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The reason why Bellingham had a poor performance vs Bayern Munich

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Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich engaged in a thrilling 90-minute-long battle last night in Germany for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal.

The fixture saw some of Europe’s biggest names take to the field in a bid to hand their side the advantage heading into next week’s deciding leg.

One of the battles many looked forward to on the night was that between Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala.

While indeed both players did not go head-to-head position-wise, it was always interesting to see which young prospect had the better impact.

If the battle between Bellingham and Musiala was to be measured by any parameter, the 21-year-old German star kid was the one who shone brighter.

The reason for his slump

Jude Bellingham struggled to influence the game to his level last night, as he failed to make accurate runs into the box or generate any solid threat in the final third.

According to reports from The Athletic (h/t Madrid Xtra), the reason behind the youngster’s poor performance on the night was that he was unwell for most of last week.

Well below his best. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

The outlet reveal that Bellingham barely trained last week, and in fact did not even play the team’s last two games, owing to a viral infection.

The German star kid

While Bellingham had a day off, Bayern Munich’s young phenom stole the show on the wing. He was a constant nuisance down Real Madrid’s left flank, providing one key pass, completing five dribbles and even winning a penalty.

Bellingham, for comparative purposes, provided one key pass, completed two dribbles and did not create any threat in front of goal.

Heading into the second leg at the Bernabeu, the focus will thus be on ensuring that the English phenom recovers his best physical version and competes on equal terms with the rest of the field.

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Features

Real Madrid’s best lineup next season with Kroos retiring, Mbappe and Endrick joining

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

It is set up to be a transformative summer for Real Madrid. After the UEFA Champions League final has concluded and the grand showdown finally has a victor, the Merengues are expected to undergo a squad revamp.

Indeed, the Santiago Bernabeu is preparing to welcome several high-profile signings, while also bidding farewell to some beloved Madrid legends.

Considering the potential arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Endrick, as well as Toni Kroos’ recent retirement, here is how Real Madrid could shape up next season:

Goalkeeper

Having made a long-awaited return from injury, Thibaut Courtois is anticipated to guard Real Madrid’s goal next season once more.

The Belgian goalie has already started featuring in the starting XI and is expected to play against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, too.

As such, his place for next season is hardly in doubt. However, unlike previous seasons, he will face much fiercer competition from Andriy Lunin, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign.

Defence

Fortifications in the defensive line remain high on Real Madrid’s priority list in the upcoming summer transfer window. However, even with the given options the Royal Whites boast assurance and grit in their back-line.

The likely occupants on the flanks would be Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy, who have both produced great exhibitions throughout the campaign.

Ferland Mendy has the full trust of Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carvajal is known to punish defensive lines and on the defensive end, his anticipation of forwards has been equally appreciable.

Meanwhile, Mendy’s resurgence this season has earned him immense faith from the coaching staff, as his defensive aptitude continues to set him apart.

In the centre-back positions, Real Madrid are expected to rely on the dependable figures of Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao.

Real Madrid consider Rudiger to be indispensable owing to his front-footed style and the important role he has had to play amidst the injury crisis. Similarly, Militao is valued by the team as he proceeds to regain match fitness after recovering from a long-term injury.

Midfield

The void of Toni Kroos in midfield will compel coach Carlo Ancelotti and co. to
reconsider their midfield strategy.

Real Madrid will be unable to count on Kroos next season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Thankfully for Real Madrid, their succession stage had begun a while ago and they have ample options to trust in the center of the park.

With Aurelien Tchouameni protecting the base of midfield, Real Madrid will possess security and deep progression.

Ahead, occupying the interior midfield positions, Fede Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga are well-suited to provide a combination of energy off the ball and threat in possession.

And to put the cherry on top, Jude Bellingham’s place as the number 10 behind the two strikers would certify his status as a pivotal playmaker and scorer in the team’s setup.

However, he is adept at making third-man runs and connecting the midfield with the offence and could play deeper to not only make up for Kroos’ absence but also facilitate more options up front.

Attack

Real Madrid’s offensive department is where the largest reform is expected to take place.

Kylian Mbappe’s goalscoring instincts need little introduction by now and he is thus anticipated to be fielded as the striker.

Vinicius Jr. is expected to take up the position as a secondary striker drifting from the left, something he has become quite accustomed to this season.

Endrick will have to battle for a starting spot. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

It is worth noting that Endrick could also play a part by either replacing Vinicius off the bench and playing off Mbappe.

It remains to be seen how many men forward Ancelotti will commit to but the presence of Mbappe and Vinicius seems set in stone, given their huge profiles and status in world football. How the manager uses Rodrygo Goes will be interesting to see as well.

All in all, considering Ancelotti’s proficiency in profiling players, Madrid fans can expect to see these stars play in favourable environments.

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