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Rodrygo, Carvajal start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Valencia



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to make it to the finals of the Spanish Super Cup when they face off against Valencia in the semi-finals tonight at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The current holders of the trophy, Los Blancos enter the tournament on the back of a disappointing loss to Villarreal in La Liga and will be keen to bounce back strongly with a resounding victory.

However, Gennaro Gattuso’s men have what it takes to make life difficult for the reigning champions of Spain and Europe when the two teams collide later tonight to battle for a place in the final against Barcelona or Real Betis.

Ahead of the crunch tie in Riyadh, Madrid Universal predicts how Carlo Ancelotti might set his team out against Los Che.


Thibaut Courtois has been a crucial presence at the back for Real Madrid and will continue under the woodwork against Valencia in the Super Cup semi-finals ahead of Andriy Lunin.

Dani Carvajal, who has recovered from his injury, is set to return to the lineup to slot in at right-back.

It should allow Eder Militao to move back to his natural centre-back position, after playing on the right side against Villarreal. With David Alaba ruled out for three weeks due to an injury, Antonio Rudiger becomes the automatic pick as Militao’s partner.

Ferland Mendy missed training yesterday and is a doubt for the match due to muscle overload. Nacho Fernandez should get the nod at left-back in that case, although Eduardo Camavinga could be an option for Ancelotti.

Ferland Mendy is a doubt for Valencia clash (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is another notable injury-related absentee for Real Madrid. The Frenchman has been a permanent fixture in the No. 6 role this season and in his absence Toni Kroos should move into the deepest midfield position against Valencia.

The German international will have support in the middle of the park from fellow veteran star Luka Modric and Uruguayan ace Federico Valverde, who was reportedly considering his future at Real Madrid before changing his mind after his exploits in the Super Cup.

With Valverde moving into midfield, Rodrygo Goes should get drafted into the starting XI on the right flank, while Vinicius Jr is a guaranteed starter on the left. The two Brazilian forwards will have an important role to essay on the night.

Meanwhile, club captain Karim Benzema will spearhead the attack for Real Madrid.

Vinicius · Benzema · Rodrygo
Modric · Kroos · Valverde
Nacho · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal


Eduardo Camavinga has carved out a reputation for being an impact substitute and will certainly be called upon from the bench if he does not start against Valencia tonight. Marco Asensio is another player who is likely to get some minutes on the pitch for Real Madrid.

Ancelotti might even look at Dani Ceballos as an option to shut up shop in the latter stages of the game should Real Madrid be in a comfortable position. Meanwhile, Lucas Vazquez could replace Carvajal considering that the latter is just returning from an injury.

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MU Shorts

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



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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