Sports

Hall-of-famer Carlo proud of real job

Italian bids to keep chasing pack at bay in Andalusia

CORDOBA v REAL MADRID

(Tonight, 10.55pm, Singtel TV Ch 115 & StarHub TV Ch 209)

Carlo Ancelotti feels “privileged” to be coaching Real Madrid as Los Blancos ready themselves for another battle to retain top spot.

The European champions lead the way in the Primera Division by a point heading into this weekend’s fixtures, and take on Cordoba tonight when they will look to win and keep the chasing Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at bay.

Real have had a quiet week, having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, and should head to Andalusia fresher than those two sides, who met in the cup in midweek.

Ancelotti spent one of his days being inducted into the Italian football Hall of Fame and, as he looks to guide Madrid to the League title, he spoke of his pride of being their coach.

“I have had a very fortunate career and it is an honour to be part of this Hall of Fame,” he said.

“I have been very fortunate both as a player and as a manager. Each championship is different; in Spain the emphasis is on good play. All my experiences have been positive.

“A coach has to adapt to his players; they are treating me very well and I feel privileged, that’s for sure.” Ancelotti will have to unpick a Cordoba side just on the edge of trouble at the foot of the table.

Miroslav Dukic’s men are 14th, but are one of eight teams covered by three points in the lower reaches. They are, however, unbeaten in their last three League games, having claimed back-to-back victories over Granada and Rayo Vallecano before a 1-1 home draw against Eibar.

ATTITUDE

Few expect them to get close to Madrid, but striker Nabil Ghilas knows he and his team-mates cannot subscribe to that attitude.

“I expect a game where Real Madrid will attack a lot and we will work to try to take advantage of any mistakes,” he said. “The fans are always with us whatever the result. We are pleased with our results and the mental aspect is important, but this is a different week and you have to work and do everything to try to do something positive.”

Real are without Pepe and Luka Modric, who are continuing their respective recoveries.

Defender Pepe missed a 3-0 win over Getafe last weekend with a rib problem picked up in the 2-2 Copa del Rey second-leg draw with Atletico, while Croatian midfielder Modric has been out since November with a thigh injury.

James Rodriguez, however, trained with his team-mates on Thursday after he and Isco worked separately from the rest of the squad the previous day.


FIXTURES

Today:

  • Cordoba v Real Madrid (10.55pm)

Tomorrow:

  • Elche v Barcelona (12.55am)
  • Atletico Madrid v Rayo Vallecano (2.55am)
  • Villarreal v Levante (4.55am)
  • Athletic Bilbao v Malaga (11.55pm)

Monday:

  • Valencia v Sevilla (3.55am)

Tuesday:

  • Getafe v Celta Vigo (3.40am)


*All matches will be telecast LIVE on Singtel TV Ch 114/115 & StarHub TV 
Ch 208/209