Ancelotti expecting 'complete player' Alaba to flourish at Real Madrid

By Sports Desk July 15, 2021

Carlo Ancelotti is glad to have reunited with David Alaba at Real Madrid and has backed the "complete player" to thrive in whatever position he is used in.

Alaba's free transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu was confirmed in May after bringing an end to his 13-year association with Bayern Munich.

The 29-year-old, who featured four times for Austria at Euro 2020, has built a reputation for his versatility with an ability to play centre-back, left-back or in midfield.

Ancelotti knows all about Alaba's adaptability, having previously worked together for one full season at Bayern, and is looking forward to getting the most out of the 10-time Bundesliga champion.

"Alaba is a complete player, with a lot of quality and tactically intelligent in defence," the coach told Real Madrid TV.

"I put him at centre-back in my last games at Bayern Munich, but sometimes he plays in midfield for Austria and can also play on the left. 

"He is a complete player who is going to do very well this season."

Alaba will also bring experience to the Madrid squad, having racked up 448 appearances for Bayern and won 27 trophies during his time in Bavaria.

He is expected to plug the void left by long-serving centre-back Sergio Ramos, who ​last week completed a move to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

 

Marcelo has succeeded Ramos as captain and returned to pre-season training last week along with some other familiar faces.

Ancelotti, who is in his second spell as Madrid head coach, praised the dedication of some of the team's more senior pros.

"We have worked a lot," he said. "The players have done very well. There is a lot of quality in the youngsters and a great commitment from the veterans. 

"I really liked the commitment of Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Marcelo, Lucas Hernandez and Isco.

"They are players who have won everything and still have the desire, enthusiasm and hunger to have a great season as we would all like to have."

Ancelotti was sacked by Madrid during his first stint six years ago, despite winning the Champions League, Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Los Blancos averaged 2.7 goals per game during Ancelotti's previous two-year reign, a number aided by the presence of the club's all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

In LaLiga, Ancelotti's side led the way in terms of goals, scoring 104 in 2013-14 and then 118 in the following campaign, eight more than a treble-winning Barcelona squad led by Luis Enrique.

His Madrid averaged 18.1 shots per game – the same number as Zinedine Zidane's side during the Frenchman's first stint – with a conversion rate of 14.9 per cent.

With Ronaldo long gone, Ancelotti may struggle to match the offensive numbers of his previous version of Madrid, but he is acutely aware of what is expected from his team.

"We have to take into account the history of this club," he said when asked to describe his preferred style of play.

"The team has to play well, showing the quality they have. Real Madrid's history is about energetic football, with intensity with the ball and without the ball, which is what today's football requires."

Related items

  • Koulibaly 'can't be forced' to stay at Napoli amid Barcelona links, insists club president Koulibaly 'can't be forced' to stay at Napoli amid Barcelona links, insists club president

    Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly will not be forced to stay at the club amid reports linking him with Barcelona, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

    Koulibaly's contract with Luciano Spalletti's men is due to expire in June 2023, and the Blaugrana have been touted as a potential destination if he decides to end his eight-year spell with the Partenopei.

    The 30-year-old has been a key figure as Napoli secured a third-place finish in Serie A this season, and they go into their final game of the campaign, against Spezia on Sunday, having conceded the joint-fewest goals in the league (31 – along with Milan) and kept the second-most clean sheets (15, Milan have kept 17).

    Koulibaly fuelled speculation over his future earlier this week when he told Onze Mondial: "We'll see what happens at the end of the season."

    The Senegal international did say he would not force a move to another club, though he did suggest Napoli had ended previous negotiations over a transfer by setting a high asking price, adding: "Sometimes it was too high for some clubs, and it blocked negotiations. 

    "You should know that I am not a guy who likes to go to clash to get something. If I have to leave one day, I will leave cleanly rather than fight with the club." 

    Speaking at a charity event in Naples, De Laurentiis said he remains keen to keep Koulibaly, but would not force the defender to stay.

    "He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide," De Laurentiis said.

    "We must decide. We want Koulibaly to stay, but people can't be forced to. Everyone has their own dignity and needs. 

    "We respect everyone, do you understand that I [only once] forced someone to stay? The only one, who is a dear friend, is [former Napoli head coach] Walter Mazzarri, after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did it and he gave us four years of satisfaction."

    Koulibaly has featured in 26 league games for Napoli this season, with Spalletti's men conceding just 19 goals across those contests.

  • Rumour Has It: Mbappe to confirm decision on Sunday Rumour Has It: Mbappe to confirm decision on Sunday

    Tick-tock, tick-tock. It appears time will finally run out on Sunday and the Kylian Mbappe transfer saga will finally be at its end.

    Paris Saint-Germain have experienced another monumental blow this season with another cruel elimination in the Champions League and Real Madrid are waiting in the wings.

    According to reports, the 23-year-old will finally announce his decision on Sunday.

    TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO CONFIRM DECISION ON SUNDAY  

    Kylian Mbappe will announce whether he will play for Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid on Sunday, according to L'Equipe.

    The Parisian has never hidden his admiration for LeBron James and appears set to mimic his 'The Decision' announcement from 2010.

    What is for certain according to reports, Mbappe is intent on announcing the decision before the France national team meets up for camp in Clairefontaine on May 28.

    While it has been recently reported a move to Real Madrid seems likelier, talks are still ongoing according to the L'Equipe report, with PSG aiming to scupper a potential move at the last minute.

    ROUND-UP

    – Meanwhile, France team-mate and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba had agreed personal terms with Manchester City, according to the Times, but backed out in fear of fan backlash and now appears likely to move abroad.

    – Along with Pogba, Juventus are also hoping to further bolster their midfield stocks and sign Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

    – Diario AS is reporting Paulo Dybala has ruled out a move to Tottenham once his contract with Juve expires at the end of the season.

    – Kalidou Koulibaly has emerged as a target for Barcelona, who would be willing to add Miralem Pjanic as part of a package deal for Napoli, per Fichajes.

  • Premier League Fantasy Picks: Find final-day value in Eriksen and Antonio Premier League Fantasy Picks: Find final-day value in Eriksen and Antonio

    We are at the final gameweek of the Premier League fantasy football season, and the moment of truth has arrived – not for Manchester City and Liverpool, but for the fantasy players out there.

    Balancing between premium players and those who can provide particular value could be the difference at this time of the season, whether you need to consolidate or make up ground.

    Stats Perform has you covered with some Opta-powered recommendations below, so here are our suggestions for this week's picks.

    HUGO LLORIS (Norwich City v Tottenham)

    A good start at this point of the season is determining which teams have something to play for, and with Champions League qualification on the line, Tottenham are one of the more relevant examples this weekend.

    Sitting on 15 for the season so far, Hugo Lloris is one clean sheet away from recording his most in a single Premier League campaign, with only Alisson and Ederson ahead of him on 20.

    The 35-year-old has made a solid 2.65 saves per 90 on the way to his 15 clean sheets, holding that bit of extra motivation coming into the final round.

    ANDREW ROBERTSON (Liverpool v Wolves)

    Liverpool need to win to keep their Premier League hopes alive, and they will likely have the majority of the ball against Wolves on Sunday. Expect crosses and dead balls.

    As a result, expect as ever for Liverpool's full-backs to be prominent, and Andrew Robinson is just one shy of recording 50 assists in the Premier League. He would become only the second defender to do so, after Leighton Baines.

    He is averaging more assists per 90 (0.37) and chances created per 90 (2.02) for Liverpool this season than in any of his previous campaigns.

    CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Brentford v Leeds United)

    Granted, Brentford have little to play for aside from professional pride, but Christian Eriksen's return to the Premier League has reinforced his transformative quality as a footballer. They're also playing Leeds.

    The 30-year-old has either scored or assisted in five of his nine Premier League starts this season, while only Kevin de Bruyne has created more chances than him per 90 this term. 

    While Eriksen also trails De Bruyne for assists since the 2013-14 season on 66, this season has seen him create a chance every 32 minutes on average.

    MICHAIL ANTONIO (Brighton and Hove Albion v West Ham)

    Despite West Ham's elimination in the Europa League at the hands of eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, the season is not over. The Hammers still need a win to stand a chance of taking that last Europa League spot from Manchester United.

    Another goal for Michail Antonio would see him score at least 10 goals in three consecutive seasons, which would also make him the first West Ham player to do so in the Premier League. 

    He also has 17 goal involvements for the season, his most in the competition.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.