Ancelotti expecting ‘intense’ not ‘ugly’ derby

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his side's fourth meeting of the campaign against Atletico Madrid on Sunday will be as keenly contested as any so far this season.

Ancelotti expecting 'intense' not 'ugly' derby
Photo: AFP

Atletico have yet to lose at home in La Liga, but were comprehensively beaten by Real in both legs of their recent Copa del Rey semi-final as Los Blancos progressed 5-0 on aggregate.

In the second leg of that tie Cristiano Ronaldo was hit on the head by a lighter thrown from the Atletico fans, whilst a number of clashes between the players in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu were also criticised for lacking sportsmanship.

With Real sitting just three points ahead of Atletico at the top of the table, Ancelotti is expecting a fiery atmosphere at the Vicente Calderon.

However, the Italian is hoping that passions don't spill over into more unsavoury scenes.

"Tomorrow will be an intense game. That is normal, but I don't think it will be ugly," he said.

"We will try to play our football. To take control of a derby you have to play as well as you can.

"We have a three-point advantage, you could say that we are favourites, but they are playing at the Calderon and the fans help them a lot."

Real come into the game in top form on the back of a 27-game unbeaten run in all competitions and having thrashed Schalke 6-1 away in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Gareth Bale had arguably his best night in a Madrid shirt in Germany as he scored twice and provided two assists as Ronaldo and Karim Benzema also scored twice.

And Ancelotti said Bale is growing in confidence after an injury plagued campaign.

"He is returning to a very good level mentally and physically and you can see that on the pitch. He scored a great goal against Elche and he played very well against Schalke.

"His confidence is improving as is the way he combines with the rest of his teammates."

Ancelotti has no new injury worries as long-term absentee Sami Khedira is the only first-team player unavailable.

Diego Lopez will again replace Iker Casillas in goal from the side that started in midweek, whilst Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa are also in contention to start.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.