Real Madrid fans will have been delighted to get their first look at new signings Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Los Blancos were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona in a pre-season friendly match in Las Vegas. Rudiger was making his first start for Real upon joining the top flight club on a free transfer, signing a lucrative four-year deal at the Bernabeu after he left Chelsea in June.
Rudiger, 29, who has been one of the world’s best center-backs over the past few years at Chelsea, played at left-back after manager Carlo Ancelotti deployed him in a new position.
Asked about this tactical tweak, Carlo Ancelotti was his usual casual self.
“I liked him a lot. I am not crazy and he is very intelligent. He can play in that position, just as he can also change in the match with Alaba. They didn’t do so today, because it went well,” the Italian said post-match.
The new role isn’t totally stranger to Rudiger, having starred on the left-hand side of a three-man defense for Chelsea. Having also played at right-back for Germany, the Stuttgart-born defender looked fairly comfortable down the opposite flank, although it was his man – Raphinha – who scored the only goal of the game for Barcelona.
The German international netted a stunning long-range strike in the 27th minute, showing why Camp Nou chiefs stumped up £56million to sign him from Leeds United. Rudiger was then substituted at half-time along with eight other teammates, as Ferland Mendy – a left-back by trade – replaced him.
However, his overall game was hailed by new teammate Thibaut Courtois after the clash.
“I think he’s a great player, he contributes a lot,” said the Belgian, who also noted his temperament.
“Above all he has plenty of personality and intensity as we saw in that brawl,” he added.