Real Madrid’s fascinating comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain this midweek, coupled with their unassailable lead at the top of La Liga table appears to have overshadowed glaring issues within the squad that need fixing in the upcoming summer transfer window.
The midfield department is primarily a concern for Los Blancos, with three of the old guards in Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro all currently in the final phase of their respective careers.
Although neither of the three individuals has shown any signs of slowing down, the thirst for youngster alternatives is apparent. And it could ultimately see Real Madrid banking on the transfer market, perhaps even after the end of the ongoing campaign.
However, in a recent interaction with the media, Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has backed his current set of alternatives to emulate the likes of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric and succeed in the future.
The Italian tactician heaped praise on Eduardo Camavinga, in particular, backing him to become the face of the Real Madrid midfield in the future.
“Camavinga is the present and the future of this club. This is quite clear for him and for us,” said Ancelotti in his latest press conference (h/t Football-Espana).
Camavinga was one of the top performers in Real Madrid’s win over PSG, with his impressive second-half shift changing the dynamics of the game.
Adding to his monologue, Ancelotti backed Camavinga, as well as other young midfielders in the team such as Federico Valverde and Antonio Blanco, to emulate the current legends.
“The day that Modric, Casemiro and Kroos are older, we will have Camavinga, Valverde, the youngsters who are in the Castilla, like Antonio Blanco. We have the ideal relief for these legends of the club,” he said.
Camavinga and Valverde are both expected to start for Real Madrid in their upcoming game against RCD Mallorca later this evening. It will be an exciting opportunity for the duo to back the words of their manager, as Los Blancos look to maintain their healthy lead at the top of the table.
Bellingham, Brahim start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Granada
Having reclaimed the top spot in the La Liga table last weekend, Real Madrid will be eager to consolidate their position when they host Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Real Madrid are currently on a four-game winning streak across all competitions, having beaten SC Braga, Valencia, Cadiz, and more recently Napoli.
Despite the spate of injuries affecting the squad, Carlo Ancelotti & co. have found a way to keep the winning momentum going and will be eager to bag another victory at home tomorrow.
Granada, meanwhile, find themselves at the opposite end of the table, but there could be a case of the new-manager bounce, for they recently replaced Paco Lopez with Alexander Medina as their head coach.
Real Madrid go into the game without Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Arda Guler, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric, and Vinicius Jr., all of whom are injured.
Here’s how Ancelotti could set his team up at the Santiago Bernabeu when they take on Granada tomorrow.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is fit again and has been included in the Real Madrid squad list to face Granada after missing the last four matches. However, Andriy Lunin will again be preferred in goal tomorrow, as was confirmed by manager Ancelotti during his presser.
Ancelotti has a decision to make his team selection as tomorrow’s game could be a good chance for him to rotate. At the same time, with no midweek fixture coming up, the Italian could be tempted to stick with his strongest XI.
As such, the Real Madrid manager could continue with the centre-back pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy should take up the full-back positions on the right and left sides, respectively.
Since the injuries to Camavinga and Tchouameni, Toni Kroos has operated in the pivot midfield position, albeit with support from Federico Valverde. Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos will get another starting opportunity in the injury-enforced absence of Modric.
Jude Bellingham is fit and ready to play despite an injury scare during training earlier today. The 20-year-old Englishman will start in his usual role as the attacking midfielder and pose a threat to the opposition backline.
Ancelotti opted to partner Brahim Diaz with Rodrygo Goes in the attacking department against Napoli earlier this week. Given how the two performed, the manager is unlikely to tinker with the pairing.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Valverde, Ceballos, Bellingham, Brahim, Rodrygo.
Carlo Ancelotti will turn to Joselu to reinforce the attacking department during the game, while young Nico Paz is likely to get more minutes again after scoring his first senior goal for Real Madrid against Napoli.
Captain Nacho Fernandez is likely to come onto the pitch to provide some relief to one of the two centre-backs during the latter stages of the contest. Fran Garcia could replace Ferland Mendy.
Young forward Gonzalo Garcia is another academy talent who could be in for some minutes on Saturday.