Ancelotti admits he didn’t know Gonçalo Ramos and opens up about Ronaldo, Messi, England and Mbappé

Carlo Ancelotti admits he didn’t know Portugal striker Gonçalo Ramos and believes Brazil are favourite to win the World Cup: ‘Mentality is England’s limit.’

The Italian tactician spoke about the World Cup in an interview with Il Corriere Dello Sport.

Ancelotti returned to Real Madrid last year and his interview starts with Spain’s World Cup elimination at the hands of Morocco.

“There’s a lot of disappointment here in Madrid, there were high expectations even if the team is still very young. Luis Enrique is having a tough time. He had been criticised even before the game, imagine now,” he said.

Ancelotti coached Tottenham striker Richarlison at Everton and believes he is one of the best forwards in the world.

“He is a modern striker, complete, not so accurate with the ball at his feet, but his late runs are extraordinary and he is very coordinated,” said the Italian tactician.

“He is not a giant but is a great header. It’s not the typical Brazilian striker but is among the best out there.

“The era of Ibra, Ronaldo, Suarez, Cavani, Messi and Benzema is coming to an end. They are 35. Lewandowski will be 35 next year. The new generation is represented by Mbappé, Richarlison, Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Darwin Nunez. I admit I did not know Gonçalo Ramos.”

Ancelotti sees Brazil as the favourite to win the World Cup, not only because they can rely on Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior.

“Today Vini is much more self-confident, he and Mbappé have two uncommon characteristics. Those who see them live struggle to understand how they can have that pace and explosiveness.

“Brazil is the most complete team. They have quality, freshness and experience which is so important in these competitions. I am curious to see England-France. The mentality is the limit of English and in this World Cup, there haven’t been many surprises.”

Ancelotti also coached Ronaldo at Real Madrid, winning the Champions League in 2014.

The Portuguese striker was sacked by Manchester United a few weeks ago and could join Al Nassr in January, signing a €200m-a-year deal.

“What’s the problem? I don’t know, perhaps he still feels like he is 20 years old because he feels well. He’s been taking care of his body for his entire career but the competition is stiffer now,” said Ancelotti.

“I managed him for two years and never had problems. On the contrary, he solved my problems. He scores a goal per game, how can you consider him a problem? He trains well, he takes care of every detail. To me, it was very easy to coach him. He is an exceptional player.”

Karim Benzema is recovering from an injury and Ancelotti said he will be available by the end of the week.

“Benzema will be back on Saturday [for Real Madrid], we’re going to fix him.”

Last but not least: would he pick Leo Messi or Diego Maradona?

“What kind of question is this? I played against Diego and even just for affection, I say Maradona.”

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