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Ancelotti: “Bellingham isn’t the only up-and-coming midfielder, there’s also Enzo, Pedri, Gavi…”

The coach also looked ahead to the Villarreal game.

CP Cacereno v Real Madrid - Copa Del Rey Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about Real Madrid’s upcoming visit to Villarreal in his Friday press conference. This is always a tricky fixture for Los Blancos, as they haven’t won at the Estadio de la Cerámica in their past five visits, and Ancelotti expects another tough game, even if Villarreal have changed since Quique Setién took over.

On facing Villarreal, Ancelotti said: “They have changed a little and have a unique and different identity to Unai Emery’s Villarreal. Setién likes attacking and positional football. I think this will be an open game. We’ll have to be at our best to win there. Villarreal are a tough team and just defeated Valencia playing a good game.”

Ancelotti on the squad’s physical condition

Discussing the squad and the current shape of the players, he insisted that they’re doing well and explained that the players who didn’t travel to face Cacereño – Courtois, Carvajal, Mendy, Kroos, Alaba, Benzema and Vinícius – should all play against Villarreal. He said: “Those who went to the end of the World Cup didn’t need much work to get match sharp because they didn’t stop. But, then there are some who stopped for about 20 days, so we’re working more with them. Modern day footballers are more professional and are always working, whether it’s running or time in the gym. In the past, when you had a month of holidays, you wouldn’t train at all. It’s not like that anymore so it’s easier for players to get back to full match fitness. The squad is focused, motivated and in good physical condition. Obviously we’ll play the fresher players tomorrow. Those who got rest vs Cacereño will play tomorrow. Then, we’ll pick the best players for each game that comes up next week, when we have the Spanish Super Cup, an important competition for us.”

Ancelotti on Rodrygo’s best position

Asked where he thinks Rodrygo’s best position is, Ancelotti admitted he doesn’t really know and that he thinks the Brazilian is a uniquely versatile forward. He stated: “For me, Rodrygo should be a starter. Maybe he doesn’t make the difference every single game, but he’s always important. I don’t rest Vinícius or Benzema much, but Benzema then got injured and Rodrygo was one of those who filled in, so it’s hard to say what his main position is. But, the good thing for us is that he can play in any of the attacking positions. Rodrygo isn’t a specialist for one position, he’s a specialist in attacking football in general.”

Ancelotti on possible exits this transfer window

The coach was asked if any players have asked him to leave this January transfer window, to which he responded: “If somebody asks me for career advice, I’ll give it to them. But, nobody has come to my office yet to speak about leaving. Nobody is complaining about not playing right now. “

Ancelotti on signing Jude Bellingham

This Friday is Three Kings’ Day in Spain, the day when presents are exchanged, and Ancelotti was asked if he had asked for the kings to bring him Jude Bellingham in the summer. He dismissed that question slightly by pointing out that there are many emerging midfielders and that Bellingham isn’t the only option on the market. As Ancelotti put it: “Bellingham showed in the World Cup that he’s a great midfielder, but there are many young midfielders coming through. Enzo Fernández did well at the World Cup, Pedri and Gavi are doing well too. Bellingham is one of the many up-and-coming young midfielders. I’m just happy to have my midfielders, especially the youngsters we have in Tchouaméni, Valverde and Camavinga.”

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