Real Madrid’s possible starting line-up against Napoli in the Champions League
Along with long-term injury victims Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militão, defender David Alaba is the main injury absentee for Carlo Ancelotti in Naples.
Real Madrid play their second Champions League group game on Tuesday, which undoubtedly looks to be the toughest one on paper. Los Blancos are in Italy to take on Serie A champions Napoli, with the two teams having kicked off their European campaigns with narrow victories over Union Berlin and Braga respectively.
Nacho to stand in for Alaba alongside Rüdiger
Carlo Ancelotti will be without first-choice centre-back David Alaba, who picked up a knock in the home LaLiga win over Las Palmas last midweek. Madrid’s medical staff are doing everything they can to ensure the Austrian is available for Saturday’s league fixture against Osasuna with other central defensive options thin on the ground.
Nacho took Alaba’s place in the weekend victory over Girona and will again start alongside Antonio Rüdiger at the back in Naples, although his red card for an inexplicably reckless challenge in Catalonia, with the game already won, means he must serve a domestic ban, hence Ancelotti’s desperation for Alaba to be fit to face Osasuna.
Carvajal expected to face Napoli despite niggle
Real Madrid Castilla defender Álvaro Carrillo, who has yet to make his first team debut, has travelled with the squad in Alaba’s absence but will provide cover for Rüdiger and Nacho. Dani Carvajal didn’t finish Monday’s training session because of a minor issue but club sources have confirmed he will be available to play at right-back, as usual. On the opposite flank, midfielder Eduardo Camavinga could start a second consecutive game at left-back. “He is not going to play there regularly,” claimed Ancelotti in his pre-match press conference before adding that the position was “very well covered, Camavinga included”.
Will Modric return to the starting line-up in Italy?
The tireless Fede Valverde will again start on the right of a midfield three, while Luka Modric finally looks set to make his return to the starting eleven on the left. The Croat hasn’t played a single minute in either of Real Madrid’s last two matches, with Ancelotti seemingly saving the veteran schemer for the Champions League. They will flank anchor man Aurélien Tchouaméni, who scored his first goal and played one of his best games for the club in Girona.
Jude Bellingham: La Liga’s top goalscorer
Summer signing Jude Bellingham has made a sensational start to life in Spain and is currently LaLiga’s top goalscorer with six goals, ahead of Álvaro Morata, Take Kubo and Robert Lewandowski on five. He will again start just behind two out-and-out attackers, one of whom will be Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian isn’t quite 100% fit after a recent injury but made his first start for over a month against Girona, playing for 68 minutes. He is expected to continue his comeback with more game time from the off at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Joselu or Rodrygo?
Joselu started alongside the winger at the weekend but is likely to make way for Rodrygo, who Ancleotti is hoping will play his way into form after scoring just once in nine appearances so far this season.
Real Madrid’s possible XI against Napoli
Kepa; Carvajal, Rüdiger, Nacho, Camavinga; Valverde, Tchouaméni, Modric; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius.