Real Madrid host Barcelona on Sunday night in the first official Clasico of the season. After losing 4-0 at home last time around and coming second best in the preseason Clasico, the hosts will be out for blood today.
Ancelotti will look to put up his strongest lineup on the night, and there will undoubtedly be changes galore, starting with:
1. Luka Modric for Eden Hazard
Carlo Ancelotti deployed a heavily rotated lineup against Shakhtar Donetsk and used the opportunity to test his bench strength. Eden Hazard was part of the starting XI and played as an attacking midfielder on the night, poaching on the space behind Karim Benzema.
Yet, the Belgian was easily the least influential player on the field in the 1-1 draw, as he managed just 35 touches in his hour on the field. Luka Modric will certainly start against Barcelona come Sunday night, and will almost definitely replace Hazard as the third midfielder.
2. Eder Militao for Nacho
Nacho has been a valuable asset on the bench for the manager and once again proved his worth with a reliable and solid defensive show in the last game.
However, the biggest games call for the biggest difference-makers. Eder Militao has established himself as an irreplaceable part of Los Blancos’ defensive unit and will hope to cover for Courtois’ absence on the night.
3. David Alaba for Ferland Mendy
David Alaba’s seamless adaptation to Real Madrid’s dynamics meant that the team did not even feel the loss of Sergio Ramos last season. He scored a phenomenal goal on his Clasico debut and will look to do the same as his team seek revenge on Sunday.
However, with Antonio Rudiger available to start, the Austrian could well play at left back in place of Ferland Mendy, hoping to keep one of Raphinha or Ousmane Dembele in check.
4. Daniel Carvajal for Lucas Vazquez
Experience is invaluable, more so on a Clasico night. Lucas Vazquez has barely put a foot wrong in his Real Madrid career as a right-back, but his compatriot’s experience at the highest level could well see him gifted the starting position against Barcelona.
5. Vinicius Jr for Rodrygo
Carlo Ancelotti suggested that both Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes could start against Xavi’s men. Yet, it seems inevitable that Federico Valverde is given the start on the right wing, meaning one of the Brazilian would start on the bench.
In such a situation, it would be Vinicius who gets the crucial start in place of Rodrygo. Nevertheless, the latter can be assured of minutes off the bench.
Jude Bellingham back in training with Real Madrid ahead of Atletico Madrid clash
After Jude Bellingham left Real Madrid’s training session early on Friday due to stomach problems, there were some concerns among the fans.
After all, Los Blancos are facing their biggest test of the season so far as they take on neighbours Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Bellingham back in training
But, on the eve of the match, the worries have been put at ease as Bellingham is training with the rest of the Real Madrid squad as per normal, reports Mario Cortegana.
The England international has been the most standout performer for Los Blancos in the ongoing campaign.
In six matches across all competitions, Bellingham has already scored six goals and set up one more, playing an important part in the club’s 100% winning start to the campaign.
Naturally, there were alarm bells ringing when he had to leave training early yesterday due to a stomach bug.
But it appears that all is well with the former Birmingham City starlet and he will be ready to face Atletico in his first ever Madrilenian derby on Sunday.
Dani Carvajal ruled out
While Bellingham will likely be available for selection, the same cannot be said about Dani Carvajal.
The right-back missed the midweek game against Union Berlin and scans on Friday showed that he is still not ready to make a comeback.
As such, Carvajal is absent from training today and will be unavailable for the derby against Los Rojiblancos.
Vinicius Jr was also seen training with the rest of the team today, although it remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti decides to call him up for the derby.
Meanwhile, Arda Guler has resumed training on the pitch, but will likely have to wait to make his debut for Real Madrid.