Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed midfielder Luka Modric will not be included in the match day squad against Villarreal on Sunday.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the league match, Ancelotti expressed that even though the Croatian has been training well with the first team, the game on Sunday is too soon for the influential playmaker.
Modric returned to first-team training last week after being sidelined since mid-November with a hip injury picked up during international duty.
Last week, Ancelotti targeted a March return for the Croatian midfielder and the player was in the running for a spot in the match day squad for Villarreal. But Ancelotti has decided to continue with his cautious approach with the midfielder’s rehabilitation and leave him on the sidelines against Villarreal.
“[Modric] will not be in the squad,” Ancelotti confirmed today. “He’s worked well with the rest of the team this week but he needs a bit more time.”
“We’re hoping to have him involved for the Schalke match.”
During Modric’s absence, midfielder Isco has stepped up his game and won over Real Madrid supporters with his all-around performances.
Today, Ancelotti heaped praise on the gifted 22-year-old Spain international stating his place in the match day squad is “non-negotiable”.
“It’s difficult to say which position is best for him because he has shown that he can play in many different positions,” Ancelotti said. “He surprised as well when playing in the base of the midfield, but I think we have to use him more to attack than to defend.”
“If he’s fit, Isco will always play. That is non-negotiable.”
Ancelotti has come under criticism this season for failing to rotate his squad – something that seemed to have caught up with the team following the return from the winter break.
But with games piling up for Real Madrid – prior to the second installment of El Clasico on March 22nd – the manager revealed he has no plans to rotate his squad during these upcoming run of matches.
“Before Barcelona we have three matches to play and they are all equally important,” the manager concluded. “There are always three points in play. They all carry the same weight.”
“This is a tough job. People always criticize managers who rotate, but they also criticize those who don’t.”
“It’s not in my plans to rotate. I don’t think we have played many games.”
“The team is fresh. They are playing well. We only think about putting out the best side possible.”
Programming note: Real Madrid vs. Villarreal will be shown LIVE on Sunday starting at 2:55pm EST on beINSPORTS and DishWorld.
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