Emotions are running high as the Champions League final nears. Just over 24 hours remain for the kickoff as both sides prepare to face off in the world’s biggest football game this season.
Speaking to Diario AS ahead of the game in Paris, Federico Valverde jokes about the extent to which he would go in order to lift the prestigious trophy tomorrow night.
“What would I give to win this Champions League? Not my son but maybe my wife yes (laughs),” he said.
Liverpool is the final hurdle that lies in front of Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they prepare to lift their first UCL in over three years. However, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be raring to end their season with silverware, too, especially after losing the league title to Manchester City.
Los Blancos pulled off back to back to back comebacks in the Champions League this season to secure a place in the final.
Federico Valverde is not expected to start in midfield the night, given that Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric are all available. However, the Uruguayan could have a crucial role to play in the attacking trident.
The youngster started 19 La Liga games for his side this season, providing one assist and creating three big chances. Defensively, he provided two tackles and an interception every game.
From a pure mentality standpoint, Real Madrid head into the game as favourites. However, it would be unfair to write off Liverpool for they have been consistent with their performances throughout the season.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
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.
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.