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Carlo Ancelotti talks Alaba, Tchouameni, Rodrygo, Bellingham after Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal

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Real Madrid’s game against Villarreal was hyped as one of the team’s most challenging clashes of the league season. After all, Los Blancos did not boast of a great record against the men in yellow heading into the clash.

Such is the form of the team, however, that they made easy work of Marcelino’s men. With four goals put past Filip Jorgensen, it was a complete performance from the men in white.

Speaking to the media after his team’s mixed game against the Yellow Submarines, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the highs, the lows and the key takeaways from the fixture. He began by commenting on the overall game and his team’s performance on the night.

“It has been a complete match of the whole team and with an extraordinary collective commitment. They have highlighted individualities such as Modrić’s pass to Bellingham.”

“The goal of the latter, which continues to score; also Rodrygo’s goal and above all Brahim’s individuality. He put the icing on the cake in a very good match in defence,” he added.

He then commented on the situation in the league standings and the feeling in the dressing room about the same.

“This is not a blow on the table. We are doing very well and today it has been one of the best matches, especially in terms of the pressure in defence.”

“At the moment, Girona is the greatest rival. The League is very long and will be competed until the end against Barcelona and Atlético as well,” he added, lauding Girona.

One of the biggest takeaways from the night, unfortunately, was the season-ending ACL injury that David Alaba suffered.

“I haven’t talked to him. The doctor says that he has an injury to the cruciate ligament. We are very sad because it is another player who falls,” the manager said about the Austrian defender.

“It has never happened to me that three of my players were injured by the cruciate ligament in three months. What the team has to do is what it has done so far with all the injuries we have had. We have done even more than everyone thought,” he added on the difficult road ahead.

Ancelotti closed the subject of Alaba’s injury by urging his men to stay focused and did not rule out the signing of a replacement.

“Despite the problems, this team fights, endures, plays well and has an extraordinary commitment. This is the only way to replace all injured players. We will see in the next few days if something can be done.”

The Italian gaffer then revealed his first-choice replacement for the injured defender, especially for the games remaining this year.

“Tchouameni is the first choice as a central. He did very well against Osasuna. It’s true that he doesn’t play in that position, but this is a moment of emergency and I think he can play there.”

“Marvel has trained with us, but now he is injured. At Christmas we will see what we can do,” he added, admitting that the best-placed academy defender was also unavailable.

Ancelotti then shifted to the positives from the night and began by singing praises for Jude Bellingham after his stunning display.

“Bellingham has been the protagonist because he has played very well and fought at all times. I have removed it to avoid problems. He has had a problem with his shoulder and when I can take minutes away from him, I’m going to do it.”

He was then quizzed about the system he was deploying on the field and how it varied from the 4-4-2 diamond Real Madrid started the season with.

“We started the season with a diamond in the system and the most uncovered bands. We changed it. For example, the pressure today has been spectacular. We put Luka with the centre and Lucas Vázquez with the side.”

“When you press up, there is a high match rate. That suits us without the ball and against teams that handle the ball well like Villarreal. Our rival has not been comfortable with the ball and that is the merit of my team,” he added on the dynamic tailor-made to dismantle Villarreal.

Moving to the subject of the team’s other injured stars, the Real Madrid coach provided an update on Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga and Arda Guler.

“Carvajal is going to train on Tuesday with the team, but we are not going to risk it. Today Mendy preferred to stop because the adductor felt loaded and I preferred to change it so that it didn’t get worse.”

“Vinicius, Camavinga and Arda Güler will be ready when we return from the holidays,” he continued.

He also provided an update on the injured Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao, saying,

“Militão is recovering very well, just like Courtois. We haven’t planned his return, but it could be before the season ends.”

Looking ahead to the team’s upcoming clashes, Ancelotti admitted that the goalkeeping dilemma was indeed a serious factor, albeit a good confusion to have.

“What I have in my head now is to win the game on Thursday, rest for a week for vacation and see who will be the goalkeeper against Mallorca.”

“Lunin is one of the two starting goalkeepers we have. The other is Kepa,” he added.

Source: Real Madrid website

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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