Ancelotti is in a bit of a predicament now. Not that he has made any good decision this season but I think he has got to make decisions of much consequence in the coming weeks. One of the most exigent problems today, in this Real Madrid squad, is that Real Madrid has got two good players for almost all positions.
Ancelotti is the type of a guy who wants to have lots of options simply because he cannot really manage that many good players.
Real Madrid now have Carvajal. Who is an excellent right back from what I have seen from him this season. He is 21 and has got a long road ahead of him to further develop and lead Real Madrid in the future. That mean, Ramos now will not play as the right back but as the central defender. Real Madrid already have Pepe and Varane in those positions. Ancelotti so far has favored Ramos and Varane.
But, a player of Pepe’s quality simply cannot be ignored. Ramos is hands down the best central defender in the current Real Madrid squad if we don’t consider Varane and Pepe for a moment. That means that it is actually Varane and Pepe fighting for the central defender position. Ramos is safe and so is Marcelo (or Coentrao whenever Marcelo gets injured) for the right back position.
Here is how I see the match- up between Pepe and Varane:
- Is good in the air
- Can man mark really well
- Is quick
- Accelerates pretty fast for a defender
- Good sliding tackle
- Reasonable standing tackle
- Unmatched aggression
- Big and strong
- Can play the ball from the back
- Can run with the ball
- Sometimes makes dumb mistakes
- Gives cheap free kicks
- Has got major temper problems.
- Is very experienced at 30. That is crucial for Champions League games.
On the other hand, Varane:
- Is very comfortable on the ball
- has got good speed
- Reads the game very well
- He is good in the air
- Still 20 but plays like someone in his late 20s. Looks very experienced from his body language on the pitch
- can distribute the ball really well
- Very careful with his sliding tackles
- Has got a great standing tackle and actually uses that strength sparingly. Doesn’t commit easily
- Very disciplined
- Can score goals from corners
- Very powerful on the ball
- Good concentration levels throughout the 90 minutes.
- He is a bit slow to get off the mark meaning, low acceleration
If I had to pick one, I would go with Pepe for Champions League games and Varane in La Liga games. You do need a lot of aggression and purpose in those big Champions League matches and Pepe has got them both. Varane does, sometimes, get a bit shy during games.
Varane is more consistent than Pepe and that counts for a lot when it comes to La Liga games. He doesn’t let up and takes one game at a time. I don’t think Pepe has ever trained for good 38 games a season. He is far too rash and disrespecting towards his opponents.