Thomas Tuchel wants his Bayern Munich side to rediscover their inner child when they take on Real Madrid on Wednesday.

After last week's 2-2 draw in Munich, Bayern will have to beat Madrid in their own back yard if they are to reach the Champions League final at Wembley.

With Bayer Leverkusen ending Bayern's 11-year Bundesliga dominance by securing the league title last month, the six-time European Cup winners have only one trophy left to fight for this season.

Tuchel spent several minutes talking to his players in an empty Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday and said that he told them they needed to find extra motivation within themselves.

"It is important to connect with your own inner child. When we were little we played these games in the garden. So now we are here and that's our chance to make it true," he told reporters.

"I think both teams have to endure defending and suffering when their opponents have the ball. It is extremely difficult to steal the ball from Real Madrid. Both teams are very, very strong in the transition game. It gets very complex. You need luck and precision. Then everything is possible at this stage."

Bayern were undone by Vinicius Junior's double in the first leg, with the Brazil forward scoring either side of efforts from Leroy Sane and Harry Kane.

However, Opta's win predictor has Madrid as 48.5 per cent favourites to claim the victory they need to progress.

Madrid, the record 14-time European champions, have an aura in the competition, but Tuchel said the Spaniards' record holds no fear for his side.

"Bayern are also one of the most successful and dominant clubs in the world and we have an obligation to do our best when we step on the pitch tomorrow," he said.

"You don't talk about myths, that would make it harder for us. It is already one of the toughest stadiums to win but not impossible. We are not here to enjoy the moment."

Bayern reached the Champions League's last four for the first time since winning the competition in 2020, while Madrid last lifted the trophy in 2022 with an amazing run of comeback wins at home to reach the final.

Carlo Ancelotti's team are bidding to win their sixth Champions League title in 10 years, having clinched a record-extending 36th LaLiga crown on Saturday.

The Bavarians, however, have endured a disappointing domestic run and Tuchel will exit at the end of the season.

"Real Madrid are an amazing team but we need to be confident in ourselves and help each other, we can't be stuck or afraid. We need to make something positive from the pressure," Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said.

"Against a team like Real Madrid, it's the little things that matter. Nobody wants to make a mistake because both teams have very good offensive power."

Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich may come too soon for Thibaut Courtois following his recent return from injury.

The Belgium goalkeeper has missed the entire season due to a knee ligament injury, and required a further operation following a setback in March.

Courtois, who has been ruled out of Euro 2024 by Red Devils head coach Domenico Tedesco, made his first appearance of the campaign against Cadiz on Saturday, with the 31-year-old keeping a clean sheet in Madrid's 3-0 victory.

While he has been named in Madrid's matchday squad for the visit of Bayern, with whom they are locked at 2-2 in their gripping last-four tie, Ancelotti hinted he is likely to restore Andriy Lunin between the sticks.

"After such a big injury, you can’t change the plan because of a great performance," the Italian said during his pre-match press conference.

"Courtois needs time now to get to his best. He had a great game, with security and confidence, against Cadiz, but he has to get to his best."

Ancelotti also played down speculation of a rift between Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane, after the England team-mates appeared to exchange words as the Bayern striker prepared to take a penalty during last week's first leg.

"Jude is a fantastic guy, he respects everybody, and he has a great relationship with Harry Kane," the Madrid head coach added. "There are no problems."

Carlo Ancelotti says Real Madrid must play with greater intensity if they are to keep their hopes of a record-extending 15th European title alive, with their Champions League semi-final tie against Bayern Munich in the balance ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

Madrid were crowned champions of LaLiga with four matches to spare on Saturday, beating Cadiz 3-0 before watching their closest rivals Barcelona slip to a 4-2 defeat against Girona.

However, that success has not stopped Ancelotti from being critical of Madrid's performance in last week's first leg against Bayern, a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena.

He has warned his players that they cannot afford another subpar performance if they want to contest the final at Wembley Stadium on June 1.

"We need a match with intensity, with pace... Looking at the first leg, defensively we could have done a lot more," Ancelotti said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

Bayer Leverkusen ended Bayern's 11-year Bundesliga reign by securing the league crown last month, but Ancelotti says that will only boost Bayern's motivation as they chase a seventh European title.

"We are similar clubs because they have a great history and a lot of success," Ancelotti said. "We have to respect our opponents because they did very well and were better than us in the first leg.

"We are very excited because it could be another magical night for us, but there is no optimism. We are aware of the difficulties that we are going to face."

Defender Dani Carvajal, who has already lifted the Champions League trophy five times with Los Blancos, believes the squad are brimming with confidence after going unbeaten through their last 42 games (excluding extra time).

He joked Ancelotti was "getting more and more fearful" each season but praised his coach's role in keeping the players focused on the task at hand. 

"There is euphoria because we are having a great year," Carvajal said.

"We are all very excited about the European Cup. We know it in the dressing room. In the street the fans congratulate us and give us a lot of encouragement to dream of winning it again.

"We are two games away from winning the Champions League. Ancelotti has kept our eyes open and we have all added up. That's what counts for us to achieve our objectives."

Carlo Ancelotti knows Real Madrid's LaLiga title celebrations must be "contained" as they prepare to take on Bayern Munich.

Madrid were crowned LaLiga champions for a record-extending 36th time on Saturday, after Barcelona lost 4-2 to Girona.

The Blaugrana's defeat followed on from Madrid beating Cadiz 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Brahim Diaz, Jude Bellingham and Joselu were on target for Los Blancos, whose coach Ancelotti knows restraint is needed in his team's celebrations, with the Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern coming up on Wednesday.

"It's obviously a contained joy, because the most important game of the season is also very close, but we have to be happy," Ancelotti told Movistar Plus+ before the Barca game had been played.

"These games are difficult to prepare for, because you have Wednesday on your mind. But so far it's been spectacular, our team was steady, with hardly any mistakes. The advantage we have is well deserved.

"A big part [of Madrid's success] was achieved when we started to defend better, with a collective commitment.

"The effort put by the players up front was great, but the injuries early in the season helped us to realise that it wasn't about individuals but putting on a collective effort, and we did great."

Speaking to reporters in the mixed zone, Ancelotti said: "We are very good. It is the seventh victory in a row in the League, a spectacular one as a whole.

"We are very close to winning it and I think we are going to do it with merit.

"It is a celebration taking into account what has to happen on Wednesday. We are all happy with the match, but let's think about Bayern."

Thibaut Courtois, meanwhile, returned from his long injury lay-off to feature for the first time this season.

Ancelotti added: "Thibaut is a very important piece for this team, although [Andriy] Lunin has had a spectacular season and that is a lot of credit to Andriy. But Courtois has returned very well and was decisive. He is doing very well."

Real Madrid have been crowned LaLiga champions for a record-extending 36th time after Barcelona went down to Girona.

Madrid beat Cadiz 3-0 earlier on Saturday, but Carlo Ancelotti's team could still have been caught by Barca.

Yet the Blaugrana's slim hopes were ended when they lost 4-2 to Girona.

That ensured Los Blancos' lead at the top, with four games remaining, is unassailable.

Madrid have won 27 of their 34 league matches so far this season, losing just once.

Ancelotti's focus will now turn to the Champions League, with Madrid to host Bayern Munich in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.

Vinicius Junior's double secured a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Munich.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will make his first start of the season against Cadiz on Saturday after making a full recovery from two knee injuries, Carlo Ancelotti has revealed.

Ancelotti, however, will remain cautious with Courtois, who has not played since suffering torn ligaments 13 months ago, with Andriy Lunin set to return for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich.

"The decisive game we have in mind, a final, is Wednesday's match against Bayern, where Lunin will play. After that, we'll see what happens," Ancelotti said on Friday.

"Courtois is fine, he will play tomorrow after a long, long time. It's good news that he's coming back, just like [Eder] Militao. 

"Courtois can contribute, he's feeling good, he's very excited. We are delighted to have him back."

Lunin has established himself as Ancelotti's preferred deputy in Courtois' absence, seeing off competition from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Lunin was Madrid's hero as they beat Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals, making two saves in their 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory after an inspired performance in a 1-1 second-leg draw.

Courtois, however, is widely considered to be one of the world's best goalkeepers and the Belgian is likely to regain his starting spot soon, with a LaLiga and Champions League double in Madrid's sights.

He was named man-of-the-match in the 2022 Champions League final after making nine saves to deny Liverpool as Madrid clinched a record-extending 14th European title with a 1-0 win in Paris.

Brazil centre-back Militao returned in late March after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in August, making his first start in last week's win at Real Sociedad in LaLiga.

"We were too passive against Bayern. We have to be more active. So Militao will play tomorrow to get into a rhythm," Ancelotti said.

"We are only thinking about the 'final' on Wednesday. We don't think about what might happen in a month's time. Hopefully, soon we can start looking further ahead, it will mean we'll make the final in London."

With five games left, Ancelotti's side top the LaLiga standings on 84 points, 11 ahead of Barca and 13 clear of third-placed Girona. They can clinch a record-extending 36th Spanish title if they beat Cadiz and Barcelona fail to win at Girona later on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti defended his decision to substitute Toni Kroos during Real Madrid's 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich.

The two European heavyweights shared the spoils in a thrilling Champions League semi-final first leg at the Allianz Arena, where Vinicius Junior's late penalty levelled the tie.

Vinicius had opened the scoring in the 24th minute after latching onto Kroos' delicious throughball, one of a game-high 15 line-breaking passes the Germany midfielder played during the first half.

The 34-year-old was replaced by Brahim Diaz for the final 14 minutes of the contest, which Bayern had turned around thanks to second-half strikes from Leroy Sane and Harry Kane.

But Ancelotti, who knows the support of Madrid's fans will be crucial when he welcomes his former club to Santiago Bernabeu for next week's second leg, explained his thinking.

"Jude Bellingham had cramp, Toni Kroos played a spectacular game, but the plan was to try to recover the control of the game by putting fresh legs in," the Italian told reporters during his post-match press conference.
"As always, at this point in the season, we have a great opportunity to play in another final. It's an even tie against a great team. It will be another 90 minutes of suffering, but in an atmosphere that we know quite well. The fans are going to help us."

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel knows Bayern will have their work cut out in the second leg, but has encouraged his players to be confident and embrace the challenge.

"The situation is now very clear," he said. "We go to Madrid and the winner takes it all. We are ready to fight. It is important to believe that.

"It is still possible. It is 50-50. It is one of the toughest places to win, but that is also what makes this challenge exciting."

Carlo Ancelotti believes Vinicius Junior is constantly developing his attacking output, after the Real Madrid forward delivered again in the Champions League.

Vinicius scored twice as Madrid drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie on Tuesday.

Those strikes took Vinicius to 31 goal involvements (16 goals, 15 assists) in the Champions League since the start of the 2021-22 campaign, which is more than any other player in the competition in the same time period.

Vinicius' opener came when he cut inside and latched onto an exceptional pass from Toni Kroos, and Ancelotti pointed out how the Brazil international is beginning to change how he attacks.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Ancelotti said: "Vinicius is starting to understand how important it is for him to move inside the pitch and not only close to the line.

"He's learned really well how to move. It was a fantastic pass from Kroos but a fantastic run from Vinicius."

Reflecting on his team's performance, Ancelotti said: "It was an interesting game, an open game of course – as it has to be for a semi-final. I think we could play better, I don’t think we played our best and we had problems in the first half.

"We started to put pressure on in the second half to level the game – it was much better.

"We are comfortable with a low block but we didn’t play with intensity. With a low block you have to have intensity, you have to win duels, second balls. We were too low. We tried to change something.

"The game was difficult at 2-1 down, but then we had the energy and character to equalise – the second part of the second half was really good."

Real Madrid always feel respected by every team in the Champions League, so says coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Madrid overcame holders Manchester City on penalties in the quarter-finals to tee up a last-four clash with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

City dominated much of the second leg in Manchester, yet after a 4-4 draw on aggregate, it was Ancelotti's team who got over the line.

Fourteen-time European champions Madrid, who allowed Karim Benzema to leave for Saudi Arabia at the end of last season, were not fancied to get past City, but Ancelotti does not think his team have been undervalued in this year's competition.

"Madrid is never undervalued in this competition, because everyone knows what we can do," he said.

"We feel respect from everyone."

City's Bernardo Silva called Madrid a "strange" team, a comment that left Ancelotti nonplussed.

"I don't know. We are not strange," he added.

"I think the weight of the shirt weighs in this competition, like history, but I have nothing to answer Bernardo Silva with.

"He is a fantastic player. Last year [City] had a good time and this year we had a good time. That's football."

When it was put to him that Madrid go into this tie as favourites, Ancelotti replied: "It does not worry me. We have confidence to stand up to a team that has not had a great Bundesliga season, but has knocked out Arsenal.

"It comes from eliminating a very strong team in Europe. In the Champions League, history counts a lot and that works in our favour."

Ancelotti has faced Thomas Tuchel nine times in his career, winning three of those games, losing four and drawing twice, and the Italian anticipates another stern test.

He said: "In terms of quality, they are strong in transition, they can play in different ways and are very dangerous. We are two who do not have a very clear identity. We can both play in different ways."

Tuesday's first leg also marks a return to Munich for Ancelotti, who coached Bayern between 2016 and 2017.

"It is very beautiful, a fantastic city, although unfortunately German has never entered my head," Ancelotti said.

"My son did, he learned very well. Munich is a spectacular city to live in."

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Real Madrid's commitment and desire as they edged closer to securing the LaLiga title with a 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad.

Arda Guler scored the only goal as Los Blancos extended their lead to 14 points over second-placed Barcelona, who host Valencia in their game in hand on Monday.

The 19-year-old was making his first start since arriving from Fenerbahce, as Ancelotti rotated his squad ahead of Madrid's Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

And the Italian was pleased by the character demonstrated by his players, who stretched their winning streak to six league matches.

"It was clear that everyone thought we were coming here for a walk," he told reporters. "The only ones who didn't think so were the players. They had commitment and attitude. They had the desire and enthusiasm to keep winning.

"We have a spectacular squad. They have this attitude that they feel like they have to win every game. There are four points left to clinch the LaLiga title, and we are very close."

Guler added on Realmadrid TV: "This is the best club in the world and scoring is one of the best feelings.

"This is Real Madrid, the quality of the players is incredible. We're all always ready to play, and I think we've shown that here. I'm waiting patiently, and I'm still working hard every day."

Ancelotti's rotation meant a first start in eight months for Eder Militao, who marked his return from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with a clean sheet.

"I've come back to play 90 minutes and I feel like a player again after many months out," the defender said. 

"We have to keep winning, we know that nothing is won yet. We have a big advantage, but we have to keep doing a serious job until the end."

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to return for the final stretch of the season after making a full recovery from two knee injuries, Carlo Ancelotti said.

Madrid boss Ancelotti said he will be cautious with Courtois, who has not played this season after sustaining an ACL tear in August and a torn meniscus in March.

Stand-in Andriy Lunin will start Friday's LaLiga match at Real Sociedad and Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg at Bayern Munich.

However, Courtois should be back next week.

"I have to think carefully about the lineup moving forward. There has been a lot of wear and tear. Courtois is fine, he will be available next week and could play against Cadiz," Ancelotti said in a press conference on Thursday.

Courtois's injury was expected to be a serious blow for Madrid's hopes this season, but Ukrainian Lunin has been an able stand-in, establishing himself as first choice ahead of former Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Belgian's absence.

Lunin was Madrid's penalty hero as they beat Manchester City to reach the Champions League semi-finals, making two saves in their 4-3 shootout win after an inspired performance as they drew their quarter-final second leg 1-1.

The 31-year-old Courtois, however, is widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world and is likely to regain his starting spot with a LaLiga-Champions League double up for grabs.

He was named Player-of-the-Match in the 2022 Champions League final after producing a memorable performance, making nine saves to deny Liverpool as Madrid clinched a record-extending 14th European title with a 1-0 win in Paris.

Madrid are brimming with confidence following their 3-2 comeback win over bitter rivals Barcelona on Sunday.

The LaLiga leaders' pursuit of a record-extending 36th Spanish title gathered momentum as they moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with six games left.

Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo are doubts for Friday's game due to illness and Ferland Mendy is still recovering from a leg injury, but Ancelotti said his side will go all-out as they look to edge closer to the league title.

"With all the enthusiasm in the world, the objective is very clear, there are seven points left for us to win the league. We have to get them as soon as possible," Ancelotti said.

"Until the mathematics don't guarantee us the title, we have to fight. The momentum is very good, it's important that we continue to compete and get the most out of it. Win as much as possible. Winning is the best thing to keep momentum going, that's why we have to win tomorrow."

Carlo Ancelotti has urged Real Madrid not to pass up the chance to edge closer to the LaLiga title with an El Clasico victory over arch-rivals Barcelona.

The sides meet at the Bernabeu on Sunday with leaders Madrid eight points clear of second-placed Barca and acutely aware of just how significant a win could be with just seven games of the season remaining.

Ancelotti told a press conference: “If we manage to win it, we’ll be within touching distance of LaLiga.

“We’re playing against highly competitive opposition who have played brilliantly in recent games. It will be a hard-fought and evenly-matched Clasico, as they always are.

“It’s a great opportunity to move closer to the LaLiga title, but we know how difficult it will be because Barcelona are still very much in it.”

Ancelotti’s men are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions culminating in Wednesday night’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Manchester City which booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals.

They have lost only once in the league all season – in September – and even the hugely-experienced Italian is excited at the prospect of what lies ahead.

He said: “We’re doing a fantastic job. The cake is ready, out of the oven and all we have to do now is ice it this month. It’s a decisive month and we’re heading into it in a great position.”

Ancelotti has a near full complement of players from which to pick from with only defender David Alaba currently not on the training pitch.

Barca will run out in Madrid still licking their wounds after Tuesday night’s Champions League exit at the hands of Paris St Germain, and knowing they will have to do something special to reel in the leaders.

Head coach Xavi told a press conference: “For us, it is the most important game of the season. We have to win and put pressure on the leaders. We are going to try to compete and win at the Bernabeu.

“We will find a strong Madrid, and even more so after eliminating the best team in the world, (Manchester) City. Euphoria will be through the roof and they are a very strong rival.

“Today we trained well; yesterday we were hungover from the Champions League. The team has all the enthusiasm in the world to fight for this league.”

Xavi has immense respect for Madrid’s efforts to date, but knows his side are not far behind where it was at the same stage last season before going on to win the title.

He said: “We have all the respect in the world for Madrid and their numbers are extraordinary – ours too because we have only four points fewer than last season.”

Pep Guardiola insisted there were no regrets after Manchester City’s bid to retain their Champions League crown ended in a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid.

The holders were beaten 4-3 on spot-kicks by the Spanish giants after their quarter-final tie ended 4-4 on aggregate – 1-1 on the night – despite a dominant display from Guardiola’s side in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

City fell behind early to a Rodrygo goal but created a host of chances as they sought to regain control of the tie but Kevin De Bruyne’s 76th-minute equaliser was their only reward.

City manager Guardiola said: “I would have preferred to win but congratulations to Real Madrid, they defended so deep with incredible solidarity and we did everything.

“I don’t have any regrets about what we have done. Always we try to create more chances and concede less, because we believe that helps you to win and we did everything.

“We played exceptionally in all departments and unfortunately we could not win.”

Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic both missed in the shoot-out, with the former’s effort proving a particularly comfortable save for Andriy Lunin.

Guardiola refused to blame the Portuguese for his failure to register.

He said: “Bernardo asked to take it, he’s a reliable player and decided to shoot in that way. What a game he had played. It happens.”

Guardiola also had no complaints about Real’s tactics, with the Spanish side forced to sit back and defend deep for much of the game.

“I don’t judge,” he said. “I’m not here to do this. It’s football. In this competition, that’s the way football happens.”

City’s loss also ended their hopes of winning a second successive treble and they must now pick themselves up for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Guardiola said: “Now we will rest and on Friday we travel to London to play the game.

“We will see how people will react. Of course the recovery is easier when winning, rather than losing, but it is the semi-final of the FA Cup and we will try to compete as much as possible.”

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted the strength of City had forced them to soak up pressure and look to take the tie on penalties.

The veteran Italian said: “We defended really, really well. This was about survival. Madrid is a club based on always fighting to stay in situations where there seems to be no way out – but we always find a way.

“By the time the penalty shoot-out came, we were totally convinced we’d go through.

“This is about the only way you can come to City and win. You work, sacrifice and win however you can.”

Real Madrid kept themselves in control at the top of LaLiga with a 1-0 win at Mallorca.

In a game of limited clear chances, a deflected effort from Aurelien Tchouameni early in the second half proved the difference for Los Blancos, who built towards a defining period of the campaign next week in the Champions League and hosting Barcelona in El Clasico.

With an eye on next week’s European quarter-final second leg against Manchester City, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for five changes, but England midfielder Jude Bellingham retained his place in the side.

The visitors made a bright start, with Luka Modric sending an early free-kick straight into the wall.

Mallorca, recently beaten in the Copa del Rey final by Athletic Bilbao, were proving difficult to break down.

In the 34th minute, Bellingham sent in a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area but it looped over the goalkeeper and cannoned off the crossbar.

Real finally made their pressure count three minutes after the restart.

Tchouameni picked the ball up around 25 yards out before drilling in a rising drive which took a deflection off a Mallorca defender and spun off up into the top right corner.

Brahim Diaz had a chance to quickly double the lead after running into the Mallorca penalty area but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

As the hour mark passed, Mallorca substitute Abdon Prats saw his shot blocked before Real missed the chance to add a second.

Modric cut a pass back to Diaz just outside the six-yard box but the winger’s touch was too strong, which allowed Rajkovic to kick the loose ball clear.

Ancelotti then made a couple of changes, with Diaz and Bellingham given a rest as Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga were sent on.

Real pressed for another goal to kill off the match, with Camavinga playing in Federico Valverde, only for his effort to be hacked off the line by Mallorca defender Matija Nastasic.

Sergi Darder almost scored a fine equaliser when his 25-yard effort, flying towards the top left corner, was palmed away by Real keeper Andriy Lunin at full stretch.

With 10 minutes left, Joselu’s header from a free-kick was saved by Rajkovic.

Mallorca almost snatched a dramatic equaliser with what proved to be the last kick of the game deep into stoppage-time.

Lunin jumped with Vedat Muriqi as he tried to catch a high cross into the Real box but dropped the ball – which the Kosovo striker then stabbed wide of an open goal.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has backed Jude Bellingham to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal.

Bellingham made a stellar start to life in Madrid after his summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund and scored 16 times during the first half of the season.

Goals have been harder to come by since the turn of the year with Bellingham only able to find the net on four occasions in 2024 and not at all in two months, but Ancelotti is positive his drought will end soon.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to LaLiga struggles Mallorca, Ancelotti told a press conference: “The goals he was scoring have dropped off a bit.

“It was a surprise for everyone when he hit 20 goals in the first part of the season. Now he’s doing his job as a midfielder or a number 10, he’s not a centre forward.

“His performance levels have not dropped. He’s not lacking anything. He’ll get back to scoring goals again sooner or later.”

Ancelotti also leapt to the defence of other stars across world football following a week where it was noted that Kylian Mbappe of Paris St Germain and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland failed to make an impact in Champions League matches, which was also the case for Bellingham.

“Perhaps these big stars haven’t delivered their best displays in the first games but there are more matches to come and we have to be careful with Haaland, Mbappe and  Bellingham,” Ancelotti warned.

While Madrid have a quarter-final second leg to come next week in Manchester, Ancelotti insisted they were fully focused on the trip to Mallorca.

Madrid boast an eight-point advantage over nearest challenger Barcelona but will face a Mallorca side still reeling from last Saturday’s Copa del Rey final loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Ancelotti added: “I’m not sure how the Copa final defeat will affect Mallorca.

“I doubt it will have too much influence because they have a big challenge, which is to ensure their survival as soon as possible.

“For us, it’s a key game in trying to win the league as quickly as we can.

“It will be a tough game, as ever, they will fight hard. We’re up against a very committed team who have shown an incredible attitude as a unit.

“We’re expecting an intense game and we have to try and match the things the opposition do superbly well, which is their collective commitment.

“The whole squad is ready. Our priority is tomorrow’s game. We have a lot to play for this week.

“Our confidence is just the same as it was a few days ago, unchanged, but we have to remember that tomorrow is a crucial game in the battle to win LaLiga.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.