Modric, Valverde start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona
Real Madrid will be aiming to overturn the one-goal deficit from the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg and book a place in the finals when they take on eternal rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
The Merengues succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu back in March and will have a huge challenge to turn things around against an in-form opponent in their own backyard.
The momentum will also be with Barcelona, given that they have won each of the last three El Clasico encounters. But, the 6-0 win over Real Valladolid this past weekend should give Carlo Ancelotti’s men a confidence boost heading into Wednesday’s match.
Ahead of the big game at Camp Nou, we take a look at how Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona with a spot in the Copa del Rey finals at stake.
Thibaut Courtois might not have had the same level of success as last season, but he remains a critical part of Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side and will continue under the woodwork against Barcelona.
Dani Carvajal should return at right-back after not starting against Valladolid over the weekend. The Spaniard will be in for a tricky challenge against the duo of Gavi and Alejandro Balde on Barça’s left flank.
Meanwhile, Eder Militao and David Alaba should continue as the centre-backs despite Antonio Rudiger recovering from his injury. Nacho ought to get the nod at left-back, having returned from suspension. The veteran will be tasked with keeping Raphinha quiet.
Nacho’s return should free up Eduardo Camavinga to move into the midfield, where he can make a difference with his energy, physicality, and ability on the ball. Aurelien Tchouameni ought to slot in as the No. 6 and screen the backline.
During his presser, Ancelotti hinted that there is no guarantee that he will start both Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the side. And given that the latter played the full game versus Valladolid, Modric should start in the third slot in midfield.
Rodrygo Goes was one of the best players for Real Madrid against Valladolid over the weekend. But as is the case for the big games, Ancelotti is likely to recall Federico Valverde after resting him last time out. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr will round up the Real Madrid frontline.
Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Camavinga · Tchouameni · Modric
Nacho · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal
Rodrygo is certain to come onto the pitch at some point in the game if he does not start. Marco Asensio, who also had a good outing at the weekend, should get some minutes on the pitch, especially if Real Madrid are chasing the game.
Antonio Rudiger could be sent on at some point in the second half to replace David Alaba, who has recovered from an injury only recently.
Having not played a single minute in an El Clasico encounter in his spell at Real Madrid, Eden Hazard may get to make his Clasico debut after he featured against Valladolid.
Five summer transfer operations that Real Madrid are currently working on
With renewed energy, Real Madrid approach the summer transfer window oozing optimism. The air in the Spanish capital is filled with anticipation as Los Blancos prepare to embark on a new chapter — one that promises to bring numerous changes and opportunities.
Following the exits of several high profile names, with the most recent departure of Karim Benzema leaving a gargantuan void in the front-line, Madrid are necessitated to act swiftly in the window. They are reportedly set to prepare for a revolutionary summer.
Currently, Los Blancos maintain emphasis on five operations that hold priority. These are as follows:
The English starboy with the world at his feet continues to be one of football’s hottest commodities. Bellingham has amassed considerable interest from Europe’s top sides, but appears to be closest to striking a deal with Real Madrid.
While the player had no shortage of suitors, his desire to play for the Royal Whites has given Madrid a very realistic chance of obtaining the teenage sensation’s signature.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid aspire to complete details of Jude Bellingham’s deal next week. Talks are in the final stages, with add-ons as well as the €100m fixed fee to BVB.
In spite of his high price tag, Bellingham has bedazzled at the tender age of 19, having also won the Bundesliga player of the season. Strengthening the squad with a talent as renowed as him is bound to engender energy in the midfield department next season.
Karim Benzema’s exit has given rise to several top class strikers being linked with Madrid, but Kane’s name stands out most remarkably. The English forward enjoyed a spectacular season with Tottenham Hotspur, despite the club’s collective shortcomings.
Los Blancos face a whopping price tag of €120 million due to the player’s significance for Spurs, but possess an edge in negotiations, owing to the absence of a direct domestic conflict.
According to Jose Felix Diaz, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is willing to let Harry Kane leave, as long as his next destination is outside of England.
Kane has established himself as one of the world’s most demanded forwards. Interest from Real Madrid particularly makes sense, with how many stylistic similarities he possesses with Benzema.
The forward is adept at dropping deep and linking plays, while also possesses an incredible eye for goal. Kane ended the Premier League season as the second top scorer, scoring 30.
The German international appears to already have one foot in the Spanish capital. Havertz has garnered great interest from Perez, who will be tasked with filling a barren front-line, where Rodrygo and Vinicius are the only two forwards remaining at the club.
The 23 year old was signed by a grand figure of €80 million, but failed to live up to expectations. With a difficult period at the English club, Chelsea would not present much resistance if an adequate offer is presented.
However, Chelsea are reportedly demanding Madrid to put a figure of around €60 million to sign Havertz, which by no means is an amount the Merengues throw around lightly.
Still, Havertz has proven to be a talented youngster when the conditions favour him. At Bayer Leverkusen, he soared to incredible heights. The player is also well acquainted with the German players in Madrid’s squad, which will ease the adaptation process.
While Madrid yearn to reconstruct most of their attack, the club have not abandoned the defensive side of the squad and particularly appear interested in bolstering the left-back position, where Davies has emerged as a potential signing.
As Ferland Mendy faces an almost imminent departure or, at the very least, a demotion in the pecking order, Davies looks to be the chosen one to reinforce the area.
The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the world’s most productive full-backs as he has undeniably proven to be one of the Bavarians’ main assets.
According to Spanish outlet MARCA, Madrid have contacted the German side in hopes of sealing a deal. The reported figure is expected to exceed €60-70 million.
Moreover, Alphonso Davies has dual citizenship, Canadian & Liberian and with the Cotonou agreement, he doesn’t take a NON-EU slot in the squad.
Joselu has been one of the most mentioned links with Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window. As Madrid are willing to especially beef up their attacking depth, the Espanyol man would prove to be a solid buy.
After bidding farewell to Mariano and Asensio, the need for a reliable back-up striker exists in the squad. In such a context, Joselu would aid the depth department.
The Spaniard ended the league season as the third top scorer, securing an impressive 16 goals. Despite Espanyol’s relegation, he looked to be one of the few bright spots in a struggling side.
To successfully reinforce the squad, Real Madrid aim to create a formidable lineup capable of competing at the highest level. They are targeting both established stars and young individuals, believing that a blend of experience and potential will formulate a well-rounded squad.
Following a bucketload of player exits as well as failures in La Liga and Champions League, the club believe a transformative phase is essential to move forward.