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Atletico Madrid star names Real Madrid talisman as one of his top three midfielders

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Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid battled it out on the field less than a week ago in La Liga. The clash eventually ended in a tame 1-1 draw, but the result was unfair to Los Blancos who deserved all three points on the night.

One of the players in red and white on the night who was instrumental in inhibiting the Real Madrid attack was Axel Witsel.

The former defensive midfielder, who currently plays at centre-back under Diego Simeone, has been a regular for Los Rojiblancos and played a critical role once more in the recently concluded derby.

Mutual respect

Despite giving it all against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu less than a week ago, Axel Witsel showed great respect for the Merengues’ rising star Jude Bellingham in a recent interview when asked about his three top midfielders in today’s game.

“My top three midfielders are Jude Bellingham, Rodrigo De Paul, and Koke,” he said in a recent interview via ESPN.

It does not come as a surprise that two of his choices are his teammates at Atletico Madrid. For him to rank a Real Madrid star on the list goes on to show the deep respect he has for the English prodigy.

A key fixture ahead

Bellingham got off to a sensational start to life at Real Madrid, scoring goals for fun and racking up assists with impeccable regularity. His output in front of goal, however, has fallen in recent weeks.

That does not go to say that Bellingham’s influence on the field has reduced in any way, for as a midfielder, his primary role on the field is the creation of chances and dictating the attack.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s clash against Girona, the Merengues will require the youngster to be at his very best. After all, the clash between the two league leaders will go a long way in shaping up the title race in Spain.

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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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