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Carlo Ancelotti ‘extremely’ worried about 31-year-old forward’s poor form

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Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Eden Hazard’s performance against fourth-tier club Cacereno has put Carlo Ancelotti under immense pressure.

The Italian manager kept his word and gave the Belgian a chance but as it turns out, the attacker failed to live up to the expectations and lasted a mere 68 minutes. And it has left the manager ‘extremely’ worried reports AS.

The 31-year-old recorded zero attempted dribbles, did not have a go at goal, lost the ball five times and managed just 24 touches, the lowest of any Real Madrid forward.

These are the statistics that are certain to worry any manager and Ancelotti is no different. The manager thought he could count on him during the packed schedule this month, but the player has only disappointed the main man.

Against Cacereno, the 31-year-old had most of his touches on the left side of the field and almost every single touch was outside the box. Hazard’s substitution saw Rodrygo moving to left and it only took the Brazilian a minute to score the winner for his team.

Interestingly enough, speaking after the game, Ancelotti did not say a lot against Hazard, but minced a lot about the state of the pitch.

“You can’t play football,” Ancelotti said. “For me, it’s not football, it’s another sport. It’s nice because small teams can fight and compete with bigger teams.

“It’s good for the fans, but the fans also want to see beautiful matches.

About Hazard, he noted, “I liked [Hazard]. It’s difficult to evaluate players individually, it was impossible to play. Smaller players like Hazard or Rodrygo suffer more, but he delivered.”

It must be noted that Hazard’s ongoing contract with Real Madrid runs until 2024, but he is more likely to leave the team before that. In fact, it is highly anticipated that he will be sold in summer itself.

Given the performance he delivered against the fourth-tier side of Spanish football, one can suspect that it is going to be the final roll of the dice.

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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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