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Ancelotti: “Rodrygo is a complete forward, he could play in Benzema’s position”

The coach previewed the trip to Espanyol.

Training and press conference of Real Madrid Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to face Espanyol, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the pre-match press conference and discussed the match as well as issues such as Marco Asensio’s future, Rodrygo’s return and Modrić’s anniversary.

On the game at the RCDE Stadium, he said: “Kroos and Rodrygo have recovered well and are available, but we’re without Nacho, Vallejo and Odriozola, who have minor issues. This was a difficult game last year and we lost, so I think it’ll be a game where we need to be at our best.”

Ancelotti on Rodrygo’s role this season

With Rodrygo returning, the coach was asked about the Brazilian and what role he’ll have this season. Ancelotti said: “He’s going to have a more important role. Last year, he made the difference when coming on in many matches. This season, he’ll start a lot more matches. He won’t just play on the right wing as he can also replace Vinícius on the left in some matches or play with Benzema as a striker or even in place of Benzema. He’s a complete forward.”

Ancelotti on Fede Valverde’s position

Ancelotti was then asked if the return of Rodrygo will see Fede Valverde moved out of right wing, but the coach explained why that remains a useful option. On the Uruguayan, he said: “He’s playing well, interpreting that position well. He brings a lot of energy there and it means we can be more intense in matches.”

Ancelotti on Asensio’s future

The coach was also asked for an update on Marco Asensio’s future and he maintained the same stance of recent weeks, stating: “I don’t know anything new about it. He’s evaluating his position and we’re waiting. It’ll all be clarified by September 2nd and if he stays then he’ll be an important member of our squad. If he wants to leave and there’s a good option for the club, we’ll have to evaluate it.”

Ancelotti on Ceballos’ playing time

Asked about Dani Ceballos and if he is definitely staying, the coach replied: “He’s going to stay and we’re happy with that. He’s not played too much, but in the coming weeks when we have two games per week then he’ll have minutes. We need our players to recover well between matches this season. We’ll use videos even more and manage the workload.”

Ancelotti on Modrić’s anniversary

Luka Modrić was signed by Real Madrid 10 years ago this Saturday and Ancelotti was asked to evaluate that transfer. He said: “I think it was a good transfer for him and for Real Madrid. He has been consistent, always playing at a very high level. I think he can keep going because he still looks fresh and motivated.”

Ancelotti on his tears during Casemiro’s farewell

Earlier in the week, at Casemiro’s farewell ceremony, Ancelotti was seen shedding a tear. Asked for his thoughts on the midfielder’s departure, he stated: “We had a good personal relationship too. It’s a shame when a player like Casemiro leaves. Now, though, I just wish him the best in his new challenge.”

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