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Champions League

Real Madrid not distracted by Kylian Mbappe speculation

Carlo Ancelotti has denied that the continued speculation about the signing of Kylian Mbappe is becoming a distraction for Real Madrid as they prepare to face Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Madrid host Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Friday in their last league game of the season — having wrapped up the LaLiga title last month — and will then focus on the final in Paris on Saturday, May 28.

Mbappe has still not confirmed where he will play next season, although ESPN reported this week that his club Paris Saint-Germain had given up on agreeing a contract extension with the forward and expected him to join Madrid this summer.

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“We’re used to these things,” Ancelotti said in a news conference on Thursday.

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“We’re focused. The atmosphere is very good. What happens outside, and what’s talked about, doesn’t affect us at all.

“Nobody asks me about [Mbappe]. I spend my time at [Madrid’s training ground] Valdebebas, in my car and at home. Sometimes I like to go to Madrid’s good restaurants, but nobody asks me about that… The only thing I have in mind is the final.”

While Real Madrid have been able to look towards the Champions League final since they secured the LaLiga title on April 30 — with Ancelotti resting key players such as Karim Benzema and Luka Modric — Liverpool are still caught up in a tense Premier League title race with Manchester City.

“Liverpool have had more difficulties than us, playing important matches,” Ancelotti said. “We have had more time to think about it, but in the end I don’t think it will affect the teams.”

The manager said he wasn’t sure if Gareth Bale — who will leave Madrid when his contract expires next month after nine years — was fit enough to be involved against Betis in what would be his last game at the Bernabeu, despite being called up by Wales on Thursday.

“Bale trained today. He isn’t 100% yet. [Friday] we’ll see if he’s on the bench,” Ancelotti said. “Everyone knows his contract is up. Whether he plays or not tomorrow isn’t important… He’s a player who has written important chapters in the history of this club and everyone recognises that.”

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