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Valverde, Modric start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Chelsea



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to take a step towards qualifying for the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League when they face Chelsea in the quarter-final first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight.

With the La Liga title out of their hands, the reigning champions of Spain and Europe will be gunning to retain their Champions League crown. Having gotten past a much stronger Chelsea side at this stage last season, they will be confident of their chances heading into the game.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti does not have any major squad issues to deal with either as Ferland Mendy remains the only player unavailable due to injury for Real Madrid.

Ahead of the game, Madrid Universal takes a look at how the Italian tactician might set his team up to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the Bernabeu.


Carlo Ancelotti had rung in the changes for Real Madrid’s La Liga clash against Villarreal last weekend, which they ended up losing. Following that match, it is expected that the Italian will recall all his regulars for this vital encounter against Chelsea.

Dani Carvajal and Eder Militao will be two players who will return to the lineup after being rested against Villarreal. The duo will come in at the expense of Lucas Vazquez and former Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger, respectively.

Meanwhile, David Alaba will line up alongside Militao at the heart of the defence while Eduardo Camavinga should get the nod at left-back after his fine showing against Barcelona last week. Former Chelsea man Thibaut Courtois will man the goal.

Camavinga at left-back? (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Moving into the middle of the park, Ancelotti hinted in his pre-match press conference that Federico Valverde will play a part against Chelsea, despite his recent controversy involving Alex Baena of Villarreal.

The Uruguayan international should occupy one of the three midfield slots for Los Blancos, along with veteran stars Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who will step into the team at the expense of Dani Ceballos and Aurelien Tchouameni. The German will likely slot in as the pivot.

Heading into the final third of the pitch, there are no doubts about who will be starting for Real Madrid.

Club captain Karim Benzema is a certainty to feature as the centre-forward, while Vinicius Jr will start on the left, where he will be involved in an interesting duel against Reece James. Meanwhile, it will be Rodrygo Goes who gets the nod on the right flank ahead of Marco Asensio.

Vinicius · Benzema · Rodrygo
Valverde · Kroos · Modric
Camavinga · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal


Given the lack of attacking alternatives at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal, Marco Asensio is certain to come onto the pitch at some time in the second half. Dani Ceballos is another player who will be sent on in the latter stages of the game to add some more energy and legs in midfield.

Antonio Rudiger should also get a chance to make an appearance against his former club, especially if the game is in the bag and Ancelotti is looking to shut up shop. In such a scenario, another ex-Chelsea ace, Eden Hazard, could be given a token appearance.

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MU Shorts

Real Madrid set their roadmap for next season including coach and transfer plans



Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

A fresh report from Goal has given a comprehensive update on Real Madrid’s roadmap in the summer transfer window and how they plan to build their squad ahead of the new season.

The club are clear about the continuity of Carlo Ancelotti, but the Italian could have an uphill task organising a team that will witness many defections at the end of the season.

Uncertainty over Lunin, Mendy and Nacho

In the defensive unit, Real Madrid are not entirely sure about the continuity of Andriy Lunin, which has posed questions as to who will serve as the alternative for Thibaut Courtois next season.

Should the Ukrainian international depart, Real Madrid could pursue David Raya as a potential replacement. The club are facing a similar dilemma in the left-back unit, with Ferland Mendy facing an uncertain future at Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are open to sanctioning the sale of Mendy and appeared to have put faith in the returning Fran Garcia. The club have also decided not to utilise the services of Vinicius Tobias and will rely on youngsters like Alex Jimenez and David Jimenez to explode next season.

Elsewhere in defence, both Nacho and Lucas Vazquez have a decision to make, as far as their future is concerned. If Nacho leaves, Real Madrid are unlikely to go after a centre-back and will expect Rafa Marin to compete with Jesus Vallejo for the fourth centre-back position, with Ancelotti likely to maintain trust in David Alaba, Eder Militao and David Alaba.

Bellingham to beef up midfield, Diaz could replace Asensio

Real Madrid are hoping to have one of the best midfield units in Europe following the expected arrival of Jude Bellingham.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Borussia Dortmund starlet will join forces with Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos, along with youngsters such as Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni next season, offering Ancelotti an array of top-quality options in the middle of the park.

Dani Ceballos, though, is facing an uncertain future at the club. He appears to be very close to leaving the Bernabeu, but Real Madrid have made a last-gasp effort to keep him at the club.

Marco Asensio, meanwhile, looks set to leave the club in the summer, with the Spaniard reportedly closing in on a move to Paris Saint-Germain. His likely departure has altered Real Madrid’s plans with Brahim Diaz.

Although the former Man City starlet was in talks with AC Milan over a permanent move, there is a possibility he could remain at Bernabeu and serve as the direct replacement for Asensio.

Harry Kane an option in attack

Karim Benzema considering a last-minute move to Saudi Arabia has given a massive headache to Real Madrid’s bosses, as it can not only force them to enter the market for a new forward but also scupper their plans to sign either Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe in 2024.

Harry Kane appears to be the front-runner to replace Benzema if he leaves the club. Ancelotti is a fan of the Englishman, who might want to leave Spurs after yet another disappointing campaign.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid are expected to bring in Joselu Mato as a replacement for Mariano Diaz. The Espanyol striker will serve as the alternative to the main centre-forward at the Bernabeu next season.

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