International

Real demand Blatter apology

2013-10-29 18:00
Sepp Blatter (Getty Images)

Madrid - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has labelled FIFA president Sepp Blatter's comments on Cristiano Ronaldo's demeanour on the field as disrespectful.

The 77-year-old described the Portuguese as being "like a commander on the pitch" and joked he spent more money on his hairstyle than Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in an audience with Oxford University students last week.

Those comments have been met with fury in Madrid as Ronaldo aims to topple Messi to win the Ballon d'Or for the first time in five years after both men were nominated in the 23-man shortlist for the award on Tuesday.

And Ancelotti confirmed that Real president Florentino Perez has sent a letter to FIFA asking them to rectify Blatter's comments.

"It seems to me like a lack of respect," Ancelotti said on Tuesday.

"I haven't spoken with Cristiano about it.

"Today he trained very well as he always does.

"He shows every day that he is great player. He is serious, professional and respects everyone.

"I know that our president has sent a letter to FIFA."

On the field, Real have been boosted by the return of Xabi Alonso, who could make his first appearance of the season against Sevilla on Wednesday as Los Blancos look to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the weekend.

The Spanish international hasn't played since the Copa del Rey final in May as he was first sidelined by a groin problem and then a broken bone in his foot.

Alonso's presence was badly missed at the Camp Nou as Ancelotti resorted to playing central defender Sergio Ramos in the heart of his midfield, and the Italian recognises the importance that the former Liverpool man's return should have on the team.

"He is available. Tomorrow he could start on the bench and I will try to give him some minutes.

"Xabi has all the quality to be able to help the team play better.

"He has experience and quality in his passing. Moreover, he has a very good attitude defensively."

Gareth Bale is also likely to make his first start at the Bernabeu after starting for just the second time in a Madrid shirt against Barcelona.

The Welshman was largely anonymous during his 60 minutes on the field as he flitted between a central position and his more accustomed role on the wing.

And Ancelotti reaffirmed that he sees Bale as playing on the right side of Madrid's attack.

"Against Barcelona he could change his position with (Angel) Di Maria.

"I think his natural position is on the right and when he plays I think it will be there."

Alonso's return means that Ancelotti has his full squad available for the first time since arriving in June.

However, with Madrid midway through a run of seven games in 21 days, he admitted he will make a number of changes from the side that started against Barcelona.

Karim Benzema will return up front, whilst Spanish midfield duo Isco and Asier Illarramendi should also start after being surprisingly left on the bench at the weekend.

 

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