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Ancelotti talks Modric, Kroos, Ceballos, Camavinga, Alaba ahead of Atletico clash

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Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

It is a special night in the Spanish capital tomorrow as Atletico Madrid make the trip to the centre of the city. It is, indeed, the Madrid derby. In the Copa del Rey, no less.

Both teams are coming off tough games in the round of 16, with Real Madrid coming back from 2-0 down to win 2-3 against Villarreal, and Atletico escaping an upset vs Levante courtesy of two second-half goals.

The last clash between the Madrid giants ended 1-2 in favour of Carlo Ancelotti, who took to the media as part of his pre-game press conference.

On the game: “Tomorrow’s game will be very special. A derby is always special. We are happy and can’t wait to play at the Santiago Bernabéu again after so long.”

On Luka Modric and Toni Kroos: “Modric and Kroos? They understand very well their role and what I ask them. They know there’s a lot of quality inside this squad. It’s a moment of transition. I talked to them about this at the start of the season.”

“Modrić and Kroos can play together, obviously. I am sure about that and I have no doubt they will still be important.”

“Modrić and Kroos have contributed a lot and will continue to contribute. I have no doubt with them. Of course they’ll still play together. Nothing has changed.”

On rotations: “Rotations are key for success. All the players must stay motivated.”

On Federico Valverde: “Valverde is not at his top form after the World Cup. We are waiting for him to recover.”

On Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos: “Would it be fair to leave Ceballos and Asensio on the bench tomorrow? No but we need to always rotate in this part of the season. I’ll use the best XI tomorrow.”

On injuries: “Alaba will play tomorrow. Tchouaméni, Hazard, Carvajal and Lucas are out.”

On Nacho: “Nacho? He can play everywhere and he always does it very well. Of course he prefers to play as CB and I know it. That’s why he will start as right-back tomorrow (laughs).”

On January transfers: “The squad is closed until June. No movements will happen.”

On Tchouameni: “Tchouameni will be available for Sunday’s match.”

“Tchouameni is not comfortable if he plays with another DM in a midfield 3, Camavinga is better under that aspect.”

“A double pivot of Camavinga and Tchouameni? It could be an idea for the future.”

On Brazil rumours: “Rumours of coaching Brazil? No, there’s nothing. I would tell you.”

On Camavinga: “Camavinga was spectacular vs Athletic Club. He amazed me, especially under the defensive aspect.”

On Fran Garcia: “Fran Garcia? He came out of our youth academy and we are evaluating him, but we won’t make decisions until the end of the season.”

Source: Real Madrid TV

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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