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Ancelotti Confirms Real Madrid’s First Signing After Rayo Vallecano Win: “He Will Be With Us”

Real Madrid wiped the dust off their shoulders and came back from two consecutive defeats to beat Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday night. The league campaign may be over, but it was a vital win for both the players and the fans amidst a rocky period.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring in the first half but the visitors pulled level late in the second period. In the end, a Rodrygo winner in the 89th minute gifted them all three points.

Carlo Ancelotti gave an elaborate post-match press conference that was primarily centred around Vinicius Jr but also covered the situation and performances of Karim Benzema and Rodrygo Goes. Here are snippets from his interaction.

The manager first spoke about Vinicius Jr, who was the centre of attention despite not participating at Santiago Bernabeu. The whole stadium stood with him in unison, and Ancelotti stated that he believed such racist instances would not happen again.

“His morale is just fine. All the support he has received in the last few days has been good for him. I don’t think there will be any more cases of racism because we’ve all become aware of it and things are going to improve very quickly.”

The manager also provided an update on the Brazilian’s fitness and possible return to the field saying,

“He would have played if he didn’t have the discomfort in his knee. We’ll see if he can train tomorrow or Friday so he can play on Saturday. It was just a small issue today that stopped him from playing.”

The Italian went on to describe what made Vini Jr a key pillar in his project and praised Rodrygo for filling his shoes on the left wing on Wednesday night.

“Everyone knows him, he’s such an important player for us with his assists, his goals and the danger he creates. He was replaced by another left winger today, although he often plays on the right too. And Rodrygo made the difference today.”

Elaborating on Rodrygo, Ancelotti gave his two cents on the youngster’s overall 2022-23 campaign and maintained that he was still far from his ceiling.

“He’s had a bigger impact this season and he has nearly been a nailed-on starter. He’s really progressed well compared to last year. He’ll continue to improve next season as well because he still hasn’t reached his best, but he’s getting there.”

After his late winner against Rayo Vallecano, Rodrygo Goes brought out a special celebration, standing with his head down and a clenched fist high above. It was clearly a signal of support to Vini Jr, but Ancelotti said he did not see the celebration.

“I didn’t see the celebration. All of the players who are close to Vini Jr. feel this issue deeply and have been affected by it because they are friends. Vini Jr. has been impacted by it all a bit and they are showing their support to a teammate.”

The Competition Committee annulled Vinicius’ red card after finding solid evidence that the referee was manipulated to take the decision last weekend. The Italian tactician revealed that he was surprised at the unprecedented decision and insisted it was the right call.

“I was surprised because I didn’t think they would review a situation where a mistake was made. On the pitch, they only evaluated Vini Jr.’s conduct but it was a long sequence of events. They changed their mind and I think they made the right call.

Speaking about the sanctions faced by Valencia including a partial closure of the Mestalla, Ancelotti lauded the authorities for taking prompt and strict action.

“An awful lot has happened in general over the last couple of days. Society at large, not just sport, has accepted its guilty conscience a little bit. It could be a real opportunity. They have imposed measures these days that affect the stands at Mestalla. It’s a very important step in the right direction and I hope this issue can be resolved as soon as possible.”

When asked if he had any words or thoughts for rival fans, Ancelotti said that a person’s action must be based on an internal reflection of right or wrong, saying,

“I’m not asking anything of anyone. Everyone should behave as they wish to behave, taking into account that certain things can be done and others should not be.”

The press conference just did not shift away from the topic of Vinicius Jr, and the next question the coach faced was about Javier Tebas’ open apology to the youngster for his premature and distasteful conduct response on social media. Commenting on the La Liga president’s recent words, Ancelotti stated,

“I think it was right. Everybody is becoming aware of what is going on. Our society is full of very intelligent people, especially in Spain. When intelligent people make decisions, the problems stop. I hope that is the case.”

Karim Benzema was the one to open the goalscoring on the night but appeared to be in discomfort for a significant part of the game. Ancelotti waived off rumours of an injury and revealed that Benzema had only suffered a cut.

“He got a cut on his foot in the first half and it was bothering him. We assessed him at half-time and decided he could carry on. It affected him a bit but it wasn’t too bad and he played the full 90 minutes.”

Finally, Ancelotti wound up his presser with a note on Fran Garcia, confirming that the left-back will be joining Real Madrid in the summer.

“He’s a left-back with real energy and he’s so quick with the ball. He plays out very well and he’s got great attributes for us. He’ll be with us next year.”

“It’s a very difficult situation and I would like to think it was a genuine mistake. They didn’t show all of the images and I don’t know if that has happened before.”

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