After limping off the field on Saturday after just 5 minutes of action, it was hard not to feel sorry for the 27 year-old fullback. With a healthy Ghoulam finally back again after over a year and a half of lingering knee injuries, Napoli as a team should be able to handle the loss. On an individual note however, this injury could not have come at a worse time. Rui was beginning to really solidify his place as Ancelotti’s first choice left back and had arguably his best match of the season in last week’s 3-0 win against Sampdoria.
Rui will almost certainly miss Napoli’s midweek Europa League clash with FC Zurich on Thursday and there’s a decent possibility he will be out for longer. Ghoulam did well coming in for the injured Rui on Saturday against Fiorentina and it will be interesting to see if he can take advantage of the circumstances and regain his spot at left back. Under Sarri, Ghoulam was the clear favorite starting in the vast majority of matches when fit. However since coming back from injury, Ghoulam has found it difficult to break back into Ancelotti’s starting eleven.
The other fullback spot is also a position battle to keep an eye on going forward with the Napoli veteran Hysaj trying to win back his place over the impressive Malcuit, who has been a revelation this season. Then again, having the depth to make these choices isn’t a bad problem to have for Ancelotti.