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Ancelotti: “Even if Mbappé comes, Vinícius would still play on the left wing”

The coach previewed the Sevilla match in his Saturday press conference. 

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Pedro Castillo/Real Madrid via Getty Images

After giving a very interesting interview to the Corriere dello Sport, Carlo Ancelotti also spoke to the media in a press conference on Saturday. He previewed this weekend’s LaLiga Santander clash with Sevilla, as well as discussing a number of other topics.

On the Sunday night fixture, he said: “It’ll be a demanding game against a well-organised team that has quality. We need to play to our best, which we can do. We’ve done quite well so far this season, even if we can still improve.”

After not making many rotations in recent weeks, Ancelotti was asked about this and explained why he isn’t rotating too much at this stage of the season. He explained: “I always try to put out the best line-up. I don’t want to rest a player who isn’t tired. If he’s tired then I’ll give them a rest. If he’s not tired and I want to play him then I will. If things are working well, I’m reluctant to change it. In March and April there is more time to rest.”

Giving an injury update, he revealed that Fede Valverde is fully back and that it’ll be a gameday decision with David Alaba, saying: “Alaba doesn’t have a serious problem because the ligament isn’t affected. We’ll check again tomorrow, but we’ll take a zero-risk approach. If there’s any risk, he won’t play.” Eden Hazard is still out too and the coach discussed the Belgian, saying: “It’s not an injury, it’s gastroenteritis. I’m not in Hazard’s head so I don’t know how he feels whenever he does play these days. He is a quality player who has had bad luck and he wants to get back. There are times in your career when things don’t go well and I know that from personal experience. You need to keep going and I think Hazard is doing all he can.”

Ancelotti on the potential arrival of Mbappé

There was some transfer talk in this press conference too and the Italian was asked about the potential stars of the new Bernabéu. To that, he said: “I don’t want to give names about signings. When the new stadium is completed, I just hope the coach will be Carlo Ancelotti. I think the future is very clear. We already have a lot of quality in this squad, with lots of young players. That’s good for the future of this club. There’s a good mix between experience and youth.”

Kylian Mbappé was then brought up and Ancelotti was asked what the forward’s potential arrival could mean for Vinícius and if the Brazilian would be able to keep his spot as the starter on the left. Answering that, Ancelotti said: “Vinícius is a player who has to play on the left. He’ll keep playing on the left, no matter the teammates he has.”

Ancelotti on Barnett’s comments

Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett caused more controversy this week by labelling Real Madrid fans’ treatment of his client as “disgusting”. Ancelotti was asked about that and said: “Haha, yes I saw that. Those are the words of someone I don’t know personally. What I know is that this isn’t what Bale thinks. He respects the fans and the fans respect him. They might have whistled him sometimes, but he’s not the first player to be whistled by the fans.”

Ancelotti on Spanish teams’ struggles in the Champions League

Real Madrid are the only LaLiga side already through to the knockouts of the Champions League and the coach was asked if the level of Spanish football has fallen. To that, he replied: “No, I think some of the groups were very competitive. But, all four of those teams could still go through. We need to wait and I don’t think we’ll be the only Spanish team in the last 16.”