As many as seven Real Madrid players are free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign team. This includes the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio, Nacho Fernandez, Mariano Diaz and a certain Dani Ceballos.
Among the aforementioned names, Ceballos is one of the most likely to depart in the summer as it is clear that his services are no longer required at the club.
Ceballos knows the situation is not ideal, but according to The Athletic, the midfielder has decided to wait as he hopes things might change as the season progresses.
The outlet further claims that Real Madrid do not wish to count on the midfielder moving forward mostly because they want to promote younger players from the academy who they believe have bright futures. And for that reason, they are willing to part ways with the player.
Ceballos has played just 13 games across all competitions for Real Madrid this season and out of those outings, he has been a part of the starting XI on just three occasions.
Managing a total of 368 minutes this season means that the player is aggregating just a little more than 28 minutes per game.
There were claims that Ceballos’ former side, Real Betis, where he came through the academy, might be interested in his acquisition. But that option is practically ruled out as he would have to take a big salary reduction to rejoin the Verdiblancos.
In fact, this is the only reason why most of the La Liga teams are not being explored by the player.
While the initial idea for the midfielder is to wait, he has made peace with the fact that if not for Real Madrid, he will have to explore the boundaries beyond Spain as he did during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons when he represented Arsenal squad on loan.
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.