Ahead of the Champions League semi-final second-leg tie at the Etihad Stadium, Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has sprung a surprise by leaving Antonio Rudiger on the bench.
The defender didn’t allow City’s leading scorer, Erling Haaland, a sniff in the Santiago Bernabeu a week ago, so unless there’s a potential injury issue that hasn’t been disclosed, it seems an odd decision by the Italian to say the least.
Los Blancos have been in this position many times before of course, and when the big games come around, they always seem to find a way – whoever is in the starting line up.
?? Our starting ?? ? @ManCity!#UCL pic.twitter.com/YOOEeW3F5x
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) May 17, 2023
On this occasion, the visitors start with Thibaut Courtois in goal, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga in defence, a midfield three of Toni Kronos, Luka Modric and Fede Valverde with a fearsome attack consisting of Karim Benzema, Vini Jr. and Rodrygo.
Although it’s a winner-take-all tie at this point, Real can be relaxed in the knowledge that they are more than capable of beating any team on their day and by playing counter attacking football.
Pep Guardiola’s side are going to have to make all of the running in this one, and as we’ve seen so many times in the past, passing for passing’s sake isn’t always the best formula for winning a game.
When City are on top they need to make it count, or else Real are likely to break at pace and potentially put another dagger into the hosts dreams of a longed-for maiden Champions League title.
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