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Camavinga and Ancelotti speak ahead of Champions League opener against Union Berlin




Photo via Getty

Customary to each Champions League game, a player and the head coach from each participating club attend a pre-match press conference.

Prior to Real Madrid’s first Champions League game of the 2023/2024 season, Eduardo Camavinga accompanied Carlo Ancelotti to attend the presser.

First to face the media was head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

The press conference took place to around 13:30 CEST, a few minutes after training.

Asked about the competition, the Italian manager said: “The Champions League is always special. We want to start well. We will need to play a match of intensity.”

Carvajal’s reported injury

“Carvajal has an overload. We think it’s not serious and that he can recover soon. Is he ruled out for the derby? Today he has options, but tomorrow we will test him.”

Xavi said yesterday that Barça’s minimum goal in this Champions League was to reach the round of 16. What is Madrid’s minimum goal?

Ancelotti: “[Laughs]. Pass the group stages, round of 16, quarterfinals… nothing, ours is to compete until the end.”

Can you imagine Rafa Nadal as president of Real Madrid?

Ancelotti: “All the time I’ve spent here has been with Florentino, the best possible president. I feel proud of Nadal on a personal level. We like him to be a real Real Madrid player.”

Do I see City as better favorites for this year’s Champions League?

Ancelotti: “They are the favorite, because they have a squad that made them win it last season and it has barely changed. But the Champions League, in the final phase, always has surprises.”

Do you know who will be at right back tomorrow?

Ancelotti: “I know [laughs]. If not… it would be… Lucas Vázquez.”

Ancelotti: “Union Berlin are new to this competition, but if they are here, it’s because they did very well last year. They play with a lot of intensity. A lot. We have studied them well. They don’t have remarkable individualities, but they are a team.”

Do you also see Madrid as a favorite to win this Champions League?

Ancelotti: “We have never thought that we are favorites, nor will City be doing now. I said they are, because they are the current champions.”

Is Madrid more prepared this year than the previous one?

Ancelotti: ”We are prepared, as we were in the previous one. The signings contribute a lot, like Fran García and Joselu. Also Bellingham. There’s a great team.”

Do you speak to Modrić?

Ancelotti: “Luka Modrić is fine and we talk, yes, as I talk to everyone. The personal relationship is very good. Professionally, sometimes, it can happen that he is not playing like before but the human relationship will always be fantastic, even when we all leave.”

Ancelotti: “Tomorrow Modrić is going to be a substitute… No, he’s going to start [laughs].”

How is Arda Güler?

Ancelotti: “Good. Recovering well, without problems. On Monday he will train with the team.”

What do you think of the conflict in the Spanish women’s national team?

Ancelotti: “I don’t go in. Maximum respect for the players. Nothing to add.”


French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga also took center stage to answer questions from the media.

This was his first press conference is Spanish since joining Real Madrid in August 2021.

Camavinga during the press conference (Photo via X)

How do you feel about another Champions League season?

Camavinga: “It’s one of the things I love the most. What more do I expect when a season starts. To win, win and win. Maximum enthusiasm.”

How do you rate the team this year?

Camavinga: “We are young and talented. It’s good for the club. Let’s go for everything.”

Guardiola said a few years ago that Madrid players feel “like a failure” not to win a Champions League…

Camavinga: “I’ve been here for two years and I’ve won one. So I can’t add much. For not winning it for a year, I’m not going to call it a failure either, I don’t think so.”

Camavinga: “Union Berlin? They are a tough, complicated team. Very solid. The game is going to be hard. We must be patient and command with the ball.”

Have you talked to Mbappé?

Camavinga: “You know more about this topic than I do. I don’t know anything. I think it’s just that you know more about this.”

What is the one that most unites the young players in the locker room?

Camavinga: “We have the same mentality and we want to get to know each other better outside the field, because that will make it easier inside.”

You are 20 years old… How do you feel when you see yourself as a starter, look at the bench and see players like Kroos and Modrić?

Camavinga: “It’s a pleasure for me to play with them and in this club. I must do my best, show that I’m also here.”

Camavinga: “The club’s mentality? Look, when I arrived and we won a game, I thought the locker room would party. But no. Everyone was already thinking about the next one. That says it all. And over time I have been acquiring the same mentality. Now I’m a calmer person.”

Who do you admire most in the locker room?

Camavinga: “Modrić and Kroos.”

Has Ancelotti asked you to improve your goalscoring?

Camavinga: “Yes, yes, I know I’m missing goals! But I work for it. Little by little. Improving in all facets.”

How did you feel playing left back?

Camavinga: “I knew someone was going to ask me this! I am a team player and I owe myself to the team, to be where they need me. Little by little I have been gaining experience and, although I don’t like to play on the left side, sometimes I have to do it.”

Does Madrid have a squad to win this Champions League?

Camavinga: “Of course! Madrid is always one of the favorites. We have great players, we can.”

Camavinga: “Well, I like football and I have a friend who plays there [Union Berlin]. I’ve known the team for eight years. I’m young, but not so young.”

What do you think of the new Bernabéu?

Camavinga: “It was amazing before, well now… let’s hope it’s more ‘finito’, that’s how to say it, isn’t it? finished? Because it’s going to be impressive.”

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