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No better time than now – Ancelotti should start 19-year-old Real Madrid wonderkid vs Mallorca



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

With the amount of pressure always on them to win, it would not be wrong to say that Real Madrid have no easy fixtures on their calendar.

And over the next week, they face a daunting schedule that involves three games – one each against the Copa del Rey finalists of this season, the reigning champions of England and Europe, and the current La Liga title holders.

Of the three, tomorrow’s meeting against Mallorca, the Copa del Rey runners-up, even though not straightforward, is the easiest.

So, rotations are expected to be made, keeping in mind the upcoming games against Manchester City and FC Barcelona.

A case for Arda Guler to start

With changes likely to be made, there is no better time for Carlo Ancelotti to hand teenage sensation Arda Guler a start for Real Madrid against Mallorca.

Guler, 19, arrived at the Spanish capital club last summer from Fenerbahce amidst a lot of fanfare. But three back-to-back injuries derailed what could have been a dream debut campaign.

Having only recovered in January this year, Guler would have hoped to get going and racking up minutes, but it has not been that way for him.

Since returning from injury, Guler has featured in only seven matches across all competitions for Real Madrid, racking up a total of 98 minutes.

There have been occasions when the youngster has let the frustration get the better of him, but there is simply no denying the talent and quality he possesses.

In his five La Liga appearances, which total up to 31 minutes, Guler has scored a peach of a goal against Celta Vigo.

The Turkish international almost followed that up with a FIFA Puskas Award contender against Osasuna when his shot from the halfway mark hit the crossbar.

Time to unleash Guler? (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Fit and fresh

One of Ancelotti’s main argument for not playing Guler enough has been that the youngster needs to reach full fitness after the lengthy layoffs in the first half of the season.

And Guler has worked hard to address that, with his recent physical transformation evidence of the efforts he has put in to get into great shape physically.

Furthermore, having not played either of Real Madrid’s last two matches after the international break, he will be fresher than those who were part of the team against Manchester City this week.

Jude Bellingham looked scratchy and tired against the Cityzens, while Rodrygo is recovering from a knock and did not train today.

Speaking about Guler after the win against Celta, Ancelotti had said: “He played very little, just a few minutes, but I was convinced that he could do something.

“He is showing all his quality. He will have a future here. Nobody thinks he has no future here. He is a great talent.”

“He has a great talent that he has shown today. In the future, I’m not saying tomorrow, he’s going to get more minutes,” he added.

Considering all the factors, Saturday’s match against Mallorca might be the ideal time for Ancelotti to live up to his words and hand Guler his first La Liga start.

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MU Shorts

Tchouameni, Bellingham start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Bayern Munich



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face their biggest fixture of the season later tonight when they lock horns with Bayern Munich in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Having already won the Spanish Super Cup and La Liga, Los Blancos will be eager to take a step closer to lifting the Champions League crown as well.

The first leg, played in Germany, ended in a 2-2 draw leaving the tie nicely balanced as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich battle it out for a spot in the finals, where Borussia Dortmund await.

Heading into tonight’s clash, Real Madrid have only one injury-enforced absentee in the form of David Alaba.

Having made plenty of rotations to the team for the weekend La Liga clash against Cadiz, Carlo Ancelotti will name his strongest possible lineup at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. And here’s how Real Madrid could take the field against Thomas Tuchel’s men.


Even though Thibaut Courtois is fully fit and made his first appearance of the season this past Saturday, Andriy Lunin has more than earned his spot in the lineup and will start in goal, as confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti yesterday.

Dani Carvajal is back in the squad after missing the first leg through suspension and is certain to replace Lucas Vazquez at right-back tonight against Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy will occupy the left side of the defence.

Antonio Rudiger is a certainty to feature at the heart of the defence but Ancelotti has a dilemma as far as the German’s partner is concerned.

But with Eder Militao still not back to his best and Nacho Fernandez not looking all too secure in the first leg, Aurelien Tchouameni could be asked to fill in at centre-back by Ancelotti.

Tchouameni could start at centre-back. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

In that scenario, Eduardo Camavinga becomes an automatic starter at the base of the Real Madrid midfield, where he will partner Toni Kroos, who was one of the Merengues’ best players from the first leg.

In somewhat of a tweaked setup, Ancelotti’s permanent fixture, Federico Valverde will line up on the right side of the midfield four, while Rodrygo Goes is likely to occupy the left flank – a position from where he has been quite effective in recent times.

It would mean that Vinicius Jr. would play in a more central role on the night against Bayern Munich, with fellow key man Jude Bellingham providing the Brazilian superstar support in the attacking line.


Luka Modric is a certainty to come on at some point in the second period for Real Madrid if he does not start against Bayern Munich. The Croatian has showcased good form in recent games and can impact the proceedings.

Brahim Diaz is also someone that Carlo Ancelotti counts on regularly from the bench and that is unlikely to change. Nacho Fernandez could be an option if Real Madrid wish to shut up shop at the back.

On the other hand, Joselu could be an alternative in attack to provide a different kind of threat in and around the Bayern Munich box.

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