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Three talking points ahead of Granada vs Real Madrid



Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Of all of the Real Madrid squads to have made it to the UEFA Champions League final over the years, the current crop will go down as one of the most historic.

With barely any megastars in their ranks, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have fought through adversity after adversity to reach the summit clash of the sport.

Every member of the squad has enjoyed a significant role of his own in the process, and words fall short in underlining the team’s run this season across all competitions.

Having downed Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final earlier this week, Los Blancos return to action tomorrow in La Liga where they take on Granada on Matchday 35 of the competition.

Real Madrid have scored 20 goals in their last six games at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. Fresh off an exhilarating win in the UCL, the aim will be to keep the momentum running in style.

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

Enter the Champions

It has been close to a week since Real Madrid were declared the champions of La Liga.

The men in white won convincingly against Cadiz last weekend to take their tally to 87 in the domestic league. Barcelona’s defeat to Girona, however, ensured that their position was unsurmountable, crowning them the kings of Spain.

Los Blancos kept the celebrations on hold for the entire week given that the UEFA Champions League tie against Bayern Munich was yet to be won.

Now having qualified for the finale of the European event, it is high time the weight of their domestic accomplishment soaks into the Merengues’ dressing room.

Tomorrow night, Real Madrid will walk out of the dressing room for the first time this season as the official champions. Securing the result with four games to go only shows the dominance they have exerted all season in La Liga.

As the champions of Spain, one can expect some special energy in the performance of Carlo Ancelotti’s side against Granada. There is not much to play for, but playing as the conquerors and savouring the reward is as important as the journey itself.

Bellingham’s pre-season begins

While Real Madrid’s season has not seen much fluctuation all season, the form of the Merengues’ talisman Jude Bellingham has not endured a uniform trajectory.

After an explosive start to life in Spain, the youngster has fizzled out in recent weeks with a steep decline in his contribution on the field.

Bellingham’s minutes will be carefully managed. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Carlo Ancelotti and Co. have dived deep into the young phenom’s situation and see him to be severely overworked.

A combination of bruises, injuries, and muscular fatigue amongst other factors is said to be the reason why he is unable to return to his best version and the manager is said to be determined to help him recover his peak.

Los Blancos, thus, are looking to play out the next month as a second ‘pre-season’ for Bellingham where his health will be prioritised over everything.

Careful regulation of minutes to keep him in rhythm whilst also ensuring that his body is given enough time to recover is thus the plan of action.

All of that must start from tomorrow’s clash against Granada if the player is to return to his best in time for the Champions League finale at Wembley.

Rotations aplenty

“These matches will help us prepare for the final. I will make rotations, but everyone will play,” Carlo Ancelotti said in his pre-game press conference, confirming that rotations would be normal in the weeks going forward.

Now into the final month of football for the season, it is after all the time for the manager to once again begin experimenting with the various options at his disposal. In the situation, Real Madrid currently bask in, more than ever.

With no pressure on their shoulders and an entire month to prepare for the only game with consequences, the Italian gaffer will look to give his fringe stars more minutes to decide the player he counts on for next season.

The rotations could start right from goal where Thibaut Courtois will make his second start of the season. With rumours floating that Ancelotti wishes to start him against Borussia Dortmund, he could well have a prominent role in the weeks to come.

Eder Militao is in a similar situation and could progressively enjoy more prominence across May. Arda Guler, Dani Ceballos, Joselu, Lucas Vazquez, and Fran Garcia are some of the other players who can expect a larger role starting tomorrow.

Finally, with the futures of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos still uncertain, their minutes in rotation over the next month will have a special place in the hearts of fans. After all, it is unknown if they will don the white colour next season.

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Three talking points ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Federico Valverde and Arda Guler were all on target when Real Madrid demolished Deportivo Alaves by a 5-0 scoreline midweek.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu took the team to 93 points in La Liga, with the champion status already earned. The target now, however, is to reach the magical number of 99 points.

Tomorrow, Los Blancos step on the field for their penultimate league clash of the season as they lock horns against Villarreal.

Their opponents, currently placed eighth in the league, are fighting for a place in Europe and must win tomorrow at Estadio de La Ceramica if they are to remain in the race.

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

Can Bellingham maintain the steam?

Jude Bellingham’s dip in form towards the end of the season raised many concerns in the Real Madrid offices over his fitness and physical state. A mini ‘pre-season’ was said to be in the manager’s plan, especially keeping Bellingham’s recovery in mind.

The young midfielder, however, started the team’s game against Deportivo Alaves once more despite rumours of him being rested and dished out a classic on the night. His performance, in many senses, was one that announced his return to form.

In 90 minutes against Alaves, Bellingham scored one goal and provided two assists as the game ended 5-0 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Furthermore, the former Borussia Dortmund star recorded a staggering 121 touches, 99 passes, six key passes and created one big chance. He also completed four dribbles on the night and participated in eight defensive actions.

It thus becomes a serious question ahead of tomorrow’s clash as to how Carlo Ancelotti plans on managing Bellingham’s minutes.

The obvious approach would be to field the youngster from the start and reward his improved performance at the weekend. Concurrently, however, there is concern over the midfielder being overused which inhibits the manager from such a move.

Will Bellingham start against Villarreal or will the likes of Brahim Diaz or Arda Guler get a deserved start? Only time will tell.

Lunin’s heroic exit

Thibaut Courtois’ injury before the commencement of the new season left Real Madrid with a crisis in goal. The repercussions of the blow, however, were not as dire as expected courtesy of Andriy Lunin’s exceptional performances.

Lunin could play his final game of the season vs Villarreal. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Despite starting the campaign behind Kepa Arrizabalaga on the pecking order, the Ukrainian international has done enough to become the team’s primary goalkeeper across all competitions.

Only Courtois’ return last month displaced him from the starting lineup as the manager prioritised bringing the Belgian superstar back to full fitness.

Real Madrid now plan on starting Courtois for the big UCL final at Wembley next month.

While unfair on Lunin who deserves the start, one cannot blame Ancelotti for relying on the player who single-handedly kept the team in the game the last time they featured in a European final.

With Courtois set to start against Real Betis and Borrusia Dortmund, tomorrow could well be Lunin’s final game of the season for Real Madrid and the 25-year-old will look to depart with a bang.

Momentum is paramount

Real Madrid have already been crowned the champions of La Liga, and every game that remains in the competition at this point only serves as a practice encounter for the big challenge that lies ahead.

Los Blancos take on Borussia Dortmund in the finale of the UCL early next month, and only two games remain before the season-defining encounter. A lot, needless to say, will depend on how Ancelotti manages his squad for the two matches that lie ahead.

Considering that the calendar is no longer as hectic as it was a month ago, the manager could well field his best XI against Villarreal aiming to keep the momentum going for his side. After all, it is paramount at this stage in the season.

At the same time, however, the manager must rotate his squad ahead to give fringe players some deserved minutes and balance the playing time of regular starters.

Los Blancos, at this point, are unbeaten in 23 games across all competitions and have the momentum fairly on their side. Maintaining it with a positive result tomorrow irrespective of the final decision on the extent of rotations will thus be crucial for the Merengues.

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