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Tchouameni talks Benzema, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Ousmane Dembele, injuries ahead of World Cup

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Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is just a matter of a few days away from kicking off. France are the current world champions, having won the tournament in Russia in 2018. But they head into the competition without two of their stalwarts in Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

So, there will be extra responsibility riding on Real Madrid star Aurelien Tchouameni, who will have to assume the role of the midfield general for France at the World Cup.

The 22-year-old has been in good nick for the Merengues heading into the tournament in Qatar and will be looking forward to carrying that form forward for Les Bleus.

France begin their tournament with a clash against Australia next week and ahead of the match, Tchouameni attended a press conference at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, where he discussed several topics concerning his own form and the French national team.

On his strong performances for the French national team: “Since I made my debut I have played very well. It’s because of my teammates too. There are no excuses on the pitch. We played a good game against Austria in the last break. We lost to Denmark. That defeat helps us learn.”

On Karim Benzema’s injury issues: “Regarding Karim, he is the best player in the world. He is a top player. He has been demonstrating it for many years. It is always a pleasure to play with him. He is a great player and is used to criticism. It hasn’t affected him at all. I know he will be 100%. Let’s hope he is ready for the first game.”

“I’m not worried. He is calm. He has experience. There is no concern with Benzema, it is very good that he has come and I am sure that he will be prepared to help the team.”

On playing his first World Cup: “It was one of the best moments of my life when I received the call. There are others, but the first World Cup is a spectacular moment for me.”

On whether there is more pressure on him without Kante and Pogba: “No, not at all. The important thing is what we do on the field. I don’t feel pressure. In Madrid, there is always pressure, for example. I take this responsibility of playing for France with great enthusiasm and the pressure doesn’t affect me.”

On his personal development: “It is very nice to see everything that has happened to me in recent years. I am very happy to be able to be in this situation.”

On Vinicius and Rodrygo: “I have talked a lot about the World Cup with both of them. We have had many injuries in our team, unfortunately. Brazil and Argentina are very top teams.”

On whether playing for Real Madrid helps him at the international level: “When you play for the best team in the world, Real Madrid, you learn a lot. I have progressed with Ancelotti and with various colleagues. I am very happy to be able to play in the World Cup.”

On his calm demeanour: “I think that everything depends on my personality. Ever since I debuted, I’ve had this personality and mentality. I think that when you reach the elite, you have to give everything. I give my best and try to have maximum confidence.”

On Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele’s form: “It’s difficult to talk about Barcelona players (laughs). He is a player who can make a difference when he is close to the box. We are very happy to have a player of that quality. I hope he can show it at the World Cup.”

On injuries in the national team: “If there are injuries, there are quality players who can replace them. Our goals have not changed because of major injuries. We want to win.”

Source: Diario AS

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Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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