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Real Madrid youngster could start as left-back vs Valencia in Super Cup semi-finals

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Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

During Real Madrid’s recent training session at the Al Nassr Sports Complex in Riyadh ahead of their Spanish Super Cup semi-final clash against Valencia, left-back Ferland Mendy was nowhere to be seen.

Mendy’s absence from the training complex, due to a reported overload in his calf muscle, is expected to hit Real Madrid much harder especially since Aurelien Tchouameni and David Alaba are already absent.

So in order to overcome the issue, manager Carlo Ancelotti will be forced to take some tough decisions, with the manager considering deploying Eduardo Camavinga on the left side of defence, as per Spanish publication Diario AS.

It must be remembered that this is not going to be unfamiliar territory for the young Frenchman in the first place.

The 20-year-old midfielder put in a solid shift at this position for France during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and this included a substitute appearance as a left-back against Argentina in the final as well.

So, as per the report, the Madrid defence could likely consist of Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger and Camavinga, although Nacho Fernandez is also an option for Ancelotti.

Furthermore, with Tchouameni absent, veteran midfielder Toni Kroos is likely to take up his position as the No. 6 and the German is expected to be joined by Luka Modric on the left and Federico Valverde on right.

In attack, the usual suspects, Rodrygo (right), Vinicius Jr (left) and Karim Benzema (centre) will line up and look to cause Valencia all sorts of problems.

All the shuffling in defence and midfield is could cause Ancelotti’s side some problems against Gennaro Gattuso’s Valencia tomorrow night. A win against Los Che will set Real Madrid up for a final clash against Barcelona or Real Betis.

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Real Madrid News

Five reasons Real Madrid believe in their chances vs Manchester City at the Etihad – report

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

An xG of 2.82, 60% possession, 16 shots, eight on target and six big chances. Such were the statistics of Manchester City when they last took on Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, conjured up an xG of just 0.47, had no big chances and had just three shots on target in 90 minutes in the game last year.

The statistics speak loud – Los Blancos suffered a 4-0 embarrassment the last time they stepped onto the grass in Manchester. Tomorrow night, they must descend for battle in the same arena once more, this time looking to fight neck-to-neck for a result.

A new team

As revealed in a recent report by AS, Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti believe that this season, they have more weapons to survive against Pep Guardiola’s men at the Etihad.

The men in white travel to England without fear and positive that a repeat of last season’s collapse will not unfold. The dressing room is more motivated than ever, and improvements are expected from last year’s clash all across the field.

Most importantly, the fact that they are seen as underdogs playing away from home only pushes the team more towards a winning performance. With the pressure off, it will indeed be easier for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Five ‘key’ factors

The Spanish outlet reports there are five factors that make Ancelotti and Co. believe in their chances for the game that lies ahead of them.

To begin with, the Merengues have been in sensational form all season and have just lost one game in 44 within the 90-minute mark. The wins may not be pretty, but the team’s ability to churn out results drives them forward.

The key duel. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

The second factor, as Real Madrid see it, is the improved defence. Last year, Eduardo Camavinga, David Alaba and Eder Militao joined Dani Carvajal at the back while this season, the Spaniard will be joined by an in-form Antonio Rudiger, Nacho and Ferland Mendy.

The German star’s inclusion, in particular, generates hope as he has enjoyed reasonable success against Erling Haaland.

The third factor is the chance in midfield where Eduardo Camavinga is expected to start as the pivot with Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde ahead of him.

Needless to say, such a trio boasts more stamina and a stable pivot compared to the Modric-Kroos-Valverde combination that played last season.

Jude Bellingham’s quality and ability in front of goal is Ancelotti’s fourth major reason to believe that tomorrow night will be special. He was not on song last week, and Los Blancos will hope he finds his best version tomorrow.

Last, but not least, is the newfound chemistry between Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo in recent weeks that has seen both Brazilians play out of their skin.

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