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Three changes Real Madrid could make to their starting lineup against Villarreal

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Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to lock horns with Villarreal later this evening, in one of their last two remaining matches of this calendar year.

Coming on the back of a draw last time now, getting all three points this evening could be imperative as they look to keep up with Girona in the race for the league title.

In their most recent game, though, Real Madrid deployed a relatively weaker side against Union Berlin in the Champions League. But given the importance of this fixture, Ancelotti is likely to ring in the changes this evening.

Here, at Madrid Universal, we will be taking a look at three changes Ancelotti could make to the starting eleven against Villarreal.

Brahim Diaz in for Joselu

Brahim Diaz could return to lead the Real Madrid frontline, in the absence of the injured Vinicius Junior. The former AC Milan starlet is likely to replace Joselu upfront.

Brahim could lead the Real Madrid frontline (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

That is despite the fact that Joselu scored a brace against Union Berlin in midweek. It appears Brahim is simply a better attacking partner for someone like Rodrygo.

Joselu, nonetheless, remains a key weapon on the bench for Ancelotti, should he require a more traditional striker later in the game.

Toni Kroos in for Dani Ceballos

Dani Ceballos got a rare opportunity to start for Real Madrid during the midweek contest against Union Berlin.

But the former Arsenal man should return to the bench, with Toni Kroos all set to replace him in the middle of the park. Kroos’ composure and experience could be crucial as Real Madrid look to contain Villarreal.

Antonio Rudiger in for Nacho Fernandez

Antonio Rudiger was given a rest against Union Berlin in midweek, though the defender did later appear as a substitute.

This time around, Rudiger is all set to start alongside David Alaba in central defence, at the expense of Nacho Fernandez. Rudiger’s aggression could be crucial against a strong Villarreal attack.

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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