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Real Madrid manager to make one key change for Super Cup final vs Barcelona – report

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Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

Real Madrid are all set to take on arch-rivals FC Barcelona in the final of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Los Blancos booked their place in the finals after defeating neighbours Atletico Madrid 5-3, while Barça progressed after securing a 2-0 victory over CA Osasuna.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti fielded a very strong lineup against Atletico on Wednesday, bringing back the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni and Ferland Mendy into the starting XI.

Ancelotti to recall Toni Kroos

One of the surprise selection decisions saw the Italian tactician bench Toni Kroos against Atleti despite his importance in the team.

But, now, according to journalist Miguel Angel Diaz on El Golazo de Gol, the Real Madrid manager will recall the veteran midfielder to the starting lineup for the Spanish Super Cup final against Barcelona.

Kroos’ return to the first XI will come at the expense of fellow veteran superstar Luka Modric, the report states.

Explaining his decision to start Modric over Kroos against Atletico Madrid, Ancelotti had said: “I chose Modric as the starter because Kroos had discomfort and has only trained the last two days.”

As such, Modric went on to play a little over an hour against Los Rojiblancos before eventually making way for Kroos.

Important decisions to make for Ancelotti. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Now, if the aforementioned report is to be believed, the former German international will replace the ex-Tottenham man from the kickoff itself.

Other selection headaches for Ancelotti

While Kroos looks set to replace Modric in Real Madrid’s midfield against Barcelona, Ancelotti has some other selection headaches as well.

For starters, the Merengues’ boss must decide on his starting goalkeeper between Andriy Lunin and Kepa Arrizabalaga. The latter started versus Atletico and failed to make the desired impression, opening the door for a change.

Meanwhile, Brahim Diaz’s cameo off the bench, which ended with a goal, means the Spaniard is also pushing for a starting berth. However, as things stand, there does not appear to be room for him in the lineup with Vinicius Jr. returning.

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Real Madrid News

Toni Kroos opens up on retirement decision – ‘I am sad at the moment’

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Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Real Madrid have the opportunity to make this a historic season by lifting their 15th UEFA Champions League title.

But even in the event Madrid gets their hands on the trophy, the conclusion of the season will leave a bittersweet feeling as Toni Kroos is set to depart the club.

The German midfielder was urged to continue plying his trade in the Spanish Capital for another season since his timeless quality is yet to fade away, but Kroos remained firm on his decision.

Kroos opens up about retirement

Now, reflecting on his imminent departure from the club he has played 464 games with, Kroos has opened up about how the decision came about and his thought process.

“I am sad at the moment. Something that defined me, that gave so much fun and gave me so many positive memories is coming to an end,” Kroos professed on his podcast.

Kroos plays his final home game for Real Madrid tomorrow. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

However, he claims there is a slight silver lining about the news becoming public, as there is no more pressure on him to constantly answer questions about his future and focus solely on finishing his career in the best way possible.

“I am happy that the news is out. It is a relief because a lot of people were speculating and I didn’t feel like answering questions about my future all the time,” Kroos claimed.

The veteran midfielder adds that retiring was never a clear-cut decision as his emotions fluctuated frequently.

“Retiring was never a 100-0 decision. The feelings swing in other directions, in the days at the end it was maybe a 80-20 or 70-30 decision. And that 30% is what makes you feel something,” he said.

Furthermore, Kroos reveals that he shared the news of his retirement to Ancelotti first and foremost, then relayed his decision to his teammates.

“I told Carlo [Ancelotti] first that I’m retiring. Then the club, then Luka [Modric], Fede [Valverde], Lucas [Vazquez]…” he exclaimed.

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