who were crowned World Champions last year, and the man spearheading the side: a certain Lionel Messi.
Having faced the mercurial Argentine in numerous Clasicos, Valverde said he was keen to face him once again and talked about how Uruguay would have to approach the game in order to come away with a result.
“I don’t know how to do it. I could never stop him. We have had many Clasicos against him and Casemiro was always a good weapon to face Leo, although not always,” began Valverde.
He then said: “You have to respect him because he is one of the best players in the world.”
He did say, however, that while the Uruguyans respect Argentina and understand the challenge they face, they will not back down.
“We know the kind of team it is and the kind of player Lionel Messi is, with everything they have achieved and we have to have respect them, but we also have to defend what is ours and fight for the win.”
High praise for Luis Suarez
While he is going up against one Barcelona legend, he will be happy to have another on his side in Luis Suarez – a great friend and former teammate of Lionel Messi.
The legendary striker returns to the national team for this international break, and Valverde was quick to heap praise on Suarez.
“From the first moment, he [Suarez] has always given me the values, the codes and the weapons to succeed in the world of football, and not only in the national team.
“I will always be happy that he is with us again and continue to sharing a dressing room with us. He is a star for us and an idol of Uruguay,” concluded Valverde.
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.