The Italian, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, expressed his respect for the history of the Egyptian club Al-Ahly on the eve of its confrontation, Wednesday (23:00 UAE time) in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup, hoping to restore his French striker Karim Benzema in the next match of the competition, while he revealed Al-Ahly players about their dream of overcoming the white giants.
Ancelotti said in a press conference at Prince Moulay Abdallah Stadium in Rabat about Al-Ahly, the representative of Africa, after its runner-up in the Champions League last season, which was crowned with the title, Moroccan Wydad, representative of the host country, “It is a team with an amazing history, and it is one of the most important teams in world football. Good with good players and it will be a competitive match.”
While Benzema, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Brazilian defender Eder Militao are absent from the semi-final due to injury, the expert coach said, “The three are on the list because they can recover. We preferred to leave them in Madrid to continue the most appropriate treatment. We will see if they are ready for Saturday’s match.”
The coach, who revealed the warm reception in Morocco, continued, “We suffered from injuries. We are not the only team that suffered injuries, but the match schedule is terrible.”
And if he wins, Real Madrid will meet the winner of the Brazilian Flamengo match, the South American champion, and Al Hilal Saudi Arabia, the representative of Asia, on Tuesday, while he will play the third-place match if he loses.
Ancelotti expressed his anger at the way his Brazilian striker Vinicius Junior was treated during matches, rejecting the idea of his teammates defending him on the field. .
“This is a problem in Spanish football and for me, as part of Spanish football, I think it must be resolved. It seems that Vinny is the culprit, but he is a victim of something I do not understand,” continued the coach, whose team’s results finally fell in the domestic league in favor of leaders Barcelona.
As for the Uruguayan midfielder, Federico Valverde, he revealed that he was mentally affected by participating with his country in the World Cup in Qatar, where he was bid farewell from the group stage, “Yes, this affected me, of course. We went to play the tournament with great hope to please millions. This was my dream since childhood. Our goal was to go far. And when this is not achieved, you feel sad and that everything you fought for with your colleagues is no longer possible.
And about his next opponent, he explained, “We watched matches and video clips of Al-Ahly, the fans are wonderful, I love this type of crowd, I know that it is a very popular club and I enjoy it. I come from a country that is crazy about football. We know what this club represents in this part of the world, It is a club that deserves respect for its history and for everything it has won.”
Al-Ahly will not rely solely on defense
Al-Ahly is competing in the championship for the eighth time in its history and the third in a row, and it finished third in 2006, 2020 and 2021, while Real Madrid holds the record with four titles in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Al-Ahly defeated New Zealand’s Auckland City, representing Oceania, in the first round, 3-0, then the American Seattle Sounders, CONCACAF champions, 1-0 in the second round.
On the other hand, Al-Ahly coach Marcel Koller made it clear that his team will not rely only on defense.
And he continued, “I will rotate between the players in order to avoid injuries.”
Veteran goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy appealed to the Moroccan fans to continue supporting the team, “There is a positive atmosphere that the team has been living in since arriving in Morocco, especially amid the support of the fans everywhere.”
And the owner of the winning goal in the second round, Mohamed Magdy “Afsha”, said, “Real Madrid includes great stars in the world, and we respect and appreciate them, but in the match we will play for victory, we will be 11 players from Al-Ahly in front of 11 players from the opponent, especially since the personality of Al-Ahly players You appear in the big matches, and our goal is to win and reach the final.”
An ambition expressed by midfielder Amr Al-Souliya, “Despite the strength of the confrontation tomorrow, everyone’s dream is to reach the final match of the Club World Cup, and we hope that all players will be in their technical and physical condition, and we will fight to reach the final.”
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