Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti supported his wing, Vinicius Junior, in his upcoming battle to untie Barcelona defender Ronaldo Araujo, on the eve of the expected El Clasico match in the Spanish Football League.
While the Brazilian Vinicius is the royal team’s most prominent weapon this season, the repositioning of the Uruguayan Araujo in recent matches on the right corridor succeeded in curbing the young international player.
Vinicius scored twice in 12 matches against Barcelona, and both times the center of defense Araujo was not in the right-back position.
No team has scored from open play in the league this season against Barcelona at Camp Nou, which puts the defending champions in front of a very difficult task against the leaders, nine points behind their historic rivals.
“He suffered difficulties, but Vinny remains Vinny,” Ancelotti said in a press conference on Saturday. “His movements may help him do his best in tomorrow’s match.”
The Italian coach continued, “I am thinking of putting him on the right flank, so let’s wait and see. He can play on the right, Vinicius.”
But the seasoned coach said afterwards that he was joking about putting the fast Brazilian on the right, “Of course I was not serious, but the move may be important, not to have a fixed fulcrum. In general, this causes additional anxiety for the defence.. Vinny will play on the left flank with more movement.
Barcelona coach Xavi also looked forward to the upcoming competition between Araujo and Vinicius, “Araujo is very strong physically, he is fast and understands the movements of his opponents.”
He continued, “He usually emerges victorious from the battles with Vinicius, but Vinicius is able to make a big difference.”
And Xavi expressed his aspiration to lead Barcelona for the first time in El Clasico at the Camp Nou, as his previous confrontations were away from his stadium, “I am very excited, you know that I am a big Barcelona fan, these things push me forward.”
Barcelona had defeated Real 1-0 in the first leg of the Cup semi-finals at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium earlier this month, noting that the first leg ended in favor of Real 3-1. Facing the Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia, Barcelona emerged victorious 3-1 in January.
The guests made a remarkable defensive performance in the cup, while Madrid took possession of the ball, which exposed Xavi to some criticism for violating the historical principles of Barcelona’s attacking style that relies on possession.
The Catalan team missed several players at the time, such as Polish top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, Frenchman Osman Dembele, and the latter two will be absent from Sunday’s match.
Barcelona won nine times, 1-0, this season, keeping 19 clean sheets in 25 games.
While Atletico Madrid coach, Argentine Diego Simeone, winked from Xavi’s channel, about hearing “lovers of beautiful play” say that the 1-0 result had become attractive, Xavi replied that winning this difference in El Clasico “would be wonderful.”
He added, “What is the problem with the 1-0? Barcelona won its first European title (in 1992) with a free kick to Koeman (Dutchman Ronald) 1-0, and no one said anything.
Then he continued, “I prefer 4-0 or 5-4, but scoring goals is difficult, as people defend well, and whoever has not played this game will not understand that. Winning 1-0 is a great result.”