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

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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.

Starters

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
Courtois

Substitutes

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

Three Real Madrid players whose roles will change with Mbappe’s arrival

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe’s move from PSG to Real Madrid will be the headline of the summer irrespective of what transpires in the weeks to come.

After years of running a long-standing soap opera, the player finally secured his dream move. Now officially announced, Carlo Ancelotti and Co. can begin incorporating the star into their plans for next season.

His arrival, however, will bring with it an inevitable set of changes to the setup that won Real Madrid the Champions League last season.

In the process, several Real Madrid stars will be made to alter their roles and possibly even positions on the field to accommodate the World Cup winner.

Here are three players who will see a complete change in role after Mbappe’s signing. 

Vinicius Jr.

Vinicius will have to juggle his role with Mbappe. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

At this point, it is well established that Vinicius Jr. is one of, if not the best left-winger in world football. The Brazilian’s influence on Real Madrid’s results has only amplified exponentially in recent years. He is even the favourite to take home the Ballon d’Or after a stellar last season.

Come August, however, Vinicius will ironically find his own place in the team in jeopardy. Carlo Ancelotti’s plan will indeed be to stick with the Brazilian on the wing and deploy Kylian Mbappe as the number nine for Real Madrid next season.

Given that the Frenchman is best placed on the left, however, it is highly possible that the duo are made to swap roles with regularity.

In short, Vinicius’ position next season will largely depend on Mbappe’s adaptation. Should the new signing struggle to adapt, the Brazilian superstar could be the one to face the brunt.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham will likely play in a deeper position. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham enjoyed a stunning first season with Real Madrid, breaking records for fun and establishing himself as an elite superstar.

His role, however, will undoubtedly see a major transformation next season. After all, Carlo Ancelotti is planning a change in formation and the attacking midfield role in the 4-4-2 diamond formation will no longer be his to claim.

Likely back in a 4-3-3, Los Blancos will be well covered in the final third and Bellingham will be forced to take a step back. He will likely join forces with Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde in the proper midfield and thus play a deeper role for the men in white.

Rodrygo Goes

Rodrygo will have to settle for a place on the right flank. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

It is clear at this point that Rodrygo is the worst hit by Mbappe’s arrival for the youngster is now on the edge.

Rodrygo shone brightly playing on the left flank towards the end of the last season. But the Brazilian now has no chance of seeing minutes in his niche given the presence of two superior players ahead of him in the pecking order.

Mbappe’s arrival also means that Rodrygo will have no option but to play as a right-winger, a position in which he has not convinced much in recent times.

To rub salt into his wounds, he will also be forced to take up a more significant defensive role as the other two players in attack will contribute minimally to the press. It thus remains to be seen if the youngster can hold onto his place as a starter or struggle under the pressure. 

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