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24-year-old Real Madrid star will replace Jude Bellingham against RB Leipzig – report

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to be without star midfielder and top goalscorer Jude Bellingham for the next couple of weeks.

The 20-year-old rising superstar suffered an ankle injury during the weekend’s clash against Girona, after he had scored a double to propel Real Madrid to a 4-0 win.

After having taken off, tests were performed on the Englishman on Sunday and it was revealed that he would be out of action for around two-three weeks.

It comes as a big blow for Real Madrid given how influential Bellingham has been this season.

Brahim to replace Bellingham

With the midfielder out of tonight’s crucial UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg tie against RB Leipzig, Carrusel Deportivo (h/t Madrid Zone) is reporting that Brahim Diaz will replace Bellingham in the team.

Brahim, 24, has been in good form of late and was one of Real Madrid’s best players during the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid earlier this month.

The Spanish ace has been unable to get an extended run in the starting XI due to the presence of competition from Vinicius Jr., Bellingham, and Rodrygo.

But whenever given a chance, Brahim has made an impression, especially towards the end of 2023 when Vinicius was out injured for an extended period. In all, he has featured 27 times in all competitions, scoring seven goals and setting up three more.

Brahim’s versatility an asset

A versatile operator, Brahim can operate in the No. 10 role behind Rodrygo and Vinicius in a 4-3-1-2 formation or play out wide if Ancelotti moves to a 4-4-2 formation.

Even though Ancelotti could utilise someone like Arda Guler or even Dani Ceballos, Brahim’s form and versatility stack the odds in his favour.

With Bellingham unlikely to play again this month, the 24-year-old will be aiming to make the most of it and break into the Spanish national team during next month’s international break.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report

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Photo by DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.

The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.

Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.

This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.

Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia

Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.

With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.

Ancelotti to go with a makeshift central defensive pairing vs Valencia (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.

Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.

What are Ancelotti’s other options?

Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.

The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.

Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.

Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.

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