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Bellingham, Garcia start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against AC Milan

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid will kick off their pre-season tour of the United States of America when they face AC Milan in their first of their four friendly encounters on Sunday night (Monday 4 am CET).

The game will be played at the Rose Bowl Stadium in California with Los Blancos looking to make a solid start to their preparations for the 2023/24 campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti has admitted to trying different shapes and tactics heading into the new season and will get an opportunity to test out his new ideas in a match against the Rossoneri and see how things work out.

Fans will also get a look at the new signings such as Jude Bellingham, Fran Garcia, and Joselu. Arda Guler’s involvement is under doubt after he missed training on Saturday due to discomfort in his leg. Alvaro Odriozola is another player likely to miss out tomorrow after he also did not train on Saturday due to overload.

There could be surprises in store from Ancelotti as far as the team selection for the match against Milan is concerned. And here we take a look at how Real Madrid could line up at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Sunday.

Starters

Thibaut Courtois has been the undisputed starter in goal for Real Madrid and is expected to retain his place in the lineup, but Andriy Lunin could get some minutes in the second half.

In front of the goalkeeper, Dani Carvajal is expected to slot in at right-back while new signing Fran Garcia should get a run-out at left-back after impressing in training so far. Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy should replace them respectively at some point in the second half.

The manager had tried out the defensive pairing of Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez in training and could stick with the same, to give the latter a chance to lead the team out as the club captain following Karim Benzema’s exit.

As far as the midfield is concerned, Ancelotti has been experimenting with a four-man unit in a diamond formation so far in training. And there is a very good chance that he will test the tactic against Milan.

Based on the teams that Ancelotti tried in training earlier in the week, Eduardo Camavinga could line up as the lone pivot over Aurelien Tchouameni.

Federico Valverde and Luka Modric would be the two interior midfielders while blockbuster new signing Jude Bellingham starts at the tip as the No. 10.

After half-time, the manager could switch to the quartet of Tchouameni, Toni Kroos, Nico Paz, and Arda Guler, provided the latter is fit to feature.

Up top, it will be interesting to see how Ancelotti goes about his selection with just one natural striker at his disposal. The manager paired Joselu up with Vinicius Jr in a training match and could try that combination out on Sunday, with Rodrygo and Brahim Diaz likely coming in as changes for the second half.

Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Garcia; Camavinga; Valverde, Modric; Bellingham; Joselu, Vinicius.

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MU Shorts

Five alternatives Real Madrid should consider after missing out on Leny Yoro

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Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

After months of inquiries and negotiations, Real Madrid are on the verge of missing out on the pursuit of Leny Yoro.

The LOSC Lille defender is slated for a trip to England today to complete his medical. He is later expected to sign a new deal at Manchester United until 2029.

Yoro’s likely move to Old Trafford could serve as a massive blow for Real Madrid, as they desperately look for reinforcements at centre-back.

Fortunately, the reigning European champions have an entire summer transfer window ahead of them and there should be no shortage of alternatives available in the market.

Here, at Madrid Universal, we will take a look at five players Real Madrid should target after fumbling the Leny Yoro deal.

Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton)

Jarrad Branthwaite could be an interesting option for Real Madrid. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Earlier in the year, Real Madrid were one of the clubs linked with a move for Jarrad Branthwaite, the Everton centre-back.

The 22-year-old Englishman was an ever-present figure in the Everton backline this past season, featuring in 35 league matches while scoring three goals.

Standing at 1.95m, Branthwaite has made a solid impression in England through his imposing presence at the back.

Branthwaite’s age and height are close to that of Yoro while the defender has also played under Carlo Ancelotti in the past, making him an ideal alternative for the young Frenchman.

Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Marc Guehi excelled at the Euros. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Marc Guehi is another Premier League player Real Madrid have been linked with in the recent past.

Known for his strong physique and ball-playing abilities, Guehi was a prominent fixture in England’s Euro 2024 squad and is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.

Guehi’s qualities, therefore, could prove to be useful for Real Madrid as they look to add more strength to the centre-back department.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Saliba is one of the best CBs currently. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Premier League defenders appear to be Real Madrid’s best bets when it comes to finding an alternative for Leny Yoro and the next one on the list is William Saliba.

Over the past couple of years, Saliba has been the lynchpin in Mikel Arteta’s defensive system, helping Arsenal emerge as the main threat to Manchester City’s dominance in England.

Saliba’s proficiency with the ball, coupled with his positioning sense make him an ideal long-term defensive bet for Real Madrid.

Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP)

Inacio has been on Real Madrid’s radar for long. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The first non-Premier League defender on this list, Goncalo Inacio has been linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu since the turn of the year.

Although Leny Yoro was preferred to Inacio by the Real Madrid management this summer, recent developments could once again tempt the club to look back at Inacio.

The Sporting CP starlet is regarded as one of Portugal’s finest young defenders and his immense potential makes him a solid target for Real Madrid.

Yann Bisseck (Inter Milan)

Yann Bisseck can be a fine long-term investment. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Formerly of FC Koln, Yann Bisseck has enjoyed tremendous growth following his move to Inter Milan.

With 16 league appearances for Inter Milan this past season, Bisseck has cemented his place as one of the most promising defenders in Serie A.

Aged just 23, Bisseck is known for his defensive discipline and work ethic. However, what makes him an appealing target for Real Madrid is his valuation.

The German is still in the nascent stages of his development. With Inter Milan signing him for a fee of just €7 million, Bisseck, in fact, could easily be the most cost-effective player on this list.

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