As Real Madrid get set to take on Celta Vigo in Matchweek 3 of the 2023/24 La Liga, manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed the list of players that will be making the trip to Balaidos.
As was the case last week, academy graduate Nico Paz once again gets a call-up to the first-team squad and he will be waiting to make his debut for Real Madrid.
One player who is all set for his maiden appearance for the Merengues is loan signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, with Ancelotti confirming that the Spaniard will start in goal against Celta Vigo ahead of Andriy Lunin.
Real Madrid will once again be without Dani Ceballos and Ferland Mendy, who are closing in on full recovery but are still not ready to return yet.
Summer signing Arda Guler also remains sidelined while Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao are long-term absentees.
Real Madrid would have lost eight points if not for the summer signing
Jude Bellingham’s impact at Real Madrid this season is simply undeniable. However, what is even more fascinating is that if the Los Blancos had not signed him this summer, the team from the Spanish capital would have accumulated eight fewer points this season, reports AS.
The former Birmingham City and Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been in the thick of things ever since the first game of the season, which was a 2-0 win over Athletic Club away from home.
Since his opening day heroics, the England international has found the net six times in as many appearances across all competitions.
Too many draws without Bellingham
The 20-year-old midfielder has scored late winners in as many as three games for Madrid this season. In fact, among the matches Madrid have played this season, it was the opening game, against Athletic Club, that his goal was not decisive.
In that game, Rodrygo initiated the scoring, while the English international sealed the victory. It was a 0-2 triumph, which would still have been a win even without his contribution.
However, his impact was undeniable in the other encounters, such as the matches against Almeria (1-3, where he netted a brace and assisted Vinicius Jr’s goal), Celta (0-1), Getafe (1-0), and Union (1-0).
Where would Madrid be without him?
Once you do the math, that’s five goals scored in four games which transformed four draws into victories.
If it weren’t for Bellingham’s goals, Madrid’s League points would be six fewer, and their Champions League tally would be reduced by two, totaling eight points across all competitions. Although these are speculative scenarios, their credibility solidifies when examining the statistics.
As a result, Real Madrid have started with a flawless record of 18 points out of a possible 18 across all competitions.
We don’t really need to solidify the importance of last-minute goals in football, but if there was an award for it, Bellingham would be a worthy winner, to say the least.