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Ancelotti: “Physically, Camavinga is like a Ferrari engine”

The coach previewed the Girona game that’ll be played on Tuesday.

Real Madrid CF v RC Celta - LaLiga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There is a midweek round of LaLiga and Real Madrid will be taking on Girona on Tuesday. They’ll travel to Catalonia with several absences and Carlo Ancelotti spoke about these in his pre-match press conference. He stated: “Girona play a really nice style of football. They’re well-organised, very good on the ball and they’re tough to play at home. It’ll be difficult and we’ll be without Benzema, Camavinga, Ceballos, Alaba and Mendy. Even if we were playing Manchester City tomorrow, they’d still be unavailable because they have issues that are real. I think all except Alaba and Mendy should be back for the next game. Even Alaba should be back for the Copa del Rey final. Rodrygo didn’t train today, but is fine and will be available tomorrow.”

Ancelotti on Benzema’s minutes

Speaking a bit more specifically about Benzema’s situation and if he’ll rest between now and the Manchester City first leg, Ancelotti replied: “Benzema will play against Almería and then against Real Sociedad, once he is recovered. He has been at a good level in the last few games and I think the best way for him to maintain that level is by playing, not by resting. When he is fit, he has to play and he wants to play and we want him to play.”

Ancelotti on rotations in goals

It was put to Ancelotti that these league matches might be a good time to rest Thibaut Courtois. On that possibility, he said: “We were thinking about that, but Courtois can keep playing for as long as he feels good. Lunin has done well when he’s played, so I’m not ruling out that he could play more matches between now and the end of the season.”

Ancelotti on the 11-point gap

Asked about the 11-point gap in the standings and if he thinks Real Madrid are really 11 points worse than Barcelona, he replied: “I don’t think there’s 11 points of difference in terms of quality. We’ve seen that with the direct duels, where sometimes they won and sometimes we won. I think we’re very evenly matched. It’s fine margins that have made the distance this large, but we’ll try to reduce it over the next games.”

Ancelotti on the work of the academy

The coach was asked for his thoughts on how well the academy is doing right now, especially after the big derby win of Álvaro Arbeloa’s Juvenil side. Ancelotti said: “The academy is working really well, with Arbeloa and Raúl doing a great job. We have a good generation of youngsters coming through, the 2003 and 2004 generations, and many of those players will be in the first team soon.”

Ancelotti on Camavinga’s progression

Asked what Camavinga still needs to work on, the coach said that it’s just a matter of gaining more experience because he is already so technically and physically brilliant. As Ancelotti put it: “He is doing well and making the most of his game time. His limits are only age-related, such as lack of experience or tactical knowledge. Technically, he has nothing to learn. Physically, he has a Ferrari engine.”

Ancelotti on Real Madrid’s set-piece work

Discussing Real Madrid’s set plays, Ancelotti said: “With my coaching staff, we work a lot on set piece work. Not so much defensively, because we play zone. But we work more on attacking set pieces. At this stage of the season, you can work a lot on this more than other tactical work because it doesn’t require much running. We work on plays to the near post and far post. We have great takers like Kroos, Asensio and Modrić and great headers of the ball like Rüdiger, Militão, Tchouaméni.”

Ancelotti on Messi potentially returning to Barcelona

Even though he’s the coach of Real Madrid, Ancelotti was asked about Lionel Messi’s potential return to Barcelona. He replied: “Messi can do what he wants. That’s not a question for me. I like him as a player and maybe it would be good for LaLiga and Spanish football to have him back. But, that’s a matter for Barcelona.”

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