Real Madrid managed to renew most of the long list of player contracts they had running out this summer. Some extension negotiations were relatively easy, while others ended in heartbreak. A third subset of players, however, spent a long time undecisive.
Dani Ceballos was one such member of the squad. The central midfielder seriously contemplated a departure from Real Madrid in the summer, but in the end, renewed his deal until 2027.
According to reports from AS, Ceballos’ priority in the renewal negotiations had nothing to do with the economic aspect of his contract. It was not a larger paycheck that he desired but a more prominent role in the team.
The Spanish international was far from being a regular starter last season. The likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, and Federico Valverde enjoyed more prime time on the field for Real Madrid, and Ceballos felt he deserved a larger piece of the cake.
On that front, Ancelotti had a big role to play in convincing him to renew. Ceballos now believes that he has a place in the team’s midfield despite the renewals of Kroos and Modric and even the arrival of Jude Bellingham.
This belief stems from the suggestions that Ancelotti will be shifting formations this season and deploying a 4-3-1-2 shape, with four central midfielders.
With four spots to contend for and the fact that Modric and Kroos are getting older has given Ceballos encouragement that he will have a bigger, more prominent role at Real Madrid next season.
The competition will still be quite stiff, given that the likes of Valverde, Camavinga, and Aurelien Tchouameni will also be competing for the starting spots. But the potential new formation does leave room for more rotations to the starting XI.
Real Madrid defender taken off with an injury against Las Palmas
There just does not appear to be any respite from injuries for Real Madrid.
Just when it appeared that they were close to having their full squad – barring the two long-term absentees – the Merengues have been struck down by fresh injuries this week.
Arda Guler, who was on the cusp of being named in the squad for the Las Palmas clash, injured himself in training on Tuesday.
And now, during the game against Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid have lost key defender David Alaba to an injury.
Close to the 40th-minute mark, Alaba went down on the ground clutching his leg and appeared to be in quite a bit of discomfort.
Soon enough, the medical staff arrived to take a look at the Austrian and seconds later he was off the pitch and straight towards the tunnel.
Lucas Vazquez came on to replace the injured Alaba, with Nacho Fernandez moving into the centre-back position alongside Antonio Rudiger.
Alaba’s injury leaves Carlo Ancelotti with just two fit centre-backs in Rudiger and Nacho, which is set to be a matter of great concern.
The hope will be that Alaba’s condition is nothing serious and that he is able to mount a quick recovery.