NEWS STORY. 19/08/2022. Bárbara Jiménez
Carlo Ancelotti appeared in the press room at Real Madrid City on the day prior to his side's second LaLiga clash (Saturday, 10:00pm CEST). The Whites' coach discussed the encounter with Celta at Balaídos: "We've prepared well for tomorrow's game. It will be different to the Almería clash, Celta have more resources and it's always tough to play there, but we're feeling confident and the team is in good form”.
“It was a key game in winning the league last year and this time it comes early in the season but it will be important all the same. We want to continue the good run we're enjoying and fight to win it".
“I've discussed it with him this morning. He wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity. The club understand it, with all he's done for this club and the person he is, we have to respect it. There are talks right now, he's still a Real Madrid player at this stage, but he wants to leave. If he goes, we have the resources to replace him".
“I haven't tried to convince him, I just listened, because I have spoken to Casemiro throughout my time here and he has helped us so much. Having heard what he wants, there's no way back. If he doesn't stay, we'll have an enormous sense of gratitude to him for all he's done. We have replacements within the squad. Tchouameni was signed for this position and he's one of the best central midfielders on the market right now, then we've got Kroos, who can play in that position too, just like he did in my second year here, and there's Camavinga as well”.
“We have other players with different attributes because it's not only a player with the same qualities as Casemiro who can play that position. In my teams I've had players like Pirlo in that position, who had very different attributes to Casemiro but did a great job. Tchouameni is more similar to Casemiro than Kroos in the defensive elements but Kroos can absolutely play there too”.
What does Casemiro mean to the club?
“Modrić, Casemiro and Kroos have been a hugely important trio for the club and Real Madrid's success over this period".
Would you recommend leaving Madrid?
“That's a personal choice. I think Casemiro is fully aware of what Real Madrid means. The same thing happened when I was coaching Milan; there comes a time when you feel perfectly happy but you want to try something new. I was in a great position, the club was like family to me, but you just want a new experience, in a new league, a new country and a new language. It's a personal thing, I understand it completely".
“I can't answer that question because they are personal to Casemiro. He'll have to explain them”.
How have the squad reacted?
“They respect and understand it. If you want to assess it, you have to consider the affection and respect everyone at Real Madrid has for him. When he wants to take on a new challenge, we have to understand it and accept it with respect and affection. We're not angry or sad. Of course, when you've worked for so long with a person as friendly, disciplined and professional as he is, you're not thrilled about it but the respect for his decision must come first”.
Does it change your plans for the season?
“I realised this might actually happen yesterday but Real Madrid's plans don't change. Our plans are to fight and compete in every competition, which we will do with or without Casemiro. That said, everyone is well aware of how important the player is and how much we love him”.
“If Casemiro leaves, we have six central midfielders, with Modrić, Kroos, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Valverde and Ceballos. With Casemiro we've got seven but I think six is enough to negotiate the season. They are six top quality players".
“He's never told me he doesn't like playing there - perhaps he's told other people. If he tells me, it doesn't matter, he'll play just the same".
“He has to learn, get used to it and improve his positioning. He's powerful in one-on-one situations, very strong in the air, he's got good feet and gets into the box well. I'm not going to ask him to play like Casemiro, because we have to take advantage of his box-to-box qualities. He's very young and he has to improve but he's ready to play for Real Madrid”.