Carlo Ancelotti to pick strong side with Real Madrid on brink of title

Carlo Ancelotti to pick strong side with Real Madrid on brink of title

Carlo Ancelotti said he will pick a strong Real Madrid team this weekend hoping to celebrate a LaLiga title win, despite facing a Champions League semifinal second leg with Manchester City just four days later.

Madrid’s 15-point lead over Barcelona and Sevilla at the top of the league table means they need one more point from their remaining league games — starting when they play Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday (10.15 a.m. ET live on ESPN+) — to clinch the title.

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They then host City on Wednesday May 4, needing to turn around this week’s 4-3 first leg deficit to reach the Champions League final.


« We would like to finish [the league] tomorrow, » Ancelotti said in a news conference on Friday, when asked about the difficulties of balancing the two competitions. « If we have to celebrate, we will celebrate like everybody does. We haven’t organized anything yet. »

Ancelotti said he would « pick a team to win the game » and would not send out a reserve side against Espanyol, even knowing that Madrid have subsequent matches against Atletico Madrid, Levante, Cadiz and Real Betis to take the point they need.

« The trophy is so close, » he said. « We’ve fought and worked hard to get to this point. I don’t think it’s a moment for relaxation… We have a match point. When the great tennis players have a match point, they win it. »

Ancelotti faces a selection headache in defense against Espanyol, with David Alaba injured against City, and fellow centre-backs Eder Militao and Nacho both suspended.

« We have some defensive problems, » he said. « I will have to pick [Jesus] Vallejo, who has not played much but has always been a serious professional, and another centre-back, which could be Casemiro.

« In midfield I have a lot of options, fresh players like [Eduardo] Camavinga and Dani Ceballos. Upfront, [Marco] Asensio has done well all season. We will evaluate if Karim [Benzema] can start the game. »

Benzema scored twice against City on Tuesday to take his tally for the season to 14 Champions League goals and 41 in all competitions.


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