Carlo Ancelotti backs Marcelo as world's best after Dunga's criticism

Carlo Ancelotti has come to the defence of Marcelo, calling him "definitely the best full-back in the world," after Brazil coach Dunga criticised the Real Madrid player this week.

Dunga has not called up the former Selecao captain since taking over after the World Cup, choosing Chelsea's Filipe Luis instead at left-back.

In explaining the Marcelo's exclusion, Dunga said he pushed forward too often.

"How many times did Marcelo go on the attack in the World Cup? Twenty times," he told O Globo. "How many goals did he score or create? None. How many times were our defenders caught out with balls over the top? Three or four."

But Ancelotti disagreed, saying it was unfair to blame Brazil's recent struggles on Marcelo.

"I don't think Brazil had a bad World Cup because of Marcelo," Ancelotti said at a news conference on Thursday.

"I think Marcelo is definitely the best full-back in the world, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he must play for Brazil because we're happy if he stays here."

After Real face Almeria on Friday they are off to Morrocco for the Club World Cup, where they will play the winner of Mexico's Cruz Azul and Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers in Tuesday's semifinal.

Real are the clear favourites to win the event, but Ancelotti said Real won't underestimate any opponents.

"Whatever happens in the coming weeks, it's been a fantastic year for Real Madrid. We want to finish the year on a high," he said. "We are analysing the Club World Cup. We are evaluating our rivals and making sure we're ready for them."

Real have been dealing with a host of injuries, but Ancelotti said both James Rodriguez and Sami Khedira should be able to play in the Club World Cup final on Dec. 20, while Luka Modric is also progressing.

"James had a little problem, but he'll have recovered for the last game of the Club World Cup," the coach said. "We hope that next Thursday he'll be back with the group. He's already started running again.

"Modric will have a CT scan tomorrow. His muscle has healed well and he should be back in training in the middle of January.

"Khedira will be available for the final but no sooner. He will be discharged on Monday, so he'll travel with rest of the team to Morocco.

Ancelotti also supported the recent play of forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

"It's normal for a striker, when he plays little, to make the most of the chances he's given," Ancelotti said. "I've never asked him specifically to score goals but to help the team. Not everyone can appreciate Chicharito's work.

"He's doing very well, never stops working and we appreciate him. ... I would give more minutes to Chicharito because he deserves them, but he knows there is much competition at Real Madrid."