Carlo Ancelotti explains how Aurelien Tchouameni can solve Real Madrid injury crisis

  • Tchouameni played at centre-back as a substitute in late win at Alaves
  • Nacho Fernandez was sent off with Eder Militao and David Alaba both out injured
  • Ancelotti says France international can be a "top centre-back"
Tchouameni played in defence at Alaves
Tchouameni played in defence at Alaves / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Carlo Ancelotti says Aurelien Tchouameni can become a great centre-back after the midfielder dropped into defence for Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Alaves on Thursday night.

The France international came off the bench to partner Antonio Rudiger at the back following club captain Nacho Fernandez's red card and helped keep Alaves at bay before Lucas Vazquez grabbed a 91st-minute winner for the 14-time Champions League winners.

Eder Militao hasn't played since August and David Alaba recently suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, leaving Ancelotti short on options in central defence. Other first-team stars like Vinicius Junior, Thibaut Courtois, Eduardo Camavinga, Dani Carvajal, Arda Guler and Ferland Mendy are also currently sidelined.

Speaking after the victory, Ancelotti told reporters: "Tchouameni will get angry for this, but he's amazing as a central defender. He is lucky he can play as midfielder and as defender. He has all the qualities to be a top centre-back."

Lucas Vazquez, Aurelien Tchouameni
Vazquez scored Madrid's winner at Alaves / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

The Italian manager had previously revealed the former Monaco star was an option to play in defence if needed, stating before the game: "Tchouameni is the first option at centre-back. It's not what we think of him, but in this moment of emergency, he can play there."

The 23-year-old completed 100% of his 30 passes following his 55th-minute introduction for Luka Modric, also making a block and a clearance in his appearance off the bench.

The attacking was left to Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham, but Madrid had only registered three shots on target - two coming from midfielder Federico Valverde - before Vazquez headed in Toni Kroos' corner.

Madrid now sit top of La Liga, ahead of Girona on goal difference and seven points clear of current champions Barcelona. They don't play again until Wednesday 3 January, when they host 14th-placed Mallorca at the Bernabeu.