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Ancelotti: “Benzema can start working towards the next Ballon d’Or vs Elche”

The coach was asked many questions about Monday night’s ceremony.


Carlo Ancelotti held his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, ahead of the midweek clash with Elche. But, the focus was very much on the Ballon d’Or ceremony that took place on Monday night. Asked about Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois’ success with the Ballon d’Or and Yashin Trophy respectively, Ancelotti said: “We’re all very proud of what Benzema and Courtois have achieved. We all feel like these successes are partly ours. Although the Ballon d’Or an individual prize, he thanked all his teammates, who helped him show his quality. He did well and is more of a leader now. But, now we’re thinking ahead, to the next Ballon d’Or. He can start working on the next one tomorrow. We should also remember that there are many other Real Madrid players who were high on the list too, like Luka Modrić and Vinícius. At this club, you have all you need to have success. There are quality players at this club and it mixes with a good atmosphere.”

Ancelotti also took the time to congratulate Barcelona’s winners, while he was asked if he was surprised by any of the results, such as Courtois only being seventh on the Ballon d’Or list or Manchester City being named club of the year. The Italian stated: “I want to also congratulate everyone else who won a prize: Gavi, Alexia Putellas, Robert Lewandowski, Sadio Mané and Manchester City, who did have a fantastic season. I don’t know the criteria too well, because Real Madrid were the best team, but we got the Champions League trophy to mark that. With this award, I have respect for City, who had a good season. With the individual awards, the focus is usually on the players who score. For other positions it’s harder. For a central midfielder it’s hard too, as I was never up there for these awards! For a goalkeeper it’s really hard. But, I’m happy that Courtois won an award. What surprises me is that the likes of Kroos, Valverde, Militão and Alaba weren’t even in the top 30. Maybe you’ll say I’m biased in this and yes, I am.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius coming eighth in the Ballon d’Or

The last Ballon d’Or question was about Vinícius and Ancelotti was asked if he thinks the Brazilian’s ranking of eighth was fair. He replied: “Yes, I think eighth was fair. It means he can still work to improve. Last season was new for him to be so consistent. This means he’ll be motivated to do even better.”

Ancelotti on the visit to Elche

Discussing the Wednesday night match against Elche, the coach admitted: “We need to focus a little more on the mental concentration for this game. It’s easier to be focused for big games, but it can be harder after a big game like El Clásico. We know this and are aware that this game has three points, just like Sunday’s game did.”

Ancelotti on Courtois’ injury recovery

Asked about Thibaut Courtois’ fitness status, the coach confirmed: “He won’t be back tomorrow. He has started training again and is doing quite well, so I think his return will be on Saturday against Sevilla.”

Ancelotti on whether Real Madrid need Mbappé

The Kylian Mbappé question was raised again, but Ancelotti preferred to speak about the young stars already at the club. He said: “I don’t know what will happen in the future. The future of this club is already written because we have youngsters like Vinícius, Rodrygo, Camavinga, Tchouaméni, Valverde, Militão... They’ve shown there is a bright future.”

Ancelotti on comparisons to Simeone

A big debate in Spain this week has been the comparison between Carlo Ancelotti’s current Real Madrid team and Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid. It is being said that both have achieved success with defensive styles, but Ancelotti doesn’t mind the comparison. He said: “That’s a compliment. I saw Atlético play against Athletic Club and that was a very entertaining game and afterwards I heard Simeone say that that kind of game was exciting. I agree. When a team and coach are committed, it’s good.”

Ancelotti on Iker Bravo

Iker Bravo trained with the first team on Tuesday, but won’t be in the squad against Elche. Ancelotti said of the youngster: “He is doing well with Castilla and has a bright future. We needed him today for our training, but no, he won’t be part of tomorrow’s squad.”

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