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Football Reporting

Champions League

Ancelotti’s plan if Benzema misses the PSG first leg: Isco? Jovic? Valverde?

Karim Benzema could miss out on Real Madrid‘s game away at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League’s round of 16 due to injury and Carlo Ancelotti is already exploring his alternatives in the event he doesn’t have the Frenchman at his disposal.

Ancelotti could start Isco in a false No.9 role, as he did in the game against Granada at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, with the Spanish midfielder also playing in that position in the Copa del Rey duel away at Athletic Club. Isco put in a fine display in attack against the Andalusian side and Ancelotti was satisfied with his player’s contribution despite replacing him in the 65th minute.

Should the Italian coach decide to go for a natural replacement, he can only count on Luka Jovic, who could potentially create more danger in front of goal than Isco would do. Jovic shined with his displays at Eintracht Frankfurt, but he has failed to live up to expectations at Real Madrid, having scored just three goals in the 48 games he has played for Los Blancos since joining in 2019 in exchange for 60 million euros.

Isco and Jovic on the sidelines

Isco and Jovic on the sidelinesNGEL RIVEROMARCA

A change of formation?

Another option Ancelotti might favour would be a shift from his preferred 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, by introducing Fede Valverde as a fourth midfielder alongside Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos.

The Uruguay international came off the bench against Granada and helped his team clinch all three points due to his ability to break lines and provide the team with more presence in the box.

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The Rodrygo and Hazard options

Vinicius and Marco Asensio are expected to start in attack, with Rodrygo and Eden Hazard competing for the other spot in the event that Benzema misses out and that Ancelotti sticks with a 4-3-3.

Both Rodrygo and Hazard could feature in a false No.9 role too or they could play as right wingers, although Asensio is expected to play on the right flank following his winner against Granada.

There are many Real Madrid players who could fill in for Benzema, yet none of the aforementioned boasts the Frenchman’s playmaking and scoring skillset.

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