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Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Arandina — Arda Guler’s debut | Copa del Rey

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will officially start their Copa del Rey defence today as they lock horns against tier four side Arandina in the round of 32. They are coming off a narrow 1-0 win against Mallorca, and could use a morale-booster with a big win today.

Ancelotti has made several changes to the team that hosted Mallorca, and the biggest news of comes in the form of Arda Guler. The Turkish international is finally ready to make his debut, starting on the left wing.

He is joined by Joselu, who will play as the striker, and Brahim Diaz, who will presumably take over the right-wing, due to hierarchical reasons.

Ancelotti has gone for his favoured three-man midfield setup for this game, with Eduardo Camavinga back in the team as the pivot. Dani Ceballos has been given the nod as an interior, while Nico Paz rounds it off as the other no. 8.

Nacho missed the midweek game due to suspension, but returns to the fold tonight with the captain’s armband in central defence, partnering Real Madrid Castilla defender Alvaro Carrillo.

Fran Garcia retains his spot as the left-back, while Vinicius Tobias starts on the right side of the defence with Lucas Vazquez injured. Kepa Arrizabalaga holds the fort in goal.

Madrid XI: Kepa; Tobias, Carrillo, Nacho, Garcia; Paz, Camavinga, Ceballos; Diaz, Joselu, Guler

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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