Robert Lewandowski’s involvement against Espanyol in the Catalan derby has caused a lot of controversy in Spain this week, with Espanyol notably lodging an official complaint, condemning Central Contentious Court of Madrid’s decision to provide temporary relief on the striker’s three-match suspension.
The Catalan outfit went on to challenge the result of the game that ended 1-1, demanding that Barcelona forfeit the result as they believe Blaugrana fielding Lewandowski in the starting eleven was ‘improper’.
With the jury still out on Lewandowski’s availability in Barcelona’s upcoming game against Atletico Madrid, coach Diego Simeone was asked about the matter in a recent press conference.
Speaking ahead of the Copa Del Rey game against Real Oviedo, Simeone was asked about Lewandowski. However, the Atletico Madrid manager offered a blunt response and refused to talk about the Pole.
“Oviedo,” said Simeone (h/t Mundo Deportivo) when asked about Lewandowski’s availability in the game against Barcelona.
The Argentine’s blunt response suggests he is taking one game at a time and is fully focused on getting past the Round of 32 tie against Real Oviedo in Copa Del Rey.
The matchup against the Catalans, though, could be an important one for Atletico Madrid, in their bid to solidify their position inside the top four. The club from the capital have not had the best of starts to the season, but while the title race is out of the question, they are still in a position to fight for third place.
Atletico Madrid are currently standing fourth in the league table, with 27 points on the board. They are trailing third-placed Real Sociedad by two points, but with Athletic Club also breathing down their necks, there should be no margin for error when they take on Barça this weekend.
Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid
Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.
Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”
He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.
“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”
The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.
“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”
And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.
“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”
Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.
“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”
“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.
And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.
“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo