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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

Real Madrid’s 29-year-old star upset with his situation, desires more clarity on role

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Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images

At Real Madrid, the quest for securing a spot in the first-team lineup involves battling it out with some of the best players in European football.

Competition is generally considered the perfect antidote to complacency and the Merengues‘ immensely talented roster encapsulates that sentiment best.

While injuries have done a number on the team, there is still an abundance of competition in the squad. As of now, the fight for a spot in the starting lineup is most intense among the goalkeepers.

Indeed, since the beginning of the campaign, there has been no fixed goalkeeper with both Andriy Lunin and Kepa Arrizabalaga featuring between the sticks alternately.

However, after being acquired on a season-long loan to fill in the absence of Thibaut Courtois, Kepa is not entirely content with his situation.

Kepa unsatisfied with the unclarity

Indeed, as per The Athletic, Kepa is extremely disappointed with his situation and how the coaching staff at Real Madrid have been handling the matter.

Ancelotti has not clearly explained his reasoning as to which of Lunin and Kepa is currently his first-choice keeper.

And according to sources close to him, Kepa is unhappy and would have preferred further clarification on the matter from the manager.

Lunin in the driving seat

Making a big impression. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Owing to Lunin’s exceptional form lately, he has successfully displaced Kepa as the first-choice goalkeeper.

In fact, Kepa has not started a game since Real Madrid’s clash against Almeria last month in which they leaked two goals.

It is safe to assume Kepa’s frustrations stem from the fact that he initially arrived as the primary keeper to replace Courtois and turned down an offer from Bayern Munich to join the Madrid outfit.

As such, being shunned and having minimal clarity from the coaching staff’s preferred goalkeeper has led to dissatisfaction.

As things stand, Real Madrid have no plans of signing him permanently, given that Chelsea would ask around €20 million for him, something that the club have intentions of paying.

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