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Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against RB Leipzig | UEFA Champions League Ro16

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League as they take on RB Leipzig in the second leg of the Round of 16 tie.

Heading into the match, Real Madrid have a narrow 1-0 lead thanks to Brahim Diaz’s goal in the first leg in Germany. And the target now will be to get the job done successfully without showing any complacency.

Ahead of the game at the Santiago Bernabeu, Carlo Ancelotti has announced the starting XI that would be taking the field against the Bundesliga club.

The Real Madrid boss has gone with Nacho Fernandez in central defence despite reports claiming Aurelien Tchouameni could start. He partners Antonio Rudiger at the heart of the backline, with Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy flanking the pair.

Man-of-the-match from the first leg, Andriy Lunin, continues to guard the goal as usual.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Camavinga starts in midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Tchouameni, who returns to his natural habitat in the centre of the park.

In a surprise move, Ancelotti has decided to drop Rodrygo Goes and instead opted for an additional midfielder. As such, Vinicius Jr. starts as the lone forward with Jude Bellingham and Federico Valverde likely to provide him support from the wide areas.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder wants to follow in Kroos’ footsteps and retire at the club

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Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos recently shared that he plans to retire after this season. Now, according to a report from MARCA (h/t Madrid Zone), it seems Luka Modric, another key player, might also be eyeing retirement in Madrid.

Modric, who is 39 years old, has an agreement in principle with Real Madrid to stay for one more season. However, with manager Carlo Ancelotti’s backing for both Modric and Kroos to stay, it has come down to the fact that only one will remain at the club.

Is Modric returning now? 

No, not yet. Like Kroos, Modric wants to finish his career at Real Madrid. If he wanted to retire, he would not have agreed to extend his contract.

It is to be noted that Modric is currently one of the top earners at Real Madrid, but his high salary did not align with his reduced playing time. 

Luka Modric wants to retire at Real Madrid. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Despite his wish to stay, the club was not initially keen on keeping him under such terms.

However, things have changed recently. The club is now considering renewing Modric’s contract due to several reasons. 

First, the midfielder is open to a pay cut and second, his positive influence on younger players like Arda Guler is valued. Lastly, his desire to retire as a Madrid player is a significant factor.

Interestingly, Modric has turned down tempting offers from Saudi Arabia and the MLS to stay with Real Madrid.

Throughout this season, the Croatian international has accepted his decreased playing time, although it was challenging for him given his competitive spirit and pride. 

His role might diminish further once Real Madrid find a replacement for Kroos next season, but for now, Modric will continue to be a prominent figure for the team.

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