Carlo Ancelotti: Jude Bellingham ‘obviously’ one of best players in the world

By Sports Desk January 05, 2024

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says Jude Bellingham is “obviously” one of the best players in the world.

The England international has had a brilliant start to life in the Spanish capital, scoring 17 goals in all competitions since signing from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Bellingham, who is LaLiga’s top scorer with 13 goals in 17 league appearances, is in Real’s squad for their Copa del Rey round-of-32 clash at fourth-tier Arandina on Saturday evening, and Ancelotti did not hold back on his opinion on the 20-year-old midfielder.

“He is doing very well,” Ancelotti told reporters at a press conference on Friday.

“He’s done well in the first half of the season. Bearing in mind that he’s had to adapt to our club, to a new culture and language, he’s done it very well. For us, obviously he’s the best.”

Arandina currently sit rock bottom of Group 1 in Spain’s fourth division and represent a banana skin for the holders of the trophy, which Los Blancos have won on 20 occasions.

Real struggled to a 1-0 victory at the same stage last season when they faced fellow fourth-tier side Cacereno.

Arandina have already defeated LaLiga opponents this season, knocking out Cadiz in the previous round, and Ancelotti is determined not to follow suit.

“We are the defending champions. We enjoyed the competition last season and our aim is to win it again this year,” the 64-year-old added.

“It is our first game in the competition on Saturday and we’ve got to try and put in our best performance.

“Last season against Cacereno, it was a tough game and we know we have to take this game seriously.

“We will try and win this game. We played on Wednesday night so there will be some tired players no doubt, but I will still put out a competitive side for that game.

“Hopefully, we can play to our full potential. We want to compete and I’m sure we will. The team is fully focused, motivated. We were very successful in this competition last season and we would like to be again.”

Ancelotti confirmed he will be without Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez for the clash at Estadio El Montecillo to due to their respective ankle and thigh issues picked up during Wednesday’s 1-0 LaLiga win against Mallorca.

The Italian has been hit by a spate of long-term injuries this season, but has still selected a strong travelling party for the clash in Aranda de Duero, with only Vinicius Junior and Aurelien Tchouameni rested for the cup tie.

In Kroos’ absence, 18-year-old Turkey international Arda Guler could make his long-awaited Madrid debut after recovering from a series of injury setbacks since joining from Fenerbahce last summer.

Ancelotti said: “All the players who have come into the side, who have been given the opportunity, have played very well. Guler is available and Guler could play, perhaps.”

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