MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid want to quickly forget about Kylian Mbappé and focus on the Champions League final against Liverpool again.
Four days before the final in the Paris suburbs, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players did their best to avoid talking about the French striker and his decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappé made the shocking announcement on Saturday, dealing a blow to Madrid and their fans, who were certain he would play in the Spanish capital next season.
“It’s very clear to us that we have to think about our own things,” Ancelotti said on Tuesday. “We never talked about players from other teams. We respect everyone, every decision, every club. We have to do our own job. It’s very clear and obvious what we have to think about is ie prepare us for the final.
Madrid as a club had not commented on Mbappé’s decision, although some players were quick to post messages praising the club and saying it was an honor to wear his shirt.
Mbappé said last year that he wanted to join Madrid, but PSG turned down offers of nearly 200 million euros ($214 million) for the player. The French striker was expected to complete his transfer to Madrid after becoming a free agent at the end of this season, but opted to sign a three-year deal with PSG instead.
“I have never talked about players who don’t play for Real Madrid, and I will never talk about players who don’t play for Real Madrid,” Ancelotti said.
Mbappé’s decision to reject Madrid has been the most discussed topic in Spain in recent days, leaving aside the Champions League final.
Madrid will look to win a record 14th European title on Saturday at the Stade de France in their fifth Champions League final in eight seasons.
Madrid won their 10th European Cup eight years ago with Ancelotti as manager, then won three consecutive titles from 2016 to 2018 with Zinedine Zidane at the helm. Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 final in Kyiv.
“There was a lot more pressure back then (in 2014). It’s been several years since Madrid won the Champions League. It was almost an obsession for everyone,” Ancelotti said. “Now Madrid fans are motivated, but not so obsessed with it, and I think that can give us an advantage.”
Ancelotti, who can become the first manager to win four Champions League titles, will have Madrid in full force on Saturday. He said veteran left-back Marcelo had a small problem but should recover in time for the final. Central defender David Alaba, who has missed several matches with a muscle injury, is ready to play in the final.
“To be honest, the starting line-up isn’t really a problem,” Ancelotti said. “It’s not a game for just 11 players. And those who came on the bench have done well to help us so far. Everything has gone well for us so far. »
Madrid reached the final after comebacks against PSG in the round of 16, Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Manchester City in the semi-finals.
“I hope this time it’s Liverpool trying to rally against us,” Ancelotti said. “It will be an entertaining, very balanced final.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Azzoni Tales on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni