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Federico Valverde talks Vinicius, Mbappe, Bellingham, Rodrygo after Real Madrid 1-1 RB Leipzig

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde was not happy with his team’s performance against RB Leipzig in the second leg tie of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 last night.

Speaking to TNT Sports Brasil (h/t Mundo Deportivo), the Uruguayan was not only self-critical but also mentioned that the entire squad needs to assess this performance very minutely.

“We have to be self-critical, we have to think carefully about what we have done, it was not a great game,” he said.

About the qualification, he added that “the important thing is that we qualified and we have to value that too.” 

About Vinicius Jr.

It was Vinicius Jr’s goal in the 65th minute that broke the deadlock last night against Leipzig, but Madrid could not contain the lead for a long time. However, while speaking about the Brazilian, Valverde had nothing but admiration.

“[He is] a great player and a great person. He is an incredible player, but he also cannot run 90 minutes from goal to goal, we need him fresh up front and we have to work so that he can receive the ball closer to the rival area and do the magic that he knows how to do,” explained the midfielder.

Federico Valverde is not his son’s idol. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

Furthermore, he also revealed that the Brazilian is his eldest son’s idol and not him. “I wouldn’t know whether to tell you unfortunately or if it’s okay. I would love that one day when I am the idol, but I am not, it is Vini.” 

“He says it many times, every day we come to see Madrid, he comes to see him instead of me. It’s okay, I’ve assumed it a lot, but I’m happy. In the end, he looks at Vini with different eyes, with another admiration and then it’s very nice,” he added. 

Valverde’s thoughts on Mbappe

There are chances that Real Madrid might play PSG in one of the knockout rounds of the Champions League this season and upon asking about the sensation of facing Kylian Mbappe in the competition, he added,

“In the end, we have to face each other, sooner or later if we continue advancing, we are going to face each other. 

“He is a masterful player, one of the best in the world, along with Vini, Jude, Rodrygo, with others, they are some of the best players that there are today at a world level. 

“We have to have that respect because we know what he can do, what he has already done. We have to be cautious if we are up against him,” he explained.

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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