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Real Madrid: Why didn’t Kroos and Modric start in Mallorca defeat?

Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid
"ancelotti dice no alla nazionale" by NazionaleCalcio is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Real Madrid’s unexpected defeat has generated questions over Ancelotti’s starting XI.

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted he couldn’t use Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in Real Madrid’s lineup against Mallorca due to fitness issues.

The experienced midfield pair started the game on the bench as Real Madrid went behind in the first half. 

Ancelotti brought in both players after the hour mark, which helped the Blancos increase the pressure on Mallorca’s backline. But that wasn’t enough for the Spanish champions to escape the frustrating defeat.

Speaking after the game, Ancelotti defended his decision to start Modric and Kroos on the bench.

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“I couldn’t use Kroos and Modrić,” the Real Madrid boss said. “Toni was a little bit injured after the Valencia game. With Luka, he’d played less than 72 hours ago, so I didn’t want to risk him.”

Another major absentee from the starting lineup was Thibaut Courtois, who was out with an injury.

“Courtois had a problem in the warm-ups and we’ll have tests tomorrow to see exactly what the issue is,” he added. “We know it was bad enough that he wasn’t able to play in this game.”

Real Madrid will travel to Morocco tomorrow to participate in the Club World Cup. The Blancos will take on Al Ahly in the tournament’s semi-finals on Wednesday.