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Carlo Ancelotti: Illarramendi And Alonso Can Play Together

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The Eyebrowed One met with the press in advance of the team returning to league play tomorrow against Almeria

Denis Doyle
  • First things first, Carlo had some tough news for the fans of the club as Angel Di Maria, Raphael Varane (slightly swollen knee), Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Sami Khedira are out for the match. Scouting reports give the obvious edge to Real Madrid but you never know what can happen in the first game after an international break.
  • On the state of the players, injury is the only concern. "The mentality of the players is good. All are focused on tomorrow's game. They have come back happy because they are happy to play the in the World Cup. Psychologically they are well, there is only a physical problem."
  • Carlo was noncommittal over who was going to be starting in the midfield alongside Luka Modric. Xabi Alonso seems to be a given, but Carlo will not decide until tomorrow. "We may use Casemiro or Illara and alonso with Isco as the offensive midfielder. This is the decision I have to make because all the players give me confidence."
  • Carlo praised Casemiro and Nacho for their hard work on the training pitch and considers both viable options as injury fill-ins tomorrow.
  • Carlo had nothing but praise for Cristiano Ronaldo, as do many, but suggested that he might give him a little breather. "I'm going to give Cristiano time off after our next league match as he's suspended for the Copa match." Not a bad idea considering that Cristiano has been running non-stop since the season began.
  • Carlo, like many of us, is glad that there are no more international matches scheduled until March. "It is not normal that a player sleep three nights in a plane. More responsibility should be taken to avoid injuries." He also brought up Victor Valdes as proof of the unnecessary injuries sustained in friendlies.
Overall, a standard press conference from Carlo with warning to take Almeria seriously as they won't be a pushover. Plenty of hints that we might see young Casemiro but also assurance that Xabi and Illarra can play on the pitch at the same time. More to come.