The streets of Madrid widely discussed tactical adjustments and formations ahead of the 2023-24 season.
After all, Real Madrid had seen sizeable movement across all departments in the summer transfer window including the departure of Karim Benzema, and were in desperate need of a new setup.
In the end, Carlo Ancelotti settled for a 4-4-2 diamond setup. The formation was initially seen with a shade of scepticism given its defensive frailties.
Yet, Jude Bellingham’s impact as the attacking midfielder in the diamond made it a no-brainer.
As reported earlier today, Jude Bellingham is a doubt for Real Madrid’s clash later this week against SC Braga in the UEFA Champions League.
According to reports from MARCA, Ancelotti could well change his entire setup if the youngster does not make the squad.
If Bellingham does not feature against Braga, the Italian gaffer could return to the 4-3-3 system he advocated last season.
In such a situation, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are best placed to play as the interiors while Eduardo Camavinga covers the defensive midfield.
In the final third, Rodrygo will start as the centre-forward with Vincius Jr. and Federico Valverde to his left and right respectively.
What happened to Bellingham?
Just ten minutes into the clash against Rayo Vallecano, Bellingham fell onto the turf of the stadium violently.
He continued for the entire game with a heavily strapped shoulder, but subsequent tests revealed that he had dislocated his shoulder.
The player is thus a doubt for the Merengues’ midweek clash against Braga in the UEFA Champions League.
This comes as a big blow considering that the new signing has been the team’s single most important player this season week in and week out.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo