Real Madrid finally broke to jinx of playing Atletico Madrid away from home, this time beating their cross-town rivals 2-1 in what was a rather high-octane contest.
The white side of Madrid arrived in the contest on the back of one defeat and two draws against Atletico in their last three away league fixtures. As it turned out, the intensity Carlo Ancelotti’s men showed proved to be the difference as Los Blancos scored two goals inside the first half.
Rodrygo opened the scoring in the 18th minute followed by a goal from Federico Valverde in the 36th minute. This was the Uruguayan’s third consecutive goal as he took his tally to four across all competitions, justifying the target Carlo Ancelotti has set for the player.
Speaking after the match, the Uruguayan, who was recently named the Best Uruguayan Athlete of the year, appraised his attacking partners Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, saying that the duo was ‘spectacular’.
“It was difficult for us to grab the ball from the start, we knew that they were going to put pressure on us, but with the minutes we came into play, we found spaces and Rodrygo and Vini were spectacular in creating chances,” he said. (h/t Realmadrid.com).
“It’s one of the qualities I have, breaking lines driving. We knew that they turned a lot to one side to press and with a good drive we took advantage of the play to score the first.”
Valverde explained why Real didn’t go for scoring more goals in the second period, saying that sometimes you need some rest after going two goals up. “You always have to go for more. In the second part, we played a lot with the result,” explained the Uruguayan.
“When you are two goals ahead, sometimes you rest a bit and it shouldn’t happen because if we had finished more plays, we could have scored the third and it hurt us. In the end, we ended up fitting in and went back,” he added.
The 24-year-old took a knock on the knee on the night. Speaking about it, he mentioned that he is absolutely fine and that there is nothing to worry about.
“I received a hit on the knee, it felt loose in a jump and a play, but as the minutes went by it went away. I’m fine and tomorrow I’ll go to the national team,” he said.
Meanwhile, another goalscorer, Rodrygo, opened up about several things, including the influence and absence of Karim Benzema. He said that despite being injured, the Frenchman is still a fundamental piece of the team and it’s simply impossible to replace him.
“It’s impossible to replace Karim, but I try and I’m doing well. It’s a new role because I don’t do Karim’s things. I do some different things and we have changed our play,” he added.
The 21-year-old, who has now scored three goals in four La Liga appearances, added that playing in a derby against Atletico Madrid was a special experience and that he is happy about his early scoring streak.
“The derby is special. I am very happy to have scored and helped in the victory. I had the confidence of the coach. What has changed is that last season I scored the goals at the end. Now I’ve started better and I want to continue like this until the end,” he said.
“It was a different match. The derbies are important, but today was different because of what happened this week. We have responded on the field. I’m happy to play well and have scored.”
Sunday’s win over Atletico was Real’s sixth successive win in the ongoing La Liga season. Heading into the international break, the defending La Liga champions are leading the chart with 18 points, two points ahead of second-placed Barcelona.
“We are happy with how we started the season. We have won all the games and now we are going to the national team with the break. We have to rest and come back better after going with the national team,” explained the Brazilian.
Rodrygo concluded with a simple statement on his compatriot Vinicius Jr, saying that playing alongside his countryman even in club football is an absolute pleasure.
“It’s a pleasure to play with Vini Jr. and it’s special that he’s there,” he concluded.
PSG defender could follow Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid in the summer of 2025
As PSG brace for the departure of Kylian Mbappe, it is set to mark a before and after in the history of the French club.
All signs point towards the 25-year-old superstar signing for Real Madrid on a free transfer, with an agreement between the two parties getting closer.
And, it may so happen that another PSG star might follow Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu, albeit a year later in 2025.
Hakimi could return to Real Madrid
Indeed, according to Mundo Deportivo, Achraf Hakimi could opt to leave PSG in the summer of 2025 and Real Madrid would be a likely destination for the Moroccan right-back.
Hakimi, a former Real Madrid academy graduate, has enjoyed success in Paris since joining them from Inter Milan.
However, the Moroccan international will enter the final year of his contract in 2025, with the deal expiring in 2026. And, both the player and the club could opt to part ways then if a new contract is not agreed upon.
And a return to Real Madrid could be on the cards for Hakimi. He is a player very well considered by Carlo Ancelotti.
The ex-Inter Milan man would also come to reinforce the right-back position, which currently has Dani Carvajal and Lucas Lucas Vazquez, whose contract expires at the end of the season, but could be offered a one-year extension.
Furthermore, Hakimi would be keen to return to the Spanish capital and would even be willing to reduce his current salary, which is over €10 million net. The lure of playing with Mbappe, one of his closest friends, will also be a major appealing factor.
As for Real Madrid, they need to soon find a long-term heir to Carvajal and a player like Hakimi, entering his prime years and familiar with the club could prove to be a shrewd signing.