Real Madrid: Antonio Rudiger needs to start vs. Frankfurt

Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Carlo Ancelotti has already made up his mind. He mentioned, long ago, that the team that is going to start the game vs Juventus, will be the same team to start the game vs Frankfurt.

Against Juventus, we saw the exact same line-up from the Champions League final. I guess it makes sense, why fix something that is not broken?  Real Madrid played well against Liverpool in the final, so it would make sense to roll out the same lineup and slowly integrate the new additions into the team.

But, there’s an anomaly here. Real Madrid have Antonio Rudiger, and in just above 15 minutes of football, we saw Rudiger play with Alaba, and it just showed that this is the best CB pairing that the club has to offer.

Real Madrid have five centre-backs, Nacho Fernandez, David Alaba, Antonio Rudiger, Eder Militao and Jesus Vallejo. Out of those five, we know that two are never going to be in contention for the starting spot.

Out of the three that remain, Alaba, in my opinion, should be a guaranteed starter at this point. He’s so good with everyone around him, and there is no way anyone could put him on the bench and see that as an upgrade. No need to move him to LB, either.

So, that leaves two centre-backs for one position. Militao and Rudiger are very similar, to be honest, but there’s a huge age gap, and right now, I’d pick Antonio Rudiger over Militao. The Brazilian has the talent, there is no doubt about that. But he’s just looked off this pre-season, and it dates back to as far as the second half of last season, where we started seeing a huge dip in form.

In the fifteen minutes we saw Alaba and Rudiger play together, the chemistry – even though it was their first time playing with each other as centre-backs – was immaculate. It felt like they had been playing together for a while, and it just showed that the pairing, at least for this season, is going to be a resounding success. Both of them understood each other’s game quite well, and it was just very good.

Militao was OK against Juventus, but he still struggled sometimes, which was perhaps the reason why he was subbed off before anyone else. Rudiger had a better game, and I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start him and Alaba against Frankfurt.

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I am really excited by the prospect of these two centre-backs playing together, and I think it’s the best, most balanced CB pairing the club can have this season. I hope Ancelotti changes his mind and realises that.