Carlo Ancelotti, the Italian coach of Real Madrid, had to face a complicated situation recently. The injuries of Alaba and Militao, combined with the three-match suspension of Nacho, forced him to improvise and find a partner for Rüdiger in the center of the defense.
He debated between two options: Ferland Mendy and Aurélien Tchouaméni. The former had already played as a central defender under Zidane, on two occasions when Real Madrid won the match and kept a clean sheet. Meanwhile, the latter had never played in that position at the elite level.
However, Tchouaméni prepared well for the match, watching videos and practicing in training. Thanks to his defensive ability and hard work, he had a great game against Osasuna, showing his defensive solidity and his ability to defend in that position if the coach considers it.
However, Tchouaméni has the same problem as Camavinga with the left-back position. While his priority is to play for Real Madrid, if he has the choice, he will always choose to play in the midfield. This is not only because of his preference, but also because of his effectiveness and comfort, as he believes he can perform at his best in the middle of the field.
Not a regular occurrence
Although Carlo Ancelotti knows he has this resource up his sleeve for when he needs it, he does not plan to repeat this option during the season. Alaba has recovered from his injury, and Nacho will be available in two matches, so it is logical that Tchouaméni will not play as a central defender again.
Real Madrid sees it as impossible for Nacho to have his suspension reduced by one match and be available for the Clásico, but they expect Alaba and Rüdiger to be at 100% to take on the leadership of the defense.
Ancelotti’s decision to use Tchouaméni as a central defender was a successful experiment, but it is unlikely to be repeated. Tchouaméni’s preference for playing in midfield is understandable, but he has shown that he can adapt to other positions when needed. Real Madrid’s defense will be strengthened with the return of Alaba and Nacho, and Tchouaméni will continue to contribute to the team in his preferred position.