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Modric, Valverde return; Hazard starts in a 4-3-3: Predicted Real Madrid lineup against Girona

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Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Having lost their first match of the season against RB Leipzig earlier this week, Real Madrid will be aiming to bounce back strongly when they host Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga on Sunday.

Los Blancos will need to make sure that they do not drop points, especially with Barcelona breathing down their necks.

However, Carlo Ancelotti will have to cope with the absence of his captain and ace goalscorer Karim Benzema once again. With Rodrygo Goes’ involvement also not certain, the Italian tactician will have a few important decisions to make with regard to his team selection against Girona.

And Madrid Universal takes a look at how Real Madrid could line up on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

Starters

Thibaut Courtois is a confirmed starter in goal for Real Madrid when fit and available. The goalkeeper was critical of his teammates in midweek after letting in three goals and will be hoping to secure a clean sheet.

There are expected to be wholesale changes in defence, with Eder Militao the only player likely to retain his spot from the RB Leipzig encounter. Partnering the Brazilian should be David Alaba, coming into the team in place of Nacho Fernandez.

Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal ought to replace Antonio Rudiger and Lucas Vazquez as the full-backs on the left and right sides, respectively.

Moving into the middle of the park, Luka Modric has returned to training for Real Madrid and should walk right back into the starting XI against Girona. The Croatian will be partnered by fellow veteran Toni Kroos as the pair look to control and dictate the tempo of the game.

Aurelien Tchouameni should continue anchoring the midfielder, where he could have to keep an eye out on the in-form Aleix Garcia.

The attacking unit is where things get tricky for Ancelotti and Real Madrid. Vinicius Jr is a guaranteed starter on the left flank and will act as the primary attacking threat for the home team in Benzema’s absence.

Federico Valverde, back from his injury, could feature from the get-go, although Ancelotti has the option of continuing with Marco Asensio in case he does not wish to rush the Uruguayan midfielder back.

As for the centre-forward slot, with Rodrygo recovering from an illness, he might not be in a position to start against Girona. It could force Ancelotti to hand Eden Hazard a rare opportunity as the false-nine ahead of Mariano. The Belgian has not played in the league since September 11 and must make the most of his chance.

Vinicius HazardValverde
Kroos Tchouameni Modric
Mendy Alaba Militao Carvajal
Courtois

Substitutes

Eduardo Camavinga is pretty much guaranteed to come on at some stage in the second half to provide relief for Modric. Dani Ceballos, who is back from injury, could also get a few minutes depending on the circumstances of the game, while the same will hold for Mariano Diaz as well.

Marco Asensio has done well off the bench in the past few matches and could look to make an impact again in the latter stages 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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