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Carlo Ancelotti planning ‘new’ tactics for Eden Hazard and Rodrygo next season

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Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid cruised through most of last season with ease, steamrolling through competition in La Liga, and making miraculous comebacks in the Champions League.

Toni Kroos was unplayable during the first half of the campaign, with Luka Modric carrying the midfield through most of their UCL games. Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga acted as more than able deputies, while Nacho did not put a foot wrong as the first-choice CB backup.

Carlo Ancelotti’s biggest, and probably only problem through the season was not having an ideal backup for Karim Benzema. But if reports from El Chiringuito are to be believed, the Italian has a sound plan to escape that worry.

He intends to use Eden Hazard and Rodrygo in a false 9 capacity to cover for Benzema next season.

Now that Luka Jovic has moved to Fiorentina and Gareth Bale to Los Angeles, Ancelotti just has Mariano Diaz as a natural striker. And with all due respect, he is probably not at the level Madrid expect or want.

Ancelotti actually tried using a false 9 once last season, against Barcelona no less. With the Frenchman injured, he deployed Luka Modric in that capacity hoping to create overloads in the midfield.

It did not quite work out for him as planned, though, as Xavi’s side ran riots at the Santiago Bernabeu, leaving him with a 0-4 win.

Reports last week claimed that Hazard had requested Ancelotti to switch his position next season, hoping for a role more ‘central’ role.

Madrid Universal’s take

It makes sense that Ancelotti might want to use Hazard and Rodrygo as backups to Benzema next season.

Not only do both of them have experience playing in a role similar to that — Hazard under Conte, and Rodrygo at Santos —, but their first-choice role in the team – the left-wing – is pretty much property of Vinicius Jr.

They cannot replicate Benzema’s prowess in the penalty area, but their tactical and technical prowess allows them to act as the perfect outlets between midfield and attack to progress the attack.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January

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Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.

For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.

According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.

For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.

For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.

Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.

For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.

Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.

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