Real Madrid’s central defence this season is cursed. There is no other explanation for the sheer number of setbacks Carlo Ancelotti has had to deal with this season right from Eder Militao’s ACL injury on match day 1.
Antonio Rudiger, Nacho Fernandez and David Alaba did well to fill the void in the first half of the season but have themselves become injury-prone in 2024. As it stands, Real Madrid are probably facing their biggest defensive crisis in recent years.
The title clash
As revealed yesterday, the men in white have no fit centre-backs for the upcoming clash against Girona.
The game is all-important as it sees the two league leaders face off against each other, but Ancelotti will have to do so without any central defenders available.
Rudiger has not recovered from the thigh injury he suffered against Getafe while Nacho suffered a blow himself in training earlier this week.. Needless to say, the alarm bells in Madrid are ringing.
According to reports from Cadena SER, Rudiger and Nacho will both be available for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg game against RB Leipzig on the 13th of February.
The clash against Girona, thus, is the sole hurdle that the manager must pass before he recovers resources.
The alternate plan
When Rudiger was unable to start against Atletico Madrid last weekend, Ancelotti deployed Dani Carvajal in central defence in what proved to be a masterstroke.
The Spanish defender outperformed Nacho on the night, dishing out a clinical performance.
Carvajal, thus will start once again in central defence against Michel’s men. This time, he is likely to be partnered with Aurelien Tchouameni in the position with Ferland Mendy starting at left-back. Lucas Vazquez at right-back will round up the defence.
Real Madrid confident that star midfielder will renew contract for another season – Romano
Real Madrid have a lot of work cut out for them before the 2024 summer transfer window even kicks off, with several important players in the squad running out of a contract come the end of the season.
Luka Modric is among them, with his future still undecided. The Croatian’s game-time has reduced drastically this season, and it seems he will only extend his deal if he gets more minutes on the pitch.
Lucas Vazquez and Nacho, meanwhile, are considered important rotational pieces in the squad, and will likely be handed a one-year offer. The final decision will be up to them, though, and Madrid will not push them to renew.
The more important concern for Madrid, though, is Toni Kroos’ contract. The German has been a vital player for them this season, and they want to renew him for at least another season.
However, the player has always been vocal about his desire to not stretch his playing career for too long.
After a lot of back-and-forth, though, Fabrizio Romano reports that Madrid are confident that Kroos will end up staying for another season. They have already tabled him the new contract, and the feeling within the club is that he will eventually put pen to paper.
This comes on the back of Kroos’ decision to return to the German National Team for the 2024 European Championship at Julian Nagelsmann’s request.
The player is enjoying a wonderful season at Madrid, and has been their best midfielder for at least a couple of years running now. He is a difference-maker for the Spanish capital outfit, and could extend his time as a footballer for another year.
Madrid will likely plan their next season with Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, and Federico Valverde at the helm of the midfield, while Kroos serves as their mentor and the first deputy when time calls.