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Valverde talks Ancelotti, El Clasico goal, first experience with Real Madrid senior team

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with DirecTV (h/t MARCA), Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde has revealed that he felt very nervous and inferior on his first day with the senior team.

Valverde, 24, joined Real Madrid from Penarol in the summer of 2016, arriving for a nominal fee of just €5 million. He spent a year with Castilla before going out on loan to Deportivo La Coruna for a season.

Following that, Valverde was integrated into the Real Madrid first-team setup starting from the 2018/19 campaign.

During the interview, the Uruguayan international revealed how he felt when he first stepped out at the Valdebebas to train with the Real Madrid senior side, saying:

“I was very nervous. I felt very inferior, when you look at all the stars, you think what am I doing here? Now, after winning so many things, I believe that I am good enough and it’s very beautiful. I feel part of a team and I have shown that I am up to the task.”

Talking about his early journey in football, Valverde said: “My dream was to be a footballer and enjoy myself. I value every moment and take advantage of all the opportunities that arise in my life, both with my family and in sports.

“Thinking about everything I went through, the good and the bad, it was a very hard road and after having achieved many things it is very nice to see what I am experiencing.”

Valverde has been in red-hot form this season and has emerged as one of Real Madrid’s most important players. Discussing his recent displays, the midfielder added:

“Sometimes I think I’m touched by a wand. It takes a lot of work, but things seem to be going easy for me. Here I feel loved and I have received everyone’s support and that always works in my favour.”

On the support he receives from manager Carlo Ancelotti, Valverde said: “He has always shown unconditional support and in the moments that I was not doing well he let me know.”

Valverde has added goals to his game as well this season, scoring in crucial matches against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, among others. During the interview, he revealed that the goal in the Clasico is the one he cherishes most, saying:

“I dreamt of scoring a goal in the Clásico many times. Ancelotti told me that if I didn’t score ten goals in the season he would retire, he challenged me and it’s a nice pressure.”

Finally, Valverde discussed Uruguay’s prospects at the upcoming FIFA World Cup, saying: “Representing my country is the most beautiful thing there is. It’s a source of pride, there is nothing like it. The more difficult the group, the better. When we get something easy, we underestimate it.

“As Uruguayans, we like challenges and we have the weapons to be protagonists. We believe that we can achieve beautiful things, we may not achieve it, but our goal is to leave a mark. Everything can happen on the pitch and you have to think big.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid face Premier League, Saudi Arabia competition for free transfer target

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to welcome two new stars this summer, Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, but the Merengues are keen on further bolstering their squad.

Owing to the embarrassment of riches Real Madrid possess in midfield, replacing Toni Kroos with a new signing in midfield is not seen as an immediate priority.

Nonetheless, interesting opportunities will invariably be evaluated closely and it appears the name of Adrien Rabiot has entered the club’s crosshairs.

Real Madrid not the only ones interested

But, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Real Madrid face stiff competition from Premier League clubs and Saudi Arabian teams in their pursuit of midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

The French midfielder is set to become a free agent if he chooses not to renew his contract with Juventus, a decision that seems increasingly likely.

Rabiot set to become a free agent this summer. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Known for his technical prowess and versatility, Rabiot excels at playing multiple roles in midfield and notably thriving as a goal threat with late runs inside the opposition box that tend to catch opponents off guard.

While Real Madrid have no shortage of quality in midfield, Dani Ceballos’ exit could pave the way for the 29-year-old to secure a signing for Los Blancos.

However, Real Madrid would have to outmanoeuvre both the financial prowess of Saudi Arabian teams and the competitive allure of Premier League clubs to secure Rabiot’s signature.

On top of that, Juventus are also not giving up on their efforts to try and renew the contract of the French international.

In any case, Rabiot is unlikely to be a priority target for the club but they will be sure to keep a close eye on how his situation develops.

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