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Ancelotti: “Casemiro and Tchouaméni can play together, perhaps in a double pivot”

The coach spoke ahead of the Almería game.

Real Madrid CF v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Super Cup Final 2022 Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Ahead of Real Madrid’s LaLiga Santander opener, Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press about the season ahead. The coach is looking forward to the trip to take on newly promoted Almería and is ready for the challenge of the 2022/23 campaign.

He started Saturday’s press conference by saying: “We feel good and are excited to start this new league campaign. Every match will be very competitive and difficult, starting with tomorrow’s game. It’ll be a long season. The big doubt for everyone is how the players are after the World Cup. They’ll finish the World Cup and then go straight into the most important part of the season. We’ll have to rotate because we have a deep squad, we want to give all players minutes and we have this World Cup in the middle. So, we’ll rotate more than last season.”

Ancelotti on potential departures

Real Madrid aren’t expected to make more signings, but there could be departures and Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio are the most likely to leave. Asked about their future, Ancelotti said: “For now they’re here and working well. Players can think about their future, but I’m thinking about the squad I have. Ceballos and Asensio are here for now, but if something changes in their head then we’ll adapt.”

Ancelotti on Casemiro and Tchouaméni

Ancelotti was asked about Casemiro and Aurélien Tchouaméni and whether they can play together or if it’ll be a case of only one playing at a time. To that, the coach replied: “I think they can play together. Even though they’re both pivots, they have different characteristics. They’ll surely play some games together, perhaps with a double pivot.”

Ancelotti on Rudiger’s position

He was also asked exactly what his plan is for Antonio Rüdiger, to which he replied: “I know I put him at left-back in the first pre-season game, but he’ll normally be at centre-back. He’ll only play at left-back, where he can play perfectly well, if there is an emergency.”

Ancelotti on Hazard’s minutes

Eden Hazard could have an interesting role this season and, discussing it, Ancelotti said: “He’ll surely play more than last season, considering he can play in different positions. He prefers the left, but he played well on the right in Bilbao last season and he has been working out as a false nine in pre-season.”

Ancelotti on Courtois’ brilliance

Thibaut Courtois has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or after a great season and the coach was asked if the Belgian is the best goalkeeper he has ever had. To that, he stated: “I’ve had Buffon, Cech, Neuer, Casillas, Diego López. To say who the best goalkeeper I’ve had is difficult. But, we’re enjoying Courtois right now, the best goalkeeper in the world right now.”

Ancelotti on those left off the list of Ballon d’Or nominees

Sticking with the Ballon d’Or conversation, Ancelotti was asked what he thought about the fact that certain players, like Toni Kroos, weren’t included in the 30-man shortlist. He replied: “I know it would create a big problem to include all the Real Madrid players. But, it surprises me that Toni Kroos isn’t there, as he had a great season. Or that Fede Valverde isn’t there, or Éder Militão or David Alaba.”

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