Luis Enrique confident Traore will commit to Spain after Mali call-up

By Sports Desk October 02, 2020

Luis Enrique is optimistic Adama Traore will finally make his Spain debut despite a call-up from Mali.

Wolves winger Traore is eligible to represent either nation and has been included in both squads for the upcoming international break.

It is the third time Spain have selected the former Barcelona man, with injury and coronavirus preventing a bow that would cap-tie him until now.

But Luis Enrique remains confident Traore will link up with his squad and belatedly debut.

"It's the third time, so I'll touch wood," he told a news conference after announcing his squad, which included Levante midfielder Jose Campana for the first time.

"It's the player who has to decide. What I know is that I have spoken with him and he wants to play for Spain."

The Spain coach was dealt a blow on Friday, however, as Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal suffered a ligament injury in his right knee.

Carvajal will reportedly be missing for two months after sustaining the issue in training.

"It's unpleasant for him," Luis Enrique said. "He's in good hands.

"I'll speak with my staff, but we're quite clear about who will replace him."

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    The Spain international has started seven games for Madrid this season but is due to be out of contract at the end of the campaign.

    He played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday's 2-0 win over Inter in the Champions League and impressed with his direct attacking display.

    As well as setting up substitute Rodrygo for his side's second goal, which deflected off Achraf Hakimi, adding to Eden Hazard's early penalty, Vazquez also had more shots (four) than any player on the field.

    Vazquez has showed his versatility by also featuring at right-back at times and Zidane wants the 29-year-old academy product to be rewarded with fresh terms.

    "He always gives everything for us. I have always valued him and what he gives to us on the pitch," Zidane told Movistar+.

    "Now he is having the opportunity to show us what he is all about. He was a youth player for us and has Madrid in his heart. I'm happy for him and the team.

    "He is an important player and the club knows it. I think it will happen that he will renew."

    Hazard's seventh-minute penalty was his first Champions League goal since November 2017 on his fourth start of another disrupted campaign.

    He got 78 minutes under his belt, having also started the 1-1 draw with Villarreal last weekend, and Zidane hopes the Belgium forward can soon find his rhythm.

    "I'm happy because he's playing. He needs to play and get his football back. For the good of the team, let him keep growing, because we need him."

    Madrid's two goals came either side of Arturo Vidal being issued quick-fire yellow cards for dissent 33 minutes into the game after being denied a penalty.

    The victory for Zidane's men was their first ever away at Inter in European competition and put them a point behind Group B leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter three and five points worse off than Madrid respectively.

    "We played a great game from the beginning to the end," Zidane said. "We played serious and with character. They were three very important points and we got the best of us.

    "I'm happy with the players. When they have to turn it on, they turn it on."

  • Conte: Real Madrid defeat shows the path Inter must take Conte: Real Madrid defeat shows the path Inter must take

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    Eden Hazard's early penalty and substitute Rodrygo's second-half strike in Wednesday's Champions League clash condemned Inter to their first ever home loss against LaLiga champions Madrid.

    It is the first time Inter have failed to win any of their opening four group games in the illustrious European competition and leaves their hopes of progressing to the last 16 in tatters.

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    Vidal was unhappy not to have been awarded a penalty when put under pressure by Raphael Varane inside the box and was dismissed by English referee Anthony Taylor after just 33 minutes in Milan.

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    "I prefer not to talk about the referee, even if they should be smart not to ruin certain games in this way," he said. "Unless, of course, Vidal has said something very strong to him. He has killed the game."

    Inter had just 38 per cent of possession and had only one attempt on target – Ivan Perisic testing Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the final 10 minutes with a weak shot.

    Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku managed four touches in the opposition box between them but Conte does not believe his side have an issue with their attack.

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    Serie A hopefuls Inter travel to Monchengladbach in their next group game and host Shakhtar Donetsk on the final matchday.

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    Antonio Conte is under pressure and, as Wednesday's Champions League loss to Real Madrid illustrated, Inter's tendency to put unnecessary strain on themselves is a big reason why.

    After an excellent first season that saw Inter finish second in Serie A behind Juventus and reach the Europa League final, Inter have failed to take the anticipated next step.

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    Inter erased a 2-0 deficit in the reverse fixture only to lose 3-2, but no such resolve was on show this time around.

    Madrid were in control throughout, Inter left chasing the game and creating little. Lucas Vazquez hit the post in the 13th minute with a vicious drive and four minutes later the Madrid winger saw another chance go begging as a Ferland Mendy pull-back proved too strong for him to make a telling connection.

    When Arturo Vidal, who laid on the latter opportunity with a sloppy pass, was sent off for successive yellow cards for dissent after being denied a penalty by referee Anthony Taylor, Inter had a mountain to climb.

    The game was effectively over after Rodrygo volleyed in at the far post from a sublime cross from Vazquez, whose excellent performance saw him complete nearly 94 per cent of his passes in the Inter half.

    His precision in that regard was reflective of the pattern of the game, Madrid played 792 passes to Inter's 481 and completed 92.3 per cent to the Nerazzurri's 86.7 per cent.

    The result was a stark disparity in possession, which Madrid dominated with 62 per cent of the ball, and a one-sided contest indicative of the divergent paths these two teams are on in European football.

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    As Madrid reminded Conte's side, the Champions League is not so accommodating and their participation in the competition will soon be coming to an end unless they can produce a quite remarkable turnaround.

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