Real Madrid’s performance in the pre-season friendlies was far from ideal. Two wins and two defeats in four games while conceding eight goals was indeed bad taste for the manager, but it somehow portrayed what is in the offering for the next season.
According to what Mario Ruiz has written for Diario AS, Ancelotti’s team selection during the US tour, especially against Barcelona, gives an idea about the plan that he has for the starting XI for the 2023/24 season.
Ancelotti’s most likely starting XI
The most logical thing to anticipate the Italian’s starting XI is to know who played the most minutes during the four outings.
Thibaut Courtois, 31, will guard the goal, and guarding him are likely to be Dani Carvajal (31), if Madrid do not sign a centre-back, David Alaba, 31, Eder MIlitao, 25, and their newest recruit Fran Garcia.
Ferland Mendy did start against Barcelona at left-back but his injury in that give will allow 23-year-old Garcia to cement his place.
Choosing a midfielder from the plethora of options the manager has is going to be a tricky proposition.
The journalist writes that new signing Jude Bellingham and 20-year-old Eduardo Camavinga are going to be undisputed starters.
Vinicius Jr is simply irreplaceable, meaning that there are only three positions left to be filled.
From what we have seen so far, the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde are gaining prominence ahead of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who are largely expected to play a secondary role next season.
This leaves the final attacking spot, which will be occupied by Vinicius’ compatriot Rodrygo.
Now, Dani Ceballos and Arda Guler have not been able to play for the Italian due to their respective injuries, but they are indeed in consideration. On the other hand, Nacho and Antonio Rudiger are expected to get plenty of minutes as well.
While a large part of Madrid’s success will depend on Vinicius and Rodrygo, the likes of Joselu and Brahim Diaz will always be waiting in the wings.
Real Madrid full-back never considered summer exit, would retire at club if given chance
Ferland Mendy finds himself in a difficult situation at Real Madrid. The Frenchman has struggled with injury and fitness woes for a large part of the past year, leading to doubts over his future at the club.
In fact, it had been reported that Los Blancos were considering selling Mendy during the summer transfer window earlier this year itself.
But, such a move did not materialise and the 28-year-old has stayed put at the Santiago Bernabeu although reports suggest that he is likely to be on the move next year.
Mendy would retire at Real Madrid if he could
Despite there having been numerous reports about his future in the summer, The Athletic reports that Mendy did not consider the possibility of an exit at any point.
In fact, the report adds that if given a chance, the 28-year-old defender would retire at Real Madrid.
Mendy’s contract with Los Merengues expires in 2025 and he is understood to be seeking a renewal for a while now, but there has been no move made by the club.
The injuries that the 28-year-old has picked up are understood to be a major deterrent for Real Madrid, which is why they are already looking to reinforce the left-back position with Alphonso Davies next year.
Mendy enjoys Ancelotti’s trust
Despite the non-stop speculations surrounding him, Mendy continues to enjoy the full trust of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Indeed, as per the report, the Italian tactician has informed the Frenchman that he is the left-back that best fits the defensive requirements needed in the team.
Ancelotti’s decision to bench Fran Garcia in the UEFA Champions League game even though Mendy was unavailable and start David Alaba at left-back was taken as an indicator within the dressing room that the Frenchman remains the first-choice in the position.
So, it remains to be seen how the situation unfolds over the coming months, especially with Ancelotti’s future also uncertain as his contract expires in 2024.