Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti hits out at ‘crazy’ World Cup qualifying schedule

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has hit out at the ‘crazy’ football schedule which could see his side’s South American players miss the Copa del Rey quarter-finals next month, but denied the club is doing pressure on national teams to help resolve the situation.

Madrid could face Athletic Bilbao at San Mames in the cup on February 3 with Vinicius Junior, Casemiro, Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Fede Valverde all out.

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The four Brazilians have all been called up by national team coach Tite for games with Ecuador and Paraguay, with the latter match being played at 1:30 a.m. Spanish time (7:30 p.m. ET) on February 2, while Valverde is in the Uruguay squad to play. Paraguay and Venezuela.

« The timing doesn’t make sense, » Ancelotti told a press conference on Saturday ahead of Real Madrid’s La Liga game against Elche. « But it’s not just a Real Madrid problem. It’s a problem for every team. Other teams will also be affected by these call-ups.

“We will not put pressure on anyone. We will play when we have to play, with the players who are here. But the calendar is crazy. It needs to be fixed as soon as possible. »

Brazil are already certain of a place at the 2022 World Cup – they lead the South American qualifying group with 35 points from 13 games played – while the participation of Valverde’s Uruguay is uncertain.

Ancelotti said Real Madrid won’t try to exert any influence on Brazil to send some of their players home early, given their position in the table.

« We know how much our Brazilian players want to play for their country, » Ancelotti said. “They will leave with the national team and the Brazil coach will make his decisions, whether he chooses the players or not, and then they will come back. »

Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey tie with Athletic will be the fourth time the two sides have met in recent months.

Madrid won both league encounters in December, winning 1-0 at the Bernabeu and 2-1 at San Mames, before beating Athletic 2-0 in the Spanish Supercopa final in Saudi Arabia last Sunday.

Ancelotti’s side are strong contenders to win this year’s Copa del Rey after Barcelona, ​​Atletico Madrid and Sevilla were all knocked out in the round of 16.

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