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Three ideas for Carlo Ancelotti to consider with Real Madrid after World Cup

At the World Cup, Militao played at right-back, Asensio as a false nine, and Tchouaméni in a double pivot.

Ancelotti, en un entrenamiento en el Real Madrid.

The Qatar World Cup has given three ideas for Carlo Ancelotti to ponder over. Eder Militao can be used as a right-back when necessary. Marco Asensio can operate as a false nine, and midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni has the attributes to play in a double pivot if needed.

Militao at full-back

As many will know, Militao was originally a right-back. He made 26 of his 37 appearances for Sao Paulo as a full-back. Operating down the right flank, he was later discovered by FC Porto, who spotted a talent and brought him to Europe. At Do Dragao he began to combine the right-back role with a role at the heart of the defence (32% of his games were played right-back). But at Madrid, with 107 appearances under his belt, he has only been a full-back in one match (on 8 March 2020, in a 2-1 defeat to Real Betis).

Militao fights with Sosa, during the quarterfinal match of the 2022 World Cup.
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Militao fights with Sosa, during the quarterfinal match of the 2022 World Cup.Esteban BibaEFE

That night he disappointed and Ancelotti, when in need, has opted for Lucas Vázquez or even Antonio Rüdiger ahead of him. But Tite didn’t have any doubts at the World Cup. With no left-backs, the coach had no choice but to move Danilo to the opposite flank, leaving the right to Dani Alves and Militao. Bingo. He chose the latter, who ran played there against Switzerland (1-0), South Korea (4-1) and Croatia (eliminated on penalties). His numbers are impressive: he won 3.5 duels per game, had a 91% success rate in passes and a 65% success rate in crosses. He can deliver in the position.

Asensio as a false nine?

Here is a fervent debate. With his performance at the World Cup he didn’t make a great impact, but Ancelotti saw something in him to play him in a false nine role and, and Luis Enrique must have seen the same thing. Perhaps it is his mobility, perhaps it is his ability to shoot from distance. As a false nine, he has played eight games in his entire career and has only scored one goal (against Costa Rica, this World Cup). In the position, he will contribute a lot, but his numbers need to improve. During the 2022 World Cup, he took 2.5 shots per game of which only 0.5 were on target. His passing accuracy was 81% (below average) and he won just 31% of the duels.

Asensio celebrates his goal against Costa Rica.
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Asensio celebrates his goal against Costa Rica.JUANJO MARTINEFE

Asensio played as a false nine in the Clásico and in the Madrid derby. With Spain, where he has been a false nine in the four matches of the World Cup, the friendly against Jordan and before that, a defeat in the Nations against Switzerland (1-2). Now he returns to Madrid, with whom he finishes his contract on 30 June.

Tchouaméni in a double pivot

France play with two midfielders, but Ancelotti does not look like changing his 4-3-3 at Madrid. Tchouaméni will have no choice, therefore, but to get used to it and continue to learn. But he returns to the Spanish capital after an outstanding World Cup. He had almost a 95% pass completion rate - one of the highest percentages of the whole competition - which rises to 97% when looking only at the deliveries in his own half. He also won 81% of aerial duels.

Tchouameni, the night of the match against England.
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Tchouameni, the night of the match against England.Baptiste FernandezGetty

His ability to get into the opponent’s box stands out. When he is freed from the pressure of knowing he is the last man, he takes off his shackles and becomes a danger from the edge of the area. He beat Jordan Pickford by firing past the English goalkeeper to give France a lead over Gareth Southgate’s men. For Didier Deschamps, he is a key player and in his country’s 4-2-3-1 formation, is more daring than at Madrid. There is an alternative for Carletto if he wants to change his formation, and try something new.


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