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Ancelotti Defends 'Clasico' Referee, Team Selection

Spanish talk radio show Cadena COPE grilled Carlo Ancelotti on Monday in the wake of Real Madrid’s 2-1 loss to Barcelona in the first ‘El Clasico’ of the season over the weekend. When asked if he thought the referee had stolen the match from Los Blancos by not awarding a clear penalty for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo, the Italian replied: “The referee makes mistakes like the players do. The referee made an error at an important moment of the game, but I do not think it was a robbery. No one at the club has spoken of theft.”

Ancelotti, who was speaking ahead of Real’s midweek clash with Sevilla on Wednesday, was forced to answer repeated questions about his team selection, particularly the decisions to start Gareth Bale at striker and Sergio Ramos in midfield. “Bale played because in my opinion he could play and create problems for Barcelona, only for this. [Karim] Benzema did not start because I did not want the opposing defense to have a clear point of reference,” he said.

“Ramos in midfield? I do not think I was wrong there. It is true that Sergio Ramos has not played in this position before. Before deciding I spoke to him. He was happy, excited to play in this position.” He added that if the game were to be played again tomorrow, he would play Ramos in midfield again.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti was happy to report that midfielder Xabi Alonso has completed his recovery from a long-term injury and could be available for the game against Sevilla.

Read the whole story at Football Espana »

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