Following Barcelona’s awe-inspiring comeback win against Celta Vigo yesterday, the pressure is on Real Madrid to regain top spot in La Liga as they travel to Civitas Metropolitano to lock horns against Atletico Madrid.
The first Madrid derby of the season will not feature Vinicius Jr, who had to pull out of the travelling squad today due to a stomach bug.
Jude Bellingham has been given the green light, though, and is likely starting as the out and out striker for this game, with Joselu benched. The Englishman is joined by Rodrygo by his side, while Luka Modric plays behind them as the attacking midfielder.
Behind this trio, Toni Kroos has been handed the keys as the pivot, with Aurelien Tchouameni benched. Eduardo Camavinga starts alongside Federico Valverde as the central midfielders.
Lucas Vazquez fills in for the injured Daniel Carvajal at right-back, while Fran Garcia comes back to take over his left-back spot from Nacho. David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger round off the quadrant in central defence, screening Kepa in goal.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Kepa; Vazquez, Rudiger, Alaba, Garcia; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Modric; Rodrygo, Bellingham
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.