Carlo Ancelotti claims Real Madrid have already completed their summer spending as he ruled out any more arrivals at the Santiago Bernabeu.
That underlines a staggering difference between Madrid and their great rivals Barcelona, who have barely got started and are hoping for pieces to fall into place to allow a spree to go ahead.
Madrid, the LaLiga and Champions League double winners, have brought in German defender Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer from Chelsea, while landing French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco for a reported initial €80million.
The club cleared plenty of space on their wage bill by offloading Gareth Bale, Isco, Marcelo and Luka Jovic, and head coach Ancelotti has decided to keep trust with the bulk of the squad that achieved so much last season.
“I can’t talk about signings, but I’m already saying that everything is over. We’re not going to sign anyone. We’re fine like this,” Ancelotti said.
@ToniRuediger | @atchouameni pic.twitter.com/ZkpX8kC6Uz
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) July 14, 2022
As Barcelona wrestle to get players in and out, the message is already clear from Madrid that the champions have their ducks in a row already and cannot wait to get going in the 2022-23 campaign.
Ancelotti, who was speaking to international media ahead of Madrid’s pre-season trip to the United States, saw Rudiger and Tchouameni come through their first training sessions with Madrid on Thursday.
The new pair were described by Ancelotti as “the best that could be found on the market”.
The first pre-season test for Madrid comes against Barcelona in Las Vegas on the evening of Saturday, July 23. That Clasico clash is “not an exhibition”, according to Ancelotti.
Quoted in the Spanish press, the Italian boss said: “It’s never a friendly against Barcelona. They are the team we respect the most and the one with the greatest rivalry.”
There could be an experiment or two from Ancelotti before the season begins, as he toys with the idea of using Eden Hazard as a ‘false nine’ striker.
Ancelotti is wary about overburdening captain and star striker Karim Benzema, and he believes Belgian Hazard could thrive in the role when called upon.
Madrid have the defence of their domestic and European titles as obvious targets, and a mid-season World Cup complicates planning for the campaign ahead.
“We have many options for that position. Benzema is number one, but we have to understand that this will be a strange season, different, with the World Cup in the middle, and we have to look at different options,” Ancelotti said.
“My idea is to try to see Eden in that position. Given the quality that Eden has, it could be good for us to test him there.”