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Ancelotti: “The World Cup final has to be at the Bernabéu because it’s the best stadium in the world”

The Real Madrid coach spoke ahead of the game against Osasuna

Carlo Anceloti Press Conference After Real Madrid Training Day Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images

Ahead of Real Madrid’s final LaLiga fixture before the international break, which will pit the team against Osasuna, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press at Valdebebas. One of the hot topics for the coach was the announcement that Spain will be one of the hosts of the 2030 World Cup, and Ancelotti was clear on the big fixture, saying: “The World Cup final has to be in Madrid, because it’s the capital of Spain, and in the Bernabéu because it will be the best stadium in the world.”

Ancelotti on the 2030 World Cup being hosted in Spain, Portugal and Morocco

Adding to his thoughts on the World Cup final, Ancelotti made it clear that he believes that hosting some games in other countries does not detract from the celebration for Spain as he explained: “I think it’s very good for Spanish football and for this country. The happiness of this news isn’t going to be affected by some games being played in South America, Portugal or Morocco, it’s very good news.”

Ancelotti on the Vinícius-Bellingham connection

After Jude Bellingham provided two assists to Vinícius for his last two goals, Brazilian media asked Ancelotti on the importance of this connection. He responded: “The last few games they have played closer together and they combine well. I think they have different characteristics which make them combine well. Vinícius plays out wide, Bellingham coming from deep, and if that combination is good, we will be successful.”

Ancelotti on the racism case concerning Vinícius

Vinícius testified in court this week regarding the racist abuse he suffered at Mestalla earlier this year, and Ancelotti was critical of media coverage of the case after Superdeporte published an image of him with a ‘Pinocchio’ nose. He said: “Something has happened, here people try to redirect attention. He’s been a victim, whether it’s one, 10 or thousands of people. The victim of racist abuse is Vinícius and media outlets who want to direct away from that make me angry, I pity them.”

Ancelotti was also asked if the case this week could impact Vinícius’ mentality ahead of Saturday’s match, but he was adamant, saying: “I haven’t spoken to him, he’s as motivated and okay as usual. He’s spoken to the courts but he’s good and happy to play tomorrow.”

Ancelotti on David Alaba’s fitness

Absent from training on Friday, David Alaba seems to be unavailable and Ancelotti confirmed that while also addressing who could replace him, saying: “Alaba isn’t fully fit yet, so tomorrow he won’t play. We have three options, including Mendy and Tchouameni. You will see tomorrow. I think we have something new, but we’re ready and it’s a team job, not about individuals. Our worry is about playing a very well organised team.”

Ancelotti on alternatives to Alaba

Journalists asked Ancelotti specifically about the prospect of Aurelién Tchouameni dropping into a central defensive role. Ancelotti reflected: “We have tried Tchouameni in that position over the last few days. He has a defensive attitude, and he can use that pivot experience with the defensive attitude in defence. The position is different and he would have to adjust, of course. Mendy is another option, who has played there in a back three.”

Ancelotti on a potential January exit for Luka Modrić

Asked about a possible sale in January for Luka Modrić, Carlo Ancelotti didn’t even entertain the idea. His blunt response was clear as he said: “I absolutely do not think that Modrić will leave in January. He thinks he’s an important player and we think he’s an important player for us this season. I don’t think he’s considering leaving and we’re very happy with that.”

Ancelotti on Modrić’s morale

The coach continued on this topic and the role that Luka Modrić plays at Real Madrid, going beyond just his minutes on the field. The coach added: “I talk to Modrić every day, not before or after the international break. Obviously he’s not happy to not play because he’s played all his life. Even so, he still has a high level of motivation to contribute to the team. What he brings to the locker room, nobody else can bring. He has a charisma with the others which is very important for me even when he doesn’t play. For him no, but I understand that, and when he doesn’t play it affects us and everyone who loves him. The most impacted is him, but it’s very good because he doesn’t lose his motivation and it means a lot that he played 30 minutes in Naples for us.”

Ancelotti on facing Osasuna

On Saturday, Real Madrid will come up against Osasuna, who they beat in the Copa del Rey final earlier this year. The importance of a win is evident for Ancelotti, who said: “There’s a break coming up and we want to end well. We’re up against a team who we know well and who have played well here. It’s been difficult for us to beat them and tomorrow we’ll have to do the maximum to take the three points.”

Ancelotti on adapting to Osasuna’s threat

When asked how he would tackle Jagoba Arrasate’s tactics, Ancelotti looked to take lessons from recent clashes against Osasuna. He explained: “We’ll do what we always do. Try to play quickly and with intensity and play well. They are a team who defend very well, they’ve done it at the Bernabéu the last two seasons, and we’re expecting the same. They’ll try to catch us out of position to create danger but we will try to play intelligently.”

Ancelotti on Rodrygo’s goal drought

With a goal drought now stretching back to the first game of the season at club level, Ancelotti was asked about Rodrygo Goes’ recent form. The coach was keen to point to his contributions elsewhere as he analysed: “What it’s down to? I don’t know. It’s something that strikers go through in their careers. There are times when it’s more difficult to score and others where it’s easier. When you struggle, you have to focus on what you’re doing and work hard and that’s what Rodrygo is doing, working hard for the team and contributing even when it’s not with goals. Fortunately we have still won all the games, except one.”

Ancelotti on Simeone’s words on Spanish teams’ intensity

After beating Feyenoord in the Champions League this week, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone pointed to Real Madrid as an exception to the struggles that Spanish teams have had of late to match the intensity of their rivals in Europe. On that thought, Ancelotti said: “I think he spoke about a problem with intensity on the pitch. The young players we have bring us energy and intensity on and off the ball. Everyone has to play with the charactertistics that they have. You can’t win only with young players or veterans, I’ve won with a 40-year-old central defender, with Kroos, Modrić who was 36 in Paris, and Camavinga. To play with intensity, of course young players bring a lot and help a lot, and veterans have other characteristics.”

Ancelotti on Fran García

Having been dropped in recent weeks, but still making Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad, Ancelotti was also asked about his impressions with Fran García since the defender joined this summer. He responded: “He’s good, I think he played a lot at the start of the season and now with Mendy’s return and I’ve played Camavinga so he’s had less prominence. I think he’s good and going with the national team will be good for him, he’s a very good full-back.”

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