Real Madrid are all but out of the La Liga title race, after slipping 12 points behind Barcelona on Sunday, which leaves them with two competitions to aim for. In the Champions League they face Chelsea, while Barcelona await in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final with a one-goal advantage. Termed ‘finals’ by Diario AS, those three games could well define Real Madrid’s season, and if noises coming out of Madrid are to be believed Carlo Ancelotti’s future.
The Italian manager will be using La Liga almost exclusively as a platform for those competitions now, resting where needs be, and giving substitutes more game time. As such, Ancelotti has settled on his starting XI for those crucial matches, injuries allowing.
Ahead of Thibaut Courtois, the much-criticised Dani Carvajal will keep his place in a back four with Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger, joined by Nacho Fernandez on the left.
In midfield, he will stick with the in-form Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. In attack, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Fede valverde will all play, maintaining the side that started El Clasico at Camp Nou.
There had beens shouts for Rodrygo Goes to get a look in, with some suggesting it was time that it be for Karim Benzema even. But it appears that Ancelotti will be going with the tried and trusted from last season, with the exception of three changes; Rudiger, Nacho and Camavinga for Ferland Mendy, David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni, all of whom have struggled for fitness of late.