Real Madrid fans will have been delighted to get their first look at new signings Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni on Saturday night in Las Vegas. It didn’t look quite how they imagined though.
At least in the case of Rudiger. The German international arrives with an international reputation as top-class central defender, but against Barcelona started as a left-back in a back four.
Asked about this tactical tweak, Carlo Ancelotti was his usual casual self.
“I liked him a lot. I am not crazy and he is very intelligent. He can play in that position, just as he can also change in the match with Alaba. They didn’t do so today, because it went well.”
Many had foreseen Rudiger’s arrival as signalling a shift to left-back for David Alaba, who has played there for significant part of his career. Ancelotti rejected the idea though.
“As a left-back… only when necessary; I don’t want to change the pair from last year.”
Playing Rudiger as a left-back certainly wasn’t something many anticipated, but it may well just be a preseason experiment. There is the possibility that Ancelotti uses a hybrid system that involves a mix between a back four and a back five, with Rudiger acting the bridge between the two on the left side.