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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Real Madrid’s Girona rout a ‘big blow’ in title race – Ancelotti

Girona coach Míchel admitted that his team “aren’t in Real Madrid‘s league” after Madrid thrashed them 4-0 on Saturday in a result that Carlo Ancelotti called a “big blow for the LaLiga title.”

Vinícius Júnior opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu and Jude Bellingham grabbed a brace — before being substituted with an ankle problem — with Rodrygo Goes making it 4-0, to leave leaders Madrid five points clear of Girona at the top of the table.

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“We tried to stand up to them, but when Madrid are at their best, we can’t get there,” Michel said in his post-match news conference. “The players gave everything, but [Madrid] were superior in the duels. The games from [Eduardo] Camavinga, Vinícius, Bellingham… We aren’t at that level.”

“We’re a club that’s growing,” Michel said. “There are only four or five teams in the world that can fight with Real Madrid. When they play like today, it’s hard to stop them.

Valencia, [Real] Betis, that’s our league. We aren’t in Real Madrid’s league. We took points off Barcelona, but they’re not in our league, Atlético Madrid aren’t in our league. We’ll keep working with humility. I think we’re candidates to be in Europe.”

Míchel — who has made Girona surprise contenders this season ahead of more well established rivals like Barca — admitted that Madrid were now likely to end the campaign as champions.

“In a game anything can happen, but I had the feeling today that Madrid are very strong and if they continue at that level it will be hard for them to drop points,” he said. “Today, at no point did you get the feeling that we could win… Our level isn’t Real Madrid’s level. We’ve been in a dream, and we’re still in a dream.”

“It’s a big blow for the LaLiga title,” Madrid coach Ancelotti said. “Girona are a very good team. They hadn’t lost away from home… We’re well placed, we’ve done well until now. We have an advantage but it’s just that, a small advantage.”

Madrid’s night was soured by concern over Bellingham — who has now scored 16 league goals this season — ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League round-of-16 first leg against RB Leipzig.

“Bellingham twisted his ankle,” Ancelotti said. “It will be assessed tomorrow. Let’s hope he’ll be available for Tuesday… There are games Bellingham hasn’t played and others have done well, like Brahim [Diaz]. I can’t be more worried than I was today. Today we had four centre-backs injured and we did well.”

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