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Ancelotti’s Real Madrid vs Real Mallorca press conference: Hazard to start LaLiga clash

Speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s LaLiga game against Real Mallorca, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that Eden Hazard is to deputise for Karim Benzema.

Carlo Ancelotti, entrenador del Real Madrid, en rueda de prensa.
Juan AguadoDIARIO AS

Carlo Ancelotti says Eden Hazard will start at No. 9 in Karim Benzema’s absence when Real Madrid take on Real Mallorca in LaLiga on Sunday.

After limping out of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Celtic, Benzema is expected to miss Madrid’s next two games, and remains a doubt for next weekend’s Spanish capital derby against Atlético Madrid.

Hazard scored in a 3-0 win in Glasgow after being brought on in place of Benzema, and Madrid boss Ancelotti said of the Belgian on Saturday: “Hopefully he can put in a great performance [against Mallorca].”

Ancelotti’s Real Madrid vs Real Mallorca press conference:

Verdict on Real Mallorca:

Mallorca have been doing very well. They’ve only conceded three goals this season, all from penalties. I expect them to come to the Bernabéu with a plan to defend well and look to hit us on the break.

Can Vinícius Júnior be a 30-goal forward?

Vinícius’ aim is to keep on playing the way he has, showing the good attitude that he has. He might score more goals, he might score fewer goals, but he’s having a decisive impact.

Eden Hazard at No. 9:

Hazard played well against Celtic. He’s going to play on Sunday and hopefully he can put in a great performance.

Hazard (left) celebrates with team-mate Dani Carvajal after scoring Real Madrid's third against Celtic.
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Hazard (left) celebrates with team-mate Dani Carvajal after scoring Real Madrid's third against Celtic.Alan Harvey - SNS GroupGetty

Are you worried by Karim Benzema’s absences?

It’s something that can happen to you as a player. Last year he had a minor issue in December and I think we were able to replace him effectively. The team played very well without him against Celtic.

Madrid’s third goal in Glasgow came after a 33-pass move. Do you get the credit you deserve for the soccer you play?

Yes, I think we get the credit we deserve. Just because we scored from a 33-pass move, that doesn’t mean that’s our identity. We wanted to see out the game by keeping the ball. In general, the rate of goals scored after more than 10 passes is very low; the stats show that it’s easier to score after fewer than 10 passes.

See also:

How are Benzema and Thibaut Courtois?

Courtois had a minor knee issue, but he trained as normal today. He didn’t train in the last two days because he was in a bit of discomfort, but he’ll play on Sunday. As for Benzema, we’ll have to see whether he makes the derby next Sunday. If he doesn’t, he won’t join up with France.

Do Madrid suffer from ‘Karimdependence’?

It’s not such a bad thing if we do, because that means he scores a lot of goals. We’re happy to have ‘Viníciusdependence’ and ‘Rodrygodependence’ too. It’s not a negative if you’re dependent on a particular player. But this team has so much quality right the way through it. Mariano [Díaz] could also help us at some point, because he’s a very powerful striker who’s a great header of the ball. We have options.

Could we see Dani Ceballos from the start against Mallorca?


What stands out to you the most about the progress Vinícius has made?

He’s a more consistent finisher, a more consistent goalscorer. He’s less likely to miss in front of goal. He still has the same excellent attitude and applies himself well to his work… He wants to improve every day.