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Two changes in midfield: 4-3-3 Predicted Real Madrid lineup against Celtic

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

After Arsenal’s loss to Manchester United yesterday, Real Madrid are the only remaining team in the top five leagues with a perfect record. They have won all four of their games in the 2022/23 season, scoring 11 goals and conceding four.

Their goal this season is to retain the Champions League and La Liga, both, and the journey for the former begins tomorrow in Glasgow, Scotland. Los Blancos are pinned against Celtic for the opening round of the UCL group stages.

Celtic have had a stunning start to their season in the Scottish Premiership, obtaining all possible points in six games, while scoring a mammoth 25 goals.

At the 60,000-seater Celtic Park, the defending Scottish champs will prove to be a lot more trouble than Madrid will be hoping for.

It’s the first game of the UCL season, and Carlo Ancelotti does not have a lot of reasons to rotate too much of his best team tomorrow. We at Madrid Universal predict how Real Madrid will line up tomorrow against Celtic.

Defence

Even though he is yet to claim his first clean sheet of the season, Thibaut Courtois has started this season exactly where he left off. In fact, things could be much different for Madrid without him. Tomorrow, he will start in goal, hoping the net doesn’t bulge once.

With Jesus Vallejo and Nacho still possibly out injured, we do not expect a lot of changes in the defence. David Alaba could be forced out wide as the left-back, while Lucas Vazquez comes in to replace Daniel Carvajal at right-back.

In the centre, Antonio Rudiger is overdue for game-time, and is expected to get exactly that tomorrow. He will partner Eder Militao in the heart of the defence.

Midfield

Eduardo Camavinga had a rather underwhelming display against Real Betis last week, but should be awarded with a second consecutive start regardless. He will, however, replace Aurelien Tchouameni as the lone pivot in the midfield trident.

Ancelotti has to do his best to preserve Luka Modric, and therefore, it is likely that the Croatian starts from the bench tomorrow. In his place, Toni Kroos returns, playing as one of the advanced interiors.

The final piece of the puzzle could be Dani Ceballos, who has done just enough for Ancelotti to start him. Should he do well, he could be in line to retain his place for the RCD Mallorca game this weekend.

Time to come off the bench. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Attack

Federico Valverde was brought in from the bench in the 63rd minute and assisted Rodrygo for the winner with one of his first touches of the game. There is little to no chance he starts as a substitute two games in a row.

Vinicus Jr, etched his name on the scoresheet, too, and now has three goals and an assist in four games this season. He should be one of the first names in the starting lineup with the kind of form he is in.

Finally, Karim Benzema is expected to complete the XI as the centre-forward. Despite scoring three goals already, the Frenchman has been surprisingly hit-and-miss in front of the goal, missing seven big chances. He will be hoping a goal or two in the Champions League tomorrow can change his fortunes.

Vinicus · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Camavinga · Ceballos
Alaba · Rudiger · Militao · Vazquez
Courtois

Substitutes

If Ancelotti does, indeed, opt to use this midfield, we expect Aurilien Tchouameni and Luka Modric to be one of the first ones to be brought on in the second half.

Ferland Mendy is in contention to be subbed in as well, giving one of Militao or Alaba some much-needed rest. The same goes for Rodrygo, who could get the nod to replace Vinicius or Valverde if things are going well.

Eden Hazard has not stepped off the bench in the last two games, but tomorrow is the perfect opportunity for him to win back some lost confidence.

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Features

Four reasons why Real Madrid must sign Leny Yoro right away

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Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have been eyeing 18-year-old Lille centre-back Leny Yoro for several months. However, the uncertainty surrounding his arrival, whether this summer or next, has stirred much debate.

The primary obstacle is financial; Lille are holding out for a big transfer fee for their prized asset. But with Yoro’s contract set to expire in 12 months, Real Madrid are hesitant to make a significant investment.

Despite this, there are compelling reasons for the club to secure the 18-year-old’s services this summer.

Here are four reasons why Florentino Perez and Jose Angel Sanchez must go all out for the French teenager in the current transfer window.

1. The injury crisis

One of the most pressing reasons for Real Madrid to act now is the club’s recent struggle with injuries. Last season, the team faced one of the most severe injury crises in its history.

Just 48 hours before the start of the La Liga season, Thibaut Courtois suffered an ACL rupture in training. The opening match against Athletic Club saw another blow as Eder Militao also tore his ACL.

Leny Yoro is a top target for Real Madrid. (Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The injury woes did not end there. David Alaba, another key defender, suffered a similar fate in mid-December, tearing his ACL and subsequently damaging his meniscus.

These injuries left the team vulnerable, forcing Carlo Ancelotti to rely heavily on Antonio Rudiger. The German took on an immense workload, as he became one of the most frequently played players throughout the campaign.

Given this context, bolstering the defence with a promising young talent like Yoro is not just a luxury but a necessity. His presence would provide much-needed depth and help mitigate the risks associated with potential injuries to key defenders.

2. Contractual Concerns

Waiting until next summer to sign Yoro for free could be a gamble that backfires. While his contract with Lille is set to expire in 12 months, this period could see significant changes.

Lille might succeed in convincing the player to renew his contract, potentially including a substantial release clause. Such a scenario would make it more challenging and costly for Real Madrid to secure his signature.

Moreover, Yoro is already on the radar of several top European clubs like Manchester United and PSG. If Real Madrid delay their move, they risk losing him to another team.

The competitive nature of the transfer market means that any delay could see another club convincing Yoro to join them, especially if they present a more immediate and attractive offer.

3. Age and Potential

Yoro could be an excellent investment for Real Madrid. (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

Leny Yoro’s age and potential make him an ideal long-term investment for Real Madrid. At just 18 years old, he has the potential to develop into a world-class centre-back.

With over 15 years of football ahead of him, the Frenchman represents a strategic acquisition that could solidify the Merengues’ defence for the next decade or more.

The departure of former captain Nacho Fernandez has left a void in the defence. This exit makes the need for a new centre-back even more urgent.

Yoro, standing at 1.88 meters, offers the physical presence and defensive capabilities that Real Madrid need. His youth also means he can be moulded to fit the club’s playing style and ethos, ensuring continuity and stability in the defensive line.

4. Fixture overload next season

Real Madrid played 56 games in all competitions in the 2023/24 season. If they do not make it past the group stage in any of the cup competitions in 2024/25, they will still play 59 games. Making it to the finals in all will result in 70 games all season.

This requires squad death for the upcoming season. With David Alaba still not back from injury and likely to return in 2025, Real Madrid’s options at centre-back ahead of the new season are Rudiger and Militao, with Aurelien Tchouameni a makeshift alternative.

As such, signing Yoro this summer will be a massive boost for the team to face the upcoming season, where the team will travel across three continents from July to May, playing around 70 games.

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