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Ranking Ancelotti’s options for his starting XI after Real Madrid’s Covid outbreak

The Italian coach will need to figure something out on his right wing.

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s recent Covid-19 outbreak left the club in a somewhat tough spot. Luka Modric, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes, Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Lunin will not be available for the next few games, so coach Carlo Ancelotti will be forced to make some rotations when Madrid face Cadiz next Sunday and Athletic Bilbao the following Wednesday. Furthermore, Carvajal is still recovering from the muscle fatigue he picked up against Atletico, so it looks like he won’t be ready to play Sunday’s game.

Here’s the list of Ancelotti’s options about his starting XI, ranked:

  1. Vazquez as a right-back, Camavinga replacing Modric and Valverde on the right wing. Nacho is a better defender than Vazquez but the latter should be just fine against Cadiz considering that the game is played at the Bernabeu. Switching Vazquez with Nacho for the match in Bilbao would make sense, though. Camavinga and Valverde strengthening the midfield line to replace Modric will likely be Ancelotti’s choice going forward given that all Asensio, Rodrygo and Bale are out.
  2. Nacho as a right-back, Valverde replacing Modric and Vazquez on the right wing. This unit could be fine against Athletic but they will lack some creativity for Sunday’s match against Cadiz, where the Andalusian side will be expected to sit back and force Real Madrid to create chances on their own.
  3. Peter Federico on the right wing. This will likely be a popular solution among the fan base, but Federico hasn’t even made his debut for the first team just yet and deploying him as a starter in such a crucial moment of the season might be too risky. The young right-winger will likely get a chance in the upcoming Copa del Rey games, though.

These are Ancelotti’s most likely solutions to Madrid’s ongoing Covid outbreak. There are a few more combinations, like Camavinga instead of Valverde in option number 2 or Nacho in Vazquez’s spot in option 1. Eden Hazard could also play on the right wing, but that is not a natural spot for him and Ancelotti hasn’t been giving minutes lately.

Still, Ancelotti will likely play it safe and deploy option number 1 as it is, at least when Los Blancos host Cadiz on Sunday in what should be a manageable, game. The visit to San Mames will be very different and Madrid will have to find a way through in order to take care of business without some of their crucial players.