There are still many unanswered questions about Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid setup heading into the new season. With new faces, a new formation and seemingly a new balance in the squad, the pressure is on the manager to make things work.
The tour to the USA gave the world its first look at the new Real Madrid setup and an analysis of its potential strong and weak points.
The men in white head back to Madrid with many learnings but also an equal set of positives to take away.
According to reports from Mario Cortegana (h/t Madrid Xtra), Jude Bellingham is one such positive factor in Ancelotti’s plans.
The youngster made a great first impression at the Valdebebas even before the team flew to America and backed it up with high-quality performances on the tour.
The new signing has Ancelotti’s full backing and will play a key role no matter what the set-up or formation next season.
One of two irreplaceable cogs
Earlier this month, word had it that the Italian tactician had two players with a firm foot in his starting lineup.
The first name on the roster is Bellingham, for his performances in the attacking midfield role place him well to start regularly at the apex of the diamond.
The other player with a guaranteed spot in the manager’s XI is Eduardo Camavinga. The French prodigy is still riding on the momentum that saw his rapid ascent last season and is set to play more minutes in midfield this term.
A promising debut
The former Borussia Dortmund star made a strong start to his Real Madrid career against AC Milan before scoring his first goal in the team’s second outing of the preseason against Manchester United.
He was one of the team’s best players in all four games, providing six key passes and completing eight dribbles in the process.
Real Madrid rising star suffered against Atletico due to veteran forward’s absence, says Simeone
Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid was not the first time were in trouble this season. In fact, the Merengues have gone behind early in almost every league game so far.
However, the difference on Sunday night was that they never really mounted a comeback. More importantly, Jude Bellingham did not come good, for the first time.
Simeone unravels the mystery
A jubilant Diego Simeone spoke to the media after his side downed Real Madrid by three goals to one and spoke about a plethora of topics.
Interestingly, he commented specifically on why Bellingham did not have an impact at Civitas Metropolitano, citing the absence of Joselu as a key factor.
“No, the spaces were reduced and I think that Joselu’s lack of presence left him with fewer chances to get there, when he takes advantage of Joselu’s aerial play. We controlled him better, he’s extraordinary,” he said, as quoted by AS.
He even called out the refereeing on the night and insisted that the Real Madrid star-boy should have seen red for his late tackle on Angel Correa, saying:
“It looked like a sending-off to me live, it was a hard leg up, with Angelito hitting the ball.”
Ironically, he defended his defender Jose Maria Gimenez for an equally threatening tackle on the night.
“A bad foul, it’s a yellow card because it goes sideways. Bellingham goes from the front and I think it’s a bit more,” he stated paradoxically.
No time to lament
The game at Civitas Metropolitano may not have gone Real Madrid’s way. Yet, it is good for the Merengues to taste defeat early and see the gaping holes in their dynamic.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in his press conference that he bore the lion’s share of the fault for Sunday’s loss and that he would have done things differently if given the chance.
“Maybe I could have done it better. It’s pretty clear. When the team doesn’t do what it has to do, it’s my responsibility,” he stated.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos have a hectic schedule ahead with two games in the next five days and a UCL fixture against Napoli next week. With Vinicius Jr back, one hopes they find their mojo once again.