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Soccer

Carlo Ancelotti: “Gareth Bale wanted to say goodbye”

“Alaba will play in the Champions League final,” Ancelotti said after the 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis on Friday.

Update:
Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti acknowledges the crowd at the end of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 20, 2022. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUGetty

Carlo Ancelotti came out for his final press conference of the LaLiga season with his eyes firmly fixed on Paris next weekend.

How do you rate Marcelo’s season and has he been the best left-back in Madrid’s history?

I don’t think he has said goodbye yet, because he is still our captain and he will be our captain in the Champions League final. If he leaves, he will be one of the greats in world football.

Can Rodrygo be decisive when he is a substitute?

He is an important player, yes. When he’s come off the bench he’s contributed and when he’s started, he’s contributed too. Whether he will play or someone else is a decision I will make in the next few days. Although everything is clear to me.

What grade do you give your team for this LaLiga season?

A very high one. We started well and finished better. We had continuity and, although sometimes we played worse, we never lacked commitment. I thank the players for never giving up, even when they weren’t playing. That, the atmosphere in the dressing room, has made the difference.

Will Alaba make it to Paris and why wasn’t Davide Ancelotti on the bench tonight?

Yes, but today we didn’t need to take any risks. He’s going to play 100 per cent, although he hasn’t played since 26 April. In this type of match, it’s not just the physical aspect that is important, but also the mental aspect. Davide Ancelotti wasn’t on the bench today because he’s doing the UEFA Pro course in Wales. He’ll be back on Sunday.

What is your assessment of Isco?

He made his debut in my first game for Real Madrid, and he scored with a header. He ended a great career here today. Isco could have done more, but he has been a very important player in recent years.

How did you feel about Bale not saying goodbye?

He wanted to say goodbye, he wanted to play, but he wasn’t well. I think he will make it to Paris.

Speaking to Movistar after the match against Betis, Ancelotti had the following to say.

We played the game we wanted to play, without risking anything. It went well, I gave minutes to those who needed them most and now we have to prepare for the final.

Not taking any risks was one of the objectives

Yes, there was no point in taking any risks. We needed to have a match with little intensity, and we had that. Now we have to rest for two days and prepare for the match.

Did you prefer the first half tonight?

It was quite a slow tempo, we didn’t push too much. We tried to control the ball. We couldn’t ask for more.

Champions League final

Is it clear who will play on Saturday?

Yes.

Who will play from the start?

Not everyone who starts is going to finish [the game]. It’s difficult to think that you end up with the same 11.

Do you have different scenarios in mind for what could happen in the final?

The plan is quite clear. We know our opponents very well. They have different characteristics. We’re planning a game where we can show the quality we have.

Was the meeting in the centre circle at the end of the match also to say goodbye to Marcelo?

I don’t know. I think Marcelo is talking to the club, but we all have Saturday’s game in mind. Marcelo is focused on that, as we all are.

How much are you looking forward to that game?

I’m going to enjoy it to the full until Saturday. I’ve played a lot of games like this, but it’s always a special game and we have to enjoy it until the worry arrives.

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