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Ancelotti: “I 100% rule out any arrivals before the end of the transfer window”

The coach spoke before Friday’s game against Celta Vigo

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Victor Carretero/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Ahead of an unusual Friday night game for Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the media in the press room at Valdebebas for his pre-match press conference. The game will see Real Madrid take on Celta Vigo as the Galician club celebrate their centenary, but with the final week of the transfer window fast approaching, that was the focus of the questions from journalists. In particular, he was asked about the attack, and he said: “I 100% rule out any arrivals before the end of the transfer window.”

He was also asked about any potential exits, particularly with interest from Saudi Arabia, and responded clearly: “I think we have closed the squad, all the players we have are focused on this season. Someone can change their mind, I don’t know about that, but I’m not scared of that.”

Ancelotti on Jude Bellingham as a number 10

The coach was also questioned about the adaptation of Jude Bellingham following his arrival, particularly into a new offensive role. He responded: “Has it surprised me? No. I think that Bellingham in Dortmund showed his vertical threat, I think there he was more on the ball than off it but he was direct, he could play as an interior midfielder. His adaptation is very good because he’s a very intelligent player who moves very well off the ball.”

Ancelotti on Vinícius and Rodrygo’s adaptation in attack

That led to more questions about the change in system, in particular on the Brazilian pair who have operated as the front two in the first two matches of the season. Ancelotti explained: “I think Rodrygo doesn’t have any issues, he played as a centre forward and is used to it. I think he’s used to playing more inside. I think Vinícius is adapting very well, he’s had a lot of chances and he’s scored a goal. I’m not forcing him to play inside, he has the quality and intelligence to decide where is best to put him in attack. That said, I think going inside is easier to get chances, it means you can score with one touch, but out wide you can never score with one touch. I have had a player who scored 300 goals and 200 were one touch, he could never have been a winger but he was a centre forward and it was Filippo Inzaghi. I don’t think Vinícius has the characteristics of Filippo Inzaghi, but I think he has to and will learn about playing inside.”

Ancelotti on Luka Modrić

Another talking point was the fact that Luka Modrić has been benched for the first two games of the season, and Ancelotti did not shy away from addressing the situation. Explaining the atmosphere behind the scenes, he said: “I think Luka has already chosen what he wants to do for the next year. It’s true that it’s an unusual situation for him where he’s not playing from the start in a particular time of the season where we only have one game a week. Obviously he’s not happy, but he’s very, very good physically, he can play and he can and will bring something to our team. It’s a particular situation for everyone, even me, that a player who is used to playing from the first minute is not playing but I am sure that he will add value this season.”

Ancelotti on the goalkeeping situation

The Italian also responded very directly when asked about who will start between the sticks against Celta Vigo, saying: “Yes, Kepa will start tomorrow.”

Ancelotti on Aurélien Tchouameni’s form

One player who has stood out in the opening weeks of the campaign has been Aurélien Tchouameni, who Ancelotti was quick to praise in his press conference. He reflected: “I think Tchouameni is the Tchouameni of the first half of last season. He had an injury at the World Cup and hasn’t been able to come back from that to the level he is at now. There’s nothing new, he’s showing what he showed last year. He’s a pivot who is very important to our play.”

Ancelotti on his 120th game of his second spell

This weekend also marks a landmark moment for Ancelotti as he reaches 120 games in his second spell at the club, saying: “It’s a success [to have 120 games]. It’s a success, I think it’s been 119 games which have been done well and we are doing well. For the next 120 games, we have to start tomorrow. I think the team is good, I have a good feeling, not only for tomorrow but with this squad I see a quality, motivated squad with big hopes. That’s the feeling I have.”

Ancelotti on Luis Rubiales

One of the hot topics in the press conference was the controversy surrounding RFEF president Luis Rubiales after his behaviour at the Women’s World Cup. Ancelotti said: “Like most people, it’s behaviour that I don’t like. Nothing else to add, but as behaviour, it’s not something pertaining to a president of a federation.”

Ancelotti was asked later about it again and how it could impact him, responding: “I think the behaviour of one person doesn’t affect my personal life. I have a very clear idea of what I need to do and how to behave. I’m perfectly aware of my social responsibility as Real Madrid coach and I stay with that, not judging what others do.”

Ancelotti on injuries

With two significant injuries to his squad already this season, Ancelotti once again addressed the topic of fixture congestion and explained: “Our responsibility is to say what we think. I believe that all coaches think there are too many games, too much physical exhaustion, including travel, for the players. I think all coaches agree that we need to reduce the number of games.”

Ancelotti on penalty takers

In particular, the coach was questioned on who will take spot kicks this season, and he was keen to highlight that there would not be one designated taker. He said: “Nobody offered, they are all trying and training in this. Vinícius, Rodrygo, Valverde, Luka who is used to it. In each game we’ll choose what we think is best.”

Ancelotti on Fede Valverde

Another player to change their role this season has been Fede Valverde, and Ancelotti provided intriguing tactical insight into the change in the Uruguayan’s game. He analysed: “I think the system has changed his position a little, he plays deeper than normal last year, which I think can help him as he can see more of the pitch and he has also understood that playing one or two touches isn’t his quality, he likes to have space and time and run with the ball. There’s no sense to playing with one or two touches if he has space and time. It makes no sense for a coach to ask him to do that, I won’t.”

Ancelotti on having extra time for training

The first month of the season has given Real Madrid a rare opportunity to have a full seven-day break between matches, and Ancelotti was quick to highlight what that has meant for him and the team. He said: “It’s been a very important period for us. When you have a full week you can introduce blocks of work and work loads that are more intense. We’ve done it at the start of each week, a lot of aerobic, strength and tactical work. It’s what we’ve done in the first few weeks, it’s unusual because we don’t usually have time to do it, but it’s helped the players to improve and we will do it next week again.”

Ancelotti on Saudi Arabia’s financial power

Asked about Gabriel Veiga’s imminent move to Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia, Ancelotti reiterated a point he has made repeatedly in recent weeks. He reflected on the matter by saying: “Football in Arabia right now offers much more money than European football, that’s a fact. What’s happening, what to do, everyone can do what they want. I think the football organisations should evaluate it and take the necessary decisions to balance the market a little.”

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