Almeria-Real Madrid Preview: Ancelotti eyes final victory before Club World Cup

The European champions will aim to become kings of the club football world this month, but must maintain their astounding domestic form if they are to leave for Morocco on a high

Real Madrid will look to head into the Club World Cup on a 20-match winning run by prevailing at Almeria in La Liga on Friday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side put in yet another clinical display to brush aside Ludogorets with a 4-0 Champions League triumph on Tuesday.

Since losing to city rivals Atletico in mid-September, Real have secured six straight victories in Europe’s elite club competition, 11 in La Liga and two in the Copa del Rey.

Three wins in December have yielded 12 goals for and none against and Ancelotti wants one more focused display before his team travel to Morocco.

“After losing to Atletico, I couldn’t have imagined stringing together 19 consecutive wins,” the Italian coach told Real’s official website.

“I was sure that the things that weren’t going well would be fixed, but not to this extent.”

Crushing Ludogorets in such ruthless fashion when they effectively had nothing to play for but extending the winning record highlighted how the Real players have embraced this historic hot streak.

“It is a result we have achieved with extraordinary seriousness and an incredible amount of professionalism,” added Ancelotti.

“It is not easy preparing for each game with the same levels of motivation and eagerness that these players are showing. I know that I have an extraordinary group of players.

“I have a very good relationship with the players. I care a lot for them and I thank them for the work they’re doing as much as I can.

“We are enjoying a great moment; the players, the technical staff and the club, which has always supported us. We have to keep this moment going.”

Real have received an additional boost with the return of Jese Rodriguez from a long-term knee injury, with the highly-rated 21-year-old coming off the bench to score in last week’s 5-0 Copa del Rey win over Cornella.

Jese also featured for half an hour against Ludogorets and Ancelotti said: “We have to give him playing time.

“He is following an exercise plan and his strength levels are good. He needs to improve aerobically though and therefore needs more minutes to get better, like he’s doing now.”

It will be a major surprise if Almeria can derail the Real bandwagon, La Liga’s 17th-placed side having picked up just two points in their last eight matches.

Real prevailed 4-0 at home and 5-0 away in their league meetings last season, with Gareth Bale and Isco scoring in both fixtures.

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