The current Real Madrid squad has no shortage of experienced leaders who have tasted success in the past.
One of them is Nacho Fernandez, a seasoned defensive veteran that has served as a leader at the back for Real Madrid, despite playing bit-part roles in the team.
The 32-year-old has indeed featured in almost 300 competitive matches for Real Madrid, notably winning five Champions League titles. His presence in the team has been crucial to the club, especially in times of an injury crisis.
Even in his twilight years, Nacho has continued to serve as a key role in the Real Madrid squad under Carlo Ancelotti. He has featured in five league matches this season while playing twice in the UEFA Champions League.
According to Diario AS (h/t Madrid Xtra), the Real Madrid camp are, in fact, baffled by Nacho’s lack of recognition in the Spanish team as they believe his performances have been excellent in the recent past and deserving of a place in the national side.
Despite being one of the most successful defenders in the country, Nacho has represented his nation only 22 times in his career. His last appearance for La Roja came way back in 2018, in a UEFA Nations League contest against England.
Since then, Nacho has often been sidelined, especially under the leadership of Luis Enrique. The former Barcelona tactician has preferred the likes of Inigo Martinez, Pau Torres and even Eric Garcia, in the current defensive setup.
Real Madrid, though, believe Nacho is among the players who should be given the chance in the national team and perhaps even a place in the team for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With years of experience and leadership qualities, the Spaniard could turn out to be a useful addition to the team, as La Roja look to reassert their dominance on the world stage.
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.