Carlo Ancelotti has said it is normal for his team to be dependent on red-hot Vinicius Junior as the Real Madrid coach labelled the Brazil winger as “one of the best in the world.”
Vinicius, 22, has been sensational this season for Madrid this season and is the team’s joint-top scorer alongside Karim Benzema with 18 goals as well as seven assists.
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“Vini Jr. is one of the best in the world and he often decides games for us,” Ancelotti said ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey semifinal first leg against Barcelona. “It’s normal to rely on him because at the moment he is one of the greatest players in the game.”
Barca are top of LaLiga, seven points clear of Madrid after 23 games. Xavi’s side won the most recent instalment of the Clasico 3-1 in the Spanish Supercopa final on Jan. 15.
“We lacked commitment and decisiveness in the Spanish Super Cup,” Ancelotti said. “We made individual errors and if we make this kind of mistake again it will hurt us. I don’t think they’ll happen again because it’s a very important game and we’re near to winning what is an important competition for us. We’re going to compete.
“You have to have personality and courage to face a match like this. As always, there is enthusiasm to play this match, it’s always beautiful. We’re not far from playing a final. There are many things that allow us to enjoy this moment and try to do our best.”
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Ancelotti, meanwhile, stressed the importance of Karim Benzema to his team after the striker missed out on the Best FIFA Men’s Player 2022 award on Monday, finishing behind Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
Benzema, 35, shared a post on Instagram with a list of all of his achievements during 2022.
“What he [Benzema] has done for us is there to be seen,” Ancelotti said. “He has helped us a lot. Hopefully we can thank him this year too. A decisive moment arrives and having Karim [fit] gets us to be closer to the titles.”