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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti discusses Champions League tie against Manchester City before Osasuna game

The Italian also spoke about more racist abuse aimed at Vinícius Júnior, Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militão’s fitness, and Brahim Díaz.

The Italian also spoke about more racist abuse aimed at Vinícius Júnior, Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militão’s fitness, and Brahim Díaz.
Rodrigo JimenezEFE

Real Madrid will once again face Manchester City in the Champions League after Friday’s draw pitted the two most recent winners of the competition together in the quarter-finals. In his pre-match press conference before Los Blancos travel to Osasuna, head coach Carlo Ancelotti was philosophical about the task ahead, with “to be the best you have to beat the best” very much his mantra.

The Italian also discussed the latest round of racist abuse aimed at Vinícius Júnior, as well as Brahim Diaz’s decision to choose to play for Morocco over Spain at international level.

And he had positive news regarding the fitness of long-term injury victims Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militão.

What did Ancelotti say about Real Madrid being drawn against Manchester City in the UCL?

What do you think of the Champions League draw? Manchester City again.

City are one of the favourites, we all know it and it will be very hard. We don’t care if we have to play the second leg away from home, it makes no difference.

Surely you must feel the draw couldn’t have been more difficult?

Champions League quarter-finals are always difficult! We want to win the competition and, to do that, you must beat the best. City may be one of the best teams in Europe at the moment, it will be tough, of course, but if you want to be European champion, you must eliminate City.

Are Manchester City more worried than you are?

I don’t know (laughs)! Optimism always prevails, don’t worry. It’s going to be a great quarter-final tie and we will play them with confidence. I don’t know what they’ll be thinking there, it will be similar to here. One year we won and the next year they won. We will see...

Are you out for revenge (after losing in the semi-finals last season)?

No, it’s an opportunity to play in the semi-finals, nothing more. There’s no revenge.

Are City favourites?

I don’t know, but it should be a very close tie, very close. I don’t thinik there’s a favourite.

Last year, Pep Guardiola spoke of his players suffering from “stomachache” when they had to face Madrid. Do you feel the same way?

No. We’re not in any pain

Is it true that the order of the matches could be switched?

I don’t know, but we don’t care. UEFA has to decide that with the local police.

What did you learn from last year’s knockout tie?

We didn’t play well in the second leg for many reasons. We’ll have time to analyse that. Right now, we’re only thinking about tomorrow. The draw is in the background.

Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militão injury update: when will they be back?

Could Courtois and Militão play against Manchester City?

Just this week they started working with the rest of the group. During the international break, they will play two friendlies against the youth team and yes, I think they will be able to make it. In fact, we hope they will be available on 31 March, against Athletic, but we won’t take any unnecessary risks. That much is clear.

Brahim Díaz chooses Morocco over Spain

Has the Spanish national team made a mistake in letting Brahim slip through the net?

No idea... for us, he’s an important player and he can be for any team. He has chosen to play for the team that wants him and I think that Morocco, who have a great team, have done well. Brahim will offer them even more.

Vinícius Júnior suffers more racist abuse

Is any progress being made with stamping out racism? This week, there have been two more incidents...

The problem exists and, as I said before the game at Mestalla, where I pointed out that Valencia had done a really good job...now, it’s up to others. There must be zero tolerance, both for us and for everyone else. Action has to be taken. Criminals shouldn’t be out on the street, they should be somewhere else.

Madrid “better than ever” before LaLiga game against Osasuna

How are you feeling about the game against Osasuna?

It will be tough, demanding. We want to finish this part of the season well. We’re going into the international break in good form, but wanting more. We know the visit to El Sadar will be tough.

What shape is the team in?

Better than ever. League leaders, in the Champions League quarter-finals, Courtois and Militão are about to come back. We don’t have any new injuries, the players are hungry. Maybe now that I’ve said it, tomorrow we’ll slip up (laughs). But we are better in better shape than ever, that’s the truth.