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Brahim, Militao start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Mallorca



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

After a hard-fought encounter in the UEFA Champions League against Manchester City, Real Madrid shift their focus back to La Liga as they get set to take on RCD Mallorca on Saturday.

While there is the distraction of playing Manchester City again next week, Real Madrid cannot take their eyes off the ball in the league as Barcelona are not very far behind in the table and the Clasico is on the horizon.

As such, Carlo Ancelotti & co. must grab all three points from Son Moix on Saturday afternoon but it will not be easy for them as Mallorca are no pushovers, having finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey this season.

Despite that, the game against Man City might influence Ancelotti’s team selection to a certain extent tomorrow, especially given the efforts some of the players put in on Tuesday.

Only two players are absent for the visitors on Saturday, with Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba the ones missing out due to injury. And here’s how Real Madrid could line up against Mallorca this weekend.


Andriy Lunin has become the undisputed starter between the sticks for Real Madrid in Thibaut Courtois’ absence and that is unlikely to change against Mallorca.

In front of him, though, wholesale changes are expected as Carlo Ancelotti is likely to take out some of his regulars in defence. As such, Lucas Vazquez and Fran Garcia could replace Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy as the full-backs.

Eder Militao is in line to make his first start in over 240 days after having suffered an ACL injury on the very first matchday of the season. It will be a test for the Brazilian to assess his readiness to face Man City next week.

Eder Militao to make his first start in over eight months. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

Partnering him on Saturday would be Los Blancos captain Nacho Fernandez, who will also be hoping to put in a strong display and push for a start in the Champions League.

Moving into the centre of the park, Aurelien Tchouameni is a certainty to feature as the pivot, given that he is suspended for the Manchester City encounter next week.

Ancelotti could also consider his ever-present midfield duo of Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos. In their place, Luka Modric and Dani Ceballos could get a rare start against Mallorca.

Jude Bellingham did not have the best game earlier this week and appeared a bit fatigued at times. As such, it might make sense for him to get a breather, with Brahim Diaz filling in for the Englishman as the attacking midfielder.

Rodrygo did not train with the team today due to a knock and could be protected by Ancelotti, with Joselu expected to fill in for him. Vinicius Jr., though, is likely to hold on to his spot in the lineup.


Antonio Rudiger could get some minutes in the second half as it is unlikely that Eder Militao will play the whole game. There should also be minutes for Arda Guler, who has looked sharp in each appearance he has made.

The likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Jude Bellingham, and Fede Valverde could also be called upon, especially if things are not going Real Madrid’s way.

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Three takeaways from Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona | La Liga



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham stunned the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys when Real Madrid met Barcelona last year in La Liga with a stunning brace including a stoppage-time winner.

Last night, once again, he came up clutch to give his side all three points against the same opposition in stoppage time.

The 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu were far from easy for Real Madrid, especially with Barcelona dominating parts of the game and creating good chances in the final third.

However, the dressing room was clear about their objective from the get-go, and nothing, it appeared, could make them take their eyes off the target. After a valiant 90-minute battle, the scoreboard read 3-2 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid’s emphatic El Clasico win.

Two gems shine bright

Coming off a difficult 120-minute shift against Manchester City midweek, it was always going to take a herculean effort from the Real Madrid dressing room to find a way past Barcelona.

After all, the team were far from their best from a physical standpoint, and Carlo Ancelotti’s rotations on the night reiterated the same.

While the eventual 3-2 win was possible only courtesy of a comprehensive team effort with contributions from all over the field, two players impressed in particular – Jude Bellingham and Lucas Vazquez.

The right-back was Real Madrid’s best player on the night, constantly creating pressure and threats in the Barcelona area. Playing down the right flank, he dominated Barcelona star Joao Cancelo and made the wing his own.

Vazquez won Real Madrid the penalty that helped them get back into the game after an early setback and did so with fine trickery on the edge of the area. Eventually, Barcelona’s young Pau Cubarsi was forced to make contact and bring the dynamic full-back down.

When Real Madrid went down a goal once more, Vazquez timed his run into the box with perfection to get onto the end of Vinicius Jr’s cross and slam it in the first time.

If his goal and assist were not enough to cap off a special display, it was Vazquez’s pass in the dying minutes of the game that created the opening for the team’s winning goal.

Bellingham, meanwhile, significantly stepped up from his recent lean patch and effectively dictated Real Madrid’s play in the final third. In addition to scoring the game-changing winner, he completed two key passes, 100% of his dribbles and four accurate long balls on the night.

A team with elite mentality

Elite mentality. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Only Real Madrid can pull off the comebacks they have in the last week, especially given the special circumstances surrounding each game.

The clash against Pep Guardiola’s side midweek was the most gruelling 120 minutes of football Los Blancos have played all year. Despite being dominated for the most part, they came out clutch and defended valiantly to pull through on penalties.

Last night, still sore from their overtime duty on Wednesday, Real Madrid faced a stiff challenge against a relatively fresh Barcelona. The game, once again, showed why they boast of a mentality as elite as it gets.

Los Blancos went behind twice on the night, yet pulled back the deficit on both occasions to level the scores. A draw was a good enough result for Ancelotti’s men as it would give them a good lead ahead of the final six games in La Liga.

Having played the 90 minutes against Barcelona, the men in white could well have defended deep and settled for a draw. That, after all, would be the natural reaction of any weary party.

Yet, they pushed high and hard for a winner. With a draw in hand and the title in their grasp, they still gunned on for a win and were rewarded with Jude Bellingham’s clutch goal.

Is there a more mentally resilient team in the world? Probably not.

League in the bag

Having secured the critical win over Barcelona, the full-time whistle last night saw celebrations like none other.

Emotions poured out on the Real Madrid bench with players clenching their fists and pumping them into the air. The stadium chanted the chorus in unison, for they too knew what the result meant.

Three points secured against the second-placed team now take Real Madrid a staggering 11 points clear of Barcelona on the standings. Only six games remain to be played in La Liga, and the Merengues would have to lose four of them to let go of the title now.

Thus, for all practical purposes, Real Madrid are the champions of Spain. It may take a few more weeks for the accolade to be mathematically and officially theirs, but one can rely on the group to ensure that there are no slip-ups between now and the day the title is theirs.

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