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Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid: Match Review

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

After two hard-fought come-backs over Paris-Saint Germain and Chelsea, Real Madrid reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League earlier this month. On Tuesday night, they met Pep Guardiola’s side at Etihad in the hope of putting one foot into the final.

On the night, Ancelotti had his regular defensive line back in action with David Alaba, declared fit to participate too. In midfield, Federico Valverde replaced the injured Casemiro, while Rodrygo started alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr in the attack.

The game did not start well for the visitors. Two minutes in and Los Blancos stared at a deficit.

Kevin de Bruyne was the one who delivered the first blow onto Ancelotti’s plan, as the Belgian international got onto the end of Riyad Mahrez’s magical cross.

Things went from bad to worse. Nine minutes later, the scoreboard showed 2-0 in favour of Manchester City. A defensive mistake from David Alaba gave the ball on a platter for Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian made no mistake, slamming the ball into the back of the net.

Madrid recovered from the shock around minute 20, after which they began to create chances of their own. Eventually, they had their reward in the 33rd minute.

Karim Benzema was the one to pull one back for Real Madrid. Ferland Mendy initiated the attack with an accurate deep cross before the striker volleyed it past Ederson. It was a finish to remember from Benzema.

The second half brought with it more intense football, better chances and more goals. It took less than ten minutes for the scoring to restart after the referee’s whistle.

Phil Foden restores City’s two-goal margin in the 53rd minute, but the goal was only possible because of Fernandinho. The Brazilian darted down the right-wing and delivered a perfect cross into the box before the English forward headed the ball past Courtois.

Minutes after becoming the hero for his team, Fernandinho turned into the villain. The substitute’s error set Vinicius Jr free inside their half, and the Brazilian drove a low shot past his compatriot to make the score 3-2.

Despite seeing five goals on the night, one just knew that there was more to come. Bernardo Silva delivered that in the 74th minute to as he took advantage of a foul on Zinchenko and curled the ball into the top-left corner.

Ten minutes from full-time, Madrid earned a penalty as Aymeric Laporte was judged to have handled the ball.

Benzema stepped up to take the spot kick and converted it with brilliant technique, panenka-ing it past Ederson.

Three minutes were added on the night, but neither side could find the back of the net again. Heading into the Bernabeu, Real Madrid need to win by at least a two-goal margin to secure a spot in the final.

Final score: Manchester City 4-3 Real Madrid

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Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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