Liverpool reportedly had a deadline-day bid for Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 20-year-old is hot property with a long list of suitors, after an impressive second half of last season in the Premier League.

Caicedo joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle in January 2021 on a four-and-half-year contract.

TOP STORY – BRIGHTON TO OPEN TALKS WITH CAICEDO

Brighton and Hove Albion will open contract talks with hot property Moises Caicedo according to The Mirror.

The Ecuadorian has interest from Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The Seagulls are determined to fend off those suitors by pinning Caicedo down to a new contract.


ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports French giants Paris Saint-Germain will look to sign Antoine Griezmann after this season, as they begin planning for Lionel Messi's departure. Griezmann is currently on a two-year loan at Atletico Madrid from Barcelona. Messi is contracted until mid-2023 and view Griezmann as a suitable replacement if they cannot convince him to extend his stay.

Barcelona will resume their chase for Manchester City's Bernardo Silva in January, reports Sport. LaLiga has increased the club's salary cap, allowing them to pursue the Portuguese midfielder again.

– The Telegraph claims that among those under consideration for the vacant Brighton managerial role are ex-Shakhtar Donetsk boss Roberto de Zerbi and Bodo/Glimt's Kjetil Knutsen.

Carlo Ancelotti is set to be rewarded for his successful 2021-22 campaign with Real Madrid set to offer him a new contract, according to Marca. Ancelotti's current deal runs until 2024.

Karim Benzema will miss Real Madrid's next two games, but could return for the derby with Atletico Madrid, according to Carlo Ancelotti.

Benzema came off with a knee injury during Madrid's 3-0 win at Celtic in the opening group game of the Champions League on Tuesday, and it had been feared he would miss a significant period as a result.

However, Ancelotti appeared to allay those fears at a press conference on Saturday ahead of Los Blancos' game with Real Mallorca, saying the France international might even be back in just over a week.

After Mallorca, Madrid host RB Leipzig in the Champions League before making the short trip to face rivals Atletico next Sunday.

"We will not force Benzema," Madrid coach Ancelotti said. "He will certainly not play against Leipzig, but then we will see for the derby.

"If he can't play then [against Atletico], he won't go to France [for the international break]."

Benzema was replaced after 30 minutes at Parkhead by Eden Hazard, who went on to score the third goal in the victory, and it is likely the Belgian will be tasked with filling the centre-forward spot against Mallorca.

Ancelotti does not want him to play like Benzema, though, saying: "Hazard did well coming on against Celtic. I'm going to put him in again on Sunday. Hopefully he can repeat a great game.

"I don't expect [Hazard] to play like Benzema, but I want him to play well and to connect with the other forwards."

Ancelotti has made it clear that there is no replacement for Benzema, with alternative options providing different strengths in the final third, and singled out Vinicius Jr. - who has scored in each of his last four Madrid appearances - for praise.

He said: "We don't have Karim and because he is the best striker in the world, there is no substitute for him on the market.

"But he can be replaced with other players with different characteristics.

"Vinicius is getting more consistent in finishing, in scoring goals. It is difficult for him to fail in front of the goal, there he has improved a lot. 

"I want to emphasise that he continues to maintain a good attitude, with a lot of humility, work - he wants to improve every day."

Carlo Ancelotti believes the biggest unknown surrounding Real Madrid's potential defence of the Champions League is the prospective physical condition of his players when they return from the World Cup.

Madrid begin their quest for a 15th European Cup on Tuesday when they visit Scottish champions Celtic.

The group stage is condensed this season because of the World Cup, moved from its usual Northern Hemisphere summer slot to November because of the extreme heat in Qatar.

Teams involved in the group stage will play six games in under two months, with the battle for a place in the last 16 coming to a close on November 2.

On top of domestic commitments, that makes for a crowded fixture list. Yet Ancelotti is less concerned with the effects of the schedule than he is about the potential toll on his squad of playing in a mid-season World Cup.

"Until the World Cup, I think we won't have any problems," Ancelotti said of the unusually busy fixture list. 

"The players are prepared and motivated. The question is how the World Cup players will return. It cannot be known."

Madrid are not seen as favourites for the Champions League despite their remarkable run last season. Los Blancos delivered thrilling comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City before beating Liverpool 1-0 in the final.

City are the bookmakers' favourites ahead of PSG, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. Ancelotti, though, is happy his team are not in the top four in that sense.

"I'm not surprised. I see it as a good sign," he added. "I think that last year we had even less probability in the statistics. So we have improved. 

"What happened last year will happen. We are going to compete until the end and hopefully we will compete in the final."

Ancelotti's team are, however, overwhelming favourites to win Group F, which also features RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as Celtic.

But Ancelotti pointed to Madrid's shock home defeat to Sheriff Tiraspol in last season's group stage when asked about their seemingly easy draw.

"It is not an easy group, because we know the teams very well," said Ancelotti. "Celtic are doing very well, we have to respect them, like Leipzig and Shakhtar. 

"In the group stage, there are surprises, especially in the first half. We have a pretty vivid memory of last season with Sherriff at home. We respect the group and I think it will be an even group."

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Rodrygo as "special" after the forward's goal secured a 2-1 LaLiga win over Real Betis on Real Madrid's return to Santiago Bernabeu.

Vinícius Junior scored the opening goal in Madrid's first game at their revamped home for 106 days, but Sergio Canales equalised in the first half.

Rodrygo stepped up to make it four LaLiga wins out of four for the champions and consign Betis to a first defeat.

Madrid boss Ancelotti lavished praise on the Brazil forward following his decisive 65th-minute strike.

The Italian said: "He is a special striker, he can play in all positions. He is fast, smart and effective one on one. The learning is over. He is a Real Madrid player for all purposes."

Ancelotti moved level with Vicente del Bosque in third place on the list of Los Blancos head coaches with the most victories, reaching 133 wins. They are behind Miguel Munoz (357) and Zinedine Zidane (172).

Madrid are sitting pretty at the top of the table and Ancelotti is delighted with the way they have begun the defence of their title.

He said: "We have started the season well. It was a difficult match. With the ball we have done well. We missed the last pass, but we generated a lot. The match was not easy because Betis plays very good football."

Ancelotti added: "The goal is to play effective football, which allows us to score points and win matches. With the quality we have, we are capable of putting on good games. The team dynamic is good. The squad is very confident in its quality."

Despite having a 100 per cent record, Madrid have conceded in all four LaLiga games they have played and Ancelotti says they must be tighter at the back.

He said: "This must be taken into account. The conceded goal was a pretty serious mistake. We were caught unaware behind in a throw-in. We have to improve these situations."

Carlo Ancelotti has no concerns around the contract situations of several of his veteran Real Madrid stars, with Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos all now into the final 12 months of their existing deals.

The transfer window closed on Thursday, leaving Madrid coach Ancelotti with a squad to work with at least until January.

But there remains work to do in the coming months if this hugely successful group is to stay together beyond the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

Madrid have a host of players out of contract at the end of the season; some, like Marco Asensio, seem certain to leave, but Benzema, Modric, Kroos and Nacho are all key men.

Benzema is reportedly expected to sign a one-year extension, however, while Modric has done so in each of the past two years.

And Ancelotti sees this approach as sensible, remaining confident these top performers will stay at the Santiago Bernabeu as long as they are wanted.

"There are some players who are in the final year of their contract with the club, but that's not an issue," he said.

Ancelotti added: "You look at Modric, Kroos, Karim, Nacho, these are players who want to stay here until they finish their careers, sometimes signing one-year contracts.

"I don't think having a player in the final year of his contract is an issue.

"There are a lot of clubs who have players in their final year of contract, because you've got to look at the economy of a club and how clubs are run.

"That's why now we're seeing more players reach their final year of contract.

"Look at our veteran players and what we do with them, bringing in their contracts on a yearly basis."

Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid are "in a better position" than at the start of their double-winning campaign last year, although he does not see any favourites for the Champions League at this early stage.

Madrid won LaLiga and the Champions League in 2021-22 after signing David Alaba on a free transfer and Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes.

Los Blancos' transfer activity has been similar again this year, bringing in Antonio Rudiger in defence and Aurelien Tchouameni in midfield.

But Madrid are also playing with the confidence of having achieved great success last season, starting the new campaign with a Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt and three straight LaLiga victories.

"I think we're in a better position at the start of this season because of all that we achieved last year," coach Ancelotti said ahead of Saturday's game against Real Betis.

"I do expect a tougher league campaign and also in the Champions League. I don't think there is a clear favourite in the Champions League; we have to wait and see what happens in March and April.

"We have less doubts now than we did at this stage last year. I think we have a very good squad after the transfer deadline closed last night.

"We have options in every position, and we're definitely going to compete this season."

Madrid did lose Casemiro to Manchester United, but Tchouameni has started all three league matches at the base of the midfield in the position the departed Brazil international made his own at the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Ancelotti described Tchouameni as "the icing on the cake" for his squad, he has already taken on an integral role.

"I think he is the best player right now to play in that position," Ancelotti said of the new man. "Also, [Toni] Kroos and Camavinga could play in that midfield role – it depends on how we prepare for a game and how we need to play.

"Kroos could control the ball better, a great passer of the ball who sets the tempo of a game. If we need more energy and a more dynamic midfielder, maybe Tchouameni would be the better option.

"Camavinga has improved on last season, and Tchouameni has shown what he is capable of. He works very hard; I think he is a great signing. He is still very young, he still needs to progress.

"We have a great midfield; we have young players, energy, quality, intelligence, veteran players, players who are tactically astute.

"But I want to highlight it's not that important the three players who start, because you can change the entire midfield during the course of a game."

And Tchouameni's instant impact has not come as a surprise to Ancelotti.

"No, I'm not surprised," he said. "If we invest a lot of money in a player, which we did, you have to be sure that he's the player you want. Just look at what he's contributed so far.

"We're working on the defensive aspect of his game; he's a good defender, works hard, but also you have to work alongside other players, know how they work, how they play. That understanding comes with time.

"It's different when you're playing along Kroos and [Luka] Modric than if you're playing alongside Camavinga and [Federico] Valverde, for example. I don't foresee any problems, but it is different."

Carlo Ancelotti emerged with a sense of personal satisfaction after Karim Benzema's two late goals secured a 3-1 win for Real Madrid at Espanyol.

The head coach saw his substitutes come good in the closing stages of the game to pave the way for Benzema's heroics.

Regarded as a humble man, this time Ancelotti was happy to take credit for the decisions that saw him shuffle his Madrid pack in the second half of a hard-fought contest.

He brought off Luka Modric and Federico Valverde in the 58th minute, introducing Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo, before replacing Toni Kroos with Dani Ceballos.

Camavinga brought fresh vibrancy to the Madrid midfield, Rodrygo set up Benzema's first goal in the 88th minute, and Ceballos was fouled for the free-kick that led to a red card and Benzema's late clincher.

That final goal of the game came 10 minutes into stoppage time, after a marathon delay for the VAR to resolve the moment when home goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte clattered Ceballos. Lecomte was sent off and home captain Leandro Cabrera, a defender, took over in goal, Benzema taking advantage by firing home from the set-piece. 

"We won the game because of that energy. That of Camavinga, Rodrygo or Ceballos," Ancelotti said. "The game was slow and we changed it. Each game has its own story."

He said it was impossible to know how the game would have flowed had he fielded his substitutes from the start, allowing the likes of Modric and Kroos to come on and change the game in the second half.

"Sometimes team selection is a gamble and today I think the Real Madrid coach has gambled well."

The veteran Italian coach said Madrid had started brightly, as was exemplified by the sharp movement that brought about Vinicius Junior's early goal.

Former Madrid reserve striker Joselu equalised with his seventh goal in nine LaLiga matches against Los Blancos, before Benzema's double provided the late twist.

Three days after picking up the UEFA men's player of the year award, Benzema showed why he is earning such accolades at this stage of his career. He turns 35 in December but shows no sign of slowing down.

Benzema has scored 28 goals for Madrid in 2022 across all competitions, the joint highest of all players from Europe's top five leagues. It puts him alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, who snubbed a move to Madrid in favour of signing a new PSG deal in May.

In all, Benzema had eight shots, the highest of any player in a single game during the opening weeks of the LaLiga season.

The late show poured salt on Espanyol wounds, with the team from Barcelona having now failed to win in their last 10 league games, going back to last season.

Kroos told Movistar: "It's to be expected that we suffer against a great rival, also away from home. We controlled the game until their goal. We suffered a bit in the second half, but in the last 30 minutes we regained control.

"They looked tired and we took advantage of that. Winning away is not easy and we have done it three times in a row."

Madrid's first three league assignments have indeed come away from the Santiago Bernabeu, while work is carried out on the stadium, and wins over Almeria, Celta Vigo and now Espanyol have made it an ideal start.

Madrid sit top of the table but are joined on nine points by Real Betis, the team they host next Saturday.

Kroos says Madrid are braced for a busy run of games, as the Champions League group stage begins.

He said: "Every three to four days we are going to play against difficult opponents and there are always times when we are going to have to suffer."

Carlo Ancelotti has ruled out signing a replacement should Marco Asensio leave, as Real Madrid "do not need" another forward.

Spain international Asensio has been repeatedly linked with a move away, but remains a Madrid player with less than a week of the transfer window to go.

The 26-year-old, who has just started his seventh season at the Santiago Bernabeu, is reportedly a target for Premier League pair Arsenal and Manchester United.

Asensio has featured for just eight minutes across Madrid's three matches this campaign, and Ancelotti is not ruling out an exit in the coming days.

"There is nothing new with regards to his situation," Ancelotti said at a press conference on Saturday ahead of his side's trip to Espanyol.

"He is evaluating his situation and we are waiting. On September 2, if he is still here, he will be an important player in our squad. I'd be delighted because he contributes a lot.

"But if Marco leaves, we are not going to sign anyone because we don't need them."

Dani Ceballos is another who is into the final year of his contract and had been expected to depart the Spanish capital this month, but Ancelotti has put an end to those rumours.

"Dani is going to stay, there is no doubt," the Italian said. "He wants to stay and we are delighted. 

"He hasn't played much yet, but next week we have three games, and he will have more minutes because he deserves it."

 

Madrid are looking to maintain their 100 per cent record at the start of this season when they travel to RCDE Stadium, where they have lost on two of their past four league trips.

Los Blancos have made a perfect start after two matches for the 34th time in their history, and a first time since the 2018-19 campaign.

It is a third successive away game to begin the season for Madrid due to renovation works at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Ancelotti says his side have had to adapt.

"When you're travelling so often, there is not a lot you can do," he said. "We do intense work for those who have not played, while the others must rest.

"We have had to do a little more video work than usual. But the less you work, the less damage you can do."

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been named the 2021-22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year, beating team-mate Thibaut Courtois and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne to the gong.

The France international solidified his status as the frontrunner for this year's Ballon d'Or with victory over the pair, with the award bestowed following the Champions League group-stage draw in Istanbul on Thursday.

Benzema, top scorer in both the Champions League and LaLiga last term as he guided Madrid to a double, netted 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti also was feted at the ceremony, beating Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp to be awarded the UEFA Men's Coach of the Year Award.

Carlo Ancelotti described Luka Modric as "immortal" after his outstanding display in Real Madrid's 4-1 LaLiga win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Modric, 36, restored Madrid's lead shortly before half-time with a sumptuous strike from outside the area after Karim Benzema and Iago Aspas had exchanged penalties.

It marked the first time the Croatia international had scored two consecutive goals from outside the area in the competition since January 2019 when he completed a run of three.

Indeed, more than half of Modric's goals for Madrid in all competitions have been from outside the box (18 out of 32).

He then followed that up in the second half with a superb pass to set Vinicius Junior up for Madrid's third.

The LaLiga and European champions agreed a deal with Manchester United on Friday for the sale of midfielder Casemiro, but Modric hardly looked like he missed the Brazilian.

"Modric's goal changed the game," Ancelotti said. "Until then it had been quite even. Celta were pressing well, but that intensity dropped in the second half.

"Modric is immortal. He's always ready and always plays well."

Aurelien Tchouameni impressed in Casemiro's traditional role at the base of Madrid's midfield three, with no player on the pitch making more clearances (four) or interceptions (three), while he gained possession a joint team-high nine times.

The France international is considered by many to be the natural heir to Casemiro, but Ancelotti does not want to compare the two.

"Tchouameni has different qualities to Casemiro, but today he played very well," the Italian said.

"He showed what he has been showing in training. Without the ball, he defended well. He did well defensively with Modric and [Eduardo] Camavinga."

Substitute Eden Hazard missed the chance to score his first LaLiga goal since May 2021 when his late penalty was saved by Agustin Marchesin.

Benzema gave up the opportunity to take the spot-kick himself – a gesture that was welcomed by Ancelotti.

"I thought it was a very nice gesture from Benzema to Hazard," he added. "It doesn't matter if he missed it, as he normally takes penalties well. It's more important that Hazard has shown an overall good performance."

Casemiro has been left out of Real Madrid's squad for their trip to Celta Vigo as he nears a transfer to Manchester United.

On Thursday, reports emerged that United were confident of striking a deal for Casemiro, who has been crucial to Madrid's success under Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane.

The 30-year-old trained with Madrid's squad on Friday but Ancelotti confirmed at his pre-match news conference that talks were under way with United.

Ancelotti was unsure if Casemiro would definitely be unavailable for Saturday's LaLiga meeting with Celta, but the Brazil international has now been left out of Los Blancos' squad, suggesting the £51million (€60m) move to Old Trafford is close to completion.

Madrid's coach is confident he has the players within his squad to replace Casemiro, and name-checked new signing Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos as possibilities in the holding role.

Kroos, however, will not be available for Saturday's match, with reports suggesting he has fallen ill with flu.

Real Madrid have what it takes in the squad to replace Manchester United-bound Casemiro, according to Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti confirmed on Friday that Casemiro had expressed his desire to leave Madrid in order to join United.

The holding midfielder, who has been crucial to Madrid's success under both Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane, is in line to move to Old Trafford for a fee in the region of £51million (€60m), with add-ons potentially taking the deal to £59.4m (€70m).

While Ancelotti has no issues with the 30-year-old's want for a new challenge, Casemiro's departure leaves a void in Madrid's midfield, with the Brazil international having formed a formidable trio with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

That midfield conquered Europe last season and led Madrid to Ancelotti's first LaLiga title, and Casemiro's quality was on show again in last week's Super Cup as Los Blancos defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0.

Casemiro was named man of the match after making nine successful tackles and recovering possession 10 times, which were both game highs.

Since the 2015-16 season, Casemiro has won 415 tackles in LaLiga alone, a far better tally than second-best Saul Niguez (382).

Yet with Madrid having signed Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco and the versatility of Kroos, Ancelotti is confident he already has the options in midfield to plug the gap.

"Casemiro has been a key player, who fits perfectly with Kroos and Luka Modric. It's been an incredible combination for all the success we've had in the last few years," Ancelotti said in a news conference.

"Within the squad we have a lot of good replacements. Tchouameni was signed in order to play in this position. We have some other options like Kroos who can play in this position, as he did in the second year I was here as a coach back in 2014 when we won 22 games in a row.

"Replacing Casemiro with another player with his same skills is difficult but we have other players ready to replace him with other characteristics. They can play in this position, but not with the same skills.

"We need to keep in mind that a player like Casemiro, defensively, is more similar to Tchouameni than Kroos, but Toni has some different characteristics and can also play in that position."

 

Kroos displayed his ball-winning abilities in the Super Cup, as he regained possession nine times, second only to Casemiro, while also having 120 touches and completing 97 passes.

When it was put to Ancelotti that the former Germany international had previously suggested he does not enjoy playing in a holding role, Madrid's boss quipped: "He has never told me that. If he tells me that, it doesn't matter, he will play there!"

Asked if Casemiro had provided his reasons for wanting to leave, Ancelotti said: "I cannot answer. It's his personal decision, he wants to try a new challenge and he's the one who has to explain this.

"Something similar happened when I was Milan's coach. I was feeling really good but I wanted to try something new, even if I was feeling very well there because that club was a family to me, but I thought about trying something new, a new experience, another league and language. It's personal but I understand it.

"He shows his will for this new challenge. We have to respect it. We are not sad, not angry, but at a personal level when you spend so many years with this kind of player, so kind, so professional, it's normal that you're not happy, but we will show respect for his decision."

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Casemiro is closing in on a transfer to Manchester United, with the Real Madrid midfielder wanting a fresh challenge.

News broke on Thursday that United were confident of striking a deal for the 30-year-old, who has been a mainstay of Madrid's midfield in recent years.

It has been widely reported that a fee in the region of £51million (€60m) has been agreed for the Brazil international, with add-ons potentially taking the deal to £59.4m (€70m).

Casemiro trained with Real Madrid's squad on Friday ahead of Saturday's LaLiga game against Celta Vigo, but in his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti confirmed a transfer is in the works.

He said: "We've spoken this morning, he wants to try a new challenge, a new opportunity. I understand this, also the club does.

"Because of what he has done in this club, his desire and due to everything he has done for this team, we need to be respectful of this.

"There are negotiations between the clubs, he is still a Real Madrid player but it looks like he is now willing to depart. If he is departing we have a lot of resources to replace him."

Asked if he had attempted to sway Casemiro's decision to leave, Ancelotti replied: "No.

"I've always talked a lot with him in my second time at Real Madrid. I just listened to his desire, I think there's no turning back. This is what he wants.

 

"If everything goes well, the negotiations go well, we just need to wish him the very best.

"It is difficult to speak anyway because I don't know what's going to happen in the next few hours, if he's staying or leaving, but if he leaves we will always be thankful to him because he's been a wonderful player with us."

Only nine days ago, Casemiro was named man of the match as Madrid saw off Eintracht Frankfurt to win the Super Cup.

Though Ancelotti knows Madrid are set to lose a key player, he does not believe the task at hand for Los Blancos this season changes.

"There were some rumours and yesterday I realised this could happen but the plans are not going to change, Real Madrid's plans will always be to fight until the end, compete in every single competition for every single title, and we will do it with or without Casemiro," he added.

"Everybody knows he has been a player for us, and we love the kind of guy that he is."

Should his move to Old Trafford go through over the weekend, Casemiro could make his United debut on Monday against arch-rivals Liverpool, although he still has to undergo a medical and sort his visa.

United have lost their opening two Premier League games, going down 2-1 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion before suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga failed to show the quality they have done in training during Real Madrid's 2-1 win at Almeria on Sunday, according to boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Madrid fell behind to Largie Ramazani's early strike at the Power Horse Stadium in their opening LaLiga game of the season, but they drew level thanks to Lucas Vazquez's goal in the 61st minute.

They then sealed all three points with 15 minutes remaining when substitute David Alaba curled a sumptuous free-kick past Fernando Martinez from 25 yards with his first touch.

Tchouameni, who joined from Monaco in June for a fee that could rise to €100m, and Camavinga started alongside Toni Kroos in midfield, but both struggled to make an impact.

Camavinga was replaced by Luka Modric at half-time, while Tchouameni did not last an hour before he was substituted for Eden Hazard.

Neither player made more than a single key pass – well short of the team-high four that was achieved by three other players – with Ancelotti suggesting the pressure of playing for such a prestigious club affected the pair.

"For me, [Antonio] Rudiger played a good game," he told Movistar.

"The youngsters didn't play like they usually do. For what they do in training they deserve to play. They haven't done anything wrong, but they can do better.

"They are young and the shirt is heavy. It is a toll we pay, but we pay it with pleasure.

"I removed Camavinga because he had a card and could be a danger in a team that played on the break.

"It was normal to suffer, because we've complicated the game with a defensive error. From then on it has cost us a lot."

Hazard has endured a torrid time with injuries since he joined from Chelsea in July 2019, but the Belgium international is hoping to play an important role this season. 

Ancelotti is not sure where his best position will be, given Vinicius Junior's continued brilliance on the left of the front three, but the Italian expects him to feature regularly. 

Asked where his best position is, Ancelotti said: "I don't know, I have to think about it. Hazard is a midfielder. We have to bear in mind that Vini really likes the wing.

"Today he tried to find a lot of the right central defender, where the spaces were very small. Hazard when he came on was good, he's training well and I think he's going to have minutes this season."

Carlo Ancelotti hopes Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos stay at Real Madrid but says Los Blancos will "adapt" if they decide to move on.

Winger Asensio and midfielder Ceballos are in the final year of their contracts with the European and LaLiga champions.

Asensio has been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, while Ceballos is reportedly a target for his former club Real Betis.

Madrid boss Ancelotti knows there are no guarantees the duo will still be at the Santiago Bernabeu when the transfer window closes on September 1.

The Italian told reporters on Saturday: "They are here and working fine. Each one can comment on their future, but I focus on the squad I have with both.

"Until the 31st, it is like that. If something changes in their heads, we will adapt."

The champions start the defence of their LaLiga title at Almeria on Sunday, and Ancelotti is as hungry as ever for more trophies after a magnificent 2021-22 season.

"I have always said that I am passionate about this game," he said. "I'm working for the best club in the world, and that's where the motivation comes from.

"I wake up in the morning, I enjoy my day, and I'm enjoying my life here at Real Madrid. I know it won't be forever, but there's still a hunger, and I'm delighted to be the manager of Real Madrid."

Madrid face a hectic schedule ahead of the World Cup, but Ancelotti expects the bigger challenges to come after the tournament in Qatar.

He said: "Until the World Cup, we won't have many problems. The players will want to go in good condition, and they will prepare well, enjoying the games beforehand. 

"The big question we have is after the World Cup: how the players will return? After the World Cup, they usually go on vacation, and this year, they will return to enter the important moment of the season. 

"You have to assess fatigue, think about giving rest... These are things that we doubt today."

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