Real Madrid’s recent draw against Atletico Madrid featured several storylines. Some, like that of Brahim Diaz’s dream performance and the team’s domination on the field, left a sweet taste in the mouth while others, like the struggles in defence and the eventual result, did not so much.
One of the more touching storylines from the night, however, was Antonio Rudiger’s desperation to participate.
The German international was in a battle against time to recuperate from his thigh injury, but eventually could not make it in time to face Los Blancos.
Everything in his capacity
According to reports from Mario Cortegana via The Athletic, Rudiger was trying everything he could to ensure that he was fit for the big clash. He was desperate to take part on the night and help the team out in defence, but his body unfortunately could not recuperate in time.
His injury still hurts him badly, the Spanish journalist confirms, but Rudiger was willing to battle through the pain to don the shirt on the night. In fact, he even arrived at the club facilities early in the morning to undergo tests and re-ascertain the extent of his injury.
In the end, however, Ancelotti deemed it better to keep the star defender on the bench. After all, his long-term fitness is the priority amidst Real Madrid’s defensive crisis.
The man to the rescue
With Aurelien Tchouameni suspended, Ancelotti’s first-choice backup centre-back was also unavailable against Atletico Madrid.
The only option on his table, thus, was to start a full-back in central defence and compensate on the flank with an alternate name.
Despite speculation that Ferland Mendy would join Nacho Fernandez in defence, however, Dani Carvajal was handed the start at CB on the night. Lucas Vazquez took over at right-back, with Mendy covering at left-back.
The makeshift central defender played a critical role in Real Madrid’s resilient defensive performance on the night, even outperforming Nacho in the position. Ultimately, however, a last-minute equaliser forced the team to split the points and take a blow on the league standings.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.