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Real Madrid will not force key player’s return from injury, could happen in April – Romano

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Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After going through wretched luck with injuries this season, things are starting to look up for Real Madrid as we enter the final phase of the season.

Antonio Rudiger is closing in on a return from his short spell on the sidelines while Jude Bellingham is expected to be back next week against Valencia.

And, there is more positive news about one of the long-term absentees Thibaut Courtois.

The Belgian international has not played a single game this season as he suffered an ACL rupture days before the campaign started. And it was initially expected that he might not play again this term at all, but things are looking better for the goalkeeper.

Courtois could return in April

Now, Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on Courtois’ situation, stating that the Real Madrid No. 1 could be back in action in April.

There are positive feelings surrounding the Belgian shot-stopper’s recovery, with him even participating in parts of the training sessions with the rest of the squad over the past couple of days.

It is seen as a major step in the right direction as far as Courtois and his potential return is concerned.

Lunin has done well in Courtois’ absence. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

But, as per Romano, Real Madrid will not take any risk with the former Chelsea man by rushing him back prematurely.

If everything goes according to plan, Courtois’ return will happen around April, Romano reports.

What would it mean for Lunin and Kepa?

It will be interesting to see how Carlo Ancelotti deals with the goalkeeping position once Courtois returns.

Andriy Lunin has firmly established himself as the first-choice in the Belgian’s absence and has churned out some top displays. Whether he gets to end the season on a high or has to make way for Courtois will be intriguing to see.

As for on-loan ace Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is already unhappy with his situation at Real Madrid, things will get even more complicated and possibly hurt his chances of making it to the Spain squad for the Euros.

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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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