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Ancelotti: “The last thing I’m thinking about right now is Mbappé”

The coach’s first press conference of 2022.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti held his first press conference of 2022 on Saturday evening, after Real Madrid’s final training session ahead of the trip to Getafe. There were several topics for the coach to discuss and he started by explaining how this has been a strange week of preparation, as a result of the many COVID-19 cases. He said: “It’s a unique situation for everyone, but we’ve been able to train well with almost the whole squad participating. We’re missing some players, like Jović and Vinícius, but everyone else is fine except for the injured Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale and apart from Eduardo Camavinga, who is suspended.”

Thibaut Courtois has, ultimately, tested negative and he is able to play. Ancelotti spoke about how the Belgian is doing and also how Andriy Lunin is feeling, now that this chance to play appears to have disappeared. The coach said: “With Courtois, he didn’t have symptoms and it might have been a false positive. He seemed fine today and I think he can play, despite having had just one training session this week. With Lunin, he’s a very motivated and professional goalkeeper. I think he’ll get to show his quality soon. He hasn’t had minutes because he has the best goalkeeper in the world in front of him. He and everyone understands that. I’m sure he’ll have success in his career.”

Eden Hazard could have further minutes against Getafe, especially with Vinícius out due to COVID-19, and Ancelotti discussed the Italian’s form, saying: “Hazard is doing good and took a lot of confidence from the last game. He has had opportunities now and demonstrated his commitment. But, I’ll wait a little before stating the line-up for tomorrow.”

Ancelotti on Mbappé being able to negotiate with other clubs

Kylian Mbappé is now into the final six months of his PSG contract, but Ancelotti dismissed questions about the potential arrival of the Frenchman in the summer. He said: “[Chuckles] I don’t know about [Mbappé]. All we’re thinking about right now is to fight for all the competitions we’re in this season. We have LaLiga, the Copa del Rey on Wednesday and then the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. It’s a busy time. The last thing I’m thinking about is what’ll happen on June 30th.”

Ancelotti on the Real Madrid players with expiring contracts

It’s not just players at other clubs who can now negotiate future moves. At Real Madrid, Luka Modrić, Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco are into the final six months of their deals and Ancelotti was asked if he thinks Modrić is the only one with a serious chance of renewing. He replied: “No, I don’t think it’s just him. It’s true that they all finish their contracts in June, but the club can speak with them and make the right decision for everyone.”

Ancelotti on his wish for 2022

Asked what his wish for 2022 would be, Ancelotti said he’d like to win LaLiga Santander, while also wishing for good health. He stated: “It’s true that the Spanish league is missing from my CV and I’d like to win it. But, I wish good health for everyone. If those around you are doing well then you feel better too.”

Ancelotti on Xavi’s rant

With Barcelona suffering more COVID-19 cases than most right now, Xavi said in his weekend press conference that he feels LaLiga should have called off Barça’s visit to Real Mallorca. Ancelotti was asked about this and if it would be unfair should other fixtures now be postponed after Real Madrid had to go to Bilbao with eight COVID-19 absences. His typically diplomatic reply was: “It’s quite complicated. I respect everyone’s opinion. There are many teams affected by this, like us away against Athletic and like Athletic, who also had many absences for that game. All we can do is respect the protocols. If the protocol stays as it currently is, the matches should be played. I think it’s quite fair, as we had the lockdown when we had no matches. Now, and I’m not a doctor, but the pandemic is quite under control. I listen to many scientists who say this. So, I think we can keep [playing matches] and that we should.”