Valverde starts in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Eintracht Frankfurt
Real Madrid will step up for their fifth UEFA Super Cup final in the last decade when they lock horns against Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow. Carlo Ancelotti is seeking to win his second Super Cup with Los Blancos, and will stop at no end to achieve that.
Madrid’s Champions League campaign was topsy-turvy, to say the least. They were often thrown into the deep end, but managed to escape unscathed. Eventually, Vinicius Jr’s goal in the final against Liverpool was enough to help them secure their 14th UCL trophy.
Frankfurt are coming off quite a heroic campaign themselves. Tipped against a few favourites of the competition, like Barcelona, West Ham, and Real Betis, Oliver Glasner cruised to the trophy with a superb game plan, and attacking football.
And while Madrid remain, by far and large, the favourites for the tie, Frankfurt have proven to be Goliaths. Ancelotti must prepare accordingly, and the first step towards that is the starting lineup.
The Italian manager has hinted several times over that the new signings of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger will not be handed anything on a silver platter despite being important investments.
He has stuck to the lineup that helped him win the Champions League and the big matches in La Liga. Without question that starts with the man who was arguably second only to Karim Benzema for Madrid – Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian will, we predict, be guarded by a quartet of defenders, led by Eder Militao and David Alaba. Rudiger will probably have to claw his way over one of these two if he wants a shot in the starting XI.
On the right flank, Daniel Carvajal should get the nod ahead of Alvaro Odriozola and Lucas Vazquez, while Ferland Mendy probably takes over responsibility on the left.
With French superstars Eduardo Camavinga and Tchouameni knocking on the midfield’s door, Ancelotti might have a hard time deciding who takes the starting spots.
However, depending on his words last week, we can assume Real Madrid’s Bermuda Triangle starts against Frankfurt. This, of course, is in reference to Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro.
Karim Benzema has carried on his form from last season into the pre-season, scoring a goal each against Club America and Juventus. He has the chance to lift his first trophy as first-choice Madrid captain, and we highly doubt he’ll let it go to waste.
Much like the Champions League final, Federico Valverde will likely start on the right side of the attacking trio. He assisted the Vinicius’ goal in the UCL final, but more importantly, his relentless pace and pressing will help surpress Frankfurt’s counter-attacks.
The last piece in the puzzle, unsurprisingly, should be Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian has kept himself busy in the pre-season with a ton of interviews, but will be hoping to score another goal in the final tomorrow night.
Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Casemiro · Modric
Mendy · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal
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Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: End of an era, farewells, tight race for second place
Real Madrid will walk down the tunnel of Santiago Bernabeu one last time this season on Sunday night. The men in white are pitted against Athletic Club on their final match-day, and the game will not be an easy affair by any means.
The Basque side sit in seventh place on the league standings with 50 points in 37 appearances. However, their qualification for the UEFA Conference League is in danger with Osasuna lurking close behind with an equal number of points.
Anything less than a win could prove insufficient for the visitors and it is clear that they arrive at Santiago Bernabeu with nothing less than a win on their agenda. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Athletic Club Bilbao.
1. The end of an era for the number 9 shirt?
The grey area around Karim Benzema’s future has only widened in recent days. From a situation where his continuity at Real Madrid was taken for granted, it did not take long for the Frenchman’s story to enter a steep deviation.
An economically tempting proposal from Saudi Arabia had Benzema seriously contemplating a move away from Santiago Bernabeu, and reports stated that his departure from the Spanish club was close to complete.
The world, thus, looked in anticipation of his next official interaction with the media. The Ballon d’Or winner publicly addressed the topic for the first time earlier this week, and it is safe to say that his words gave nothing away.
Benzema neither confirmed nor completely refuted the rumours of his exit to the media. His situation is balanced on the blade of a knife and could tip in either direction.
In that sense, there is a good chance that tomorrow’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu is Karim Benzema’s final game for Real Madrid. If the striker does choose to change loyalties, it would mark the end of an era for the team’s number nine position.
It has been over a decade since the Frenchman took over the prestigious kit. He has played 647 games for the club so far in his career, scoring a stunning 353 goals in the process. Of them, 98 have been match-winning contributions.
2. A day of farewells
Earlier today, Real Madrid announced the departure of Marco Asensio from the club. The Spanish winger appears set to sign for PSG for the 2023-24 season and will bid adieu on Sunday. However, he will not be the only player playing his final game for the club tomorrow.
Nacho Fernandez has been a critical part of Real Madrid’s success in recent years but is another name close to sealing an exit. The defender is not satisfied with the playing time under his belt at the club and has not yet responded to the renewal offer on his table.
With his contract running out in less than 30 days, he appears closer to leaving than staying. One can expect an announcement from Nacho on Sunday night after the game at the Bernabeu, which could be his final game in white.
The situation with Dani Ceballos is quite similar. The Spanish midfielder is still undecided on his future, although there is still a slight chance he could continue at the club. Staying on the subject of players making their final appearance, however, he could be one on the list.
Away from the stories of incomplete renewal negotiations, Mariano Diaz is one player whose departure from the club is confirmed. Ferland Mendy, Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola and Eden Hazard are some of the other candidates well-placed to make departures, although nothing can be said for sure.
3. A tight race for second place
There is not much to play for on Sunday night except for the emotional tag of it being the season’s final game. Yet, the men in white will not be without an objective against Athletic Club.
Los Blancos sit on 77 points in 37 league appearances this season and just have a one-point lead over third-placed Atletico Madrid. Needless to say, they must be vary of their position on the standings for any complacency could see them drop down the ladder.
Diego Simeone’s men take on fifth-placed Villarreal at the same time as Real Madrid’s game against Athletic Club. Even if Carlo Ancelotti’s men settle for a draw against the Basque side, the second place would be Atletico Madrid’s to lose.
With both games kicking off simultaneously, there will be nerves throughout the ninety minutes in Madrid. One can only hope for action-filled games to keep the anxiety and adrenaline high.
August 10, 2022 at 4:39 am
I thought Antonio Ruduiger could come in for Eder miltao