Carlo Ancelotti, the head coach of Real Madrid, was overjoyed with his team's performance against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kyiv. The Italian boss was particularly amazed by the three players in the middle of the park.
Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro ruled the game in the middle of the park, allowing Los Blancos to dominate and run riot. Ancelotti said:
"The three of them won everything and they still have that ambition and commitment. You can only applaud them. You can't say anything else."
Another veteran who delivered a typically excellent performance was Karim Benzema, while the return of first-choice left-back Ferland Mendy was also a boost.
"Karim has more leadership now, like Modric, Casemiro and Kroos," said Ancelotti.
Ancelotti seems to think that Benzema’s game has improved and that he plays a very vital role for Real Madrid.
"Now I like him a bit more than before. [Mendy's] return is important for us, too. He played 65 good minutes."
Real Madrid scored five goals against Shakhtar and Vinicius Junior played a big part in three of them. Junior scored two fine goals and set up Rodrygo Goes to get on the scoresheet as well.
Real Madrid manager heaps praise on players after Champions League game vs Shaktar Donestsk
"[Vinicius] played well. It's hard to pick one player today, we were good from the get-go," said Ancelotti. "We knew about their danger on the counter. [The result] gives us confidence but Barcelona is a different game, another story."
"[Vinicius] has improved a lot. He's scoring goals and he's taking more action in front of goal. He's looking very fresh."
Vinicius' compatriot Rodrygo also had a good game and, while not usually a starter, could come into the coach's thinking for El Clasico.
Real Madrid manager Carlos Ancelotti praised Rodrygo as well, talking about his game and his chances of starting for the club in the future.
"[Rodrygo] did his job in the game," said Ancelotti. "I liked his work in defense and on the counter a lot. I don't know if he'll start against Barcelona but when you play like that it's hard to change things."