Carlo Ancelotti has explained his decision to substitute Luka Modric during Wednesday night’s Clásico.
Los Blancos needed extra-time to defeat fierce rivals Barca in Riyadh, and indeed to progress to Sunday’s Super Cup final.
Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema scored for Real Madrid, but Barcelona equalised twice, and it took a Fede Valverde winner in extra time to settle the scores.
Though, Valverde’s introduction was a little surprising given Luka Modric was brought off in the 83rd minute, when the scores were still level.
Modric is 36, so such a substitution shouldn’t feel out of place, but Modric is a little different to most players given his talent, even at his age.
Still, the substitution paid off, with Valverde going on to score the goal and make the difference in the semi-final tie.
And that was something Ancelotti was keen to point out after the game.
“He has an immense quality, it is complicated to pressure him,” Ancelotti said of Modric in his post-match press conference.
“He has a lot of quality. But Valverde scored the goal that gave us the final. Without him (Modric), we lose something, but with Fede, we have arrival in the box.”
Real Madrid will face the winner of Atletico Madrid or Athletic Club in the Super Cup final on Sunday.