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Ancelotti: “Benzema can start thinking about the next Ballon d’Or tomorrow”

Carlo Ancelotti speaks about the future of Real Madrid and whether Kylian Mbappe is a part of the club’s plans

Joe Brennan
Ancelotti praises Benzema and says Vinivius can still improve
Soccrates ImagesGetty

Football waits for nobody and as Real Madrid fans continue to celebrate Karim Benzema’s incredible Ballon d’Or success last night, boss Carlo Ancelotti is already thinking about tomorrow’s game against Elche. The manager is unsurprisingly delighted for Benzema but knows that tomorrow is not going to be an easy tie: “We have to push even harder in our mental preparation for the game, because it is normal to be at maximum concentration for the biggest games and a little more difficult to do so after games that have been so difficult both mentally and physically.”

Real Madrid team news

In terms of the players available for the game, Ancelotti announced that Madrid will still be without goalkeeper Courtois, who came seventh in last night’s awards. Good news did arrive regarding the goalkeeper, with Ancelotti explaining how “he trained quite normally [and] I think he will be fit for Saturday [versus Sevilla].”

Madrid’s head coach was in a congratulatory mood, with typically kind words for everyone involved in the gala: “we are all very proud of what Karim. Thibaut and all those who were close have achieved. I congratulate all those who won, Gavi, Alexia, Lewandowski, Mané and also Manchester City, a club we have a lot of respect for and who had a fantastic season.”

The future of Real Madrid

The conversation quickly turned from the present to the future, and Ancelotti was asked whether or not he sees Mbappé as deserving of another opportunity to join Real Madrid in the future. The boss wasn’t keen to talk about players from other teams, instead choosing to showcase the plethora of young talent already playing in Europe’s most successful club. “What the future holds, I don’t know. The future of this club is already written with young players like Vinicius, Rodrygo, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Valverde, Militao. These players have shown what the future of Real Madrid will be.”

Despite some unhappy reactions from fans at Vinicius only coming 8th in last night’s ceremony (despite scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final and racking up over 20 goals and 20 assists in the 2021/22 season), Carlo was calm and showed the winger that there is always room for more: “it is fair [the ranking] because this lets him try to improve next year and gives him the opportunity to be motivated to do better.”

On the winner of the Ballon d’Or, Ancelotti explained both his own and Benzema’s feelings and what has changed in the French striker’s game that has allowed him to improve so much. “He has said that he is very proud of the award and he is grateful to his teammates. We have to think about the next Ballon d’Or. He can start tomorrow. The player has a lot more responsibility and he feels like more of a leader than he did 8 years ago. Technically not much has changed because his quality is still the same. What has changed is his responsibility and attitude, he is much more of a leader.”

Negative football?

Is Carlo’s Madrid like Simeone’s Atletico? “That is a flattering remark, it is something positive because I saw Atletico play against Athletic Club and was an entertaining game. After, I saw Simeone say these types of matches excite him. I am excited. When you have a team with this amount of commitment, it makes you excited.”

Ancelotti also spoke about Iker Bravo, Real Madrid’s exciting youth player, as well as the club only coming third in the Club of the Year award: “Madrid is the best team and that is why we won the Champions League. We won the most important award in May.”


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