Carlo Ancelotti intends to hand Karim Benzema a starting role against Real Madrid while he also praises Vinicius
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that their star striker Karim Benzema would be starting against Liverpool. The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner makes a return at the perfect time as they head to Anfield for the first leg of their champions League last-16 tie against Liverpool.
Ancelotti wants midfielders to step up
On Saturday, Ancelotti chose to rest Benzema as Madrid defeated Osasuna 2-0. Vinicius Junior’s outstanding performance made up for Benzema’s absence, leading to Ancelotti backing the Brazilian to do great things at Madrid.
“I see Benzema looking well, tomorrow he will start.” Ancelotti said.
Real Madrid will be without their starting midfielders Kroos and Tchouameni, who are both injured. Ancelotti expressed that he prefers his midfield duo, but he also wants other midfielders to step up.
“I’d like to have them,” Ancelotti said of the midfield duo. “It’s a forced transition that we didn’t want. It doesn’t worry me because the feeling we have without them is good.
“Those who have replaced Toni and Tchouameni have done well and we have confidence in the whole squad.
“Modric didn’t have a good time in January but now he’s back to his best level and he’s going to keep growing. His condition is good and he still wants to play for Madrid.”
Ancelotti was then asked whether Vinicius was looking forward to playing in England. The Brazilian has been in great form recently. However, his season has been marred by several occasions of racial abuse from rival fans.
“Those who have replaced Toni and Tchouameni have done well and we have confidence in the whole squad.“
“He likes to play anywhere. Vini is handling it well and it doesn’t affect his performance on the pitch.” Ancelotti Added.
“The issue of racism is very serious and complicated, there is no law that changes a person’s head, that is done by culture and common sense.
“I don’t blame Spain for this, things like this happen in all countries. The most important thing is respect for people.
“Also, this is a very important match. Right now it’s a pleasure to watch Vini, not just for Madrid but for all of football.
“Everyone likes to see his quality and his talent, like with Pedri, Gavi, [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland… It’s a pleasure for football to be able to enjoy this quality.”