Carlo Ancelotti’s team selection against Atletico Madrid received a lot of criticism from all around the footballing world. Real Madrid had come into the match having won all six of their games in the 2023/24 campaign until then. But the Italian manager decided to experiment with his lineup and it failed spectacularly.
Ancelotti dropped Aurelien Tchouameni, even though the Frenchman has been in top form. He also tweaked the position of Jude Bellingham. And he started the iconic duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric even though both have had rotational roles lately.
This was not the match to pull off all those experiments and the result showed that. At no point in the match did Real Madrid seem in control.
They went down in the 4th minute, then Antoine Griezmann made it 2-0 in the 18th minute. Kroos did pull a goal back later in the first half but then Alvaro Morata scored his second right after the break to put the game to bed.
Real Madrid president no longer happy with pairing
As reported by The Athletic, Ancelotti started Kroos and Modric together in the middle of the park for the first time this season. That pairing of 30-somethings no longer pleases Florentino Perez, and the Real Madrid president told this to the manager during 2022-23 on several occasions.
Both Kroos and Modric are all-time legends, who are immortal in the history of Real Madrid. At the same time though, both are in the twilight of their careers. So, it might not be a good idea to start them together at this point in time, especially in a game with the intensity of the derby.
One can understand Ancelotti wanting the experience of the two in the middle of the park in a high-pressure game. But against Atletico Madrid last weekend, it simply did not pay off.