With Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga both out for a considerable amount of time, problems for Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti are now piling up.
The problem started following Tchouameni’s injury during the previous El Clasico, where he suffered a fractured foot, sidelining him until 2024. This setback is particularly impactful given that the Frenchman had consistently held the key role at Real Madrid.
However, the team aimed to address this setback by relying on the existing roster. Camavinga, typically deployed as a regular interior and occasionally as a left-back, seamlessly assumed the defensive midfield position on a permanent basis.
But Real Madrid have been dealt a fresh blow comes in the form of Camavinga’s absence, compounding their challenges on the field.
Looking ahead, Real Madrid need to find solutions for the defensive midfield position and AS reports that there are as many as three players on the roster on whom the team can rely.
Those in question are first-team veterans Toni Kroos, David Alaba, and Castilla midfielder Mario Martin.
The two senior options
To begin with, Kroos, who has already slotted in as a defensive midfielder on occasions this term, possesses the required attributes, particularly in ball-handling.
The German midfielder is capable of consistently delivering accurate passes, and he exhibits an outstanding success rate in his movements.
However, uncertainties arise when it comes to movement without the ball, specifically in physical prowess, an area where Kroos tends to demonstrate shortcomings.
Among the players Ancelotti has, Alaba emerges as the next best fit for this position, as he debuted as a full-back, converted to centre-back, and was also played as a defensive midfielder by Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
But Eder Militao’s injury makes it difficult for Ancelotti to moe the Austrian international into the midfield role.
A budding talent
A temporary solution can be found from the youth team and as the aforementioned source says, Mario Martin could be one.
The 19-year-old is best suited for his position and Ancelotti has kept him on his radar for a long time. He has made over 50 appearances for Castilla and has even featured once for the senior team.
Given that both Tchouameni and Camavinga are expected back in January, it makes no sense to sign a new player in the winter window and someone like Martin could be a good temporary fix until then.
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.