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Four emergency centre-back options Real Madrid are looking at for January – report

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid have undoubtedly been one of the unluckiest teams in European football as it stands. They had to deal with two major injuries before their season even started as Thibaut Courtois tore his ACL and new signing Arda Guler picked up an ankle problem.

This was followed by an ACL injury to Eder Militao, who will, alongside Courtois miss most of the season, and will only make an appearance late on, if lucky.

Meanwhile, Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga, and Aurelien Tchouameni all have picked up a semi-serious injury at some point this season that has ruled them out for a few weeks, at the minimum.

In fact, Vini and Camavinga are still sidelined. The former is expected to make his return for the Spanish Super Cup in Riyadh, while the latter could be back in time after the holidays when Madrid take on Mallorca in the league.

However, if these problems were not enough, David Alaba was the latest to join the injury list. He, too, tore his ACL against Villarreal, and will miss the rest of the season, and possibly the 2024 Euros.

With two out of four centre-backs out with an injury, Madrid have a crisis in defence. While Carlo Ancelotti has stated that Tchouameni can cover in central defence, they will also be on the lookout to sign a centre-back in the winter.

AS confirm that there are four players on their agenda: Robert Renan, Goncalo Inacio, Raphael Varane, and Rafa Marin.

Robert Renan | Zenit St. Petersburg

A young player with a high ceiling, Renan signed for Zenit on a free transfer in January 2023. At 20, he is understandably not a start for the Russian outfit, but his profile is considered to be very complete.

However, in light of the Russian genocide in Ukraine, the European Union and the USA ruled that no transactions exceeding a value of €100 million should be conducted with Vladimir Putin-linked institutions.

And Zenit is a team owned by Gazprom, which is controlled by the Russian state. That said, around 30 clubs have already conducted similar business without consequences so far. Will Real Madrid take the risk, though?

Goncalo Inacio | Sporting

On his way to Madrid? (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Almost inarguably the player with the most support of the four, Inacio plies his trade at Sporting right now, and has been one of the best centre-backs in the Portuguese league this season.

The 22-year-old has a €60 million release clause in his contract, which means should Madrid choose to trigger it, a transfer would depend on Inacio’s will. In any other event, though, it seems unlikely that Sporting let him go as they look to win the league.

Raphael Varane | Manchester United

Varane is not a stranger for Real Madrid. He spent a decade at the Santiago Bernabeu before leaving the club for a different challenge in 2021 when Manchester United came calling with their €40 million offer.

Reports have claimed that he is open to leaving United due to a lack of minutes, and Ancelotti has welcomed his return as well. However, the club prefer younger players.

Moreover, while he is not first-choice for Erik ten Hag, United are reluctant to let him go due to an injury crisis in their own defensive line.

Rafa Marin | Deportivo Alaves

Another name Real Madrid are pretty familiar with, Rafa Marin is one of their own centre-backs, currently on loan with Deportivo Alaves for the rest of the season. They have been considering bringing him back in January.

However, there is no loan termination clause in his contract, and Alaves would not be in favour of letting him go prematurely, either. They are currently sitting 16th in the league, and could face a relegation battle as the season goes on.

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MU Shorts

Tchouameni, Bellingham start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Bayern Munich

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face their biggest fixture of the season later tonight when they lock horns with Bayern Munich in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Having already won the Spanish Super Cup and La Liga, Los Blancos will be eager to take a step closer to lifting the Champions League crown as well.

The first leg, played in Germany, ended in a 2-2 draw leaving the tie nicely balanced as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich battle it out for a spot in the finals, where Borussia Dortmund await.

Heading into tonight’s clash, Real Madrid have only one injury-enforced absentee in the form of David Alaba.

Having made plenty of rotations to the team for the weekend La Liga clash against Cadiz, Carlo Ancelotti will name his strongest possible lineup at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. And here’s how Real Madrid could take the field against Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Starters

Even though Thibaut Courtois is fully fit and made his first appearance of the season this past Saturday, Andriy Lunin has more than earned his spot in the lineup and will start in goal, as confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti yesterday.

Dani Carvajal is back in the squad after missing the first leg through suspension and is certain to replace Lucas Vazquez at right-back tonight against Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will occupy the left side of the defence.

Antonio Rudiger is a certainty to feature at the heart of the defence but Ancelotti has a dilemma as far as the German’s partner is concerned.

But with Eder Militao still not back to his best and Nacho Fernandez not looking all too secure in the first leg, Aurelien Tchouameni could be asked to fill in at centre-back by Ancelotti.

Tchouameni could start at centre-back. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

In that scenario, Eduardo Camavinga becomes an automatic starter at the base of the Real Madrid midfield, where he will partner Toni Kroos, who was one of the Merengues’ best players from the first leg.

In somewhat of a tweaked setup, Ancelotti’s permanent fixture, Federico Valverde will line up on the right side of the midfield four, while Rodrygo Goes is likely to occupy the left flank – a position from where he has been quite effective in recent times.

It would mean that Vinicius Jr. would play in a more central role on the night against Bayern Munich, with fellow key man Jude Bellingham providing the Brazilian superstar support in the attacking line.

Substitutes

Luka Modric is a certainty to come on at some point in the second period for Real Madrid if he does not start against Bayern Munich. The Croatian has showcased good form in recent games and can impact the proceedings.

Brahim Diaz is also someone that Carlo Ancelotti counts on regularly from the bench and that is unlikely to change. Nacho Fernandez could be an option if Real Madrid wish to shut up shop at the back.

On the other hand, Joselu could be an alternative in attack to provide a different kind of threat in and around the Bayern Munich box.

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