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Real Madrid manager facing selection dilemma in one position for Man City clash

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid are busy preparing for arguably their biggest game of the season – the clash against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Indeed, the game will be played over two legs and the result at Santiago Bernabeu is not binding. However, taking an advantage away to the Etihad is the least Los Blancos will look to achieve next week.

Carlo Ancelotti & co. have most of their plans laid out, but stare one dilemma ahead of the critical clash – the centre-back position.

Two options

Three of the four slots in defence against Manchester City are fixed barring any last-minute setbacks. F

erland Mendy and Dani Carvajal will start at left-back and right-back respectively, with Antonio Rudiger booking one slot in central defence.

The question, however, is about the player who will partner the German in defence. Ancelotti is vacillating between deploying Aurelien Tchouameni or Nacho Fernandez, and AS reveal that it is the Frenchman who has the slight edge.

Both players have their merits, with the Spaniard boasting of more experience as his justification. The inclination towards Tchouameni, however, is related to his prowess in the air.

Nacho or Tchouameni in defence? (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

The defensive midfielder is Real Madrid’s second-best player in the air defensively with 2.4 duels won per game, only after Rudiger.

Further, he is also second-best in headed clearances and a serious threat in the air in the opposition box as well.

With the likes of Erling Haaland in Pep Guardiola’s side, aerial prowess may well be the factor that stands out as vital for the manager.

As it stands, both players have a 50% chance of starting with the Frenchman having only an ever-so-slight edge. After all, his positioning in defence will directly affect the midfield.

The midfield question

If Tchouameni plays in defence, Eduardo Camavinga is assured a starting role at the pivot position on the night.

Should the manager favour Nacho, however, Ancelotti once again faces a dilemma over whom to deploy in midfield – Tchouameni or Camavinga.

There is a lot to decide, and not much time to do it. The coming days will be critical in laying the final blueprint of the team’s plan on the night.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jon Gray

    April 5, 2024 at 6:54 am

    As a life-long Madrid fan, I know my club’s present situation (with injuries and less effective attacking force) all too well to anticipate a victory over the very clinical and stronger Man City. If we already had Mbappe, Endricks, Alphonso Davies, and then have Courtois in between the sticks, one could feel comfortable. Yes, our only chance of finally coming on top of City is to fight to have significant goal advantage over the visitors as we go into City’s lion’s den a week or so later in the U.K. City is just too tough a team to beat now.

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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