Carlo Ancelotti has not learned from 2014/15

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

Hindsight is 20/20, at least that is how the saying goes and it could not be more apparent at Real Madrid currently. Los Blancos’ next two games are certainly tough ones, a big LaLiga clash against Villarreal followed by the Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

However, things are hardly plain sailing for Real at present, both Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy could be out of both games due to injury. Two huge names on the team sheet who are certainly not easy to rotate, but it is exactly that which has been the problem – there has such little rotation that key players are both figuratively and literally being run into the ground.

For Madridistas the world over, it seems the ghosts of the 2014/15 season are firmly in mind. In a similar fashion to this season, Real were flying by the turn of the year. They had already swept two trophies up, and between the 10th game of the season to the 25th, they were atop the league table.

In fact, between the 13th of September 2014 and the 14th of February 2015, Real lost just three games, having won every single one of the others in LaLiga. But the writing was on the wall for Los Blancos, being written by the club’s very own players.

Following a Champions League clash against FC Basel, Toni Kroos openly told the press that he was feeling tired:

"“I haven’t played more in my life, and I’m getting tired. To make matters worse, in Spain there is no break in January, like there is in Germany, so I have to get by. I guess I will be rested at some point.”"

The continual rigorous use of players wore down the Real squad, Luka Modric suffered an injury on international duty and Carlo seemingly didn’t trust then squad players Asier Illarramendi and Sami Khedira.

A similar situation is occurring this season at the Bernabéu. Carlo’s go-to names have been motoring through the season so far, but the growing sense of fatigue is beginning to set in, with performances beginning to slide.

Look no further than the Copa del Rey tie against Athletic Club. Despite the fact that they had traveled just 48 hours prior, both Casemiro and Vinicius started and expectedly performed below par.

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Carlo Ancelotti is not showing enough trust to the young talents

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have both played considerable amounts of football, despite both being advanced age-wise – it raises the question as to why Fede Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, and even the likes of Dani Ceballos have not been given more time to play.

Valverde was huge in the Super Cup tie, even more so in the previous league fixture against Granada. Camavinga was signed to huge elation, a teenage prodigy with the world at his feet, and yet, he cannot seem to buy a minute even in lesser games.

Whilst the argument of trust can be put forward, how can a player gain the trust of a coach that is not willing to give a fair shake when it comes to minutes?

Beyond the midfield, Carlo’s decision to leave Bale and Hazard on the bench recently has also ruffled feathers amongst the Madrid faithful. If fans look back to Zidane’s stint, Zizou took a team with 60+ injuries all the way to the final day in LaLiga and a Champions League semi-final.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect was he had players like Vasquez playing out of their skin, he had Miguel, Arribas, and Blanco shining – why? Because he instilled confidence in them; he made them feel they could be trusted.

Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images) /

There is absolutely no reason to suggest that this current Real Madrid squad does not have more options than Carlo’s go-to eleven. He arguably has more pieces to play with than Zidane had last season, yet, Zidane never left Real looking outplayed like Carlo has in recent times.

It is quite a startling concept that Real. who looked so imperious weeks ago, are now facing questions on whether or not they could blow it – to a degree, that is unforgivable and completely fixable.

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If Carlo Ancelotti wants to right the wrongs of 14/15, if he wants to have a longer-term project than this season, he needs to learn from his student who became a master at utilising his options – take a page Zidane’s playbook and rotate.