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Dublin: 5°C Monday 8 March 2021

Ancelotti reveals Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez will start Super Cup

Real Madrid’s high-profile summer signings set to feature against Sevilla on Tuesday night.

Image: Fernando Llano/AP/Press Association Images

REAL MADRID COACH Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Monday that he will unleash his big guns, including new signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, in Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla.

The two midfielders only started training on August 5 after starring at the World Cup — Rodriguez for Colombia, Kroos for champions Germany — but Ancelotti said that both would start the match in Cardiff.

Asked if the two players would feature from kick-off, Ancelotti replied: “Yes, they will both be in the line-up.”

With Xabi Alonso suspended, Kroos is expected to partner Luka Modric in central midfield for the European champions, with Rodriguez playing at number 10.

Ancelotti said that reigning Ballon d’Or-winner Cristiano Ronaldo was also in line to feature despite struggling with a knee problem during the World Cup.

“Cristiano is well,” the Italian told a pre-game media conference at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“He has no problem. He’s worked with the others at maximum intensity and I believe he’s in good physical condition.

“He’s participated in everything and is ready to play this match. He’s facing this season with a positive spirit.”

Soccer - 2014 UEFA Super Cup - Sevilla v Real Madrid - Real Madrid Training - Cardiff City Stadium Hometown glory: Gareth Bale is set to start for Real Madrid against Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday. Source: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Welsh forward Gareth Bale is also expected to start on his return to his home-town, although Ancelotti could not resist making a joke at the expense of the local media.

“I don’t know if he’s going to play, because everyone’s saying, ‘He’s back home, he’s back home,’” Ancelotti said.

“It could be strange if he starts on the bench!”

The arrivals of Kroos and Rodriguez have fuelled speculation about the futures of midfielders Sami Khedira and Angel di Maria, both of whom have been strongly linked with moves away from the club.

Ancelotti, however, was reluctant to be drawn on Madrid’s plans for the pair.

Asked about Di Maria, he replied:

This is an issue that we don’t need to talk about now, facing this match. What I can tell you is that we have trained for this match in order to play well and Angel has joined in the training. We’re lucky this topic has not come up in the changing room.”

“He’s come very concentrated on this task and as far as his future’s concerned, we can’t tell how that will pan out. We must wait until August 31 (when the transfer window closes).”

On Khedira, the Madrid coach added: “Sami Khedira is a Real Madrid player because he has a contract that stops on June 30, 2015.

“So right now he is a Real Madrid player and he’s training to help Real Madrid win titles.”

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