In yesterday's press conference, Carlo Ancelotti was asked several times about the possibility of using a 5-3-2 formation, with a centerback trio formed by Pepe, Varane and Ramos, and he refused to confirm it, as he did not want to give away any details of the lineup. His only message was that his aim was to repeat what Real Madrid did in the first half in the Vicente Calderón a week ago, and hinted that the scheme would not change. The three-centerback option seemed discarded, but reports in Spain indicate now that we should not have done so.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="es"><p>Gana enteros la presencia de Pepe en el centro del campo, junto con Kroos e Isco. Ramos y Varane serian los centrales.</p>— Miguel Ángel Díaz (@miguelitocope) <a href="https://twitter.com/miguelitocope/status/590893877034385408">abril 22, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
According to Miguel Ángel Díaz, from Cadena Cope, Pepe will feature as a central midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation alongside Toni Kroos and Isco Alarcón, with Varane and Pepe being Real Madrid's centerback couple this evening. Illarramendi and Khedira, who seemed to be fighting for this spot, would be left out, while Javier Chicharito Hernández would accompany Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodríguez at the frontline.
Whereas this may seem a weird decision by Carlo Ancelotti, we should not forget that he used Sergio Ramos as a central midfielder in the Camp Nou last season, when Xabi Alonso was injured, and also that Pepe has also been used in that role several times, when José Mourinho was Real Madrid's coach. If this is finally the lineup, it will indicate that Ancelotti is worried about matching the intensity of Simeone's men, and Pepe can be extremely useful for that.