As Real Madrid gear up to take on Barcelona in the pre-season El Clasico at the AT&T Stadium in a couple of hours, manager Carlo Ancelotti has announced the starting lineup.
As has been the trend so far this summer, Ancelotti appears to have gone in with the four-man midfield diamond for the game against the La Liga champions.
Intriguingly, though, the Italian has omitted veteran superstars Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, giving a look at what the future would look like for Real Madrid in the centre of the park.
Indeed, Aurelien Tchouameni gets the nod as the lone pivot while Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde start in the interior midfield positions.
Jude Bellingham, who has been in fine form so far in pre-season, occupies the tip of the diamond as the No. 10.
As for the defensive line, Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy line up as the full-backs, flanking the centre-back pair of Eder Militao and David Alaba, while Thibaut Courtois guards the goal.
Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes line up as the two forwards for Real Madrid against Barcelona.
Real Madrid Starting XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Tchouameni, Valverde, Camavinga, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Vinicius.
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.