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Three takeaways for Real Madrid from the US pre-season tour



Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Real Madrid began their pre-season tour of the United States of America on a strong footing, as consecutive victories against AC Milan and Manchester United strengthened the team’s morale on an immediate basis.

However, performances began to derail and back-to-back losses versus Barcelona and Juventus saw them conclude the tour with a bitter after-taste.

Despite mixed sensations towards the end, the pre-season served its purpose as the ideal groundwork for the forthcoming campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti managed to tinker with his newly assembled squad, with the coach bound to grasp a better idea of his team’s dynamics before the actual season starts.

Here are three takeaways from Los Blancos’ US pre-season tour.

1. Bellingham is ready for the big stage

Real Madrid’s latest acquisition, Jude Bellingham, enjoyed a blissful start to life with the Merengues. The midfielder was at the receiving end of a few tough losses but provided innumerable glimpses of his exceptional talent.

After an impressive debut versus AC Milan, Bellingham instantly stamped his name on the scoreboard against Manchester United in merely the sixth minute with an audacious chip from the edge of the box.

Apart from showcasing deadly final-third instincts, he played with excellent panache in every game he participated in. Simplicity is often the glory of expression, and Bellingham encapsulated that with his tender touches on the ball.

Against Juventus, he was not involved on the scoresheet but was at the heart of many offensive plays constructed by Madrid. In addition to playing as a connector between the lines, his duel winning was on display. The 20-year-old’s ball-carrying from deep and swiftness to evade pressure allowed Madrid to generate advantages from very little.

2. Real Madrid need a top No. 9

Real Madrid need a top striker. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

With the conclusion of the pre-season, it has become clearer than ever that Real Madrid are struggling to score goals in the absence of Karim Benzema.

While Ancelotti tested out a two-man front line with various permutations and combinations involving Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, and Joselu, a great deal of chances went down the drain, owing to the lack of finishers up front.

In the Clasico, Madrid outmatched Barcelona by a whopping 29 shots to 12, while the closing game versus Juventus entailed a similar script, with Los Blancos’ 34 shots trumping the Bianconeri’s 11.

The acquisition of Joselu has not instilled much hope too, due to the player’s inconsistencies in terms of finishing.

With Vinicius and Rodrygo players that prefer to play off a No. 9, it has become clear as daylight that Real Madrid must bolster that department. They have been linked heavily with Kylian Mbappe, and their pursuit of the World Cup winner may heat up following the pre-season.

3. Tchouameni recovering his form

An outstanding upside for Madrid this pre-season was recovering a version of Aurelien Tchouameni that resembled something close to his best after his decline in the second half of the last season.

The Frenchman’s display against Manchester United was simply outstanding, and he looked good every time he stepped out on the pitch.

The holding midfielder oozed excellence in the first phase as his tranquility while playing out from the back enabled Madrid to seamlessly bypass pressure. His ability to eat up ground and impose himself in duels rendered him a huge protection for the Madrid back-line as well.

The Frenchman, in most games, was cool as a cucumber recycling possession and provided a reliable presence in possession. Tchouameni even came close to scoring one of the goals of the pre-season against Barcelona, but ended up hitting the woodwork from range.

Positive signs for Real Madrid.

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MU Shorts

Modric, Rodrygo start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Napoli



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be gunning to make it three wins in three across all competitions when they lock horns with Napoli in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

After the defeat to Atletico Madrid around ten days ago, Real Madrid have bounced back pretty well, registering back-to-back victories over Las Palmas and Girona, with an aggregate scoreline of 5-0.

But, Napoli, who are the reigning Serie A champions, will pose a much bigger challenge, more so at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for Carlo Ancelotti & co.

The Merengues head into the game without Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois again while David Alaba misses out once again due to injury. Arda Guler is also absent from the Madrid squad in Italy.

There are likely to be some changes made to the team that started against Girona over the weekend and here’s how Real Madrid could line up against Napoli on Tuesday night.


Kepa Arrizabalaga has become the de facto first-choice goalkeeper for Real Madrid in the injury-enforced absence of Thibaut Courtois and will be eager to secure a third clean sheet in a row on Tuesday night.

With David Alaba and Eder Militao unavailable, Carlo Ancelotti has no option but to continue with the centre-back pairing of Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez, who will have a tough battle against Victor Osimhen.

There is no looking past Dani Carvajal in the right-back position. And at left-back, Ancelotti is likely to pick Ferland Mendy over Fran Garcia and Eduardo Camavinga in order to have greater defensive solidity against Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Set to start at left-back? (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni has become an ‘untouchable’ in the midfield department for Real Madrid and is a certainty to feature at the base of the diamond formation.

There will be changes in the interior midfield positions on either side of him as Luka Modric and Camavinga are expected to feature from the get-go, ahead of Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos.

Jude Bellingham will be aiming to continue his mind-boggling start as a Real Madrid player and add to his ever-growing goal tally, slotting in as the attacking midfielder.

Vinicius Jr is a guaranteed starter in attack for the Spanish capital club. And even though Joselu has scored in each of his last two matches, Rodrygo Goes is likely to get the nod against Napoli on Tuesday.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Kepa, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy, Tchouameni, Modric, Camavinga, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Vinicius.


Federico Valverde is bound to get some minutes at some stage in the match for Real Madrid while Toni Kroos will also very likely come on, especially if the team is looking for greater control over the proceedings.

Joselu should also get a run-out at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona while Brahim Diaz is another player who is certain to come off the bench as has been the case so far this season.

Lucas Vazquez could also be an option if Ancelotti decides to give Dani Carvajal a breather in the latter stages.

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