Carlo Ancelotti talks Madrid derby, Modric, Simeone and more


Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media earlier on Saturday ahead of the Madrid derby this weekend. Real Madrid welcome their neighbours Atlético Madrid to the Santiago Bernabéu for what is the clash of the weekend in LaLiga.

What must Madrid do to win?

Tomorrow is very important. It will be the third time we’ve played each other in a short space of time. and these games have always been competitive, evenly matched and spectacular. The match is important, a key one. It’s good to be back at the Bernabéu, the fans will help us tomorrow.

How is Rüdiger?

He has improved a lot in the last 24 hours and today we expect the same. We will assess him tomorrow and make a decision. There is no internal damage (quad), but we must evaluate him. He will be in the squad and tomorrow I will decide if he plays or not.

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Ancelotti at today’s press conference.Rodrigo JiménezEFE

Important week for Real Madrid

Would Mendy or Carvajal be ready to play as centre-backs in a game like this?

Yes… and the third option would be Camavinga, who has never played, but because of his profile, he can. He’s quick, with good ball control and is strong in duels. Those would be the three options. But all three give me confidence. In my opinion, the job of a centre-back, of a pivot, is the easiest in football, because you have to use your head more than your energy. All three could do it well.

Can the league be decided in seven days?

Seven days will be important, but not decisive. To win before the Champions League is key and what’s coming up is very, very important. We’re going into it in the best possible way and we have to take advantage of the home factor.

Is the derby, nowadays, better than El Clásico?

They are intense matches, with a lot of pressure… but they are the same. Both Atlético and Barcelona have everything, individual qualities and good organisation.

Ancelotti

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AncelottiRodrigo JiménezEFE

Facing Simeone

Tomorrow Simeone will become the coach you have faced the most times in your career (24 times, equalling Spalletti). Nine wins, but also nine defeats. Has he been the most difficult opponent?

One of the most difficult, without a doubt. He’s one of the opponents I respect the most because of his ability to read games and his ability to manage the team. Of course, he has been one of the most difficult opponents.

“Simeone is one of the opponents I respect the most”

Ancelotti in his press conference

What criteria do you use to choose a goalkeeper? Neither of them have played three games in a row?

Many, many things. They are both eager but bear in mind that no one is flawless. Tomorrow is another choice for me to make, and they don’t know yet [if they will play]. There are important Champions League matches coming up and it’s good for them to rotate.

Which one will play tomorrow?

I’m not telling you (laughs).

How important will Kroos be tomorrow?

Very, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that the rest won’t be. Modric had a great game against Getafe. That shows the strength of this squad, especially in midfield, where we have a lot of very different qualities.

Would it be difficult not to play Modric?

Very, because when you have professionals who are serious and work well. It’s hard. And even more so if you know people who have marked and are marking an era here. [I’m] Grateful for what Luka has done at the club. The decision will be difficult, especially on a personal level, because on a professional level, it affects you a lot.



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