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Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Villarreal | Copa del Rey round of 16



Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be looking to get back to winning ways as they take on Villarreal in the Copa del Rey round of 16 tonight. Carlo Ancelotti’s men will not be in high spirits after losing out to Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Given their previous meeting against Yellow Submarines, Ancelotti has not taken any chances for this game, choosing to start the best possible XI at his disposal.

Karim Benzema will assume responsibility as the captain, spearheading the attack as the striker. He will have Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr in his aid on the right and left, respectively.

With Luka Modric rested, Federico Valverde mans the midfield as one of the advanced 8s, alongside Eduardo Camavinga, who is expected to play in central midfield, too. Toni Kroos, meanwhile, takes over from Aurelien Tchouameni as the defensive midfielder.

In defence, Antonio Rudiger gets another shot to impress in the absence of David Alaba in central defence. Eder Militao, too, retains his spot, but there is a change at right-back, with Dani Carvajal dropped in favour of Nacho. Ferland Mendy, though, continues at LB.

Andriy Lunin is the regular starter for Madrid in cup games, but Thibaut Courtois has been given the nod in goal due to the difficulty of this fixture.

Confirmed Madrid XI: Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Rudiger, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Camavinga; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti hails Real Madrid attacker after Sevilla win: “He has significant qualities”



Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Sevilla yesterday, in what was the club’s final away game of the season.

Rodrygo was the star performer of the game, racking up two goals and being handed the Man of the Match title. Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on the Brazilian after the game, stating, “Rodrygo did well in the centre-forward role and he can also play there. He has different attributes.”

“If you can dribble through the middle you have a better chance of scoring than if you dribble out wide. Because of his quality, it’s easier for him to find opportunities in this area. He doesn’t have the physicality for aerial clashes, but he has significant qualities,” he added.

Rodrygo, though, was a bit annoyed with Ancelotti over his substitution as he ‘wanted to score another goal’. In response, Ancelotti said, “Rodrygo wanted to stay on the pitch to go for a hat trick, but I told him that we had different objectives. He wanted to score, but I didn’t want to concede a goal. We finished with four centre-backs and managed the game well.”

Ancelotti went on to laud the atmosphere at the Sanchez Pizjuan, especially as there were no insults hurled at any of the Real Madrid players. “The atmosphere in the stadium was great despite some whistling towards Ceballos. I didn’t hear any insults and so we’re on the right track. The fans should be congratulated,” he said.

“People have started to understand what to do in the stadium and what not to do. We have to continue in this vein,” he added.

The Real Madrid manager also talked about Alvaro Rodriguez, pointing out how the youngster has room to improve.

“He’s a really young player and he’s got talent. He’s had a slump in the last period. When he’s played with Castilla he hasn’t always been at his best. Today we needed him and we’ll bear him in mind for the future. He’s young and has room for improvement,” he said.

Ancelotti talked about the future of Marco Asensio as well, with the playmaker reportedly set to leave Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

“On the subject of Asensio, I don’t know what the situation is, just as I don’t know about Nacho. Before the last game, everything will be cleared up. On a personal level, I’m sad to see them go because they are very important. We’ll prepare for next season depending on the decisions they make,” he said.

The Italian manager also offered an update on the availability of Vinicius, adding, “As far as Vinicius is concerned, he has two days to rest and we’ll see if he can play the last game.”

Finally, Ancelotti confirmed he will be supporting Roma in the UEFA Europa League final. He also revealed how he had a conflict of interest with Sevilla manager Jose Luis Mendilibar.

“I wished Mendilibar all the best for the Europa League final. I’ve had a conflict of interests because I was captain of Roma in the 70s. On Monday we’ll be celebrating the league forty years later. I’m a bit of a Roma fan, but I want the best team to win. Mourinho is truly a great friend of mine and my heart has a closer connection with Roma than it does with Sevilla,” he said.

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