Real Madrid’s lack of depth in the centre-back department has been severely exposed this season after injuries to key players.
Eder Militao ruptured his ACL on the very first day of the new season followed by another ACL injury to David Alaba in late 2023, leaving Carlo Ancelotti with just Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez as the fit senior centre-backs.
Things took a turn for the worse last week when Rudiger also succumbed to an injury, forcing the manager to utilise Dani Carvajal at centre-back in a high-profile clash against Atletico Madrid.
Now, even though Rudiger appears to have recovered, Nacho has fallen to an injury, leaving Ancelotti short again.
Despite the situation, Real Madrid do not regret not signing a new defender in the summer or January, but have plans in place to address the issue next season.
Rafa Marin to have a place in the first-team squad
Indeed, as per AS, Real Madrid have plans to incorporate academy graduate Rafa Marin into the first-team squad for the next season.
Marin, 21, enjoyed an impressive season with Castilla during 2022/23 and even trained under Ancelotti with the first-team squad on occasions.
However, in the summer window, the young Spaniard was loaned out to Deportivo Alaves for the season, where he has been making good progress.
Marin has played 22 times in all competitions for Alaves this season and has had exposure to first-team football in La Liga, which holds him in good stead.
As things stand, the plan is for the Spaniard to be a part of the senior setup at Real Madrid next season, along with Militao, Alaba, Rudiger, and Nacho, provided he renews his contract.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.