CLUB WORLD CUP
How Real Madrid will line-up against Al Ahly in the Club World Cup semifinal
Without some of the spine, on the back of a defeat, and with another final at stake, Carlo Ancelotti has some big decisions to make.
In many ways, Al Ahly getting to play against Real Madrid is victory in itself. But the dream doesn’t end there and the players will be conscious that the only previous confrontation between the African and European champions ended with an Egyptian triumph, a friendly played in Cairo in 2001 that ended 1-0. Now we see them go head-to-head in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday, and Los Blancos’ manager Carlo Ancelotti has a bit of a challenge in front of him.
Real Madrid missing key players for CWC semi-final
A good part of the team’s backbone is going to be missing (Courtois, Mendy, Militao and Benzema included) with expectations clearly that no matter what team the Italian puts out, a place in the final is the bare minimum. To make matters worse, Asensio and Alaba trained with some strapping on Tuesday in Rabat so are seen as doubtful.
Reports during the buildup to the game regarding Asensio’s health were conflicting, with various journalists in Spain contradicting each other:
This player situation means that a number of the more fringe stars will slide into the line-up. In Mallorca, Ancelotti opted to rest Modric and Kroos and, despite the potential final on Saturday, everything indicates that both will accompany Tchouameni in the engine room for this game.
The return of Alaba, who played a few minutes at Son Moix, seemed to definitively displace Camavinga from the side, but despite the Frenchman confessing that he feels more comfortable in the middle, his performance on the left-hand side of the defense is strong enough that he’ll be there against Al Ahly. Ceballos, after five consecutive starts, will likely have to wait his turn on the bench before stepping in for one of the Tchouameni-Modric-Kroos trident.
Along with the aforementioned Camavinga, the rearguard should be completed by Carvajal, Nacho and Rüdiger. Without Militao, Rüdiger is gathering momentum and consistency, while Carvajal, if he is fit, is non-negotiable. Even more so since they do not have the injured Lucas Vázquez.
The goal will be ultimately guarded once more by Lunin, as Courtois continues his recovery after getting injured in the warm-up before the Mallorca game. The Ukrainian has performed well when called upon but Saturday’s final, if reached, will carry the hope that the big Belgian is back.
Valverde returns to the wing
If there were any doubts with Asensio, his last training session wrapped in cotton cleared them up. Everything already indicated that Valverde would play again, and not in his original postion.
“I started inside, but as a winger is where I’ve given the team the most goals and assists,” he commented on the eve of the semi-final. The right wing will be handed to Vinicius, who will try to forget all the controversy that surrounds him, and his compatriot, Rodrygo, will spearhead the attack without Benzema.
Real Madrid predicted XI to play against Al Ahly
Lunin; Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Camavinga; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius.
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