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Militao returns; Kroos, Modric start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Atletico



Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face the biggest test of their campaign to date when they lock horns with neighbours Atletico Madrid at the Civitas Metropolitano tonight.

Having lost the top spot in the La Liga standings to Barcelona, Los Blancos will be aware that anything less than a win would see them enter the international break behind their arch-rivals in the title race.

Add to it, they will also be motivated to win the bragging rights in the Madrid derby while looking to maintain their 100% win record in all competitions in 2022/23.

Unlike last season, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has not been shy of rotating his troops this time out. On Sunday, though, the Italian will pick his strongest possible XI to face Diego Simeone’s side and here we take a look at how the Merengues could line up at the Metropolitano.


The big boost for Real Madrid heading into the game is Eder Militao’s return to training after he missed the last two matches with an injury. The Brazilian should, in all likelihood, be reinstated to the starting lineup against the Rojiblancos.

Militao’s partner at the heart of the defence could likely be Antonio Rudiger, even though the German has not made the best possible start to life in Spain. His experience and aggressive nature could come in handy in a high-octane clash like the Madrid derby.

Should Rudiger slot in as the second centre-back, David Alaba will have to move to the left-back slot, with Ferland Mendy missing out from the lineup. Dani Carvajal is the undisputed starter at right-back, especially with Lucas Vazquez sidelined with injury.

Thibaut Courtois will guard the Real Madrid goal against his former club.


Toni Kroos set to return to the lineup for the derby (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Luka Modric and Aurelien Tchouameni both started in the midweek win against RB Leipzig. The former has shown no signs of slowing down despite turning 37 while the latter has stepped into Casemiro’s shoes with ease. They should retain their spots in the lineup for the derby.

Eduardo Camavinga partnered the aforementioned duo against Leipzig but did not make the best impression. Furthermore, with Toni Kroos well-rested, the German pass master should come into the lineup and take up the third midfield slot ahead of the French wonderkid.


There is no reason for Ancelotti to change anything in attack especially with Karim Benzema still not available for selection. So, Rodrygo Goes should keep his spot as the No. 9 for Real Madrid against Atletico at the Metropolitano.

Rodrygo’s compatriot, Vinicius Jr, has been in the news leading up to the game due to the controversy surrounding him being subjected to a racist slur. So, all eyes will be on the 22-year-old forward, who will be Real Madrid’s chief threat in attack in Benzema’s absence.

Federico Valverde has scored two goals in the last two matches and will retain his spot on the right flank for the reigning champions of Spain later tonight.

Vinicius · Rodrygo · Valverde
Kroos · Tchouameni · Modric
Alaba · Rudiger · Militao · Carvajal

Off the bench

Eduardo Camavinga has featured regularly this season whether as a starter or off the bench and is almost guaranteed to come on as a substitute at some point in the game on the night.

Nacho Fernandez is another player that Ancelotti relies on heavily and could opt to throw him on in the latter stages of the contest if Los Blancos are looking to protect a lead. Dani Ceballos could also get a shot in such a situation.

Marco Asensio will be hopeful of getting more minutes after he scored his 50th goal for Real Madrid in the midweek win over RB Leipzig.

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Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.

Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.

1. Final game on the road

The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.

From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.

Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.

Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.

Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.

2. Tchouameni’s point to prove

Point to prove. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.

The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.

Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.

The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.

The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.

3. Only three forwards

Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.

Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.

For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.

In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.

Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.

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