Ancelotti doesn't rate Barcelona as a rival

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Los Blancos are five points clear at the top of the table, having lost just once in La Liga this season against Espanyol on 4 October (AEDT).

Barca, meanwhile, are 15 points adrift of the leader in seventh place and has won only seven LaLiga games so far this term, the most recent on Sunday (AEDT) against Elche.

Madrid head coach Ancelotti feels that the likes of Sevilla and Real Betis, second and third respectively, pose a more immediate threat than the Catalan club, and Sevilla's 2-1 win over defending champion Atletico Madrid on Sunday (AEDT) would have only enhanced that viewpoint.

"Now Barcelona is not a direct rival because we are closer [to] Sevilla, Atletico or Betis, but if I were Barcelona's coach I would say that we can't rule out LaLiga either," Ancelotti said ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Cadiz.

Ancelotti is without six players for Monday's (AEDT) encounter because of COVID-19, with Marcelo, Luka Modric, Andriy Lunin, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Rodrygo all unavailable, while Isco is also a doubt.

The Italian gave fitness updates on the rest of the squad and was particularly optimistic about Eden Hazard's chances of playing a starring role.

"It is true that we have had setbacks but those who have tested positive are fine and the rest are ready to play tomorrow's game," Ancelotti continued.

"After the first positive tests, the [rest] all tested negative and we are determined to play. We have to live with it just as society is doing. This virus is less strong than before and we have to keep in mind that we have to take care of ourselves and follow all precautions.

"Hazard starts tomorrow. He wants motivation and he's going to play because he trained well and deserves it. He is always well. The problem is that he has not always been able to train 100 per cent and I think that tomorrow he will play a good game.

"Hazard is prepared. It is clear that in the first part of the season he had the competition of [Karim] Benzema and Vinicius [Junior] and now he can have a very, very good second part of the season.

"Benzema has trained very well. He is very well and will play. Modric has tested negative but remains confined. He is tired and has had a fever so he will not be there tomorrow. Then we have to assess what the regulations say."


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