Ancelotti questions Wales' use of Bale

By Sports Desk November 20, 2021

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has questioned whether Gareth Bale should have played for Wales during the international break.

Bale has not played for the LaLiga club since August after suffering a knee injury against Real Betis.

The former Tottenham forward made his 100th senior international appearance for Wales in the 5-1 win over Belarus, but picked up a calf injury in that game and is now expected to miss several more weeks.

"He had recovered [from the knee injury]. Wales thought he was fit enough to play," Ancelotti told reporters at a media conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Granada.

"Perhaps they shouldn't have played him, but we have to make sure he recovers now because he could be a very useful player for the rest of this season and we hope to have him back soon.

"Gareth is an important player for Wales and he likes playing for his national team, but he also wants to play for Real Madrid. You can see when he trains with the effort and work he puts in. Of course, if he wants to play for his national team, he has to play well for Real Madrid and train well too."

Ancelotti was also asked about Eden Hazard, who was recently described as "sad in footballing terms" by Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez.

The former Chelsea attacker has made just four starts for Real Madrid this season, and Ancelotti understands his frustration.

"Of course, Hazard, like most players who don't play often, is unhappy," he said. "To be honest, I would be unhappy if he wasn't. You want players to try and fight for a first team spot.

"He's had a stomach bug and needs two or three days rest. It's not Covid. It's like a stomach flu."

The former Everton boss also wanted to make clear his frustration at the number of games his team has to play before the winter break, with nine games scheduled in a 31-day period.

"The players, clubs and managers have all come out and said there are too many games," Ancelotti exclaimed. "Something has to change. The way football is working right now isn't good for the sport, and changes have to be good changes, not decisions that lack common sense."

The 62-year-old was also asked about the recent appointment of Xavi at Barcelona, saying: "I'm sure Xavi is going to bring something different to the club.

"I'm sure we are going to be fighting them for the title, and I'd like to discover if there is anything different with this Barcelona side as soon as possible."

Related items

  • Gakpo on Man Utd interest: 'When they come, I'll think about it' Gakpo on Man Utd interest: 'When they come, I'll think about it'

    Netherlands and PSV forward Cody Gakpo will "think about" a move to Manchester United should the Premier League side come calling again.

    Gakpo has been one of the stars of the 2022 World Cup so far and is reportedly a January transfer target for United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among others.

    The 23-year-old became only the second player in the competition's history, after Italy's Alessandro Altobelli in 1986, to open the scoring three times in the same group stage.

    He fired a blank in the 3-1 win over the United States in the last 16, but the in-form attacker still boasts a return of 17 goals and eight assists in 30 games this season.

    United are reputed to be the frontrunners to sign Gakpo, having already reached out in the past window, and he will consider any fresh interest in the coming weeks.

    Asked about missing out on a move to the Premier League earlier this year, coinciding with PSV failing to qualify for the Champions League, Gakpo said: "That was tough.

    "I've learned a lot from that. Next time I'll do it differently. I thought about Manchester United before, but when that didn't happen I didn't know anymore and started to doubt.

    "Then Leeds United came and I wondered if I should go there. Now I'll wait for everything. I haven't heard from Manchester United yet, but when they come, I'll think about it."

     

    Gakpo's goals and all-round attacking play have helped the Netherlands through to the quarter-finals in Qatar, where Argentina await in a mouth-watering tie on Friday.

    The Oranje have lost just one of their nine meetings with Argentina, though the most recent of their four draws resulted in a penalty shoot-out loss in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

    Argentina have found their groove with wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia since suffering a shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi playing a starring role.

    "We shouldn't think only about him," Gakpo added in the interview with Dutch outlet NRC. "We need to win and it doesn't matter who we are facing.

    "Argentina are here for one reason and so are we. We are aware we have to play better than them, and we can do that.

    "But in a tournament like this, all that counts is the result. We have to find the right moments on the field to use each other's strengths."

  • Messi is 'human' and 'can miss' penalties, says Netherlands' Noppert ahead of World Cup quarter-final Messi is 'human' and 'can miss' penalties, says Netherlands' Noppert ahead of World Cup quarter-final

    Lionel Messi is "human" and "can miss" penalties, according to the Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert ahead of his team's clash with Argentina in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

    In his fifth World Cup, Messi has scored three times in Qatar to help Argentina to the final eight of the tournament, taking his tally to 94 international goals.

    Messi has converted 21 of his 26 penalties in his Argentina career, with one of those failures coming in the 2-0 victory over Poland in La Albiceleste's last group match in Qatar, though he did score from 12 yards in the shock opening 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

    With Spain and Japan dumped out by penalty shoot-outs in the round of 16, Noppert is ready to take on the challenge if Friday's game goes the distance and Messi takes a spot-kick.

    "He's the same like us. He's a human," Noppert told reporters on Wednesday. "It's about the moment.

    "He can also miss, and we see it in the beginning of this tournament."

    Noppert's route to becoming the Netherlands' number one goalkeeper at a World Cup has been an unconventional one, having been released from second-tier Dutch side Dordrecht just two years ago.

    He considered retiring from football altogether, though was eventually signed by Eredivisie side Go Ahead Eagles in early 2021. Noppert found success there, before joining Heerenveen in May of this year.

    His form was enough to earn him a call-up to the Netherlands' squad for Qatar, and Noppert became just the second Oranje player to make his national team debut at a World Cup in their opening 2-0 victory over Senegal.

    With such a meteoric rise, Noppert spoke of his pride ahead of the biggest game of his career, while crediting coach Louis van Gaal for the role he played in the 28-year-old's inclusion.

    "When you are a little boy you dream of being at a World Cup," Noppert added. "When you see my career, you put that dream away. But I kept fighting for it. 

    "There is only one national coach who could have brought me here and that is our national coach [Van Gaal]. 

    "I am proud to be here and I have to keep working hard. That is the most important thing."

  • Spain must adapt after shock World Cup loss, says Salgado Spain must adapt after shock World Cup loss, says Salgado

    Michel Salgado believes there is a future for Luis Enrique's youthful Spain squad but says they must adapt after a shock World Cup exit.

    La Roja were stunned on penalties following a goalless draw with Morocco in the last-16 on Tuesday, to curtail a tournament they had been among the favourites for.

    It came after finishing second in their group behind Japan following an unexpected loss to the Samurai Blue and likely marks the end of the road for several senior players.

    But with one of the younger squads at Qatar 2022, headlined by talents such as Gavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati, former Real Madrid and Spain defender Salgado believes the possibilities are still bright for the national team.

    "If we want to win again, we have to make a clean slate, and we have to start working with the new," he told Stats Perform. "I think it's a team that can give much more in the next World Cup.

    "It is a team with a lot of talent, there is no doubt about that. I believe that what we cannot be right now is fatalists. On the contrary, I think we have to be positive.

    "We are not going to change our identity. Spain is a country that is measured by the football of possession and control of the game. What we do have [to do is] adapt to modern times.

    "I think it's time to analyse how we can be more effective with what we have and look for that group that can be back to win the World Cup."

    Salgado accepted the frustrations of Spain's ignominious exit, but says it is unfair to compare their achievements to those of the side that dominated world football over a decade ago.

    "Obviously, for the fans, it is a disappointment," he added. "I have to see it from a different angle. I think it is a young team, a team at a time of total change.

    "The pressure, I think that's the first thing we have to erase. We have to make a clean slate and start getting the best out of the players we have now."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.