Jude Bellingham is a jack of all trades with mastery of nearly every position in midfield.
Having officially completed his long-desired move to Real Madrid, the club now face the privileged problem of choosing the ideal set-up to field with their newly obtained swiss-army knife, especially with so many other options in midfield.
With the English star boy set to play a pivotal role in the upcoming 2023/2024 campaign, here are three ways the Merengues could line up with Bellingham next season.
Bellingham scored 14 goals for Borussia Dortmund at the end of the last campaign, and manager Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly in favour of taking advantage of the Englishman’s offensive acumen.
Owing to the absence of a high-profile centre-forward, Real Madrid may have difficulties scoring goals next season. The plan is for Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo to spearhead the attack in the absence of Karim Benzema, and with Joselu serving as the backup striker.
Bellingham, directly behind the Brazilian pair, as a No. 10, possesses the ability to offer creativity between the lines as well as make late off-ball runs into the opposition box.
The England international can get on the ball to create high up the pitch and even take aim at goal. In 2022/23, he attempted 67 more shots than any other BVB player in the league.
The 4-3-1-2 formation is a far cry from what Los Blancos typically opt for but has the potential to extract the €103 million signing’s most effective attributes.
In addition to thriving in an advanced setting, Bellingham also has the traits needed to execute a prominent role at the base of midfield. Without jeopardizing Vinicius’ impact on the left wing, the 4-2-3-1 enables Ancelotti to use his stacked midfield without hampering the attacking foundations.
Bellingham has garnered experience in a double-pivot set-up. By neutralising opposing assaults before they can even develop, he wields the ability to provide stability at the centre. His 35 interceptions were the second most for Dortmund last season.
Moreover, the double pivot likely gives rise to Eduardo Camavinga playing in a more comfortable environment, a position he has found considerable experience with at the French national team.
Bellingham and Camavinga have the potential to form a great duo in such a context, with Luka Modric as a No. 10. Conversely, the 19-year-old could continue as the attacking midfielder, with someone else playing as the pivot.
Even in Real Madrid’s classic 4-3-3 shape, Bellingham has the required framework to establish himself as a dependable figure in midfield. The formation extracts far more verticality and induces a sense of chaos that Madrid have, over the years, aligned themselves with.
Staying true to their identity while also providing the Englishman with a role he has found comfort in, Bellingham can showcase his abilities as a box-to-box midfielder.
Such a role aids the midfield both in defensive and offensive phases. Quick transitions and intense pressing would be the defining characteristics of Real Madrid’s midfield.
🏴 Jude Bellingham player characteristics:— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 15, 2023
🟢 Through balls
🟢 Key passes
𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙧 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙣𝙤 𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙛𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙨 https://t.co/ogYdG6LSza pic.twitter.com/gytswrCbye
Bellingham’s ability to convert defence into attack with his lung-busting runs with the ball is one of his most resounding qualities. He had the most completed dribbles in the Bundesliga last campaign (88), and his quick feet render him impossible to stop as he evades defenders with silky ball control, coupled with exceptionally quick direction changes.
Bellingham’s versatility allows him to play as part of a double pivot, box-to-box midfielder, and attacking midfielder. A lot of options now lie in Carlo Ancelotti’s hands, and the Italian must find the best combination to unleash Bellingham.
Modric, Camavinga start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Union Berlin
Real Madrid will begin their quest for their 15th European crown as they start the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League season against Union Berlin in Group C tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid have made a solid start to the season, winning five in five in La Liga, although they have not always been convincing victories.
But Los Blancos have found a way to collect maximum points from difficult situations and will be eager to carry forward that form and momentum into Europe’s premier club competition.
Leading up to the game, Real Madrid have greeted both good and bad news on the injury front. Ferland Mendy is back in the squad for the match, which comes in as a big positive, while both Arda Guler and Vinicius Jr are closing in on a return.
However, onto bad news, in-form right-back Dani Carvajal picked up an injury and has been ruled out of the contest, and could potentially miss the derby against Atletico Madrid later this week.
With less than 12 hours left before kickoff, here’s how Real Madrid could line up against the German opposition, who are debuting in the UEFA Champions League.
With no Thibaut Courtois in the mix, on-loan goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga appears to be the preferred choice in goal ahead of Andriy Lunin. As such, the Spaniard should keep his place between the sticks tonight for Real Madrid against Union Berlin.
Dani Carvajal’s absence will see Lucas Vazquez start at right-back, as was confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti during his press conference. Meanwhile, Fran Garcia should make his UCL debut, slotting in at left-back despite the availability of Ferland Mendy.
At the heart of the defence, it is unlikely that Ancelotti will change the pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, with captain Nacho Fernandez once again featuring off the bench.
As has been the case throughout this season, it is the midfield department that Ancelotti will have some major decisions to make.
Aurelien Tchouameni has been in fine form as the defensive midfielder this campaign, but the Frenchman could be rested tonight, with his compatriot, Eduardo Camavinga. starting as the lone pivot.
Meanwhile, Federico Valverde, who was on target against Real Sociedad over the weekend, should continue as one of the interiors, even though he recently revealed that he has been playing with an injured arm.
Luka Modric should make his second start of the season for Los Blancos, replacing fellow veteran Toni Kroos in the starting XI. Jude Bellingham will occupy the tip of the midfield diamond for Los Blancos.
As has been the case during Vinicius Jr’s absence, Rodrygo Goes and in-form forward Joselu will form the strike partnership up top.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Kepa, Vazquez, Rudiger, Alabal, Garcia, Camavinga, Valverde, Modric, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Joselu.
Toni Kroos is certain to come on at some point in the second period to help Real Madrid provide control in the game. Fellow veteran Nacho Fernandez is also likely to be called upon to relieve one of the defenders.
Dani Ceballos and Ferland Mendy could make their first appearances of the season after their injury layoffs, while Brahim Diaz is also expected to get some minutes.