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Valverde praises Real Madrid superstar after hammering Barcelona: “He’s an inspiration”

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Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday night, every Real Madrid player seemed more passionate than ever towards the club’s crest. The desire to complete the comeback over Barcelona was visible in the team’s every move and it was clear that they wanted the spot in the final more than the hosts.

Eventually, the visitors inflicted an embarrassing scoreline of 4-0 on their arch-rivals and derailed their cup campaign. They will face Osasuna in the final next month and look set to win their first Copa del Rey in close to a decade.

Federico Valverde did not have the best of nights on the field and lacked his usual spark playing in midfield. He took the time to talk to the media after the game at Spotify Camp Nou and gave his two cents on the ninety minutes that transpired.

“The important thing was to win it. It’s hugely satisfying because it wasn’t easy to win here. Being a goal down to Barcelona is always going to be difficult. We played some great football in the second half and we made the most of our chances.”

He then revealed the working of a player’s mind and the psychological blow one sustains by conceding a last-minute goal in either half. That, he insisted, derailed Barcelona’s game.

“When you concede a goal at the end of the first half, as happened to us in the first leg, your mind plays a crucial role. After the break, they gave us a lot of space and we were able to convert the opportunities we created.”

Looking ahead to the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna, the Uruguayan International shared his feelings and the approach the team would take.

“Now we have to enjoy another final for Real Madrid, with this club. We deserve to be here. It was incredible. I’m delighted for everyone who is part of Real Madrid. We have to enjoy this win, it’s special. It’s fantastic to get the win and book our place in the final.

“I don’t care about the result, I’m happy with any time we win and I try and enjoy the moment. Playing in a final is a huge responsibility but we will go there with the utmost respect for Osasuna. It’s going to be a brilliant final.”

Valverde drew a comparison between Real Madrid’s 5-2 win over Liverpool and the 4-0 win last night and highlighted the similarities between the progression of the game on both nights.

“It was fairly similar to the Champions League game against Liverpool. We started off calmly, we were patient in defence and then we started to find spaces and enjoy ourselves. We showed real patience and we were able to defend when we had to. Everyone got involved in the game and it came off really well.”

Karim Benzema’s Clasico hattrick was the biggest talking point on the night as he once again showed why he was the deserved Ballon d’Or winner last year. Valverde did not hold back his praise for the skipper and said,

“He’s unbelievable. I don’t care how many goals he gets, he’s an inspiration for everyone, an example to follow. He’s Real Madrid’s goal scorer, the Ballon d’Or holder and whenever he’s on the pitch, we have to try and get the best out of him and enjoy it.”

The midfielder concluded his interview with a shoutout to Real Madrid fans for their unconditional support and love through thick and thin.

“I’d like to thank all the people for their support, those who have come to the game and those who have been there through the bad times. It’s a team. If we stick together, players and fans, we can achieve great things. We have to continue on this path and I’m sure we’ll succeed.”

Courtois delighted to play first Copa final

Pumped up. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thibaut Courtois had a strong first-half performance against Barcelona and kept the Blaugranas from doubling their aggregate lead on two occasions in the first half. The Belgian spoke on Real Madrid’s challenging path to the Copa del Rey final.

“It’s my first Copa del Rey final with Madrid. I’m delighted to get there because it’s been a tough route: Villarreal, Atlético, and the semi-finals against Barcelona, but now we’re in the final. We’re thrilled to be playing in another final with this team.”

Losing three Clasicos in a row is a difficult reality to face, and the desire to turn it around was evident on every Real Madrid player’s face at Spotify Camp Nou. Talking about the events that unfolded on Wednesday, the goalkeeper said,

“The gaffer told us that we had to play the way we were playing. We didn’t play well in the Super Cup and we could’ve won here in the league but we didn’t. But we finished strongly today. From the start of the second half, at 0-2, they seemed a bit scared.

“Then we scored the third from the penalty spot and the fourth, which felt great. We’d lost to them recently and we wanted to win the Clásico. The image of winning it 0-4 is big. I’m delighted for the whole team because they fought hard.”

Finally, Courtois commented on Vinicius Jr’s clash on the field and his subsequent withdrawal from the game. He insisted that the Brazilian was a special player and that scuffles were a part of the sport.

“He was on a yellow card and it would have been a shame for him to get another. Players target him but these scuffles happen on the pitch. We need the best Vini Jr. like we got today and if he plays like that, then brilliant.”

Source: Real Madrid website

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Benzema, Kane, Fran Garcia, Ceballos ahead of Real Madrid vs Athletic Club

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that club captain Karim Benzema is ready to play his side’s last league game against Athletic Club while also citing that one must not forget that the Frenchman still has one more year left on his current deal.

Speaking ahead of Madrid’s final game of the 2022/23 season, the manager spoke on several aspects, including the team’s transfer plans, Benzema’s future and his own continuity.

When asked about Benzema, the manager said (h/t SPORT), “Benzema is ready to play tomorrow, he’s recovered.” He went on to add, “I agree with Benzema. Internet is not the reality. He has another year on his contract. I think it’s clear.”

At the same time, he subsequently admitted that Benzema is mostly on his way out. “The legends of this club have to retire at Real Madrid. This is what I believe and what the club believes. But the player maybe doesn’t think the same.”

In terms of the squad for the upcoming game, he mentioned, “We want to say goodbye to our fans. They’re all ready to play. Only Mariano won’t be there, the others are fine. We want to finish in the best possible way. Then we’ll rest and prepare for next season.”

Meanwhile, Benzema’s potential departure would mean Madrid will look to sign a new number 9. In this regard, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is said to be on the list and while addressing the same, the Italian said,

“Harry Kane? I’m sure you all are curious to see what will happen next season. But Kane is a Tottenham player and we have to respect this.”

He went on to add, “I think we’re going to have a different squad [next season]. There are players whose contracts are running out, but it will be a competitive squad and one that makes me very excited.”

Furthermore, the manager also confirmed that he will be at Real Madrid next season. “I’m happy at Real Madrid. No problems with the club. I’m very happy to continue and we will try to do better next season.”

Madrid’s main man also went on to admit that he cannot make everyone in the squad happy. 

“It is true that some have had little prominence, but I have tried to keep all the players motivated. It is impossible to keep them all happy. Sometimes you have to put up with that discontent from the players. I feel that there are some who have played very little.”

Speaking about the plan for the next season, he added, “Next year’s squad will be very competitive. Obviously there are contracts that expire and there will be different players. But it will be competitive.”

“Yes, it’s true — Fran García will be our first signing,” Ancelotti confirmed, but refused to talk about Brahim Diaz’s potential arrival.

“Brahim Díaz? I can’t say anything on him right now, I can’t comment…”.

He also revealed that the likes of Nacho and Dani Ceballos will decide their own fate. “They know what we think of them. I think they have everything very clear. They are waiting for the end of the season to decide what they want to do. Everything is in their hands.”

When asked about Brahim Diaz, he simply said, “I can’t talk about him right now.”

Lastly, when asked how much would he rate the 2022/23 season, he said, “It’s difficult to rate yourself. What I can say is that it’s been a very long season. We’ve worked hard and sometimes I haven’t always been able to transmit a very high level of motivation. 

“It’s not It’s easy to motivate every three days. I’ve given everything I could give. I put myself on a positive note, but next year I’m going to do better,” he concluded.

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