Carlo Ancelotti has a much bigger role to play behind Federico Valverde’s resurgence than he receives. For some who was a subject of a club-record bid made by Liverpool, a return of three goals and two assists in limited appearances this season is something to budge an eye on.
More importantly, his recent UEFA Champions League heroics against RB Leipzig where he opened the scoring in a 2-0 win was sparingly commendable. That because he was deployed as a make-shift winger despite having Marco Asensio on the pitch, who by the way played in a midfield three.
It must be remembered that it was not so long ago that Valverde’s Real Madrid career was on a decline to an extent that he had lost his place to a 19-year-old Eduardo Camavinga.
Back then, lack of consistency and growing injury concerns had affected his performance big time. As it turns out, he put in the hard work and got himself in the thick of things, playing a big role in his side’s Champions League glory.
He was instrumental in Madrid’s comeback wins over Paris-Saint Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City before laying an assist to Vinicius Jr’s only goal in the final against Liverpool.
But if there was anything missing from his game, it was the lack of goals and Ancelotti could not believe that he ended the 2021-22 season with a solitary goal.
After the win over Leipzig, Ancelotti spoke candidly about the aforementioned and joked that if Valverde does not score more than 10 goals this season, he would rip up his coaching credentials.
“What seemed strange to me was that he just scored once last season. I told him that if he was not able to score more than 10 goals, I’d have to rip up my coach’s ID. He has a rock in his foot,” he was quoted by The Athletic.
For now, it’s understood that Ancelotti has big plans for Valverde. The only thing that remains to be seen is how he uses him throughout the season.
Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January
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.