MADRID, May 24 — Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Tuesday brushed off speculation that the decision of French international striker Kylian Mbappe to stay at Paris Saint Germain rather than join Real Madrid this summer would affect preparations for Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool.
Real Madrid has been chasing Mbappe for several years and the striker had appeared to be close to moving to Madrid before eventually announcing a new deal with PSG on Saturday.
It is clearly a blow for Madrid president Florentino Perez, but at the club’s press conference, Ancelotti insisted the decision would not affect his job in preparing for the Champions League.
“The team is in a good shape, the players are happy and there is a good atmosphere. We are really looking forward to preparing for the final.”
“We have never spoken about other players at other clubs, we respect the decisions they take and we only have to think about preparing for the final,” he responded in reference to Mbappe.
Ancelotti focused on his side’s success in the competition, which they are looking to win for the 14th time.
“Every year the competition in Europe gets tougher. There are various teams that aim to win the Champions League, so playing the final is a success in itself, playing four finals in eight years is incredible,” he said.
However, Ancelotti also warned about Liverpool’s potential as his side faces the winners of the FA and League Cups in England.
“We are playing against one of the best teams in the work in the physical aspect, but on top of that, they are well-organized and have real quality,” he said.
The Real Madrid coach admitted Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah would be highly motivated after being injured by Sergio Ramos early in the 2018 final between both sides, but he looked back in time and remembered that Liverpool had beaten Madrid in the 1981 final.
And he also said he would prepare his players for a possible penalty shoot-out, such as that his team won in 2016.
“We’ll prepare for penalties with those who are best taking one, but when the moment comes you have to ask who is comfy taking one. I have had finals where I have struggled to find five penalty takers because everyone was hiding in the dugout,” commented Ancelotti. (Xinhua)
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