Kylian Mbappe’s name came up in the press room at Real Madrid’s training center on Tuesday, and Carlo Ancelotti collapsed. “I can only give up,” said the Italian Real Madrid coach on the eve of the Champions League game against RB Leipzig. It should mean something like: I give up. Recall that Mbappe is a striker for Paris Saint-Germain, who was considered a safe player in Madrid a few months ago, and then extended his contract with PSG.
The reason for the question about Mbappe was the report of the French sports newspaper Team, after which Mbappe will most likely return to the market next summer. Reason: In the summer of 2024, it should change for free. He extended the contract until 2025, but the final year of the contract is optional. The decision to stay or not remains with Mbappe.
Ancelotti was asked if Mbappe would again be a problem for Real Madrid because PSG could only make money with Mbappe’s possible move in the summer of 2023. “Now we don’t think about anyone,” the former Bayern manager said, hunching over. “We have a great team and we are very happy with our young strikers.”
In the Champions League final, Rodrigo came on as a substitute only for Vinicius, the winning scorer.
Ancelotti was primarily thinking about two young Brazilians who are vying for an interesting bouquet – the question of which of the two is more inspiring, more inventive, more sensitive. Left winger Vinicius Jr., 22, joined Madrid from Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro four years ago? Or a slightly more elegant 21-year-old Rodrigo, who moved to Madrid from the legendary Santos in 2019, where the world careers of Pelé, Robinho, Diego or Neymar Junior began?
Vinicius and Rodrigo have a few things in common that go beyond the color of their passports or their hairdresser: they both have their hair done by Sebastian, brother of teammate Eduardo Camavinga. Both also had the same price tag. Real Madrid reportedly transferred €45 million to Brazil for Rodrigo and Vinicius. Ilona: They both didn’t hit at once. But for different reasons.
The fast, often hurried Vinicius had no shortage of moments, both narrower and broader. He got a lot of playing time and missed so many good scoring chances that a creepy joke quickly spread in Spain that Vinicius should be appointed as the shooter in the event of a death sentence by firing squad. Rodrigo on the other side? He could train a lot, including because he was considered the protégé of the club’s boss Florentino Perez, there was no pressure on him. Just a few days ago coach Ancelotti said: “Rodrigo’s training period is over. Now he is a Real Madrid player in every sense.”
No one is used to such comfort from Rodrigo’s previous career. Against. He signed his first outfitter contract with a sporting goods company when he was eleven years old as a young candidate for Santos FC; five years later, Rodrigo made his debut in the main team of Peixe, as Santos is popularly called. By comparison, Neymar was 17 years old when he played his first professional match for Santos. Rodrigo’s career was so promising that father Eric, now only 38, retired in 2016 to devote himself fully to his son’s career.
Vinicius and Rodrigo started the season well.
The former right-back has seen his son continue to score important goals despite being mostly on the bench. In November 2019, he scored three goals in Real Madrid’s 6-0 win over Galatasaray, which was crucial in allowing Zinedine Zidane, who retired a few months later, to resume coaching. He turned the Bernabéu stadium upside down with two goals in a marvelous 3-1 win in last year’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City. In the Saint-Denis final against Liverpool (1-0), Rodrigo sat on the bench – and he had one of the few moments when he was on the ears of his superiors.
“Tell him to bring me! Tell him to bring me!!” he pleaded with fitness trainer Antonio Pintus in a crescendo. Ancelotti only heard him in stoppage time and replaced him with the winning scorer Vinicius. However, in the game against Leipzig, the Brazilian pincers should come into play from the start.
Both started the season well with Vinicius scoring five goals in seven games, Rodrigo scoring two goals in five games. Ancelotti was also asked on Tuesday if he had spoken to Brazil coach Tite about the two, and the Italian said that although he was friends with Tite, he only talked about such things when it was absolutely necessary. “Now there is no need for this,” Ancelotti said, “Tite sees everything himself.”
Watching Madrid games can also give Tite headaches. Because it will be interesting to see if he can really take all the offensive forces with him to the World Cup in less than two months, which are now shining in Europe: Neymar (PSG), Anthony (Manchester United), Rafinha (FC Barcelona), Firmino ( Liverpool), Cunha (Atletico), Richarlison (Tottenham), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Vinicius and Rodrigo. There are rumors in Brazil that there is another player at home who can at least compete with the Europeans: Flamengo’s Pedro.