“If there is no emergency, Alaba will play central.” That's how forceful Carlo Ancelotti was when asked about the Austrian's demarcation after the match against Inter. You can play in up to three positions (central, winger and midfielder), but The coach has wanted to make it clear from the beginning that he has come to Madrid to be the leader in the center of defense, occupying the void (and the number) of Sergio Ramos.
The starting central pair for Carletto It is formed by Militao and Alaba. The numbers, for now, support the Italian: Real Madrid have only kept a clean sheet in two of their five official matches this season (Betis and Inter) and in both the two defenders were starters in the center of the rear. Two demanding starts that Madrid managed to win by the minimum (0-1) thanks to their defensive strength. All this, of course, consolidated with the great performance that Courtois is offering once again at the start of the season.
Against Inter, with Mendy and Marcelo absent, everything pointed to Alaba as a starter on the left side. However, Ancelotti surprised by placing Nacho there. A whole declaration of intentions, because he preferred to take the squad player out of position, who is also right-handed, rather than displacing Alaba, whom he sees as the leader of the defense. The end result proved him right.
The great victim may be Nacho, since Militao is Ancelotti's preferred choice to accompany Alaba. He mixes the youth of the Brazilian (23 years old) with the experience of the Austrian, who although he is 29 years old accumulates many hours of flight at the highest level of demand with Bayern.
However, Nacho does not have the cap of other seasons, where the Varane-Ramos couple was untouchable. Now, the only non-negotiable is Alaba and Nacho and Militao will compete for the other place on equal terms. At this start of the year, the youth squad has maintained the good level at which he finished last, so it is normal for Ancelotti to distribute opportunities between him and Militao to fight for a position on the important days.
Vallejo, in the bedroom
Of the four centrals in the squad, the one who has not yet played is Jesús Vallejo. The Aragonese has returned to Madrid after two years on loan (half a year at Wolverhampton and a season and a half at Granada). The club trusts him and this season is decisive for him to make a definite place for himself in the squad.