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Three talking points ahead of Girona vs Real Madrid | La Liga

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The tests keep coming for Real Madrid. After a disappointing defeat to Atletico Madrid last weekend, the men in white took down Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu to return to winning ways.

They now face their third game in seven days as they travel to Catalonia to take on Girona in a testing fixture. Real Madrid may be the favourites, but the game will be anything but easy for Los Blancos.

Carlo Ancelotti has several decisions to take on the night, especially given that his team face Napoli and Copa del Rey runners-up Osasuna in their next two games.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Girona vs. Real Madrid.

Clash of the table-toppers

Girona have been one of the revelations of the 2023/24 campaign. The Catalan club started the season with a draw against Real Sociedad at San Sebastian but have been unstoppable ever since.

Michel’s men went on to win all six of their games after the initial hiccup and currently sit atop the leaderboard with a stunning total of 19 points. What is more impressive is the fact that they have, alongside Barcelona, scored the most number of goals this season at 18.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men are not far behind in terms of results. With six wins and one loss so far, they sit in second place with 18 points. Saturday’s game, in all senses, will be a clash between two of Spain’s in-form and table-topping sides.

Playing at Estadi Motilivi will be no easy run for Real Madrid despite the big names in the squad. Debilitated by injuries, Ancelotti’s men face one of their toughest challenges tomorrow, especially accounting for their hectic schedule and compulsion to rotate.

A win tomorrow will assure Real Madrid the numero uno spot, but a defeat could potentially push them down to third. Needless to say, it will be a critical result from a leaderboard standpoint.

A team of multiple threats

Table toppers for a reason. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

While Girona’s feat of scoring 18 goals in seven games is remarkable, what makes it further staggering is the distribution of goalscorers.

Michel’s men have not depended on any single player to put the ball into the back of the net. In fact, one cannot even state with certainty that their forward line contributes the lion’s share of goals.

Midfielder Yangel Herrera is the team’s top scorer in La Liga with three goals to his name.  However, he is not the only midfielder to score for the team as Aleix Garcia, Viktor Tsygankov, Portu, and Ivan Martin all have a goal each to their names.

Michel’s side play with a unique 4-1-4-1 formation and do not hesitate to push forward in numbers. The second line of four provides them with sufficient bodies in attack and also partly explains why a significant number of their goals come from midfield.

Apart from the threat lurking from the players behind the forward, players like David Lopez, Yan Couto, and Eric Garcia have contributed to the scoresheet from the defence. Further, forwards like Savinho, Artem Dovbyk, and Cristhian Stuani require no introduction.

The pressure will be on Real Madrid’s defence on Saturday at Montilivi Stadium. With threats coming from all parts of the park, the Merengues must be alert and on their toes at all times against the league leaders.

And then there were two

Just as Real Madrid were celebrating the returns of Dani Ceballos, Ferland Mendy, and Dani Carvajal, matters have once again gone awry for Ancelotti’s men.

Real Madrid’s defence suffered its biggest and most significant blow early in the season when Eder Militao was diagnosed with an ACL tear. The Brazilian was thus slated as unavailable for the remainder of the campaign, pushing the responsibility on David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger’s shoulders.

The duo have not enjoyed the best of chemistries so far, with the defeat to Atletico Madrid serving as the prime example. Yet, Alaba and Rudiger pulled along well and oversaw seven wins for the team.

Los Blancos’ most recent game against Las Palmas brought with it more setbacks. Both Rudiger and Alaba suffered injuries on the night with the latter even coming off after his injury.

As it stands, the Austrian international will not be available for the clash against Girona. Rudiger, meanwhile, could feature tomorrow, with Ancelotti confirming his situation is not serious.

With just the German defender and Nacho Fernandez as the options remaining, Ancelotti is treading a tight-rope. Going up against arguably Spain’s most in-form team, the vulnerable defence could prove to be a liability.

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Features

Euro 2024: Rating every Real Madrid player’s performance at the tournament

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

The UEFA Euro 2024 came to an end last night with Spain being crowned the champions of Europe thanks to a 2-1 victory over England in Berlin.

Considering how well La Roja played throughout the tournament and their performance in the finals on Sunday night, they were the deserved winners of the trophy.

With Spain lifting the trophy, Real Madrid veteran defender Dani Carvajal added another title to his already successful campaign finishing 2023/24 as a La Liga, Champions League, and EURO winner.

Nacho and Joselu, who were still contracted with Real Madrid when the Euro started, joined Carvajal on that list while Jude Bellingham finished on the losing side.

Real Madrid had a total of 13 players representing them at the Euros in Germany and not all managed to make a solid impression. Here are how the Merengues’ stars fared at the European Championships.

Spain

Dani Carvajal: 8/10

The Spanish right-back was one of the stars of the show at the Euros, playing an integral role in La Roja’s success. Carvajal kicked off his first Euro with a goal in the opening game against Croatia and continued to be a reliable player for Spain both in defence and attack.

Carvajal forged a strong partnership with Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal on the right flank and even played a key role in the team’s opening goal against England in the final.

Nacho: 6/10

Technically no longer a Real Madrid player, Nacho was still contracted with the club when the Euros kicked off. Starting in the opener against Croatia, he helped Spain to a clean sheet against Croatia.

The veteran defender also put in solid shifts in the quarter-final and semi-final ties against Germany and France, respectively and helped see out the game against England last night.

Joselu: N/A

Behind the likes of Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal in the pecking order, Joselu, who left Real Madrid at the end of June, played just 90 minutes across two games.

England

Jude Bellingham: 6.5/10

Failed to deliver. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Having enjoyed a dream season with Real Madrid, Jude Bellingham was unable to replicate those performances for England.

While he did score two crucial goals, including a stunning bicycle kick to keep his team alive against Slovakia, and assisted Cole Palmer’s strike in the finals, his overall display left a lot to be desired.

France

Kylian Mbappe: 6/10

Real Madrid’s newest acquisition, all eyes were on Mbappe heading into the Euros. And even though France made it as far as the semi-finals, the 25-year-old failed to live up to the expectations with a nose injury impacting his displays.

Mbappe finished the tournament with a solitary goal and two assists, but as he admitted after the defeat to Spain, his Euro will go down as a failure.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 6/10

Making a return from injury during the tournament, the Real Madrid midfielder was a solid presence in the centre of the park for France alongside N’Golo Kante without really standing out a great deal.

The 24-year-old provided strength and stability in midfield for Les Bleus and even tried to get upfield in matches. But his shooting from distance was way off the mark.

Not up to the mark. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Eduardo Camavinga: 5/10

Starting just one of France’s six games and featuring as a substitute in three more, Eduardo Camavinga was not a major presence for Didier Deschamps’ side at the Euros which came as a surprise.

The Real Madrid starlet did show glimpses of quality when he did get a chance but not enough for him to make an impact.

Ferland Mendy: N/A

Having made a return to the France setup for the first time since 2022, Mendy did not play a single minute at the Euros, with former Real Madrid left-back, Theo Hernandez being preferred by the manager.

Germany

Antonio Rudiger: 7/10

Carrying on from where he left off for Real Madrid, Rudiger was a solid presence at the heart of the German defence at the Euros in his homeland.

Came up against some tricky forwards throughout the hosts’ quarterfinal run but did well to hold his own, but was guilty of losing Mikel Merino for Spain’s goal that eliminated Germany.

Toni Kroos: 6.5/10

It was not a fairytale ending for Kroos, who waved goodbye to his international career with a forgettable display against Spain during which he could have been easily sent off for the array of fouls he committed.

Prior to that, however, Kroos was instrumental for Germany in their run until the quarterfinals, stringing play together from the centre of the park.

Turkey

Arda Guler: 7/10

Arda Guler made a good impression at the Euros. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

One of the breakout stars of the Euros, Arda Guler showcased his talent and potential, helping Turkey to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

The 19-year-old started off with a wonder-goal against Georgia and also added two assists to his tally in his first major tournament, following in the footsteps of greats like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. A bright future awaits.

Croatia

Luka Modric: 6/10

Unlike recent years, Luka Modric’s Croatia were unable to get past the group stages, with the veteran midfielder finishing the tournament with a goal from under 240 minutes.

Ukraine

Andriy Lunin: 2/10

Started the tournament as Ukraine’s No. 1 against Romania but made costly errors that saw him lose his place in the starting XI. Did not feature again after the opener as his team crashed out of the group stages.

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