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Football Reporting

La Liga

Alaba creates a dilemma for Real Madrid and Ancelotti

David Alaba (29) is a versatile player that new Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti will be able to use in different positions. He has had a great European Championship as Austria’s leader, playing first at centre-back and then at left-back. However, it has been in the latter position where he has been at his best. It is his natural position and where he has played the most throughout his career.

Photo of Alaba

His numbers place him among the best defenders in the tournament. He has played 100% of the minutes (390 in three games, one of them with extra time). Up to the round of 16, he was the third player with the most turnovers (33, the same as Danny Ward). To this, we must add 10 duels won and three interceptions. Offensively, his stats are also well above average. He is the sixth highest passer (243) with a success rate of 83%. He has two assists and has put, between crosses and corners, 28 balls into the box (second most after Andy Robertson).

Austria knocked out by Italy

In Austria’s final battle against Italy on Saturday, Alaba gave his all and came close to helping his team eliminate one of the favourites. He set up Arnautovic for a goal that was disallowed seconds later for offside. He played all 120 minutes, made five ball recoveries, 42 passes and had one shot on target. It was with a free-kick in which he came close to giving his team the lead. Some fans criticised him on social media for the play for Chiesa’s goal, arguing that the Italian easily beat him, while others felt he didn’t have enough help in defence. What is certain is that this piece of play does not tarnish a tournament that has given Madrid fans hope for the coming season.

Ahead of Mendy and Marcelo?

David Alaba is now the subject of a debate in the Real Madrid squad. His role at Euro 2020 as a left-back and in a formation very similar to the one Ancelotti might use (4-2-3-1) means that he could also occupy that position at Madrid. It seems clear that it will be in the centre of defence where he will play the most important role, as he has come, among other things, to replace Sergio Ramos. It must be added that the Italian coach used him as a full-back during his time at Bayern Munich.

Marcelo and Ferland Mendy are Real Madrid’s other left-backs. The club has confidence in both of them, but the truth is that neither of them mix defensive efficiency and attacking power as well as Alaba does. It will be up to Carletto to decide his starting eleven and whether he prefers to place the Austrian alongside Militao or give the centre of defence to the Brazilian and Nacho and put the new signing closer to the wing.

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Back to work on 19 July

David Alaba is due to return to pre-season training at Valdebebas on 19 July. He will do so alongside Gareth Bale, whose Wales side were also knocked out by Denmark yesterday. They will have 21 days holiday before training with the rest of the squad under Ancelotti.

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