Camavinga accepts the challenge
Tchouameni’s absence against Girona opened the door to Camavinga, giving him a chance to make the No.5 slot his own.
Injuries, one of the the products of overexertion in the weeks running up to the World Cup have taken their toll at Real Madrid. The latest name on the casualty list is Aurélien Tchouameni. The French midfielder was expected to be in the starting XI in Saturday’s game against Girona, although not without risk. Ancelotti decided to wait to see how the player felt before the game, before deciding if he could play. In the end, half an hour before kick-off, Madrid announced that Tchouameni had been dropped from the list. The official reason was a minor musclular strain - an overload that, in principle, shouldn’t prevent him from playing against Celtic on Wednesday or, failing that, in Vallecas before the break. But during these strange times, in the weeks running up to the World Cup, nothing can be taken as read.
It presented Camavinga with an unforeseen opportunity - especially after the weak display in Leipzig where, there was further evidence that he and Tchouameni might not be compatible playing together - at least at this point in their careers. Against a Girona side playing with five midfielders, Ancelotti offered Camavinga the best possible support - Kroos and Modric. And the French player complied to perfection. Particularly in the first half, where his omnipresence encouraged a reticent Madrid. Bossy, with only two failed passes out of 46 attempts, and above all with character (four recoveries and four wins). Nor did he give up in the final third - one of his two shots, a left-footed effort, fizzed past Gazzaniga’s right post.
It was a therapeutic performance - at least until Ancelotti decided he wanted something else. He replaced him in the 60th minute but did not want to place all of the team’s needs on the Frenchman, and not in a game in deadlock that was quickly turning stagnant. “It was good”, was Carletto’s brief analysis. “The problem, in general, is that sometimes we have not been compact”.
Ancelotti hinted that on Wednesday against Celtic, we will see Tchouameni again. But for Camavinga, who is not 100% sure of being included in France’s 23-man list for the World Cup, playing that game and the one in Vallecas five days later may be the final chance he has to convince Deschamps that he deserves a place.
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