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Ancelotti: “Maybe the Welsh medical team’s evaluation of Bale wasn’t correct”

The coach previewed the intense run of fixtures that lies ahead.

Real Madrid CF v Rayo Vallecano - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti had his first press conference in two weeks on Saturday and he discussed a number of topics, revealing that Eden Hazard is out this weekend with illness and discussing Gareth Bale’s latest injury too.

The coach started, though, by discussing the intense schedule that lies ahead, saying: “I’m quite happy right now because we don’t have many injuries, with Rodrygo back this week and Fede Valverde maybe back next week. The team is in quite good shape for these matches, which are also some very difficult matches. I think the players are used to intense periods. The squad is ready to continue the good form we had before this international break. This isn’t the first time we have to play many matches in a row. But, it’s clear that it’s too much. Everybody is saying that. The players, the clubs and the coaches are all saying this. It has to change. It isn’t good for football. Whether that’s through a Super League or something else, I don’t know. I’m not the best-placed to say. What I know is there are too many matches and too many injuries and the quality of football is reduced. It has to change.”

Ancelotti is determined to keep up the good run of form Real Madrid had between the October and November international breaks, when they won five and drew one of their six fixtures. He explained: “After the last break, we improved a lot and had more consistency in performances and results. We have to continue in this vein, as we have so many important matches coming up. I’m confident that we’ll do things well in the run up to Christmas.”

Ancelotti on Bale’s latest injury

One of the main talking points was the new injury suffered by Bale with Wales, which will keep him out for several weeks. The coach started by stating that Bale had the medical all-clear when he went off to join Wales, but that the Welsh medical team also carried out an evaluation. The Italian said: “I think his situation was quite clear before he went as he had the medical green light and went to Wales, where they were going to do an evaluation. They thought he could play, but then he got injured. Maybe that evaluation wasn’t so correct. Now we want to get this player back because we think he can be useful for us this season. We have to do things well to get him back for us soon.”

Asked about the accusations of Bale caring about his national team more than his club side, Ancelotti responded: “It’s clear he really loves his national team, but he also wants to play for Real Madrid. I can see his desire to play for Real Madrid in training. To play for Wales, he knows he also has to train well and play well at club level. We have to respect his character. He’s clearly unhappy about being injured again. There’s no conflict with him. We just want him to recover as soon as possible.”

Ancelotti on the Granada match being on Sunday

One attempt to stir up controversy was shot down by Ancelotti, when he was asked if it’s unfair that Real Madrid have this weekend’s Granada fixture on Sunday, which will give them less rest time ahead of their away Champions League game at Sheriff on Wednesday. Ancelotti responded: “If we’d have played on Saturday then we’d have had less time to get the South American players back. Having the match on Sunday is fine.”

Ancelotti on the use of tactical videos

The coach has spoken already this season about Real Madrid’s use of tactical videos and he did so again here, saying: “We use videos a lot because we don’t have so much time to work on tactics intensely on the training pitches. For example, with Militão, who returned yesterday, I have to show him a video of what he’s done well and what he’s not done well because we can’t look at that on the pitch. My assistants make videos for each player and then we also have collective videos. The videos are very short because I don’t want them to watch videos of half an hour or an hour. They’re 10 or 15 minutes long. These tactical videos aren’t supposed to be movies.”

Ancelotti on Xavi’s debut

Finally, Ancelotti was asked if he’ll watch the Barcelona vs Espanyol this Saturday night from the team hotel. He confirmed that he would, saying: “I think it’ll be an interesting game and I’ll watch it. I think Xavi will bring something new to the team and club. We’ll have to fight against them until the end of the season. I’m sure we’ll see new things.”