Ancelotti unhappy to face Atletico in trio of Madrid derbies

AFP , Tuesday 9 Jan 2024

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Tuesday he was unhappy to be pitted against fierce city rivals Atletico Madrid three times in under a month.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is underwhelmed at the prospect of playing Atletico three times in a month. Photo: AFP


Los Blancos take on Diego Simeone's Atletico on Wednesday in Riyadh in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final, again next week in the Copa del Rey last 16, and also in La Liga in early February.

Atletico are the only team to beat Real Madrid this season in all competitions, with the Rojiblancos earning a 3-1 league win in September in the derby at their Metropolitano stadium.

"The calendar is what it is, we have to face Atletico Madrid again, we have to play this game," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"I don't like facing Atletico because they are one of the best teams, it's always tough to play them -- but Atletico will be thinking the same thing.

"We are two strong teams and it will be complicated, but I think the fans will enjoy these fixtures, both Real Madrid and Atletico fans."

Ancelotti said Atletico's victory over Madrid this season damaged his side, although they have since gone on a 19-match unbeaten run.

"The truth is the last game we played (against Atletico) did us a lot of damage," continued Ancelotti.

"I think tomorrow we can put a better version of ourselves out there than in our first match against Atletico Madrid."

Atletico had won just one of their previous 14 La Liga matches against Real Madrid before this season's victory.

Real Madrid also beat Atletico in the 2020 Spanish Super Cup final, the first to be played in Saudi Arabia.

Madrid midfielder Fede Valverde was dismissed for hacking down Atletico striker Alvaro Morata as he ran through on goal deep in extra-time, allowing his team to get to penalties, where they triumphed.

"I'd do it (again) if it's for the team," Valverde told reporters.

"If we're losing 3-0 then there's no sense in it, in that final we were battling it out, it was hard-fought... if that was the scoreline again, I'd do it again."

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