Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund: Could Marcelo's absence result in Gareth Bale playing at left-back?
Brazilian defender will miss both legs of the Champions League quarter-final but Ancelotti doesn't see deploying Bale in defence as an option
Carlo Ancelotti has dismissed the prospect of starting Gareth Bale in the left-back position when Real Madrid host Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-final first leg tonight.
Bale featured in the position when he first moved to Tottenham from Southampton, and endured a terrible start to his career at White Hart Lane as Spurs failed to win any of his first 24 games for the club.
However, a move further up the pitch coincided with Bale’s rise to the top of the game, and eventually led to the £86m transfer that took him to Spain last summer. But with regular left-back Marcelo ruled out of both legs of the last-eight clash with Dortmund, Ancelotti has dismissed reports that he could consider deploying the Wales international in the back-four.
“Bale at full-back is not an option for us,” said Ancelotti in a pre-match press conference. “We have a problem with Marcelo, but we can cover his absence well with Fabio Coentrao. He is fresh and will replace him without any problems.”
Bale was jeered during the weekend victory over Rayo Vallecano, as home fans booed both he and Cristiano Ronaldo in a visible outpouring of frustration after back-to-back defeats against Barcelona and Seville.
Bale soon silenced his doubters though with a brace – the second a delightfully fluent move beginning deep in his own half and ending with the winger slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ruben – and Ancelotti has backed Bale for his recent performances after he was criticised for not performing in the biggest games. The Italian did concede that he can be inconsistent at times, but that was a result of his style of apply rather than a reflection of his ability.
“I think it is true he is a little intermittent, but that is a characteristic of all forwards, and especially very quick players,” Ancelotti conceded.
“Players with that speed can't have a continuous influence like other players with different characteristics, like Xabi Alonso. His inconsistency is a physical characteristic of the player, like Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema. It is not an attitude problem.”
Another to offer his support to Bale was his former Spurs and current Real team-mate Luka Modric, who feels that Bale can be happy with his first season in the Spanish capital.
“I think he is doing very well,” Modric said in support. “He is a very important player for us. I don't think he has been very selfish, I think he has given more assists than anyone in La Liga which says it all.”
Real will be out for revenge at the Bernabeu as they look to defeat the side that knocked them out of the semi-finals last season. A magical four-goal haul in the first leg from Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski sent the German side through to an all-Bundesliga final against Bayern Munich, but the Polish striker is suspended for tonight’s match and will be missing along with five other key first team members.
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