Carlo Ancelotti has seemingly opted to replace star striker Karim Benzema with Brazilian prodigy Rodrygo Goes for the El Clasico against Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The French hitman is ruled out with a leg injury, leaving a gaping hole in the frontline for Los Blancos. Despite having natural strikers at his disposal in Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz, Ancelotti has gone in with Rodrygo in a false-nine role.
The Brazilian will have compatriot Vinicius Junior for company on the left-hand side, while Federico Valverde gets the nod on the right flank, possibly to combat the attacking threat of Jordi Alba.
Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro will form the midfield trifecta for the La Liga title favourites. Eduardo Camavinga finds himself on the bench yet again, while Marco Asensio also remains among the substitutes.
In defence, there are no major surprises as Nacho Fernandez moves out to left-back in the absence of Ferland Mendy. The Real Madrid cantera also leads the team on the night against Barcelona. Eder Militao, David Alaba, and Dani Carvajal form the rest of the backline while Thibaut Courtois continues in goal.
Official Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius
Real Madrid were offered Man City loanee in January, club decided against move – Romano
Joao Cancelo’s loan move to Bayern Munich from Manchester City in the final days of the January transfer window came as a huge shock.
The Portuguese international signed for the Bavarian giants on a loan deal until the end of the season with a non-mandatory purchase option worth €70 million.
But, according to Fabrizio Romano, before his move to Bayern Munich, Cancelo was also offered to Real Madrid, who decided against signing any player in the January transfer window.
The Manchester City loanee has been on Los Blancos’ radars in the past, but the club made it clear that they are uninterested in signing any new players during the winter window.
As things stand, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are Carlo Ancelotti’s options at right-back, but there are concerns over their fitness and longevity.
But, as things stand, Real Madrid have no plans to sign a new right-back in the summer as they have full faith in both Carvajal and Vazquez.
Furthermore, Romano adds that the Merengues believe that they have a top right-back for the future in the form of Vinicius Tobias.
The teenage Brazilian joined the club in April last year from Shakhtar Donetsk on loan with a purchase option. He has been earning rave reviews for his performances for Real Madrid’s Castilla outfit under Raul Gonzalez.
So, there is a good chance that the Spanish and European champions will sign Tobias permanently.
All these factors seemingly compelled them against making a move for Cancelo when he was offered to the club last month. The Portuguese international has already made his debut for Bayern Munich and registered an assist on his debut.
Whether they decide to sign him permanently for €70 million in the summer remains to be seen. As for Real Madrid, though, there do not seem to be any imminent plans to reinforce the right-back position.