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How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona



Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images

Real Madrid will welcome Barcelona to the Camp Nou with open arms tonight as they look to solidify their position on top of the table. With both teams in excellent form, a win for Madrid could go a long way in raising morale, especially during the business end of the season.

However, there are a lot of concerns for Carlo Ancelotti to deal with, starting with the absence of Karim Benzema. The Frenchman picked up an injury vs Mallorca and has been ruled out of the El Clasico.

Secondly, who starts at left-back since Ferland Mendy has been sidelined as well? Marcelo offers a lot more in possession, but Nacho can do a much better job defensively against one of Ousmane Dembele or Adama Traore.

Join Madrid Universal as we try to predict how Ancelotti will plug these two holes, and others, ahead of the all-important El Clasico.


Oh-so-often Real Madrid’s saviour, Thibaut Courtois will be called into action multiple times against this Barcelona side, who have not had trouble scoring goals.

A four-man defence will be screening him, with Eder Militao and David Alaba at the heart of it. The duo was monumental during the last Clasico, held as part of the Spanish Super Cup in Dubai, and will be hoping to replicate the same tonight.

We expect Ancelotti to choose Nacho to flank the centre-backs from the left side in the hope of solidifying the defence. Dani Carvajal will start over Lucas Vazquez as the right-back.


Little to no doubts over the starting midfielders tomorrow. Casemiro has been the Clasico hero so often this season, and should get the nod at defensive midfield. He will be joined by his usual partners in what is expected to be a 4-3-3.

Toni Kroos will likely start on the left side of Casemiro, while Luka Modric will, in all probability, take over responsibilities on the other side of the midfield trident.


The biggest question is who will replace Benzema to spearhead the attacking trio. Ancelotti named five different players who could replace him, but we expect him to go with Gareth Bale as the striker.

Bale in for Benzema. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Welshman has been deployed there multiple times this season, and is the only one who could successfully offer the same aerial threat and ball-striking technique that Benzema does.

The left-wing is pretty much straightforward. Vinicius Jr. has been a revelation for Madrid this season with 14 goals and six assists in the league. There is no question that he will be the ‘leader’ in the attack.

The right side, however, is a toss up between Marco Asensio and Rodrygo. The latter adds defensive depth and work-rate to the forward line, but we expect the former to start owing to his goal-scoring prowess.

Predicted Real Madrid XI:

Carvajal · Militao · Alaba · Nacho
Modric · Casemiro · Kroos
Asensio · Bale · Vinicius

The bench

There is a solid possibility that we will get to see one or both of Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde come off the bench to replace the starting midfielders.

Rodrygo and Eden Hazard are the usual suspects that have come off the bench this season, and could be called upon to add more attacking depth if Madrid are chasing the game.

The same goes for Marcelo, who can single-handedly change the outlook of the game with a single cross or through-ball. He could come in to replace Nacho. And on the right side, Lucas Vazquez could be called up on to sub off Carvajal.

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Real Madrid News

Nacho set to stay at Real Madrid, will be new club captain – report



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid have finally received some good news as MARCA confirms that Nacho has finally made his decision about his future, and is set to continue at the club for the foreseeable future.

His contract expires in the summer, and Real Madrid had tabled an extension for the player, which was not accepted by the Spaniard at the time. Now, however, he has decided to reject offers from Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.

Nacho will sign a one year extension, with the option to extend for another year if both parties reach an agreement.

His continuity also means that he will be the new club captain for the 2023/24 season, since Karim Benzema is leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer. Luka Modric will be second captain, followed by Daniel Carvajal and Toni Kroos.

Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken to the player, confirming that they trust him for next season in the team, which has gone a long way in helping convince the player.

The Italian gaffer also spoke about the Spanish defender’s contract situation after the game against Athletic Club yesterday, saying:

“Asensio, Nacho and Ceballos? We have explained them their roles. The club have offered them renewals. Asensio has preferred to leave, Ceballos and Nacho are still thinking about it.” 

While a centre-back by trade, Nacho has played across the defence for Madrid continuously, including putting shifts at left-back, right-back, and even centre-back.

His departure would have probably pushed Madrid to sign another defender, especially since they are considering selling Ferland Mendy if a good offer arrives.

Regardless of that, though, Madrid are moving to sign Alphonso Davies, and have already made initial contacts with the player. Bayern Munich have not rejected their advances.

Further, the los blancos management have already met with Davies’ entourage twice, cementing their interest in the Canadian ace.

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