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Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Al-Hilal | Club World Cup Final



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have the chance to nail down their first trophy of 2023 as they gear up to take on Al-Hilal in the Club World Cup final tonight. It could also serve as their fifth trophy in the last year or so, with Copa del Rey the only exception.

Carlo Ancelotti has pretty much the entire first-team at his disposal for this game. Karim Benzema returns as the no. 9, aided by Vinicius Jr, and Federico Valverde on the left and right wing respectively.

In midfield, Aurelien Tchouameni has been granted the responsibility as the no. 6. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric round off the centre of the park in advanced midfield roles, while in-form Dani Ceballos starts on the bench.

With Eder Militao still injured, Antonio Rudiger gets another chance to prove his worth to Real Madrid and co. with a start in central defence. David Alaba retains his place, while Eduardo Camavinga and Daniel Carvajal provide width from the back.

Thibaut Courtois starts in goal.

Confirmed Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Camavinga; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius

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Real Madrid News

Canadian international says playing against Luka Modric was a ‘lesson’ for him



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are blessed to have the services and loyalty of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The duo have run the show in the Merengues’ midfield for close to a decade and continue to deliver flawless performances to date.

Of the two, however, it is the Croatian who deserves the higher credit. The veteran is now 37 years of age, yet dominates the middle of the park with grace and poise like none other.

Stephen Estuaqio, an FC Porto player and Canada International, spoke earlier this week about why he considered Luka Modric to be a special player and compared him with Kevin de Bruyne to support his stance.

“I played against De Bruyne, but I ran behind Modrić. I couldn’t play against him. It’s crazy how he dictates the game and controls everything. It was a lesson for me,” he said on The 90th minute on Youtube.

With his contract running out next season, Real Madrid are looking to renew his deal by one year come June. Yet, it is difficult to see him continue beyond next season and his imminent departure will mark the end of an era at the club.

Thus, Modric could be an altered role come next season. With a young midfielder, possibly Jude Bellingham set to arrive, the veteran could move into a mentorship role with the occasional appearance in big games.

This season, however, Carlo Ancelotti will continue to use him as one of the backbones of the side and deploy the maestro in the must-win fixtures coming up later this month.

At 37 years of age, Modric has started 16 La Liga games over 24 appearances this season in the competition. He has scored four goals and provided three assists in that process in addition to creating eight big chances with an average of 1.8 key passes per game.

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