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



Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Real Madrid will battle it out with neighbours Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Having gotten the better of Villarreal in the previous round, Los Blancos will be hoping to produce a solid performance against Diego Simeone’s side so that they can take a step closer towards winning the trophy that they have not won in over eight years.

Heading into the match, Carlo Ancelotti has four players unavailable for selection, with Aurelien Tchouameni, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez and Eden Hazard missing out.

The good news, though, is that David Alaba is back to full fitness and has been included in the squad list for the Atletico Madrid clash.

Ahead of the much-anticipated derby on Thursday night, Madrid Universal looks to predict how the Merengues could line up against the Colchoneros.


For the previous cup tie, Ancelotti selected Thibaut Courtois ahead of Andriy Lunin and given the magnitude of Thursday’s match, the Belgian is expected to continue between the sticks.

The manager has already confirmed that David Alaba will be playing tomorrow and the Austrian is likely to slot in as the centre-back alongside Eder Militao, with Antonio Rudiger dropping out.

With no Carvajal and Vazquez, Ancelotti will once again count on Nacho Fernandez at right-back, something he already confirmed in his press conference. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will continue occupying the left side of the defensive line.

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 30: David Alaba of Real Madrid warms up prior to the LaLiga Santander match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on December 30, 2022 in Valladolid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Alaba returns for Real Madrid (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Eduardo Camavinga showcased his quality while operating as a defensive midfielder against Athletic Club over the weekend. With Tchouameni still sidelined, it makes sense for the Real Madrid boss to continue with the 20-year-old as the deepest of the three midfielders.

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were both shock omissions from the league game against Athletic over the weekend. But having given the veterans some rest, Ancelotti will likely recall them for the derby versus Atletico Madrid.

This would lead to Federico Valverde, who was on target in the last meeting vs Atleti, starting on the right flank. Vinicius Jr, who has been under the pump of late, ought to occupy his customary position on the left, with Karim Benzema spearheading the attack.

Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Camavinga · Modric
Mendy · Alaba · Militao · Nacho


Rodrygo Goes has often made a difference for Real Madrid when coming on from the bench and he will be one of the first members on the bench that Ancelotti will turn to on Thursday.

Dani Ceballos will feel unlucky to drop out to the bench given his recent performances but should get some minutes in the second half. Marco Asensio is another player who the Real Madrid manager will call upon in the latter stages of the contest.

Antonio Rudiger could replace Alaba at some point in the second half considering that the latter is just returning from an injury.

Even though Ancelotti has been reluctant to use Castilla players, Sergio Arribas has been called up to the squad and could be given a few minutes, depending on the situation of the game.

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MU Shorts

Rodrygo, Carvajal start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Valencia



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to make it to the finals of the Spanish Super Cup when they face off against Valencia in the semi-finals tonight at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The current holders of the trophy, Los Blancos enter the tournament on the back of a disappointing loss to Villarreal in La Liga and will be keen to bounce back strongly with a resounding victory.

However, Gennaro Gattuso’s men have what it takes to make life difficult for the reigning champions of Spain and Europe when the two teams collide later tonight to battle for a place in the final against Barcelona or Real Betis.

Ahead of the crunch tie in Riyadh, Madrid Universal predicts how Carlo Ancelotti might set his team out against Los Che.


Thibaut Courtois has been a crucial presence at the back for Real Madrid and will continue under the woodwork against Valencia in the Super Cup semi-finals ahead of Andriy Lunin.

Dani Carvajal, who has recovered from his injury, is set to return to the lineup to slot in at right-back.

It should allow Eder Militao to move back to his natural centre-back position, after playing on the right side against Villarreal. With David Alaba ruled out for three weeks due to an injury, Antonio Rudiger becomes the automatic pick as Militao’s partner.

Ferland Mendy missed training yesterday and is a doubt for the match due to muscle overload. Nacho Fernandez should get the nod at left-back in that case, although Eduardo Camavinga could be an option for Ancelotti.

Ferland Mendy is a doubt for Valencia clash (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is another notable injury-related absentee for Real Madrid. The Frenchman has been a permanent fixture in the No. 6 role this season and in his absence Toni Kroos should move into the deepest midfield position against Valencia.

The German international will have support in the middle of the park from fellow veteran star Luka Modric and Uruguayan ace Federico Valverde, who was reportedly considering his future at Real Madrid before changing his mind after his exploits in the Super Cup.

With Valverde moving into midfield, Rodrygo Goes should get drafted into the starting XI on the right flank, while Vinicius Jr is a guaranteed starter on the left. The two Brazilian forwards will have an important role to essay on the night.

Meanwhile, club captain Karim Benzema will spearhead the attack for Real Madrid.

Vinicius · Benzema · Rodrygo
Modric · Kroos · Valverde
Nacho · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal


Eduardo Camavinga has carved out a reputation for being an impact substitute and will certainly be called upon from the bench if he does not start against Valencia tonight. Marco Asensio is another player who is likely to get some minutes on the pitch for Real Madrid.

Ancelotti might even look at Dani Ceballos as an option to shut up shop in the latter stages of the game should Real Madrid be in a comfortable position. Meanwhile, Lucas Vazquez could replace Carvajal considering that the latter is just returning from an injury.

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