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Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Elche

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Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Real Madrid will hope to cut the deficit from Barcelona to eight points at the top of the table as they host Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. Carlo Ancelotti has made some changes from the starting lineup that took on Al-Hilal in the Club World Cup final.

Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out due to injury, giving way to Andriy Lunin to make another start in the league. He will be guarded by Eder Militao and David Alaba in central defence, with Antonio Rudiger delegated to the bench.

Daniel Carvajal and Nacho have the responsibility to provide width from the back.

Toni Kroos will miss the game due to health problems, while Luka Modric has been rested. As such, Dani Ceballos starts in central midfield alongside Federico Valverde. Eduardo Camavinga gets a start in his natural position in defensive midfield.

Ancelotti has opted to use Marco Asensio as the right-winger, while Rodrygo starts on the left in the absence of the suspended Vinicius Jr. Captain Karim Benzema retains his place as the striker.

Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Valverde, Camavinga, Ceballos; Asensio, Benzema, Rodrygo

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Real Madrid News

‘Give everything to win’ – Real Madrid UCL hero ready for Barcelona challenge

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Andriy Lunin was Real Madrid’s main protagonist in the club’s narrow win over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Lunin is going to be in focus once again as Real Madrid brace themselves for another important encounter against Barcelona.

Speaking ahead of this crucial tie, Lunin talked about how Real Madrid will put the title race to an end if they can secure a win over Barça.

Lunin on Barcelona – Real Madrid clash

“It is clear that Clásico is a very important match. We are all clear that winning this Sunday can almost solve the League,” Lunin told TVE (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

“We have prepared ourselves in the best possible way to take three points, which are very important.”

Real Madrid are indeed heading into this game with a solid eight-point lead over Barcelona in the league table.

A win this evening could help them extend that gap to 11 points, effectively ruling Barça out of the title race.

Lunin is focused ahead of the Barcelona tie (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid have attained an excellent record against Barcelona of late. Lunin, though, believes past encounters do not matter in a Clasico.

“In a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona the things that have happened are forgotten and everyone is concentrating,” the Ukrainian added.

Lunin went on to talk about Real Madrid’s gruelling schedule, with the Spanish giants coming on the back of a 120-minute encounter against Man City.

“It is true that last stretch of the season is very demanding. The team played 120 minutes in Manchester, it was good to suffer and overcome difficulties. Now we have Barça at home, with our people and we have no choice but to give everything to win,” he said.

Lunin also talked about his watered-down celebration following his penalty heroics against Man City, adding, “I am a quiet and rather shy person, but within me, I had tremendous joy. I already said after the game that I was the happiest person in the world.”

Finally, the goalkeeper was asked about his future at Real Madrid, with his current deal at Santiago Bernabeu expiring in 2025.

“Real Madrid has been a dream since I was little, but now it is time for the most important games of the season and we have to be focused because we have to get the best result from what we have left. Then we will talk about the papers (contract) and other things,” he concluded.

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