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

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Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to register their fifth victory in a row when they lock horns with Girona FC at Estadi Montilivi tonight in La Liga.

After four back-to-back 2-0 wins over Chelsea (x2), Cadiz, and Celta Vigo, Real Madrid are building some crucial momentum ahead of vital fixtures in the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.

And the aim will be continue doing so with another win tonight against Girona, although Barcelona’s win against Atletico Madrid on Sunday has all but ended the hopes of a late fightback in the La Liga title race.

Furthermore, heading into tonight’s match against the Catalan outfit, Carlo Ancelotti has to deal with several absences as Karim Benzema, Dani Ceballos (suspension), Ferland Mendy, David Alaba, and Eden Hazard are all out while Eduardo Camavinga is also carrying a knock.

Here we take a look at how the Italian tactician could set his team up tonight at Estadi Montilivi as he plots to pick up another victory.

Starters

Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged in his pre-match press conference that he might consider rotating his goalkeepers at some point this season in the league.

And with the club confirming just a while ago that Thibaut Courtois is out of the game due to gastroenteritis, Andriy Lunin is set to start against Girona.

With David Alaba unavailable, the centre-back pairing of Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger is also likely to remain intact. Nacho Fernandez, who started at right-back against Celta Vigo, will move to left-back in the absence of Ferland Mendy, Alaba, and Eduardo Camavinga.

Dani Carvajal should return to the lineup ahead of Lucas Vazquez in the right-back slot.

Carvajal to return at right-back. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Moving into the middle of the park, Camavinga’s knock and Dani Ceballos’ suspension due to accumulation of cards means Ancelotti will have to rely on veteran duo Toni Kroos and Luka Modric after the pair was benched against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Aurelien Tchouameni should get another start in the holding midfield role. Federico Valverde, who has been a permanent fixture in the starting XIs, could be given some rest by the manager.

Rodrygo Goes did not train yesterday due to a stomach bug, but Ancelotti has confirmed that he will be ready for tonight’s game. Given that Karim Benzema is unavailable, the Brazilian is likely to slot in as the No. 9 for Real Madrid against Girona.

Flanking the youngster will be compatriot Vinicius Jr on the left side and in-form forward Marco Asensio on the right. They will be key for Real Madrid in their bid to unlock the Girona defence, who secured a clean sheet against Barcelona recently.

Vinicius · Rodrygo · Asensio
Kroos · Tchouameni · Modric
Nacho · Rudiger · Militao · Carvajal
Lunin

Substitutes

Federico Valverde is bound to come on at some point in the game, possibly to provide some relief to the veteran midfielders and add more energy on the field.

If things are comfortable for the Merengues, Carlo Ancelotti could also throw in youngsters Mario Martin and Sergio Arribas, both of whom have tasted first-team football this season.

Lucas Vazquez will also be an option for Ancelotti either at right-back or in an advanced role, depending on the needs. Jesus Vallejo could also come in to relieve one of Eder Militao or Antonio Rudiger.

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MU Shorts

Five alternatives Real Madrid should consider after missing out on Leny Yoro

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Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

After months of inquiries and negotiations, Real Madrid are on the verge of missing out on the pursuit of Leny Yoro.

The LOSC Lille defender is slated for a trip to England today to complete his medical. He is later expected to sign a new deal at Manchester United until 2029.

Yoro’s likely move to Old Trafford could serve as a massive blow for Real Madrid, as they desperately look for reinforcements at centre-back.

Fortunately, the reigning European champions have an entire summer transfer window ahead of them and there should be no shortage of alternatives available in the market.

Here, at Madrid Universal, we will take a look at five players Real Madrid should target after fumbling the Leny Yoro deal.

Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton)

Jarrad Branthwaite could be an interesting option for Real Madrid. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Earlier in the year, Real Madrid were one of the clubs linked with a move for Jarrad Branthwaite, the Everton centre-back.

The 22-year-old Englishman was an ever-present figure in the Everton backline this past season, featuring in 35 league matches while scoring three goals.

Standing at 1.95m, Branthwaite has made a solid impression in England through his imposing presence at the back.

Branthwaite’s age and height are close to that of Yoro while the defender has also played under Carlo Ancelotti in the past, making him an ideal alternative for the young Frenchman.

Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Marc Guehi excelled at the Euros. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Marc Guehi is another Premier League player Real Madrid have been linked with in the recent past.

Known for his strong physique and ball-playing abilities, Guehi was a prominent fixture in England’s Euro 2024 squad and is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.

Guehi’s qualities, therefore, could prove to be useful for Real Madrid as they look to add more strength to the centre-back department.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Saliba is one of the best CBs currently. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Premier League defenders appear to be Real Madrid’s best bets when it comes to finding an alternative for Leny Yoro and the next one on the list is William Saliba.

Over the past couple of years, Saliba has been the lynchpin in Mikel Arteta’s defensive system, helping Arsenal emerge as the main threat to Manchester City’s dominance in England.

Saliba’s proficiency with the ball, coupled with his positioning sense make him an ideal long-term defensive bet for Real Madrid.

Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP)

Inacio has been on Real Madrid’s radar for long. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The first non-Premier League defender on this list, Goncalo Inacio has been linked with a move to Santiago Bernabeu since the turn of the year.

Although Leny Yoro was preferred to Inacio by the Real Madrid management this summer, recent developments could once again tempt the club to look back at Inacio.

The Sporting CP starlet is regarded as one of Portugal’s finest young defenders and his immense potential makes him a solid target for Real Madrid.

Yann Bisseck (Inter Milan)

Yann Bisseck can be a fine long-term investment. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Formerly of FC Koln, Yann Bisseck has enjoyed tremendous growth following his move to Inter Milan.

With 16 league appearances for Inter Milan this past season, Bisseck has cemented his place as one of the most promising defenders in Serie A.

Aged just 23, Bisseck is known for his defensive discipline and work ethic. However, what makes him an appealing target for Real Madrid is his valuation.

The German is still in the nascent stages of his development. With Inter Milan signing him for a fee of just €7 million, Bisseck, in fact, could easily be the most cost-effective player on this list.

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