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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Real Betis

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

On Saturday, Real Madrid will take to the field one final time in Spain this year. The last matchday of La Liga sees the Merengues lock horns with Real Betis at home, and the game will be special for a number of reasons.

While Los Blancos sit comfortably on top of the table and have been crowned champions officially, Real Betis also have their fate in the league close to confirmed.

Nestled in seventh place on the standings, neither a win nor a defeat will change their place on the standings as they are four points away from the nearest placed teams on both sides.

Los Verdiblancos held the men in white to a 1-1 draw the last time they faced off this season and will look to spoil Toni Kroos’ farewell party tomorrow. Real Madrid, meanwhile, will look to get back to winning ways after an anti-climactic 4-4 draw against Villarreal.

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

Signing off as champions

The 2023/24 La Liga season has been special to Real Madrid, not only for them clinching the title but also for the sheer dominance they have exerted in the competition.

Los Blancos have been the frontrunners in the domestic title race right from the get-go, leading almost throughout the campaign. Girona did well to put up some initial resistance, but the Merengues’ consistency through the second half of the campaign was simply flawless.

Having just lost one game in La Liga, Real Madrid have thus dominated the season in every sense. After all, they have scored 87 goals in 37 games and only conceded 26 goals in the process.

With one game to play in the competition, they are on 94 points and will look to sign off on a high come tomorrow. The result, after all, will be remembered for reasons beyond the team’s special run throughout the season.

It is thus only poetic that the men in white finish off a close-to-flawless campaign on a high and as the champions they have been all season.

A legend says goodbye

Irrespective of the result that unfolds on Saturday, Real Madrid’s clash against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu will go down in the club’s history books engraved in gold.

Kroos says goodbye to the Bernabeu. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

It is common news at this point that Toni Kroos has decided to retire from the game this summer. The legend will thus call it time on his club career as well, closing the curtains on his time as a Real Madrid player.

The game tomorrow will thus be the final time Kroos steps onto the grasses of the Bernabeu as a Real Madrid player, marking the end of what has been a special era for Los Blancos.

Kroos has been one of the pillars of the Merengues’ midfield for ten years now, winning endless accolades and growing from strength to strength with every passing season.

As Madrid slowly comes to terms with the player’s decision to retire while still at the peak of his powers, fans must say their goodbyes to the veteran tomorrow in what will prove to be an emotional affair.

Further, one must not forget that the game will also mark the final home appearance for several other players including Nacho Fernandez, Kepa Arrizabalaga and possibly Dani Ceballos.

Preparing for the big game

As Kroos emphasised in his farewell post penned for the fans, the team’s focus at the moment is completely on the UEFA Champions League final scheduled for next month.

Transcending the raw emotions that unfold tomorrow, thus, will be the dressing room’s larger objective of maintaining the momentum and preparing for the game that awaits at Wembley.

It is thus likely that Carlo Ancelotti looks to minimise rotations against Los Verdiblancos, especially considering that the team has had close to a week of rest.

The lineup that starts tomorrow, could well be the XI for the finale against Borussia Dortmund with rhythm being of paramount importance.

Thibaut Courtois is expected to start in goal tomorrow keeping the UCL final in mind, while the defence will also likely be unchanged.

The major doubt, however, is Jude Bellingham whom the manager could prefer resting given his heavy minutes all season.

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Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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