Carlo Ancelotti has the "desire of a child" to keep winning trophies, according to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro.

Los Blancos followed up last season's Champions League triumph by beating Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

David Alaba put Madrid ahead before Karim Benzema moved to outright second in the club's all-time goalscoring charts with a second-half finish past Kevin Trapp.

Benzema's effort took him to 324 goals in all competitions for Madrid, putting him one ahead of legendary Spain forward Raul and trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo (450).

The triumph in Helsinki makes Ancelotti the first coach to win the Super Cup four times, and Casemiro does not think the Italian is planning to stop collecting the silverware anytime soon.

"I've spoken many times about Carlo Ancelotti, he's a footballing legend," Casemiro, who was named man of the match after a dominant midfield display, told a media conference.

"I speak with my heart when I say how much I admire him. I think he's 63 now, but he still wants to win.

"He has the desire of a child to keep winning, so that's great for us. With the wealth of experience he has, he can bring so much. He has helped us win many trophies.

"He deserves it; he is a wonderful coach and an absolutely fantastic person. When there's a change of the coach it's important to have a winning desire, and we've certainly had that with Carlo Ancelotti."

Madrid will have more players than most involved in the mid-season World Cup in Qatar, yet Casemiro does not think it will have a negative impact on the club's season.

"We don't need to make many changes; we're professional and want to win," the Brazil international said.  

"We're excited about playing at the World Cup. We've never had the opportunity and we're excited to play at one in the middle of the season.

"I don't think it will change a player's mentality. In terms of staying fit I don't think it changes much."

While Ancelotti also has no concerns about the build-up to the tournament, he does worry about the impact of his players not having a proper break before resuming domestic football.

"Until the start of the World Cup we are not going to have any problems," he told reporters.

"They will be focused and fit for the World Cup, but when the players are back that's when we have the doubts.

"Before we don't have a lot of problems. After we have to check, they could be tired. Most of them usually after a World Cup can go on holiday, but after this World Cup they will be going into the tough moment of the season."

Robert Lewandowski made his debut for Barcelona as they defeated Real Madrid 1-0 in their pre-season friendly in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The 33-year-old had to share the spotlight with Raphinha however, with the latter's lone goal ultimately proving the difference in the 27th minute.

With Xavi also able to take his place on the touchlines after he was allowed entry into the United States, the Blaugrana started close to what could be considered a full-strength starting XI, with Andreas Christensen starting ahead of Gerard Pique.

Carlo Ancelotti kept a number of starters on the bench to begin the match, with the trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos eased in along with Ferland Mendy, while Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga were paired in midfield to start.

Raphinha scored what would be the winning goal midway through the first half in what was an ultimately timid affair, firing home from the top of the penalty area after a quick regain of possession up the pitch for Barcelona.

Modric, Kroos and Casemiro were introduced while the likes of Pedri and Sergio Busquets came off in the second half, creating the aura of a sparring match, and Barcelona held out despite chances to Ousmane Dembele.

Despite wrapping up their 35th LaLiga title and retaining a chance of winning the Champions League this term, Real Madrid find themselves at something of a crossroads.

The individual brilliance of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior may have fired Los Blancos to a dominant triumph in LaLiga, but attention will soon turn to Madrid's attempts to defend the title for the first time since 2007-08.

With the potential arrival of a true global superstar and one of the Premier League's best defenders, as well as the matter of refreshing a brilliant but ageing midfield, it promises to be an interesting few months at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Here, Stats Perform analyses what Carlo Ancelotti's men could do to fend off the potential challenge of an improved Barcelona next season.

 

The Mbappe conundrum: How would the superstar fit in?

For months, if not years, Real Madrid's plans for 2022 seem to have revolved around one name: Kylian Mbappe.

While recent reports have suggested the 23-year-old could yet remain at the Parc des Princes, a move for the talismanic attacker – who will be a free agent in June – cannot yet be ruled out.

Having scored 35 goals and provided 19 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappe would clearly be an asset to any team in European football, but the question remains as to how Mbappe will complement another free-scoring Frenchman in the Spanish capital.

Benzema has become just the fifth Madrid player in history to score 40+ goals in a single season for the club (after Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez), and is being touted for the Ballon d'Or after driving Madrid's Champions League run. Benzema has scored 14 goals in 10 European appearances this term, averaging a goal every 65.1 minutes in a stunning campaign.

Mbappe and Benzema are no strangers to playing together, but the PSG forward failed to score and only provided one assist when doing so during France's disappointing Euro 2020 campaign. The Madrid man, meanwhile, finished just one goal short of the golden boot after netting four times.

Matters are complicated further when taking into account the form of Vinicius, who has formed a lethal partnership with Benzema this season, registering 33 goal involvements of his own in all competitions (18 goals, 15 assists), and Mbappe's preference to play from the left could infringe on Vinicius. 

However, Mbappe's development into a more well-rounded attacking talent should ensure he at least provides a threat, whichever flank he starts from. 

As well as improving on his 11 assists from last season, Mbappe has completed more dribbles (138) at a higher success rate (50.74 per cent) than Vinicius this term (130, 41.4 per cent), and could join him in playing a more creative role supporting Benzema.

Upgrading in defence: The arrival of Antonio Rudiger

Having announced his intention to leave Chelsea at the end of his contract, Antonio Rudiger is another player strongly linked with a move to the Bernabeu ahead of next season.

The German defender has been one of the Blues' outstanding players under Thomas Tuchel, starring in their Champions League triumph last year and enjoying another fine campaign this season.

Rudiger has been a key component in the Premier League's third-best defence this season, with Chelsea keeping 15 clean sheets and conceding just 28 goals despite falling out of title contention after a promising start.

The 29-year-old appears to be an upgrade on Madrid's current defensive options after last year's departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, offering more physicality than David Alaba and greater defensive steel than Eder Militao, a partnership that was frequently exposed by Manchester City recently.

Rudiger would also offer a threat at the other end of the pitch, with his three league goals this season bettered by just one other Premier League centre-back (Jan Bednarek, four), and his ability to step out of defence was on display when he scored a 39-yard stunner against Brentford in early April – Chelsea's longest-range Premier League goal since January 2007

However, Rudiger has been accustomed to playing in a back three at Chelsea and would be most likely to play as a right-sided centre-back in a back four for Madrid, unless Ancelotti opts to shift Alaba to left-back.

Rudiger would likely have to curb his attacking enthusiasm if paired with the naturally forward-thinking Alaba, but he appears a smart choice to further solidify a defence that has been the second-strongest in LaLiga this term (only Sevilla have conceded fewer goals).

The case for Camavinga: Time to look to the future?

The midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will go down in Madrid history: they started together in three consecutive Champions League final wins between 2016 and 2018, with the Croatian also starring in 2014's victory.

Nobody can question their quality or longevity. All three have made at least 35 starts this season, while Modric in particular has produced several sumptuous contributions in big games that have helped him to an assist haul of nine, six more than any other Madrid midfielder.

 

However, given they occasionally appear to lack a certain dynamism when out of possession, could Madrid benefit from some extra mobility in the engine room?

The signing of Eduardo Camavinga, who has made 35 appearances this term, was clearly made with such a move in mind, but the French youngster has only started 14 times in all competitions and would benefit from more playing time next season as he looks to improve his all-round game.

However, neither Camavinga nor Federico Valverde possess the kind of metronomic abilities of Modric or Kroos, and the younger pair also average fewer passes into the final third per 90 minutes than their more experienced peers (6.25 and 6.1, respectively).

As such, with the rumoured arrivals of Mbappe and Rudiger involving no transfer fees, Madrid could yet benefit from dipping into the market to acquire another young, progressive midfielder in a move that might also help to prolong the excellence of Modric and Kroos.

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro hailed "difference maker" Vinicius Junior after the in-form Los Blancos star produced a moment of brilliance to sink Sevilla in LaLiga.

Vinicius' stunning late goal helped Madrid overcome rivals Sevilla 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Rafa Mir's early header had Madrid on the backfoot against former head coach Julen Lopetegui, but Karim Benzema restored parity after the half-hour mark.

Vinicius then stepped up three minutes from the end with a wonderful long-range shot as Madrid moved four points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad atop the standings.

The Brazil international has now scored nine goals in 14 LaLiga appearances this season – one more than in his previous 82 games for Madrid in the competition, and Casemiro lauded 21-year-old.

"He knows that the teams are going to make it difficult for him because they realise that he's a very important player for Real Madrid," Casemiro said of his countryman.

"Great players score great goals whenever they get the chance.

"We know he's a great player, he's a difference maker when he gets the chance."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois added: "Vini struggled to get into the game, but then he got a great goal.

"[He] trains really hard so that things like that come off in games. He didn't have the best of games, but the confidence he has in his own ability to make the difference is what we need from him and he delivered tonight.

Madrid have won more points from losing positions than any other team in LaLiga this season – 10 points, two more than neighbours and defending champions Atletico.

"It's important for us to play at home with the fans behind us. The coach makes it very clear that the substitutions are important," Casemiro said.

"The players who came on today did very well. We're Real Madrid and we have to have a strong squad."

Casemiro felt Real Madrid showed their LaLiga title credentials in a 1-0 victory at Real Betis.

Fit-again full-back Dani Carvajal scored his first goal since November 2019 on his return to the starting line-up with a stunning second-half volley to put Los Blancos joint-top of the table.

Betis had their chances in a feisty encounter on Saturday, but Madrid stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches in the Spanish top flight.

Midfielder Casemiro believes the way Madrid rolled up their sleeves to secure all three points – and a first clean sheet of the season – bodes well in their quest to regain the title.

"This is the way to win titles, we are working well," Casemiro said. "The key has been the work of everyone, of those who have also arrived [at the club].

"We started the first 10 minutes well and then they have improved, but they were always far from the goal, without being dangerous."

Casemiro praised captain Karim Benzema, who set up Carvajal's winner with a pinpoint pass, and refused to be drawn on the potential arrival of Kylian Mbappe.

"The league is very complicated, it will be very difficult. We can talk about his quality [Mbappe], but he is not here," he added.

"We are used to the quality of Karim. It is normal for us."

Carvajal was making his first start of the season due to a muscular injury and was delighted to mark it with a hard-earned victory.

"I haven't felt this good in a long time. It’s a great feeling. I worked hard on recovery to make it back for the second matchday," he said.

"I was a bit tired at the end of the match, which is normal with such an intense rhythm. We're very happy for the win."

Brazil captain Casemiro suggested the entire Selecao squad are united against hosting the upcoming Copa America.

The 2021 Copa America is scheduled to take place in Brazil, starting June 13, following CONMEBOL's decision to relocate the event.

Postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Copa America had been due to be shared between Colombia and Argentina, though both countries were removed as co-hosts following respective political and COVID-19 issues.

Brazil have been awarded hosting rights in pursuit of back-to-back titles, despite being one of the country's worst hit by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Prior to Friday's 2-0 win over Ecuador in World Cup qualifying, Brazil head coach Tite could not guarantee the participation of his side at the showpiece event on home soil, promising to shed more light on the situation following Tuesday's fixture against Paraguay.

After Brazil preserved their perfect record in qualifying following five wins from five games, Casmeiro was asked about the team's reported stance.

"We cannot talk about the Copa America, even if everyone knows what our opinion is," Casemiro told TV Globo post-game. "But we can't talk about it, everyone knows that we think.

"It is very clear what we think about the Copa America, but now we have to respect certain hierarchies. It is clear that we want to express ourselves about it, but unfortunately now we cannot."

Casemiro, whose Brazil are due to face Paraguay before their scheduled Copa America opener against Venezuela on June 13, added: "We are not going to talk about this, Tite already told how the opinion is.

"As the captain and leader, we already have our position. We want to talk but now is not the moment to do it.

"I'm not the only one, it's not only the European players [against hosting], we are all. When someone speaks, everybody does it, or Tite, or coaching staff. We have to be unified."

Neymar and Richarlison were both on target in the second half as Brazil stayed perfect on the road to Qatar 2022.

Brazil – in Group B for the Copa America, alongside Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela – have won their opening five games in a World Cup qualifying campaign since 1970.

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