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Real Madrid manager sees no reason to drop 24-year-old from the starting lineup

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

It is not easy serving as Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper. After all, playing week in and week out at the highest level treading the narrowest of tightropes is not everyone’s cup of tea.

It was for that reason that Thibaut Courtois’ ACL injury early in the season sent the alarm bells ringing in Madrid. The Belgian shot-stopper was a bonafide matchwinner for Los Blancos, after all, and the manager had no big name to replace him.

A contrasting situation

Ironically, the situation at Real Madrid over four months into the campaign is one not many would have expected. Carlo Ancelotti now has two genuine candidates vying to be the first name on the teamsheet, both of whom appear undroppable.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, who joined the club on loan as Courotis’ replacement, has done a fine job between the sticks. However, Andriy Lunin’s entry onto the scene has turned things around completely.

According to reports from AS, Ancelotti now sees no reason to place Lunin on the bench whatsoever.

The 24-year-old star’s performance in recent weeks, as a cover for the injured Kepa, has left a lasting impression on the manager and he is now a genuine candidate to take over as the first-choice goalkeeper.

Impressing between the sticks. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

What lies ahead for Lunin?

The Ukrainian shot-stopper has indeed impressed with the first team this season, but his future beyond this term continues to be uncertain.

For starters, Courtois will be back for the next campaign beyond all doubt and will thus take back his starting spot from the youngster. Moreover, there are talks of making Kepa’s move permanent.

A combination of the two factors leave Lunin in a tricky spot. Going back to playing second fiddle after an impressive campaign would be absurd, and establishing himself as superior to the Belgian superstar is close to impossible.

His current contract with the Men in white runs until the summer of 2024, and there are talks of a secret renewal till 2025 having been completed.

Nevertheless, all the 24-year-old can do as it stands is stay rooted to the ground and continue churning out impressive numbers.

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Real Madrid News

Man City sensation waxes lyrical over Real Madrid talisman – ‘Has a gift from God’

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s collective strength this season cannot be questioned as coach Carlo Ancelotti has assembled a well-oiled side that knows little except bagging victories.

Yet, even in this formidable lineup, Real Madrid’s top scorer this season, Jude Bellingham, stands out above the rest.

The Englishman has exceeded all expectations since joining the Merengues and was once more a key factor for Real Madrid against Barcelona recently.

His last-minute winner against the Catalans saw Madrid essentially confirm their La Liga victory, as the Royal Whites maintain a dominant 11-point lead over Barcelona with seven games left to spare.

Praise from an international teammate

Now, Manchester City sensation Phil Foden, Bellingham’s international teammate and foe from last week has come out to shower praise upon the midfielder.

“I can’t believe his age. I’ve never seen anyone so mature for their age. I feel like he has a gift from God with his physique,” Foden told Mail Sport.

Not only does Foden get to witness Bellingham witness his talents in the English camp, but he also suffered at his hands in Real Madrid’s second-leg quarter-final affair against Manchester City.

A superstar in the making. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Even though the Real Madrid star did not stamp his name on the scoreboard, a moment of great poise under pressure allowed Madrid to take the lead early on.

When asked if Bellingham has ever asked for advice, Foden replied that he does not need any considering he is level-headed and has a supportive family.

“I don’t think he needs any advice, to be honest. He’s an exceptional player. He has a good head on his shoulders. I think he has a good family around him. He is someone I look at, and I don’t see any weaknesses in him,” the 23-year-old claimed.

Bellingham is flying high

In addition to triumphing over Barcelona and Manchester City with great performances, Bellingham was busy collecting wins off the pitch.

Indeed, the 20-year-old was recently awarded the Laureus Award for the Breakthrough of the Year for 2024.

With 21 goals and 10 assists for Real Madrid this season, he has become a beacon of reliability for the Merengues this season.

And the club will be relying on him heavily in the upcoming showdown with Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals.

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