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Ancelotti: “I’m very happy to say we’re dependent on Benzema”

The Italian knows Chelsea could make some tactical changes for the second leg.

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media on Monday, ahead of the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea. Logically, he insisted that the tie isn’t over, despite the 3-1 advantage, stating: “A Champions League quarter-final second leg will always be difficult, no matter what happened in the first leg. We’ll have to fight and compete well for 90 minutes. Obviously we want to play like the first leg, but we must also understand that our opponent will have to play in a certain way to win the tie. We’d like it to be the exact same kind of game, but Chelsea could change their scheme.”

The Italian added that his squad are experienced in these kinds of matches and that it will be easy to ensure they are sufficiently motivated. He said: “I’m lucky to have a squad that understands these kinds of matches. So, I’m sure we won’t approach this game too relaxed. We have a great opportunity to reach a Champions League semi-final.”

Ancelotti on whether Haaland and Benzema could play together

One of the questions saw Ancelotti asked if Erling Haaland might be put off a move to Real Madrid because of the excellent state of form of Benzema. Asked if they could play together, he said: “What a question! Ohh. I’m sorry, but I can’t answer that. I can just say that Karim is what a modern centre-forward should be. It’s not just about finishing chances, as the player also needs to help the team in other ways. He is perfect in this way for today’s football.”

Later, Ancelotti was asked if Real Madrid are too dependent on Benzema and he admitted that they are, but added that this isn’t a problem. “I’m very happy to say we’re dependent on Benzema,” he said.

Ancelotti on Casemiro’s future

Casemiro spoke in the player press conference before Ancelotti came out, and the coach was asked about the Brazilian and his role in the squad going forward. On that, he said: “He has built up experience and personality in his career. He remains a very important player for this club and I think he still will be in the future. There aren’t many players in the whole world who can play in his position like he does.”

Ancelotti on his departure from Everton

Ancelotti’s exit from Everton was brought up and he explained that he felt bad about leaving the English club, but that he couldn’t say “no” to Real Madrid. He was also asked if he thinks he’ll be staying on at the Bernabéu for next season. On this, he responded: “Real Madrid were the only club I’d have left Everton for. If the club is happy then I’ll be happy. If not, I’ll just be grateful for the time I’ve had at Real Madrid.”

Ancelotti on the Italy job

The fact that Ancelotti has never been the head coach of a national team was brought up too and he went on to explain why international football doesn’t appeal to him, saying: “I have thought about it at times. I had the chance to coach a national team at different points, such as in 2018 with Italy. But, being honest, I like the day-to-day aspect of club football. It’s not just about matchdays. Until that changes in my head, I won’t coach a national team. I don’t want to work three times a year. Going as an assistant coach to the World Cup in 1994 as a player was spectacular, but, when the day-to-day motivation stops, I’ll stop.”