Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti defends Vinicius Jr. over 'role model' criticism

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Carlo Ancelotti has defended Vinicius Junior after he faced criticism from Sunday's opponents Mallorca, with captain Antonio Raillo saying the Real Madrid forward was not a suitable role model for children.

Vinicius clashed with Mallorca players and staff when the two teams met in September, and Raillo said this week: "If I had to pick a role model for my child, I'd pick [Luka] Modric or [Karim] Benzema, but never him."

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Madrid go into Sunday's game second in LaLiga -- five points behind leaders Barcelona -- while Mallorca are 10th after an impressive first half of the season.

"For me, [Vinicius] is a great player," Ancelotti said in a news conference on Saturday. "My grandchildren are all Vinicius fans. Kids like players with so much quality, who are spectacular on the ball.

"I have four grandchildren, they all have Vinicius shirts and they don't want any other."

Vinicius scored in Madrid's 4-1 win over Mallorca at the Bernabeu on Sept. 11.

Raillo was booked for a first-half clash with the Brazilian and later accused him of showing a "lack of respect" towards opponents.

"Vinicius will prepare for the game as he always does, to contribute and show his quality on the pitch," Ancelotti said on Saturday. "After that, let's see what happens. I don't need to talk to him. He's focused on what he has to do."

Ancelotti refused to comment on reports that forward Karim Benzema has the option to automatically renew his Madrid contract for another season, saying "the idea is that legends like Karim stay at Madrid until the end of their career."

He also criticised LaLiga's scheduling, with Sunday's afternoon game coming after Madrid were last in action on Thursday night.

"We aren't happy about playing under 72 hours later," Ancelotti said. "That doesn't seem right to me. We have to do it, but I think 72 hours' rest is the minimum. Playing on Sunday at 2 p.m. [CET] doesn't seem right to me."