MADRID, Dec. 29 (.) –
The Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, stated this Thursday that “it is not fair to say” that Lionel Messi, current world champion with Argentina, is “the best in history”, because “every era has important players”, at the same time while confirming that there may be “departures” in the January market and confessed that the team is “very excited to return.”
“We arrived well, with great enthusiasm to return. Those who have trained here have done well, we have recovered (Karim) Benzema well, it was important for us. Those who have returned are fine, although I will give priority to the players who have trained here”, said the Italian at the press conference prior to matchday 15 of LaLiga Santander against Valladolid this Friday (9:30 p.m.).
The coach focused on the situation of the French forward, who “returned on December 10, after the holidays” and after leaving the French concentration due to injury. “He was quite good, he worked with the team, he played 30 minutes in the first friendly, then 45 in the second, he improved little by little. Now he’s doing very well, he’s excited to return in the second part of the season,” he said, before to assess the decision to do without him in the French team, trained by Didier Deschamps.
“For them he had no opportunity to play in the World Cup and they let him leave. A player returned with great enthusiasm and motivation. We are convinced that he will help us a lot in the second part of the season,” he insisted, before a stretch of the course in the that “there are no days off”, since “until March 19” they will play “every three days”.
This situation will force Ancelotti to rotate and give opportunities to players with less prominence so far. This is the case of the Belgian Eden Hazard, whom the coach sees as “well, better than before the World Cup.” “With all the games we have, I have to use the entire squad, Hazard will be one of the ones who will play more in this second part,” he added.
“THERE WILL BE NO SIGNINGS, BUT WE DON’T KNOW DEPARTURES…”
During the press conference, Ancelotti was asked if the Argentine Leo Messi, world champion with the ‘Albiceleste’ and Ballon d’Or at the World Cup, was already the best footballer in history. “He has done very well, he is a great footballer, everyone recognizes him. I don’t know if he is the best, but it is not fair to say that, each era has very important players,” he argued.
“It won’t come out of my mouth that Messi is the best in history. I see Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or winner, train every day. I’ve also seen Maradona, Cruyff, unfortunately I didn’t see Di Stefano…”, added.
The coach also valued the future incorporation of the Brazilian Endrick in 2024. “We are happy and excited. He is a great player, with great talent,” he praised, before not closing the door on possible departures in the winter market that starts in January.
“We are very well. The market is closed for entries, but we still don’t know the exits, it depends on the players, some who play less. But the squad is well done, we are happy”, he pointed out, also assuring that the situation of the players who end their contract at the end of the season -Modric, Kroos, Benzema, Asensio, Ceballos, Nacho and Mariano- do not “worry” him. “If they renew I’ll be happy, if they think it’s better to leave I’ll be happy too,” he defended.
Thus, Ancelotti praised the great end of the season last year, although he believes that now they are “better” than “in December of last year.” “Hopefully what happened last year is repeated in 2023, even better, why not,” he stressed, pointing out that improving defensively is one of the keys.
Finally, the Italian addressed some questions about the World Cup and the predominant game model, perhaps more direct and effective, highlighting that “touch play is important in football” and “it will continue”. “There is no single way to play football. It is important to read the situations and moments of the game,” he explained, before asking for “effective time” in the future, given the long discounts seen in the tournament.
“They haven’t contacted me, I don’t know if they’re interested, I appreciate it if that’s the case, but my situation is clear, I’m fine here, I’ll never tell Real Madrid that I want to leave,” he said before the reports that he could train to the Brazilian team, after it fell in the quarterfinals in Qatar.