Ancelotti: “Bale wasn’t being antisocial, he couldn’t move”
Carlo Ancelotti explained why Gareth Bale missed Real Madrid’s LaLiga title-winning celebrations.
Carlo Ancelotti faced the media on Saturday, little over 24 hours before his team will cross town to visit neighbours Atlético in the derby. With LaLiga won, Real Madrid can relax a little in domestic competition and the coach will field a changed side at the Metropolitano. He also explained why Gareth Bale was unable to join the team for the title celebrations.
How’s the team? “Pretty good, we have a few players who are doubtful, we’ve had two days to rest. I’ll think about the line-up tomorrow, we’ll try to put out our best team. The only certainty is that Lunin will start, Courtois will rest. Some are unable to play. Hazard will be back training next week”.
Risk of Madrid being too relaxed without the tension of having to compete in the league: “The games games will be just what we need because they will give us the opportunity to main rhythm and the dynamic, although it’s true that we won;t be playing to win the league, maintaining rhythm is very important - as is respecting the competition. We’ll be playing against teams who have a lot at stake. The club we represent means we are obliged to give our best”.
Guard of Honour: “We don’t have anything like it in Italy. Each side should do whatever they want, depending on how they feel. We respect Atleti. They are our neighbours, our friends, I respect their coach and their fans a lot. If they do it, fine, if not, we will respect them regardless”.
How would you describe yourself? “I am a calm man, I really like what I do for a living. I like to enjoy life, I’m not obsessed about football. I like football, but not to the point of obsession. I am lucky enough to work in a field which I like”.
Bale, absent for Madrid’s title celebrations: “We are all very fond of Bale. He wasn’t there because he couldn’t move. I have experienced the same thing, after hurting my back. When he’s fit, he trains the same as everyone else. It wasn’t that he was being antisocial, it’s just that he couldn’t move”.
Is this the best season you’ve ever had? “I’ve never got to this stage of the season in a situation like this. What a week it’s been, with LaLiga and qualifying for the final. To crown it, it’d be nice to win on 28 May, we’ll try. That would make it the best season of my career”.
What stands out for you about your squad? “The first quality I see within the group is humility. There’s no arrogance, no players with big egos. Ego helps you to achieve the best, but we have a very humble side. None of them thinks they are more important than the rest - or any less important if they are not playing all of the time. Players feel special when they pull on Real Madrid’s shirt”.
Retiring after Madrid: “If it all goes well here, I’ll stay until I’m in my 80s, why not? That’s something I’ve thought about - the day it is all over with Madrid, will be the day I could stop. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Finding a better club anywhere else in the world would be difficult”.
Carvajal: “He’s suffered a lot with muscular problems, he’s struggled to be at his best. He’s got a lot of character, he hasn’t been at 100%, but he’s always played through it all. He’s fundamental in the squad. Nobody has given up, for players like Carvajal and Nacho, representing this club is very important. Carvajal helps us a lot with his personality”.
Ceballos: “I’ve spoken with him, he knows what I think, and what the club thinks. He has to make the best decision for him. It’s quite clear for him. If he stays, perfect”.
Is performing the Guard of Honour humiliating? “As I said earlier, if they do it, perfect. If not, our respect for Atleti won’t change”.