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

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will take on RB Leipzig in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Red Bull Arena in a couple of hours.

Ahead of the big game in Saxony, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has released the starting lineup that will be taking the field against Marco Rose’s men.

The big news is that Nacho Fernandez is back from injury and starts in central defence for Los Blancos. He partners Aurelien Tchouameni in the absence of Antonio Rudiger, allowing Dani Carvajal to return to his natural right-back position.

Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy completes the backline that will shield Andriy Lunin in the goal.

Up ahead in midfield, the trifecta of Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, and Eduardo Camavinga features again, with veteran star Luka Modric on the bench once more.

Jude Bellingham’s injury has opened up a starting berth for Brahim Diaz, who slots in behind the two forwards Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo Goes.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid captain ‘excited’ about UCL final – ‘Winning it is the best thing that can happen’

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Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s quest for a record 15th Champions League title is drawing nearer with only a few days left before the Merengues take on Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium.

Real Madrid captain Nacho Fernandez has produced solid exhibitions throughout the season and will be in charge of receiving the Champions League trophy if Madrid secures the win.

Now, speaking about the highly anticipated clash to the official UEFA media (h/t Mundo Deportivo), Nacho has touched upon the team’s preparations and atmosphere in the dressing room.

How is the team feeling?

When asked to describe his and the team’s sensations in the lead-up to the final, Nacho Fernandez conveyed utmost optimism and excitement to experience this massive opportunity.

“I am very happy to reach another final and to continue making history at the club of my life. We are very excited.

“Winning the Champions League is the best thing that can happen to you at a club. We are very happy, very proud and with a winning mentality; always thinking positively and knowing how difficult the finals are. It could be a great day,” he said.

On the road to the final

The Spaniard expressed that all year the players dream of playing the final and as it gets closer, the anticipation intensifies.

“All year long you’re thinking about winning another Champions League, but it’s difficult. You know that the round of 16, quarterfinals are coming… you will have very difficult rivals. As you see it closer, your hair stands on end more and more,” he remarked.

Praising Carlo Ancelotti

The Italian coach could seal a historic fifth Champions League title. Fernandez highlighted his philosophy perfectly coincides with the club’s values and there is no better man to ease the tensions in the locker room.

“He is a coach who fits perfectly with the values ​​that this club has. He is perfect for keeping players happy and calm.

We continue to win and for a club like Real Madrid it is the daily requirement,” he commented.

On being Real Madrid’s captain

Having grown up in Madrid and being brought up with Real Madrid’s values instilled in him, the 34-year-old acknowledged it is an honor to be leading the group.

“I have been here all my life and for me, it is very special. Both my teammates and the people at the club know that this is my home.

Nacho looking for more silverware. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

“They are the values ​​that my parents and Real Madrid have taught me, because I have grown up in my home and in my other home, which is Real Madrid.

“What has brought me to where I am now has been training in a set of values ​​and a way of understanding life,” he confessed.

The first day as captain

Fernandez claims that even before wearing the captain’s armband, he always felt like a crucial and respected player within the team.

“Even if I didn’t wear the armband, I have always felt like a very important player on the team. I’ve been here all my life and I know Real Madrid like anyone else.

“I felt that my teammates had that respect for me, but logically when the day arrives when it is confirmed that I am the first captain you feel tremendous joy.”

While Fernandez did not downplay the privilege of being entrusted with the captain’s armband, he added that it also puts a lot of pressure on him and increases a great deal of responsibility.

“It is a very important challenge, with a lot of responsibility. Although things have gone very well, it is not easy to assume that role. You even put the pressure on yourself to win more titles for the team, to go to Cibeles and to win finals,” he professed.

What it means to represent Real Madrid

Moreover, Fernandez shed light on the pride one feels donning the royal white jersey. He claimed that over the years, the squad has shown that anything is possible until the last moment.

“It means a lot of things. It is a very big club and there would be many words to explain it, but without a doubt the work, the sacrifice and never giving up in the face of difficulties.

“We have been proving for many years that anything can happen until the last moment. We never give up because we have a lot of faith in ourselves and the work we do.

Since you are a child, they teach you how to win, but with values ​​that are incredible,” he claimed.

Helping the youngsters adapt

Finally, the veteran defender mentioned that as Real Madrid’s captain, he takes on the responsibility of helping the youngsters acclimatize.

At the same time, those who rose from the ranks understand the values of the club from a young age.

“With this type of players it is very easy because they have extraordinary talent. The only thing you have to teach them as captain of this team is day-to-day. In every training session and at every moment you have to work and give your best.

“That is something they assumed very soon since they joined the club. They realized what it meant to give their all every day. Not only in games but also in daily work at the club.

“It was very easy because they have the talent and they just had to put up the fight. That is why they are young people with so much success and a wonderful future,” he concluded.

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