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Valverde, Ceballos react after Real Madrid’s Club World Cup triumph: “It’s been a long road”



Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The FIFA Club World Cup is often dismissed as an easy competition for the European Champions. However, one forgets that in order to reach there, a club has to get past the very best sides in Europe.

Real Madrid may have enjoyed a relatively easy route to the trophy, but one forgets the numerous jaw-dropping storylines they had to create last season in order to get there.

Midfielder Dani Ceballos stressed on this very point when he faced the press after his side won the silverware, saying:

“It’s a trophy we’ve been working towards for a long time. It began last year at Inter and it’s been a long road. Winning the Champions League and these two games.”

After missing the semi-final through injury, Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema returned to the starting lineup against Al-Hilal and even scored a goal on the night. Ceballos has nothing but praise for the striker, and said:

“Karim is our star player. He inspires us. He plays so well in tight spaces and having him with us today was a turning point.”

Federico Valverde won the silver ball for his phenomenal run in the two games this week. He was only behind Vinicius Jr as the best player in the tournament.

When asked about his accolade, he humbly said that the team’s victory took precedence over his individual accomplishment. It was a special day for the midfielder as it was revealed that he and his wife are expecting their second child.

“It’s a great day for me and for all the Madridistas. I’m happier about the other news. You realise that other things are more important, football is a job that you want to do well and you also want to perform well for the club,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Uruguayan International confessed that winning the silver ball would do a world of good to his confidence and spoke about the various factors that kept him motivated.

“This is going to be good for me in terms of my spirit. I felt comfortable in the last match and I also enjoyed it. Today I tried to have a good time, I had already heard what my wife said to me and it lifted my spirits a lot. It’s a great day for me and for all Madrid fans,” he added.

Carlo Ancelotti gave Valverde a target to score ten goals this season, thereby pushing him to be his best. On Saturday, the midfielder crossed that benchmark and even scored his eleventh goal of the campaign. Valverde ran the press through the emotions in his head and the special hug he shared with Ancelotti after scoring.

“Now I have to keep going, I can’t relax. It was a big thing for me. In that hug with Ancelotti, I showed a lot of things. Last season I didn’t start with much continuity and he, with a few words, some advice and on a day-to-day basis, helped me to finish the season well,” he said.

“Today I am the player that I am thanks to him and he helped me a lot to get through this rough patch.”

Finally, the 24-year-old spoke about the importance of keeping up the steam at a club like Real Madrid, especially given the heavy competition he must endure.

“I have to continue in this vein. When things aren’t going well for you, you can’t go down and when they are like today, I can’t just stick my chest out and say that I’m the best. I have to keep contributing as much as I can, even if it’s a small amount.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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