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Ancelotti: “I don’t want to break up the successful team of last season”

The coach’s thoughts on the Clásico defeat.

Real Madrid v Barcelona - Preseason Friendly Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Real Madrid fell to a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in their first match of pre-season, but Carlo Ancelotti took a lot of positives away from the trip to Las Vegas. The coach started his post-match comments by saying: “It was a good match with a lot of intensity, especially in the first half. I thought it was an even game. I tried to spread out the minutes because of everyone’s physical condition. Obviously when you play Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric it’s easier, but I also wanted to play some younger players. Overall, I liked this performance against an opponent that is very strong.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s preparation

Karim Benzema didn’t play in this Clásico and the coach provided an update on the Frenchman. He stated: “When we face Club América, he’ll play 45 minutes and then he’ll play more against Juventus. In that game, I’ll try out the team that will probably start the UEFA Super Cup.”

Ancelotti on the left-back spot

One interesting aspect of this game was the fact that Antonio Rüdiger played out wide as a left-back and that David Alaba played centre-back, after many reports suggesting the Austrian would play mostly at left-back this season. On this, Ancelotti said: “Alaba will only play left-back when it’s necessary, as I don’t want to break up the successful team of last season. I liked what Rüdiger did as a full-back, although I’m not crazy and I know that’s not his main position. He can play there or switch with Alaba. He’s very intelligent.”

Ancelotti on Hazard

Eden Hazard is one of the main mysteries of the 2022/23 squad, as he looks fit again while it’s also not clear what position he’ll play in this campaign. On that, Ancelotti said: “He can play in many different positions and he can also adapt to the false nine position. He just needs minutes to improve his conditioning.”

Ancelotti on the transfer market

The Italian was also asked if Real Madrid fans can expect more signings, but he shut that down, stating: “The squad is finalised and we have many players. I think we have a better squad than the one we had last year. You can see that the intensity in training has improved.”

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