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Three talking points ahead of Valencia vs Real Madrid



Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images

A trip to Mestalla to take on Valencia is the next agenda on Real Madrid’s calendar after their elimination from Europe. The men in white take on the 15th-placed side in La Liga on Sunday and all eyes will be on the version of the team that turns up for the fixture.

Valencia have been in freefall over the past few years. From one of the regular names in the league’s top six, they now find themselves battling relegation. In fact, there is a chance that a defeat on Sunday sees them return to the relegation zone.

Los Che have won just ten of their 34 games this season, losing 17 times in the process. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Valencia vs Real Madrid.

1. Facing the reality

Sunday evening could have been Real Madrid’s chance to return to the field of play as the UEFA Champions League finalists. With the first leg against Man City poised at 1-1, a win of any margin would have put them into a spot in the final two and given them a good chance of defending their crown.

Not many foresaw the result at Etihad coming. Los Blancos were blown away in ninety minutes to one of their heaviest defeats in recent years. More than the volume of goals, however, it was the manner of defeat that plunged the deepest dagger through the team’s heart.

Los Blancos must now finish the season with just the Copa del Rey as a direct scalp this season. Their inability to achieve glory in either La Liga or the Champions League makes it one of their most disappointing seasons in recent history, at least in terms of silverware.

The moment has now come for Real Madrid to come to terms with the harsh reality. Their flaws cannot be overlooked. What is in their hands is the chance to finish the season strong, and that will be the objective on Sanday.

The men in white must turn up tomorrow as the team that made the semifinals of football’s most difficult competition and not one that fell to a 4-0 defeat on the biggest stage. Mentality is everything in football, and Los Blancos have historically proven to be the kings of it.

2. The chance to take a deeper dive

Will Ancelotti ring in the changes? (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Four games remain before the squad disperses for the summer break. There is nothing that rides on the results to come sparing the team’s reputation, and that gives Carlo Ancelotti room to experiment.

Real Madrid have multiple decisions to take in the weeks to come, from prioritising signings to managing the negotiations, renewing existing stars, and ensuring the right departures.

Ancelotti thus has the chance to take a deeper dive into his squad over the next few weeks and ensure that the right decisions are taken.

The Italian tactician will likely shuffle his cards starting tomorrow night and give minutes to those who have not seen many all season. This will enable the management to understand the depth available and how urgently reinforcements are needed in various positions.

Moreover, it will help the manager identify the weak spots in his setup that compromised their run this season and plan for the campaign ahead.

3. Objective Pichichi

Reports earlier today revealed that Real Madrid had two objectives heading into the final stretch of the season. Finishing second on the league table was understandably the first focus, but the second objective had to do with a specific individual.

Karim Benzema has not enjoyed the best of seasons in 2022/23. Yet, the Frenchman sits second on the list of La Liga’s top scorers and is only behind Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski.

Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid see it as an objective to ensure that the Pichichi Trophy comes home to the Santiago Bernabeu. The men in white are thus expected to go all out in the games to come.

Benzema currently sits on 17 strikes this season, and only four goals separate him from the Polish striker. With four games still to go, there is enough room for Los Blancos to turn the tables around.

The Pichichi Trophy will go a long way in reinforcing Benzema’s confidence ahead of what could be his final season at the club. With reports all over Spain focussing on Real Madrid’s hunt for a new striker, the Frenchman needs such a morale booster more than ever before.

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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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