• Arda Güler Another month off after an injury on the last play of training
  • Carlo Ancelotti "It's not true that I don't dare to leave Modric and Kroos on the bench"
  • A terrifying awakening Six goals against before the 18th minute: "It's my fault"

In the 40th minute of the first half of the derby, Davide Ancelotti came off the bench, approached Valverde and pointed towards Camavinga and Kroos. Carlo's son, the man in his father's shadow for almost the entire tactical section of Madrid, told the Uruguayan that the Frenchman and the German should exchange their positions. The Frenchman had to fall a little to the left and the former Bayern would be the new '5' of the white team against Atletico. The coaching staff was not convinced by the position of Kroos in defense, without the ability to reach the help of Fran Garcia, nor the position of Camavinga in attack, more anchored than usual. The Real Madrid bench, in fact, was not liking anything in general.

At half-time Modric, who had included in an eleven with 5 midfielders, stayed in the dressing room and Joselu returned Bellingham to the midfield to share the front with a Rodrygo too centered, so much so that he finished the game leaning to the left, where he enjoys the most, while Brahim completed the attacking trio on the right. And it is that beyond the defeat of the derby, right now the big headache in Valdebebas is the puzzle of the system and the management of the minutes and virtues of the players. How should Madrid play?

If there is one thing that has been clear at the Bernabeu for years it is the 4-3-3, with the small incisions of Isco to sit Bale in the first stage of Zidane. The size of the midfield formed by Casemiro, Kroos and Modric and the power of the BBC had made it very easy to bet on the system of three strikers. Even after the departure of Cristiano, with the arrival of Vinicius or Hazard, the most comfortable thing had been to maintain the scheme. Also after the goodbye of Bale, with the appearance of Rodrygo and the minutes on the right of Asensio and Valverde. Different players within the same formation.

The arrival of Bellingham

But the arrival of Bellingham and Benzema's trip to Arabia, one star by another but in different positions, has changed everything. Madrid has signed a vintage midfielder, has lost the '9' who had just won the Ballon d'Or and in his place has landed Joselu. These are big words to rethink the formation that has led him to lift five Champions League in the last decade. Or so they thought in the sports management and on the bench. "The best have to play," he slid through Valdebebas in summer. And maybe from there everything will be understood.

For some time, Madrid has prioritized names rather than positions. And that doesn't have to be a negative circumstance. Camavinga is not a left back, but he had an excellent half of the season on the wing, being more inside than a laner in attack and enhancing his characteristics. The same with Valverde, capable of playing as a winger. And when it comes to accessing the market, the best option will always be the best signing. Did Madrid, in their 4-3-3, need another midfielder? Probably not. Is Bellingham a good signing? Absolutely. A historic one.

Names before positions

The Madrid of the Galacticos accumulated talent and from there placed it on the field. Zidane, Figo, Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo, Owen... We are now in a similar situation. How to organize Madrid's talent pool? In the summer, the coaching staff faced a role with six gaps and eight names: Tchouaméni, Camavinga, Valverde, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Kroos and Modric. A list without a nine despite Ancelotti's requests. The Italian accepted the designs of the sports management and changed the scheme to manage a dressing room full of midfielders, both young and veteran.

The rhombus of the midfield generates one more position in which to rotate, with how important that is for the management of the dressing room, and enhances the most scoring version of Bellingham, but has changed the position of the Englishman, who played as a third midfielder in Dortmund, to Vinicius and Rodrygo. The Brazilians, who exploded from the wing, now start more focused and add a goal. "They have freedom, I don't want to take away their creativity," Ancelotti said. The pieces must fit together.

  • Real Madrid
  • Carlo Ancelotti
  • Rodrygo Goes
  • Vinicius Junior
  • Toni Kroos
  • Luka Modric