Atletico Madrid
Leg 1
Game Details
FC Salzburg
Leg 1
Game Details
St. Kitts and Nevis
12:00 AM UTC Apr 27, 2018
Game Details

Ancelotti would love Lionel Messi at Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says that if it were possible he'd love to have both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at his club.

Barcelona talisman Messi's future has become the subject of much speculation recently, with his own attempts to clarify the situation only leading to further confusion when the 27-year-old suggested he did not yet know where he would be playing next season.

Madrid are one of the few clubs in world football rich enough to consider a move for a player with a 250 million-euro release clause, and salary demands of 20 million euros-plus per annum.

While a switch between the Spanish rivals sounds unlikely, players including Luis Figo, Michael Laudrup and current Barca coach Luis Enrique have all moved from one to the other, and the Blancos coach told a news conference he would love to have both in his team.

"I believe so yes," Ancelotti said. "Although you must bear in mind that Cristiano is the emblem of Real Madrid, and Messi of Barcelona. Each one has their own team and their own history, but to have both in the same team would be a great thing for us. It is, however, difficult to think it is going to change."

The relationship between Madrid's current two most expensive galacticos has been a subject of debate recently, particularly after Gareth Bale was whistled at the Bernabeu after choosing to shoot rather than pass to Ronaldo when clear through on goal against Espanyol last Saturday.

In that moment the Portuguese showed his clear frustration with his teammate, although after picking up the 2014 Ballon d'Or he called on his side's fans to go easier on the Welshman.

"It seemed to me that it was difficult to pass the ball," Ancelotti said. "It was not necessary to talk about this with Gareth, who is playing very well. He is in top physical condition at the moment. Tomorrow he will play a great game. The relationship between both is perfect."

Ancelotti was speaking ahead of Thursday's Copa del Rey last-16 second leg at home to Atletico Madrid. An understrength Atletico team, featuring eight usual reserve players including Fernando Torres on his first game back at the club, won last week's first game 2-0, with Madrid finding it difficult to even make goalscoring chances.

The Italian coach nonetheless said he was confident his team could turn the tie around, while cautioning against rushing things too early and getting caught out.

"We know how to play against Atletico, because we know them well," he said. "The key to playing against Atletico, which is the best organised team in Europe in defence, is intensity. We need to score goals, but we must have cool heads, and not rush things. We need to score goals, and we are used to scoring goals. We have 90 minutes and can score too in the final stages. There is no need to hurry tomorrow."

Ronaldo was left on the bench for the first leg due to "tiredness," with reserve Keylor Navas starting in goal, but the team was otherwise at full-strength. Ancelotti said that young attacker Jese Rodriguez was fully fit again and available to start, while suggesting he would play all his big names.

"Jese is fine, fully recovered," he said. "He could start the game. The team is good, as we have had time to recover. Tomorrow I will decide the lineup, but they are all fine."

That means that midfielder Luka Modric is now Madrid's only long-term injury absentee, and Ancelotti said the Croatia international was also nearing a return to action.

"[Modric] returns to Madrid on Monday," he said. "He has started some work, and he has a month left, more or less, to return to the team. He is a very important player, but I have to say that those who have replaced him have done very well. For example, Isco has surprised a lot of people."


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