Eder Militao’s injury against Athletic Club in Real Madrid’s first game of the season did not paint a pretty picture. The Brazilian was visibly in pain, and onlookers suspected a serious blow.
Subsequent tests revealed that the defender had ruptured his ACL, and alongside Thibaut Courtois, would miss a large part of the ongoing campaign.
With just three central defenders to count on all season, Carlo Ancelotti understandably began looking for backups. The board quickly ruled out any new signings, and the focus shifted to the subsidiary team.
Earlier this week, the Castilla team’s Marvelous Antolin Garzon – fondly called Marvel – was seen training with the first team. He was seemingly the manager’s preferred option from the academy and brought a promising profile to the table.
A couple of days into testing, Ancelotti appears satisfied by Marvel’s level. According to reports from AS, the Morocco-born star is set to be promoted to the first team.
Ancelotti’s two other options
Marvel, 20, is a centre-back by trade and would be the right fit from a stylistic viewpoint. His profile is said to be similar to David Alaba in terms of defensive timing and his comfort on the ball.
However, the Real Madrid manager is understandably sceptical about throwing a youngster in the deep end with such short notice.
Ancelotti thus considers Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy as options to cover at centre-back if needed. Needless to say, he also has Nacho Fernandez who will serve as the first-choice backup for Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba.
Real Madrid play their next game against Almeria in an early kickoff on Saturday. It remains to be seen if the manager includes Marvel on the squad to Estadio del Mediterraneo or gives him more time to acclimate with the first team.
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.