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Real Madrid World Cup Spotlight: Valverde out despite Uruguay win, Rodrygo bright in defeat

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Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP via Getty Images

The group stage of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar came to an end on Friday and could go down as one of the best and most dramatic group stages in the history of the competition.

The early kickoff saw Portugal face off against South Korea in a clash that seemed set to end at parity. At the death, the Asians scored a clutch goal to set up a nail-biting finish in the group.

The pressure was on Uruguay to score a goal in stoppage time against Ghana in order to qualify. Eventually, the South American side were eliminated and South Korea qualified in second place.

Later in the night, Brazil fell to a shocking 1-0 loss to Cameroon while Serbia and Switzerland played out a thrilling contest that ended 3-2 in favour of the latter. Brazil finished on top of the group, with the Swiss men qualifying in second place on goal difference.

Madrid Universal brings you an overview of the performances of Real Madrid players on the night.

Federico Valverde (Uruguay vs Ghana)

The Uruguayan national team was subpar in its first two outings in the tournament but came out all guns blazing when they needed a win against Ghana. Once again, it was Federico Valverde who dictated the game for the South American side.

The Real Madrid midfielder had 93 touches in the match and completed 87% of his attempted passes. He was key in the team’s buildup play with five accurate long balls, and one key pass while completing all his attempted crosses. Further, he recorded three shots, including one on target. 

He made some crucial defensive interventions too, including eight defensive actions. However, a late goal by South Korea changed the situation in the dying minutes. Uruguay, who seemed to be through were suddenly eliminated, ironically after their best performance.

Rodrygo Goes (Brazil vs Cameroon)

The Real Madrid protege received his first start in the World Cup against Cameroon and while the result may have gone against the tournament favourites, one cannot deny the class Rodrygo oozed.

The youngster was one of the primary sources of all of Cameroon’s worries for close to an hour before he was substituted. He constantly challenged the goalkeeper even from tight angles and even came painfully close to scoring on two occasions.

In 55 minutes, he had one shot blocked and one off-target. He completed 100% of his attempted dribbles and worked hard even when off the ball.

Eder Militao (Brazil vs Cameroon)

Eder Militao saw yellow just seven minutes into the game, and the booking played a massive role in his performance at Lusail Stadium. 

The defender could not play freely with his position in-game at risk and opted to take a safer approach thereafter. He made just one tackle and won three duels. Nevertheless, Militao was very safe in possession and completed a whopping 93% of his passes and four out of six attempted long balls.

Vinicius Jr (Brazil vs Cameroon)

Tite opted to rest his regular starters against Cameroon and threw on several bench players who hoped to impress on their starts. The decision was justified given that the Selecao had already guaranteed their spot on top of their group. Vinicius started on the bench and stayed there, up until the final whistle.

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Three Real Madrid players whose roles will change with Mbappe’s arrival

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Kylian Mbappe’s move from PSG to Real Madrid will be the headline of the summer irrespective of what transpires in the weeks to come.

After years of running a long-standing soap opera, the player finally secured his dream move. Now officially announced, Carlo Ancelotti and Co. can begin incorporating the star into their plans for next season.

His arrival, however, will bring with it an inevitable set of changes to the setup that won Real Madrid the Champions League last season.

In the process, several Real Madrid stars will be made to alter their roles and possibly even positions on the field to accommodate the World Cup winner.

Here are three players who will see a complete change in role after Mbappe’s signing. 

Vinicius Jr.

Vinicius will have to juggle his role with Mbappe. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

At this point, it is well established that Vinicius Jr. is one of, if not the best left-winger in world football. The Brazilian’s influence on Real Madrid’s results has only amplified exponentially in recent years. He is even the favourite to take home the Ballon d’Or after a stellar last season.

Come August, however, Vinicius will ironically find his own place in the team in jeopardy. Carlo Ancelotti’s plan will indeed be to stick with the Brazilian on the wing and deploy Kylian Mbappe as the number nine for Real Madrid next season.

Given that the Frenchman is best placed on the left, however, it is highly possible that the duo are made to swap roles with regularity.

In short, Vinicius’ position next season will largely depend on Mbappe’s adaptation. Should the new signing struggle to adapt, the Brazilian superstar could be the one to face the brunt.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham will likely play in a deeper position. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham enjoyed a stunning first season with Real Madrid, breaking records for fun and establishing himself as an elite superstar.

His role, however, will undoubtedly see a major transformation next season. After all, Carlo Ancelotti is planning a change in formation and the attacking midfield role in the 4-4-2 diamond formation will no longer be his to claim.

Likely back in a 4-3-3, Los Blancos will be well covered in the final third and Bellingham will be forced to take a step back. He will likely join forces with Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde in the proper midfield and thus play a deeper role for the men in white.

Rodrygo Goes

Rodrygo will have to settle for a place on the right flank. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

It is clear at this point that Rodrygo is the worst hit by Mbappe’s arrival for the youngster is now on the edge.

Rodrygo shone brightly playing on the left flank towards the end of the last season. But the Brazilian now has no chance of seeing minutes in his niche given the presence of two superior players ahead of him in the pecking order.

Mbappe’s arrival also means that Rodrygo will have no option but to play as a right-winger, a position in which he has not convinced much in recent times.

To rub salt into his wounds, he will also be forced to take up a more significant defensive role as the other two players in attack will contribute minimally to the press. It thus remains to be seen if the youngster can hold onto his place as a starter or struggle under the pressure. 

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