Asensio, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Valencia
Real Madrid will lock horns with a relegation-threatened Valencia outfit at the Mestalla on Sunday evening in the first of their remaining four La Liga matches of the season.
Real Madrid come into the game on the back of a disappointing week that saw them watch Barcelona win the league title and then get eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.
The team will still be reeling from the hammering at the hands of Manchester City but will want to produce a strong reaction and finish the season on a strong note, starting with a win against Los Che, who will also be gunning for three points to secure safety.
Carlo Ancelotti will be without the out-of-favour duo of Eden Hazard and Mariano Diaz tomorrow, with the pair missing due to injuries. Other than that, the Real Madrid boss has a full squad at his disposal, but could make some rotations against Valencia.
Here’s how Real Madrid could line up at the Mestalla as they look to bounce back to winning ways.
During the week, it was reported that Thibaut Courtois was dealing with an injury and could miss the Valencia encounter. However, the Belgian international has been named in the squad list and should start between the sticks.
There could, however, be a major shuffle in the defensive lineup in front of the goalkeeper. Lucas Vazquez, who recently became a father for the third time, will likely slot in at right-back ahead of Dani Carvajal, while Ferland Mendy is expected to start at left-back.
Antonio Rudiger should feature as one of the centre-halves after his shock exclusion from the starting XI against Manchester City in midweek. The German international could be partnered by Nacho Fernandez, with David Alaba and Eder Militao dropping out of the team.
There should be a couple of alterations in the middle of the park as well. Aurelien Tchouameni should start at the base of the three-man midfield for Real Madrid, with Toni Kroos making way for the Frenchman.
Dani Ceballos, who has an ‘important offer’ from Aston Villa, should occupy one of the remaining midfield slots, with Federico Valverde completing the trifecta for the visitors.
Moving forward into the final third, Karim Benzema will start as the No. 9 and hope to close the gap to Robert Lewandowski in the race for the Pichichi Trophy. The veteran Frenchman will be supported by Vinicius Jr on the left flank while Marco Asensio should get the nod on the right.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois, Vazquez, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy, Valverde, Tchouameni, Ceballos, Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius.
Rodrygo Goes is certain to come on at some point in the second half either to relieve Karim Benzema or add more threat in the final third. Luka Modric and Eduardo Camavinga could also be called up by the manager in case things are not going too well for Real Madrid on the evening.
Fringe players Jesus Vallejo and Alvaro Odriozola could also fancy their chances of getting some minutes on the pitch at the Mestalla.
Five summer transfer operations that Real Madrid are currently working on
With renewed energy, Real Madrid approach the summer transfer window oozing optimism. The air in the Spanish capital is filled with anticipation as Los Blancos prepare to embark on a new chapter — one that promises to bring numerous changes and opportunities.
Following the exits of several high profile names, with the most recent departure of Karim Benzema leaving a gargantuan void in the front-line, Madrid are necessitated to act swiftly in the window. They are reportedly set to prepare for a revolutionary summer.
Currently, Los Blancos maintain emphasis on five operations that hold priority. These are as follows:
The English starboy with the world at his feet continues to be one of football’s hottest commodities. Bellingham has amassed considerable interest from Europe’s top sides, but appears to be closest to striking a deal with Real Madrid.
While the player had no shortage of suitors, his desire to play for the Royal Whites has given Madrid a very realistic chance of obtaining the teenage sensation’s signature.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid aspire to complete details of Jude Bellingham’s deal next week. Talks are in the final stages, with add-ons as well as the €100m fixed fee to BVB.
In spite of his high price tag, Bellingham has bedazzled at the tender age of 19, having also won the Bundesliga player of the season. Strengthening the squad with a talent as renowed as him is bound to engender energy in the midfield department next season.
Karim Benzema’s exit has given rise to several top class strikers being linked with Madrid, but Kane’s name stands out most remarkably. The English forward enjoyed a spectacular season with Tottenham Hotspur, despite the club’s collective shortcomings.
Los Blancos face a whopping price tag of €120 million due to the player’s significance for Spurs, but possess an edge in negotiations, owing to the absence of a direct domestic conflict.
According to Jose Felix Diaz, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is willing to let Harry Kane leave, as long as his next destination is outside of England.
Kane has established himself as one of the world’s most demanded forwards. Interest from Real Madrid particularly makes sense, with how many stylistic similarities he possesses with Benzema.
The forward is adept at dropping deep and linking plays, while also possesses an incredible eye for goal. Kane ended the Premier League season as the second top scorer, scoring 30.
The German international appears to already have one foot in the Spanish capital. Havertz has garnered great interest from Perez, who will be tasked with filling a barren front-line, where Rodrygo and Vinicius are the only two forwards remaining at the club.
The 23 year old was signed by a grand figure of €80 million, but failed to live up to expectations. With a difficult period at the English club, Chelsea would not present much resistance if an adequate offer is presented.
However, Chelsea are reportedly demanding Madrid to put a figure of around €60 million to sign Havertz, which by no means is an amount the Merengues throw around lightly.
Still, Havertz has proven to be a talented youngster when the conditions favour him. At Bayer Leverkusen, he soared to incredible heights. The player is also well acquainted with the German players in Madrid’s squad, which will ease the adaptation process.
While Madrid yearn to reconstruct most of their attack, the club have not abandoned the defensive side of the squad and particularly appear interested in bolstering the left-back position, where Davies has emerged as a potential signing.
As Ferland Mendy faces an almost imminent departure or, at the very least, a demotion in the pecking order, Davies looks to be the chosen one to reinforce the area.
The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the world’s most productive full-backs as he has undeniably proven to be one of the Bavarians’ main assets.
According to Spanish outlet MARCA, Madrid have contacted the German side in hopes of sealing a deal. The reported figure is expected to exceed €60-70 million.
Moreover, Alphonso Davies has dual citizenship, Canadian & Liberian and with the Cotonou agreement, he doesn’t take a NON-EU slot in the squad.
Joselu has been one of the most mentioned links with Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window. As Madrid are willing to especially beef up their attacking depth, the Espanyol man would prove to be a solid buy.
After bidding farewell to Mariano and Asensio, the need for a reliable back-up striker exists in the squad. In such a context, Joselu would aid the depth department.
The Spaniard ended the league season as the third top scorer, securing an impressive 16 goals. Despite Espanyol’s relegation, he looked to be one of the few bright spots in a struggling side.
To successfully reinforce the squad, Real Madrid aim to create a formidable lineup capable of competing at the highest level. They are targeting both established stars and young individuals, believing that a blend of experience and potential will formulate a well-rounded squad.
Following a bucketload of player exits as well as failures in La Liga and Champions League, the club believe a transformative phase is essential to move forward.