Barely top of the table, Real Madrid are already coming. But FC Girona have already shown the royals up this year, something Carlo Ancelotti was also reminded of.
Valentin “Taty” Castellanos. He will probably still be thinking about that 25 April 2023 on his deathbed, when he scored four goals against Real Madrid in a Girona FC shirt. Something no player had ever managed in La Liga in the 21st century.
“It was not a good night,” Carlo Ancelotti recalled on Friday, before the second in Spain – Real Madrid – meet the first – Girona FC – on Saturday. “When we were there last season, the championship was already over for us,” put the royal coach into perspective, however, who also promised that another ignominy “will certainly not happen tomorrow”.
The signs have changed. For Real, it’s still about the league. Taty Castellanos, who was only a player on loan, now wears the jersey of Lazio Roma. And he should realise in the Italian capital that his former team is no longer a stumbling block, but at least a stumbling block. Six wins from seven games: That’s a lot of things, but not a coincidence.
“Girona can be in the mix,” said Ancelotti about the upcoming opponents, “they did better in the first games than we did, than Barcelona did, than Atletico did”. However, the Italian has an explanation for this: “They have the big advantage of not playing in Europe, they can prepare their games for a week.” Real, Barça and Co. have played one Champions League game so far.
Real’s central defence lines itself up
Ancelotti was confident. “We have great chances to win this game,” said the 64-year-old, who demands a “complete performance” to do so, a “balance, good defence”. It’s just a shame that his regular central defence is missing. Eder Militao is missing due to his cruciate ligament rupture anyway, David Alaba (adductor problems) is expected back by Ancelotti on Tuesday at the earliest.
So it is already clear who Ancelotti, who did not want to say anything about his starting eleven, will have to line up in front of keeper Kepa: Nacho and Antonio Rüdiger, whom his coach has declared fit. This tandem is not well-rehearsed.