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Modric, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Man City



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Toni Kroos to play as the pivot. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

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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MU Shorts

Four Real Madrid players that could leave in January due to lack of playtime



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Despite the acquisitions of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, Real Madrid’s summer is far from over.

The newly crowned European champions could face pressure to offload a few of their first-team stars, on account of these new acquisitions.

With a few more stars likely to join the club in the coming summer, there are multiple Real Madrid players who may end up leaving Santiago Bernabeu, if not this summer, then perhaps in mid-season.

Here, at Madrid Universal, we will take a look at four such players who may leave Real Madrid in January 2025.


What’s in store for Rodrygo this summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The arrival of Mbappe throws a big question mark over Rodrygo’s future at the Bernabeu. The Brazilian winger has been a key player for Real Madrid in recent seasons, but his playing time is likely to be significantly impacted by Mbappe’s presence.

If Rodrygo finds himself consistently benched, a loan move or even a permanent transfer could be on the cards.

The Brazilian, in fact, has been linked with a move to a series of top Premier League clubs in recent weeks, with Liverpool even tabling an offer worth €120 million.

Although Real Madrid have rejected Rodrygo’s advances, the club are open to the attacker’s sale if any suitor comes up with an offer of €150 million.

Even if Rodrygo ends up remaining at Santiago Bernabeu, it won’t come as a surprise to see the attacker having to settle for a move elsewhere in January.

Dani Ceballos

Ceballos’ situation unlikely to improve. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Dani Ceballos’ story at Real Madrid this season has been all about injuries and bench appearances.

Due to the explosion of young stars such as Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde and Aurelien Tchouameni, Ceballos has found himself trailing in the pecking order.

Ceballos’ situation at Real Madrid has become more precarious even after Toni Kroos’ retirement, as the club are now reportedly considering the idea of accommodating Bellingham in a deeper midfield role.

Los Blancos are reportedly interested in keeping hold of the midfielder and there is still a chance the player could remain at the club this summer. But if he continues to struggle with game-time, a January exit could be on the cards.

Arda Guler

Guler may have to settle for a loan move in Jan. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Arda Guler was one of Real Madrid’s biggest bets last summer, as the youngster arrived at Santiago Bernabeu with a lot of hype.

Although the Turk did not have the best of starts to the season, his rapid rise to prominence was one of Real Madrid’s biggest highlights during the final phase of the league campaign.

Guler notably ended the campaign with six goals in ten league appearances. However, the playmaker’s role at Real Madrid could be reduced once again, especially following the arrivals of Mbappe and Endrick.

If Real Madrid find Guler’s role minimised significantly during the first half of the campaign, they might consider a loan move for the Turkish international, who has been linked with a move to at least eight clubs across Europe.

Fran Garcia

Fran Garcia’s future could be called into question. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

Similar to Guler, young left-back Fran Garcia hasn’t seen much action with the first team. While a talented player, he currently finds himself behind Ferland Mendy in the pecking order.

Garcia has featured in 25 league matches this term, but only 15 of them have been starts. His role in the squad could dwindle further next season as Real Madrid weigh a move for Alphonso Davies.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has indicated that he wants Davies only as an addition to Mendy in the left-back position.

Fran Garcia might stay at Real Madrid even if Davies joins the club. But his limited role in the team may eventually force him to settle for a loan or even a permanent move elsewhere. In the event of a permanent exit, though, Real Madrid are likely to retain a buyback clause.

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