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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

Five summer transfer operations that Real Madrid are currently working on



With renewed energy, Real Madrid approach the summer transfer window oozing optimism. The air in the Spanish capital is filled with anticipation as Los Blancos prepare to embark on a new chapter — one that promises to bring numerous changes and opportunities.

Following the exits of several high profile names, with the most recent departure of Karim Benzema leaving a gargantuan void in the front-line, Madrid are necessitated to act swiftly in the window. They are reportedly set to prepare for a revolutionary summer.

Currently, Los Blancos maintain emphasis on five operations that hold priority. These are as follows:

Jude Bellingham

The English starboy with the world at his feet continues to be one of football’s hottest commodities. Bellingham has amassed considerable interest from Europe’s top sides, but appears to be closest to striking a deal with Real Madrid.

While the player had no shortage of suitors, his desire to play for the Royal Whites has given Madrid a very realistic chance of obtaining the teenage sensation’s signature.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid aspire to complete details of Jude Bellingham’s deal next week. Talks are in the final stages, with add-ons as well as the €100m fixed fee to BVB.

In spite of his high price tag, Bellingham has bedazzled at the tender age of 19, having also won the Bundesliga player of the season. Strengthening the squad with a talent as renowed as him is bound to engender energy in the midfield department next season.

Harry Kane

Karim Benzema’s exit has given rise to several top class strikers being linked with Madrid, but Kane’s name stands out most remarkably. The English forward enjoyed a spectacular season with Tottenham Hotspur, despite the club’s collective shortcomings.

Los Blancos face a whopping price tag of €120 million due to the player’s significance for Spurs, but possess an edge in negotiations, owing to the absence of a direct domestic conflict.

According to Jose Felix Diaz, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is willing to let Harry Kane leave, as long as his next destination is outside of England.

Kane has established himself as one of the world’s most demanded forwards. Interest from Real Madrid particularly makes sense, with how many stylistic similarities he possesses with Benzema.

The forward is adept at dropping deep and linking plays, while also possesses an incredible eye for goal. Kane ended the Premier League season as the second top scorer, scoring 30.

Kai Havertz

Havertz closing in on Madrid move. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The German international appears to already have one foot in the Spanish capital. Havertz has garnered great interest from Perez, who will be tasked with filling a barren front-line, where Rodrygo and Vinicius are the only two forwards remaining at the club.

The 23 year old was signed by a grand figure of €80 million, but failed to live up to expectations. With a difficult period at the English club, Chelsea would not present much resistance if an adequate offer is presented.

However, Chelsea are reportedly demanding Madrid to put a figure of around €60 million to sign Havertz, which by no means is an amount the Merengues throw around lightly.

Still, Havertz has proven to be a talented youngster when the conditions favour him. At Bayer Leverkusen, he soared to incredible heights. The player is also well acquainted with the German players in Madrid’s squad, which will ease the adaptation process.

Alphonso Davies

While Madrid yearn to reconstruct most of their attack, the club have not abandoned the defensive side of the squad and particularly appear interested in bolstering the left-back position, where Davies has emerged as a potential signing.

As Ferland Mendy faces an almost imminent departure or, at the very least, a demotion in the pecking order, Davies looks to be the chosen one to reinforce the area.

The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the world’s most productive full-backs as he has undeniably proven to be one of the Bavarians’ main assets.

According to Spanish outlet MARCA, Madrid have contacted the German side in hopes of sealing a deal. The reported figure is expected to exceed €60-70 million.

Moreover, Alphonso Davies has dual citizenship, Canadian & Liberian and with the Cotonou agreement, he doesn’t take a NON-EU slot in the squad. 


Joselu has been one of the most mentioned links with Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window. As Madrid are willing to especially beef up their attacking depth, the Espanyol man would prove to be a solid buy.

After bidding farewell to Mariano and Asensio, the need for a reliable back-up striker exists in the squad. In such a context, Joselu would aid the depth department.

The Spaniard ended the league season as the third top scorer, securing an impressive 16 goals. Despite Espanyol’s relegation, he looked to be one of the few bright spots in a struggling side.

To successfully reinforce the squad, Real Madrid aim to create a formidable lineup capable of competing at the highest level. They are targeting both established stars and young individuals, believing that a blend of experience and potential will formulate a well-rounded squad.

Following a bucketload of player exits as well as failures in La Liga and Champions League, the club believe a transformative phase is essential to move forward.

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