Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Braga does not come as a surprise on paper. Yet, one can only understand the magnitude of the result if one considers the pressure Braga put on the Merengues in their first meeting this season.
Having secured all three points, Los Blancos head to the top of Group C with a perfect 12 points in four games. Napoli’s draw against Union Berlin also brings Ancelotti’s men to the cusp of sealing the numero uno spot.
Rodrygo Goes was named the man of the match at the end of 90 minutes for his masterful display and lethal goal on the counter.
The youngster, who did not enjoy the best of starts to the season, spoke to the media about his turnaround and performance on the night.
“I’m very happy. It has been a perfect match, with three goals and none conceded. In addition, I am happy because I have scored a goal, I have given an assist, and above all because of Real Madrid’s qualification to the round of 16.”
Rodrygo also expressed his gratitude to Carlo Ancelotti for supporting him through his lean patch and keeping faith in his abilities.
“I want to thank the manager. We have to value people when we are not having a good time. I wasn’t going through my best time, but he was with me telling me good things and encouraging me. I had the obligation to thank him.”
Speaking on the team’s dominant performance against Braga, the ease with which the play flowed in the second half, and the result, the youngster maintained that it was down to the quality in the squad.
“We have a lot of quality if we are well. It’s very difficult for us not to score. We were not at a good time in that section, but we continue to work and try to improve. Today everything went very well and I hope we will continue like this in the next games.”
Finally, Rodrygo had words of praise for Andriy Lunin who started on the night and even saved a penalty.
“That shows the strength of the team. Lunin is always training very well. He stopped a penalty today, then he made another big stop at the end of the game. It was very good and we are all going to continue like this.”
Brahim Diaz reacts after second goal of the season
Brahim Diaz, the other sensation of the show, was the next to speak to the press. He began by expressing his happiness over the result and his performance.
“I am very happy for the goal and for being able to contribute to the team. Rodrygo made a fantastic move. I have worked a lot playing in the midfielder position, but I am very satisfied because it means that the coach can count on me in several positions.”
The Spaniard then emphasised the manager’s faith in him and the affectionate hug he shared with Ancelotti after his phenomenal performance.
“It gives you confidence and affection and I am very grateful. That hug means a lot.”
Diaz concluded his interview by thanking the fans and support in the stadium for backing the team through thick and thin.
“I always receive the affection of the Bernabéu and that’s very special. The team has a great connection and that makes it very easy for you to adapt. With everything they have won, you listen and learn.”
Source: Real Madrid website
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo