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Ancelotti: “We won’t preemptively rest Vinícius, if he’s tired in two months then he’ll rest then”

The coach also provided some team news, revealing Courtois is out of the Elche trip.

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

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in a Copa del Rey press conference on Wednesday, previewing Thursday’s trip to visit on Elche. Before he spoke about the cup game, the Italian took a moment to pay respects to Paco Gento. He said: “I met him a few times during my first spell here. Although I hadn’t come across him again during this second spell, I spoke with his wife on the phone yesterday and we shared some anecdotes. He’ll always be in our hearts.”

Moving on to discuss Elche, Ancelotti spoke about how they have improved under new coach Francisco. He said: “Elche have been on a good run recently, winning seven of their past 10 matches. We must be wary and we must prepare well.”

Providing some team news, Ancelotti revealed that Thibaut Courtois won’t be available because of an issue that he didn’t want to discuss further for privacy reasons, while the coach also confirmed that they’d be without Dani Carvajal, Marco Asensio, Jesús Vallejo and Mariano for this cup tie. He added that he won’t rotate much, stating: “I am going to put out my best team possible, while keeping in mind the fatigue of some players. I’m not thinking about next Sunday’s match because it’s against the same opponent, just a different competition.”

One of the players unlikely to be rested, though, is Vinícius. Asked when the Brazilian would get a break, Ancelotti replied: “Vinícius will be left out only when we think he is fatigued, when he’s not showing his quality or when he’s injured. But, we’re not thinking about giving him rest now just so that he won’t be tired in two months. If he’s tired in two months, he’ll be rested then.”

Ancelotti on Hazard and the possibility of a January exit

Eden Hazard was brought up in a few questions, as he is most press conferences, and Ancelotti spoke about why the Belgian hasn’t played the last few matches and addressed the rumours of a winter transfer. He said: “Nothing out of the ordinary has happened. It’s just that there is a lot of competition, as there is at all big clubs. Many players have to deal with competition in this squad. As well as Hazard or Gareth Bale, there’s other good players having to sit out like Nacho, Marcelo, Ceballos, Isco or Jović. But, Hazard is training well and waiting for his opportunity. He is still a Real Madrid player and focused on our matches.”

Asked specifically if Real Madrid have prevented Hazard from having further ankle surgery in order to keep options open for a possible sale, Ancelotti replied: “No, we’ve not spoken about that. I really don’t know about that and I would know about it if it had come up with the club doctor.”