COVID outbreak gives Ancelotti formation headache ahead of Bilbao trip

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said he is struggling to find the best formation to accommodate the players he has available to face Athletic Bilbao away on Wednesday in the middle of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Players Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Andriy Lunin all tested positive for the virus last week, and Isco was the latest case confirmed by the club on Monday.

Ancelotti also won’t have two other key players in Bilbao on Wednesday: defender Dani Carvajal is injured, while midfielder Casemiro is suspended after five yellow-card bookings.

“It’s true that we are missing a lot of players, and maybe we will have to consider a change in the system… I don’t know… I’m thinking about it,” Carlo Ancelotti told a press conference on Tuesday.

“The system that we currently play with (4-3-3) has given us a lot in recent games. But we don’t have a right-winger available, and that’s the only thing that could make me change it to a 4-4-2. I have to wait for the night.”

Xavi thinks Sevilla should serve as example to Barcelona


Real Madrid’s momentum – a 10-game winning streak in all competitions – ended with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to lowly Cadiz on Sunday.

They are now six points clear of second-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand and host struggling Barcelona on Tuesday.

On a brighter note for Real, Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard played well last Sunday in his first game as a starter since September.

“He has been training well for a month, with intensity and rhythm. If I put him on again on Wednesday, I don’t think there’s a risk of more physical problems. The player is fine.”

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