Modric, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Man City
Real Madrid will be bracing themselves for their toughest examination of the 2022/23 season so far as they get set to face Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final tie later tonight.
Having eliminated the Cityzens from the competition at this exact stage last season, the Merengues will be looking to repeat the same outcome, although they will be playing the second leg at the Etihad Stadium this time out.
A blockbuster encounter between two of the best teams in Europe, the match has generated a lot of excitement among the fans as well as neutrals.
Heading into the game, both teams have one or two important absences, with Real Madrid set to be without Eder Militao (suspension), Ferland Mendy, and Dani Ceballos (injuries) while Manchester City will be missing Nathan Ake.
Madrid Universal now takes a look at how Carlo Ancelotti could set his team up to battle an in-form Manchester City side at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti will look to field almost the same lineup that started against CA Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final last weekend, with just one possible tweak.
That change will come in midfield where Luka Modric will be starting as confirmed by the manager in his press conference yesterday. The Croatian would be risking an injury relapse by rushing his return, but it seems like he will be in the lineup for tonight’s match.
Modric’s return would mean that Toni Kroos would move to the pivot position at the expense of Aurelien Tchouameni while Federico Valverde will keep hold of his place, even though he is playing with some discomfort.
With no Eder Militao, it becomes obvious that Real Madrid will line up with Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba as their centre-backs to tackle the threat of the deadly Erling Haaland.
Meanwhile, Dani Carvajal and Eduardo Camavinga will line up as the full-backs and will have their hands full dealing with Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva, respectively. Thibaut Courtois will guard the goal against the dangerous Manchester City side.
Moving into the attacking unit, there is no looking past Rodrygo Goes on the right flank after his spectacular performance in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr are also undisputed starters for the home team.
Vinicius · Benzema · Rodrygo
Modric · Kroos · Valverde
Camavinga · Alaba · Rudiger · Carvajal
Marco Asensio is usually one of the first names to come on for Carlo Ancelotti, especially if Real Madrid are having problems in the final third. The Spaniard has been in decent touch of late and can provide added third in front of goal.
Lucas Vazquez or Nacho Fernandez could be options if Dani Carvajal finds it difficult to cope with the Man City forwards. Nacho could also come in at left-back to allow Eduardo Camavinga to operate in midfield if Luka Modric tires out. Aurelien Tchouameni would also be an option in that case.
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The club are clear about the continuity of Carlo Ancelotti, but the Italian could have an uphill task organising a team that will witness many defections at the end of the season.
Uncertainty over Lunin, Mendy and Nacho
In the defensive unit, Real Madrid are not entirely sure about the continuity of Andriy Lunin, which has posed questions as to who will serve as the alternative for Thibaut Courtois next season.
Should the Ukrainian international depart, Real Madrid could pursue David Raya as a potential replacement. The club are facing a similar dilemma in the left-back unit, with Ferland Mendy facing an uncertain future at Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid are open to sanctioning the sale of Mendy and appeared to have put faith in the returning Fran Garcia. The club have also decided not to utilise the services of Vinicius Tobias and will rely on youngsters like Alex Jimenez and David Jimenez to explode next season.
Elsewhere in defence, both Nacho and Lucas Vazquez have a decision to make, as far as their future is concerned. If Nacho leaves, Real Madrid are unlikely to go after a centre-back and will expect Rafa Marin to compete with Jesus Vallejo for the fourth centre-back position, with Ancelotti likely to maintain trust in David Alaba, Eder Militao and David Alaba.
Bellingham to beef up midfield, Diaz could replace Asensio
Real Madrid are hoping to have one of the best midfield units in Europe following the expected arrival of Jude Bellingham.
The Borussia Dortmund starlet will join forces with Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos, along with youngsters such as Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni next season, offering Ancelotti an array of top-quality options in the middle of the park.
Dani Ceballos, though, is facing an uncertain future at the club. He appears to be very close to leaving the Bernabeu, but Real Madrid have made a last-gasp effort to keep him at the club.
Marco Asensio, meanwhile, looks set to leave the club in the summer, with the Spaniard reportedly closing in on a move to Paris Saint-Germain. His likely departure has altered Real Madrid’s plans with Brahim Diaz.
Although the former Man City starlet was in talks with AC Milan over a permanent move, there is a possibility he could remain at Bernabeu and serve as the direct replacement for Asensio.
Harry Kane an option in attack
Karim Benzema considering a last-minute move to Saudi Arabia has given a massive headache to Real Madrid’s bosses, as it can not only force them to enter the market for a new forward but also scupper their plans to sign either Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe in 2024.
Harry Kane appears to be the front-runner to replace Benzema if he leaves the club. Ancelotti is a fan of the Englishman, who might want to leave Spurs after yet another disappointing campaign.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid are expected to bring in Joselu Mato as a replacement for Mariano Diaz. The Espanyol striker will serve as the alternative to the main centre-forward at the Bernabeu next season.