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Ancelotti plans to start 26-year-old ace against Osasuna, Man City in Modric’s absence

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Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

On Friday, Real Madrid were dealt with a bitter injury blow as midfield mainstay Luka Modric was ruled out for two weeks due to a hamstring problem he picked up against Girona earlier in the week.

It meant that the 37-year-old will certainly miss the Copa del Rey final against CA Osasuna on May 6 and will be a doubt for the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City three days later.

It comes as a huge blow for the reigning champions of Spain and Europe ahead of a crucial run of fixtures at the business end of the season.

And, according to AS, manager Carlo Ancelotti’s plan to deal with Modric’s absence is to start Dani Ceballos in the middle of the park against both Osasuna and Manchester City.

The 26-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season with his contract expiring on June 30. However, over the course of the season, Ceballos has demonstrated that he is deserving of a new contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.

So, it has already been reported that the Merengues have already called his representatives to discuss a new deal.

And the fact that Ancelotti is ready to back Ceballos to replace Modric in crucial games against Osasuna in the CdR final, which will take place in his native Seville, and Manchester City, ahead of someone like Aurelien Tchouameni shows the faith the manager has in him.

When asked about Modric’s replacement in his press conference yesterday, Ancelotti had said: “The one I see as the most similar in terms of characteristics is Ceballos.”

It is now up to the 26-year-old Spanish international to justify the manager’s decision by putting up impressive displays in the buildup to those critical games, starting with today’s match against UD Almeria at the Bernabeu.

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Real Madrid News

Revealed: Reasons why Real Madrid captain is contemplating exit

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid bid Toni Kroos an emotional farewell toward the end of last season, as the German midfielder opted not to pursue continuity in the Spanish capital and instead ride off into the sunset.

However, as the summer transfer window looms large, it appears the German maestro will not be the only veteran hitting the exit door for Los Blancos.

Indeed, Nacho Fernandez’s future continues to be up in the air, as his Real Madrid contract is set to expire in a few days.

Why Nacho is mulling over a departure

The Real Madrid centre-back has been reported to have received a lucrative two-year offer from Al Ittihad, who would nearly quadruple his current salary.

Aside from the appealing financial package from Saudi Arabia, according to AS, Nacho is inclined to leave for other reasons.

Nacho feels his role has diminished under Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

For one, the Spanish defender believes that under Ancelotti, his position on the team has not evolved.

Even though he had an impressive season, missing important games like the league Clasico at Santiago Bernabeu and the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals against Manchester City has caused him to reevaluate his future.

This season, he has participated in 45 of the 55 games, missing just three because of suspensions.

Yet, his future at the club appears doubtful owing to the return of Rafa Marin from loan, the presence of Antonio Rudiger, and the return of Eder Militao and David Alaba from injury.

Moreover, Nacho’s thoughts have also been impacted by the persistent speculations that Real Madrid is interested in signing Leny Yoro. In the event that Nacho departs, Yoro might join either this summer.

As such, given the competition in defence next season and the reported wage hike at Al Ittihad, it is likely that Nacho will end up departing the Merengues.

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