Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy will return to the starting lineup when Real Madrid and Real Betis face off at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Real Madrid will play at home for the first time in the 2022/23 season, as the Santiago Bernabeu crowd gets set to welcome the reigning Spanish and European champions on Saturday evening when Los Blancos will play hosts to Real Betis. And Carlo Ancelotti has a near full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The only notable absentees for Real Madrid against Real Betis are Jesus Vallejo and Alvaro Odriozola, neither of whom will have featured this weekend anyway. But Nacho is back at Ancelotti’s disposal after recovering from a minor injury.
However, Nacho will unlikely feature against Real Betis, with David Alaba and Eder Militao expected to pair up at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. That will mean that Antonio Rudiger will drop to the bench, with Ferland Mendy starting as the left-back. Dani Carvajal should also return to the side, with Lucas Vazquez making way for the Spaniard.
Meanwhile, the burning question in midfield has been who Casemiro’s long-term replacement will be at Real Madrid following the Brazilian international’s summer move to Manchester United. And Carlo Ancelotti addressed the issue during his pre-match press conference.
The Real Madrid boss said, “The players show us the way according to their attributes. Camavinga played in that position last year and Kroos is extremely reliable. It will depend on how we approach the fixtures. If we have a game under control, Kroos can give us so much because he’s so clean with his passing.”
“If there is less control in the game and we need energy, then for that we’ve got Camavinga and Tchouameni. Tchouameni has shown his quality. He’s a wonderful midfielder, highly focused on what he has to do and he’s been an incredible signing by the club. He’s young and he has to grow.”
“Our squad is very strong in the middle of the park because we have a bit of everything. We’ve got the young lads, energy, quality, intelligence and positioning. We’re in great shape there but the difficult thing is choosing which three start a game. That said, it’s not too important because with the options we have in midfield, we can switch our game up at any time.”
Tchouameni seems like Casemiro’s natural replacement and should start at the base of the Real Madrid midfield on Saturday. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will line up alongside the Frenchman in the middle of the park, with Eduardo Camavinga taking his spot on the bench.
As for the attacking unit, Rodrygo Goes has a case to start on the right flank. But with Real Betis looking in fine form in the early days of the 2022/23 season, Federico Valverde might get the nod for his defensive work rate. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. pick themselves in the other two offensive spots, with Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard being the backup offensive options for Real Madrid.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.