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Ancelotti: "It Will Be a Game With Great Intensity"

Carlo and Xabi sat down with the press today to discuss tomorrow's big Champions League game against Schalke 04. Here's what went down in the presser.

Burak Kara

When Xabi was asked about his physical state and the state of the team as a whole, he was feeling optimistic about the way things are headed.

I'm over my injury now and the team is hitting form, we're ready for this decisive stage of the season. Tomorrow's match is decisive. We are in good form and competing for all the titles. We want to continue to improve. It's difficult to compare this to other seasons but we are going through a good moment; league leaders and in Copa final.

On his role in the 4-3-3 formation which has put the team into a second gear:

In the 4-3-3, my position is ahead of the defense. I have a defensive responsibility. I have to defend more in a 4-3-3.

When it came to the three league game ban for Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi's response was supportive of his teammate:

Cristiano has been frustrated because he couldn't play. I don't think getting suspended for three games was fair.

Alonso, showing his respect to the opponent, was cautiously optimistic when it came to the topic of tomorrow's matchup.

Schalke has good experience in the Champions League, we have a lot of respect for them and we know it will be a complicated match. It's difficult to guess what will happen but we have a good team and we are in form. A lot of time is still left.

Once Xabi was done, Carlo stepped up to answer questions posed by the press and was also cautious about what Schalke will bring to the table.

It will be a game with great intensity. Schalke has quality and good organization. We must do our best to win here. They have young players - Meyer, Draxler - with lot of quality and players with experience like Huntelaar and Boateng.

On the question of who will be forming the trident with CR and Karim Benzema tomorrow, as well as the guys behind them?

Bale, because he is fit. The whole squad is fine, it is just a tactical decision. I will decide tomorrow. I'm going to decide who is going to play as right back tomorrow.

Carlo is fully aware of Madrid's burning desire to win La Decima, the award which has been eluding them for years, but he is taking things one game at a time and staying focused on the task at hand.

Nothing changes. I'm here to do my best in all competitions but the Champions League is the most important and difficult. To reach the Champions League semis three times in a row is not easy so the work done [by Mourinho] was not so bad. We are excited to improve on that. All the remaining games are important and that's why we prepare for each in the same way.

How has Cristiano Ronaldo fared during his league break and what does he think of Schalke key player Klaas Jan Huntelaar?

Cristiano Ronaldo is motivated. Ronaldo has prepared well, has rested right and worked right. Ronaldo’s physical condition is optimal at this moment. Tomorrow's match is not Cristiano Ronaldo versus Huntelaar. It's between two teams but Huntelaar is dangerous.

And finally, we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out who will start at left back as Carlo didn't give any definite answer on his selection.

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