Real Madrid lock horns with Braga tomorrow night in the UEFA Champions League, with the Spanish giants looking for a win that will help them seal a place in the knockout rounds.
However, Real Madrid were handed a blow heading into the game as star player Jude Bellingham had picked up an injury against Rayo Vallecano.
The Englishman was able to play the entirety of the game but suffered a shoulder dislocation. This led to speculation about him possibly not featuring against Braga tomorrow.
Braga coach on Bellingham news
Braga head coach Artur Jorge has reacted to this speculation heading into this game, suggesting that his team is prepared to take on Real Madrid, irrespective of the midfielder’s availability.
“Whether Bellingham is there or not, it changes absolutely nothing. I was convinced that Bellingham was going to be available and our preparation has been based on the dynamics of Real Madrid as a team and not on individual aspects,” Jorge said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Earlier in the morning, it was reported that Bellingham won’t feature in the game, as Real Madrid approach with caution.
However, the England international did parts of the group training today and has even been named in the squad list, although it is unclear if Carlo Ancelotti uses him or not.
Jorge on Ancelotti’s praise
Jorge also responded to Carlo Ancelotti’s praise of Braga heading into the game, stating, “Ancelotti’s praise has pleased us and has been a motivation to continue the work we are doing.”
“Our good performances must be added to adding points to be able to continue our trajectory in the competition. We know the difficulty we are going to encounter tomorrow and we hope to have a brave team,” he added.
Jorge also highlighted how Braga fared in the first leg against Real Madrid when the Portuguese outfit succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at home.
“Regardless of the result of two goals in favor of Real Madrid, it does not detract from the fact that our club has fought until the end for the points and for the victory. That’s why I was happy with the level of my players,” he said.
The Braga coach will now be hoping for a more productive turnout from his team as they take on Real Madrid once again, this time in front of a packed Santiago Bernabeu.
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