Ancelotti: Real Madrid boss on Hazard, covid, Benzema, UCL draw
Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Eden Hazard will start for Los Blancos in Sunday's LaLiga clash with Cádiz.
Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti says Eden Hazard will start in Sunday’s LaLiga clash with Cádiz - the first time the Belgian has been in Los Blancos’ line-up since September.
Hazard will be joined in the Madrid team by Karim Benzema, Ancelotti told his pre-match press conference on Saturday. The Frenchman will be fit to face Cádiz despite his recent struggles with a muscle problem, the Italian said.
Ancelotti also discussed the recent covid outbreak in the Madrid squad, with Luka Modric, Marcelo, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Rodrygo Goes and Andriy Lunin all unavailable on Sunday after testing positive this week.
Ancelotti’s pre-Cádiz press conference:
Game against Cádiz amid covid outbreak in squad:
“We’ve suffered some setbacks this week, but those who have tested positive are fine. The team has trained well and the rest of the lads are ready for the game.”
Postponing game never an option:
“We never thought about postponing. I think football and society need to live with the virus. We have to carry on, but also be careful. The club is extremely vigilant in that sense.”
“He has now tested negative, but he’s still in isolation. He’s a bit tired and he’s had a high temperature. He won’t play in this weekend’s game. We’re going to have to see what the rules say after that; we’re waiting for clarification because they aren’t clear.”
Champions League draw chaos:
“It was really poor. But we’ll think about our tie [against Paris Saint-Germain] nearer the time. It’ll be a really exciting clash against hugely demanding opposition.”
“He’s trained on his own, but he’s in very good shape. He’ll play.”
“He’s going to start. Not because of the absences. He’s trained really well. His mentality hasn’t changed: he has the same desire and motivation as always, and he’s going to play because he’s trained well and he deserves it. The problem is that he hasn’t always been able to train at 100%.”
More on Hazard:
“In the first half of the season, he’s been impacted by the fact that Vinícius and Benzema have been in such good form. And on the right I’ve preferred to alternate between Asensio and Rodrygo. He has everything going for him to have a very good second half of the season and be a useful player for us.”
Are Barcelona direct rivals right now?
“They’re not direct rivals, no; there are other teams ahead of them, such as Sevilla and Atlético Madrid. But they'll keep fighting right to the end and have the quality to compete.”