Real Madrid want to make a statement signing next year after losing out on Karim Benzema for free this season.
While they did not substitute the legendary Frenchman with another striker, they brought in Jude Bellingham, who, along with Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, replaced him in aggregate.
The trio have, so far, done an excellent job at mirroring Benzema’s output, with 19 goals between them in the league itself, they need a star striker in the side to maintain the balance and diversity the source of goal contributions.
As such, it is no surprise that Kylian Mbappe’s name has once again come up on their radar. However, he is joined by his biggest competition of this generation, Erling Haaland, who is also reportedly a subject of interest from Madrid.
As per a report by SPORT, Madrid’s board are divided between the two options ahead of the summer transfer window. While Mbappe has been the prime contender as their preferred signing, the name of Haaland is slowly gaining suitors.
Mbappe is a free agent but…
After snubbing them for around five years in a row, it is only understandable that Madrid are not too keen about signing Mbappe, now, even if he will be available on a free transfer in the summer of 2024.
And even if Madrid were to keep ego aside, there are problems with Mbappe’s tactical fit at the club. His best position clashes with Vinicius Jr’s, who has done a great job so far of being the poster boy for them, alongside Benzema in the past, and Bellingham, now.
…Haaland is a better fit
Haaland has a fair few voices backimg his signing at the Santiago Bernabeu, at this point. However, Madrid are concerned with his transfer fee, and think that Manchester City could go and ask for a sum of around €200 million, at least.
That said, Haaland is a much better tactical fit for Los Blancos, who only currently have Joselu as their striker. The Spaniard has done a fairly decent job so far this season, but is, by no mean, the ‘killer’ Madrid are looking for.
With Haaland in the side, Real Madrid could continue to deploy all of Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, and Rodrygo in the starting lineup.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo