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Real Madrid defender remains intent on staying at club despite lack of game-time

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

It does not get bigger than playing for Real Madrid in any top footballer’s career. Given the club’s trophy-filled cabinets and rich history, players dream of receiving Los Blancos’ interest in the transfer market.

The converse also is seemingly true. Once recruited by the Merengues, any move away is perceived as a step-down. Thus, some would prefer to stay on the bench at the Bernabeu than play elsewhere.

According to reports from AS (h/t Madrid Xtra), Jesus Vallejo is the latest to take the aforementioned decision. The centre-back wants to stay at the club even if he is the fifth-choice centre-back for Carlo Ancelotti. 

While the Spaniard has been impressive in his few opportunities, it is clear that there are better options at the manager’s disposal. The likes of Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba and Nacho Fernandez are all ahead of Vallejo on the pecking order, making it difficult for him to see minutes in Madrid.

At just 26 years of age, Vallejo has his best years ahead of him and could make it big at any other European club. However, the Spaniard prioritises donning the Real Madrid badge and wishes to fight for a spot in the future.

The defender is yet to play this season in La Liga and made just five appearances in the competition in 2021/22. In his 345 minutes last season, he oversaw two clean sheets and averaged close to ten defensive actions per game.

Vallejo’s current deal with Los Blancos runs until the summer of 2025 and it remains to be seen if he extends his deal. Nevertheless, his contractual situation is not of priority now given that he has two more years left on his deal.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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