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Real Madrid receive boost as key defender trains with the group today

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Photo by CESAR MANSO/AFP via Getty Images

As we enter the final phase of the 2023/24 season, Real Madrid are set to receive a major boost on the injury front.

It has been a campaign blighted by injuries one after the other for Los Blancos, but they have always found ways to come out on top and are favourites to win La Liga. They are also well-positioned to progress in the UEFA Champions League as well.

As such, it would be crucial to have all their players fit, available and ready to play in the business end of the campaign.

Eder Militao trains with the group

And, in a major boost, star defender Eder Militao returned to group training today and participated in part of the sessions, reports Nacho Lozano.

This is a huge step in the right direction for the Brazilian international and a big hint that his return to full fitness is closer than ever.

Militao has played just once this season – the opening game against Athletic Club, during which he ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Following surgery, there were doubts that the 26-year-old might not play again this season, but the centre-half has worked extremely hard on his recovery and is now edging close to making a comeback.

Militao closing in on a return. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

What has Ancelotti said?

Last week, Ancelotti provided an update on the fitness of Militao as well as Thibaut Courtois, who is also out with an ACL injury.

The manager claimed that the duo could return next month, right after the Copa del Rey final break, saying:

“The date has not been set. But we have to take advantage of the international break and then the mini-break for the Copa del Rey. At that time they will do some work with the team. After 14 April, after Mallorca, they could be back.”

Militao has now already started doing training sessions with the rest of the group and as such, a return appears to be closer than ever.

In fact, if all goes to plan, both Militao and Courtois will be ready for the Clasico against Barcelona in April.

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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