Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has decided to rest his star-studded attacking trio ahead of the crucial UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.
Instead, Federico Valverde, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard made it into the starting lineup for the close 1-0 win against Getafe.
According to Marca, Ancelotti was unimpressed with his team’s performance in the first leg against City which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Spanish publication claims the Italian tactician believes his side lacked a player who could change the game.
With this in mind, Ancelotti may overhaul his attack for the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium. Rodrygo could be the unfortunate casualty as Ancelotti looks to shore up his defence.
Recent reports suggest Ancelotti will deploy a counter-attacking 4-4-2 formation to stifle City’s free-flowing passing game.
The system would see Rodrygo drop to the bench, with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Aurelien Tchouameni and Valverde forming a narrow midfield quartet.
Alternatively, Eduardo Camavinga could come in for Tchouameni after impressing against City in the first leg. Vinicius Jr is set to partner Karim Benzema up front.
While many would like to see Camavinga reprise his role at left-back, David Alaba is available for selection in his natural position.
If Alaba starts, Eder Militao may line up alongside new signing Antonio Rudiger at centre-back after the German excelled against Erling Haaland last week.
Rodrygo Positioned as Game Changer in UCL Semi-final
Rodrygo’s omission would be a tactical masterstroke from Ancelotti. Here’s a possible rewrite: “It’s highly probable that he’ll come on as a substitute in the second half and be tasked with replicating his performance against City from last season.”
The Italian knows how difficult it will be to play at the Etihad Stadium and wants to eliminate space in central areas to disrupt City’s style. Valverde is ideally suited to this task, hence his likely inclusion from the start.
Ancelotti has earned the right to make bold selections for high-profile games after guiding Madrid to La Liga and Champions League success.
His decision to bench Rodrygo in favour of a more pragmatic player in Valverde may prove crucial to Madrid’s hopes of reaching another final.