While praising English midfielder Jude Bellingham, who has been linked to a transfer to his Real Madrid club, manager Carlo Ancelotti claimed on Friday that he already has access to a wealth of youthful potential.
Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, and Fede Valverde are three of the most promising midfield talents in global football, and they play for Los Blancos.
Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund represented England admirably during the World Cup in Qatar, but Gareth Southgate’s team was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Tchouameni and Camavinga’s France.
“Bellingham showed at the World Cup that he is a great midfielder,” Ancelotti told reporters on Friday ahead of his team’s La Liga clash with Villarreal.
“A lot of youngsters stood out, like Enzo (Fernandez) with Argentina, and the Spaniards Pedri and Gavi had a very nice tournament.
“There are a lot of young midfielders emerging but I’ll stick with mine. We have very good ones, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Valverde. We have a lot of youngsters.”
The French team of Tchouameni and Camavinga came in second after Argentina’s victory in the championship match.
The 2025 expiration of Bellingham’s contract with Dortmund has led to interest from a number of clubs, notably Spanish champions Madrid, who this summer transferred Casemiro to Manchester United.
The contracts of veteran Madrid midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, both 37 years old, expire in the summer of 2023.
In 2021, Los Blancos acquired Camavinga, 20, from Rennes, and in 2018, they acquired Tchouameni, 22, from Monaco.
Valverde, 24, joined Madrid’s youth ranks from Penarol in 2016, but has often been deployed on the right flank instead of in central midfield.
They are all establishing themselves at Madrid, who are level on points with league leaders Barcelona ahead of their first match of 2023, a tricky test at Quique Setien’s Villarreal on Saturday.
“They have changed a bit, they have a very clear identity, different from (Unai) Emery’s Villarreal,” added Ancelotti.
“Setien likes attacking football, their players are well positioned on the pitch. To win there, you have to be at your best.”