Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti will make a late decision on whether to play Jude Bellingham in the Champions League clash with Braga.
The England midfielder suffered a shoulder injury in the weekend draw with Raya Vallecano, but he trained on Tuesday and will be assessed ahead of the Group C clash at the Bernabeu.
Bellingham has scored 13 goals and produced three assists in a remarkable start to life at Madrid, but owing to their strong position in the group, Ancelotti may not risk him.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) November 7, 2023
“I don’t know if he’ll play,” the Italian told a press conference. “He trained today (Tuesday) which means he’s comfortable. He has recovered well and felt good in all the movements he made. I’ll evaluate it with him tomorrow.”
Ancelotti has backed Vinicius Jr after former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol questioned the Brazilian’s attitude.
Vinicius has not been at his scintillating best so far this season, but the former Chelsea and Everton boss is happy with the 23-year-old.
“If Puyol wants to talk to Vinicius, let him talk to him,” he said.
“He’s still making a difference. He may need to improve his attitude in some situations, but he has improved a lot and keeps on improving.
“We’re delighted with him, and with what he does on the pitch, which is playing football. He’s been out of sorts at times in recent games, but his attitude has improved a lot over the years.”
Having won all three games so far in Group C, victory at the Bernabeu on Wednesday will assure Madrid’s passage to the knockout stages.
Ancelotti added: “It would be significant, at this stage of the season, to wrap up the group stage in four games.
“It would be good. We will have to fight to win this game. We played against Braga recently, both sides know each other well and we have to remember that they’re a good team who are coming to the Bernabeu looking to take points. We need to be at our best.
“If it’s between winning and playing well, I prefer to win. It’s the only thing a coach is judged on. I’m sure that in 80 per cent of the games where you play well, you win them.”
Ancelotti was speaking on the day that Eduardo Camavinga signed a new deal that will keep him at Real Madrid until June 2029.
Camavinga, who can play in both midfield or in defence as a left-back, has made made 114 appearances for Los Blancos since his arrival in 2021.
The versatile 20-year-old has already amassed a large collection of trophies in his first two seasons in the Spanish capital, including the Champions League, Club World Cup, European Super Cup, LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.
Victory would do the Portuguese side’s hopes of qualifying the world of good as they would move on to six points, keeping them in touch with Napoli, who play Union Berlin in the other match.