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Real Madrid attentive to the situation of €60 million-rated Manchester City defender

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Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Joao Cancelo has seen his importance in the Manchester City setup recede in recent weeks and according to reports, as relayed by Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid are among a host of top clubs across the continent keeping tabs on the full-back’s situation.

Cancelo joined Manchester City in 2019, as part of a swap operation that saw Danilo move the other way to Juventus. After a slow start to life in England, the Portuguese international grew into one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.

Thriving in Pep Guardiola’s system where he was asked to perform as an inverted full-back at times to create numbers in midfield or push forward to join the attack, Cancelo succeeded, even when deployed on his unnatural side on the left.

However, of late, Cancelo has seen his game-time at the Etihad Stadium take a hit. Since the restart of the season after the World Cup, he has started just one Premier League game in which he was taken off at half-time.

The 28-year-old did not start in the FA Cup win over Chelsea either, leading to speculations that the right-back is unhappy with his situation. And it has led to clubs across Europe taking note of the matter, with Real Madrid among the clubs attentive to this development.

Among the priorities for Los Blancos next season is the need to refresh their options in the full-back positions. Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are both in their thirties and the former has had fitness issues while the latter is not a natural full-back.

Ferland Mendy is the only left-back available at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal currently, given David Alaba’s preference to play as a centre-back. And the Frenchman himself has not been entirely convincing either, leading to doubts about his future.

Given the circumstances, a move for Cancelo could make a world of sense for Real Madrid. He is in his prime years, has a world of experience at the highest level and has been a part of title-winning teams at the Etihad.

Furthermore, his ability to play as a right-back and left-back would be a major advantage for the Spanish champions as well.

Cancelo’s contract with Manchester City runs until the summer of 2027, with the defender signing a new contract last year. However, the Cityzens are known to not stand in the way of a player if he wants an exit.

Should he push for a move in the summer, Cancelo is likely to cost €60 million, as per the report. Whether there is any development on this front in the coming months will be interesting to see.

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Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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