Carlo Ancelotti says Gareth Bale can start the Clasico, has backed Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or and reflected on finer points at Real Madrid.
The Welshman has so far struggled for fitness with Los Blancos, but has followed up a mini preseason undergone during the October international break with substitute appearances against Malaga and Juventus.
On from this, Bale is ready to feature in Madrid’s Week 10 trip out to the Camp Nou, his Coach has confirmed.
“The protrusion [of a disc in his back] is a normal issue. I had two or three, nothing happened,” explained Ancelotti to Cadena SER, on the injury reports about Bale have centred on.
“With Bale, since he has been here, he has not had any issues with his back. His problem was in his physical condition, he had not trained. Now he is alright, all ready to play from the start.
“Can he play at the Camp Nou from the start? Yes, yes, from the start. Where? If you ask the player, he prefers to play on the right. I think he wants to come in from the right to shoot with his left.
“Who will drop out of the team then? I will not say, I will not give an advantage to the opponent. The players do not know who will play.”
The Italian considered the upcoming match and which side may be going into it more confident.
“Barca will play with more confidence because virtually nothing has changed.
“Is a draw good? It depends on the game, but we are not going there to draw. We play with courage and personality. It is not good to play to defend.”
Ancelotti considered how his adaptation to the Spanish capital is going so far.
“How is life in Madrid? I like it. The people here are very similar to the Italians, positive. The French are more negative. I understand that the fans at the Bernabeu are more demanding. Madrid has a great history. This is always a motivation, not a problem.
“The plan for the team is very clear, to win through playing a fantastic game. Now we are winning, but the game is still not good.
“Does it suit the players that I have though? It is important to first know the characteristics of the players and from there work on a system where they feel comfortable.”
One issue that has dominated early work is the Coach’s choice to alternate between Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas in goal, depending on the competition.
“I already knew Diego Lopez. In 2006 we tried to sign him for Milan. He began in preseason earlier and was very strong. It was not an easy decision. Casillas gives me confidence and that is why I have put him in the Champions League. These games are as important as those in La Liga. I like having both players motivated. Putting Casillas in the Champions League is because he is the captain and is very experienced, and it maintains a good team atmosphere. Iker wants to be in Madrid and it is good that he stays.
“Could he leave this winter? That is a question for Iker, but I am not thinking about that. I have spoken to him to explain the situation.
“When he wants to talk to me, my office is open. For a Coach, explaining a decision is most difficult. Have in mind that there are small details that are not easy to explain.
“Will I continue playing one in La Liga and one in Europe? Yes, the decision is made.
“Does a Coach compensate for other things in picking a team? No, a Coach does not have to compensate. I work to help Madrid win.
“I have no personal ambition. It is my dream to be here. The good relationship between the Coach and players is key to winning. It is normal to have some players that are angry.”
Mesut Ozil’s departure on the last day of the summer transfer window raised eyebrows.
“Yes, it was a technical decision. For the balance of the team I preferred to have Di Maria. He has less quality that Ozil but for his character and for how he helps the team, I wanted him.
“With the arrival of Bale, I think it is more important to have Di Maria than Ozil, looking for a balance in the team.”
Ancelotti was asked who has surprised him the most at Madrid so far.
“Cristiano, for his professionalism. He is very serious, controls the details, He doesn’t just score goals, he motivates and helps the others.
“With Cristiano, he trains well not only on the field, but is very diligent and professional off the field too.
“The Ballon d’Or? It is time for Cristiano to win it, ahead of Messi and Ribery. I think that Cristiano has spoken to Zidane about that,” laughed Ancelotti, in reference to the Madrid assistant having publicly backed Franck Ribery.