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Ancelotti: “I’m going to play both Rodrygo and Valverde in the Champions League final”

The coach announced some upcoming selection decisions during his post-Levante press conference. 

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Following Real Madrid’s 6-0 win over Levante, which relegated the Valencian club, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in his post-match press conference and, before answering any questions, he took a moment to say: “Before starting, I want to recognise that today is a sad day for Levante and I want to start by sending a message of support to their coach Alessio, an Italian, and to the club and their fans. It’s sad, but I’m convinced they’ll return to the top division soon.”

He then analysed Real Madrid’s form as they reach the end of the season and as they look ahead to the Champions League final, saying: “We’ve reached the end of the season well. But, we know there’s still time until the final and we have to keep showing commitment in the matches before then. That’s what the team did today, as they worked very well and hard.”

Ancelotti on his line-up for the Champions League final

Discussing the scheme he wants to use in the final against Liverpool, Ancelotti explained: “It should be a 4-3-3, which can sometimes shift to a 4-4-2. There’s not a defined system. For example, against City we started with a 4-3-3 and then I put Modrić close to Rodri and we moved to a 4-4-1-1, but the plan doesn’t change too much. It can depend on how we want to press the opponent.”

Then, asked if the good performances of Rodrygo and Fede Valverde are giving him a selection headache ahead of the final, Ancelotti has something of a surprise answer as he bluntly stated: “Both of them are going to play the final, definitely.”

That, it should be kept in mind, might have been something of a misleading answer, as he might simply mean that both will feature at some point, not that they’ll start. But, that wasn’t the only upcoming selection decision that Ancelotti discussed in the press conference, as he also stated that: “Lunin is going to play against Cádiz and Courtois against Real Betis.”

Ancelotti on Fede Valverde’s shooting

There was another question in the press conference about Fede Valverde, as the coach was asked about the Uruguayan’s shooting ability, after rattling the crossbar multiple times in this game. He replied: “Valverde is showing all his qualities. Whenever he has the chance, he has to shoot because he can shoot incredibly well. He also brings physicality and verticality, which is rare in a modern midfielder.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius and Benzema’s career-best seasons

Both Vinícius and Karim Benzema are having the seasons of their lives. It was put to Ancelotti that he must be responsible for this, but he shrugged that off and replied: “They’ve been combining very well all season. The reason for their improvement is down to the work of the team that allows them to show their quality, while I also think they’ve been able to understand each other better and better because they’ve had more time together.”

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