Joselu, Bellingham de ‘9’ or Brahim, por la baja de Vinicius


Vinícius Júnior’s injury to the femoral biceps of his right leg -the first muscle since he signed for the Merengue club- is already a problem for the Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, in a field with few troops, so it could force the Italian to change Real Madrid’s plan in attack, with several options to restructure a system to which the team already seems to have adapted and which has borne so many fruits in the domestic start.

A setback in the form of an injury that leaves a white attack ‘orphaned’ which, if it already had the right pieces, will now have to be transformed so as not to be too diminished at first until brilliant. And the ‘all-rounder’ Jude Bellingham is to blame and his brilliant appearance, covering up Real Madrid’s offensive deficiencies, without a starting ‘9’, with four goals in the first three games.

Now, with Vinícius away from the pitch for at least a month, several scenarios are opening up to make up for the sensitive loss of the carioca. The first, and the one that would least disrupt the new diamond system developed by Ancelotti, would be to introduce Joselu -the only pure ‘9’ in the first team- for the ‘7’ merengue.

The former RCD Espanyol player would be the second striker along with Rodrygo Goes, maintaining the structure of four midfielders with Bellingham as the spearhead. This seems the natural alternative and the one chosen by the Italian coach against RC Celta since Vinícius left injured.

However, in a gray match for the whites, this option did not allow ’14’ to shine, who after 80 minutes did not finish off on goal, touched the ball only 3 times in the rival area and was the Real Madrid player with the fewest interventions from the match, behind Nacho and Vinícius, who barely had minutes.

In addition, the merengue team was flatter and blurred, with the disappearance of the depth provided by that diamond devised by Ancelotti, with a Bellingham almost at the same height as the two attackers. However, without Vinícius on the field, left-back Fran García gained prominence and was much more incisive.

But the inclusion of Joselu in the eleven would also allow another variant, with the Spanish striker as the only striker, moving Rodrygo to the left and with Fede Valverde, on the right, a position that he already occupied on numerous occasions last year. A choice that would favor a Brazilian footballer who has more influence as a winger.

The ’11’ exceeds 3 shots (3.3) when starting from the left side, participating in 9.1 actions in the rival area, always every 90 minutes and in the League. Some data that worsen if he plays more focused, with only 0.33 expected goals, 2.5 shots and 7.5 touches in the opposite area.

In this system, closer to Ancelotti’s traditional 4-3-3 with Bellingham as inside, Valverde should appear on the right, a position in which he is much less dangerous and sees his main virtues diminished. As a midfielder, in the League – data from last year and the present – he enjoys a 90% success rate in passing; 1.4 chances created; 12.1 progressions with the ball and 2.3 shots.


If it is not Joselu, the alternative of including another midfielder would gain weight, also given the hierarchy of men like Luka Modric or Toni Kroos, who are also not counting on the prominence of other campaigns. His hypothetical entry into the eleven, Real Madrid would form a line of four midfielders, with Camavinga and Valverde on the flanks and the German or Croatian accompanying Tchouameni in creating.

This system, with Bellingham together with Rodrygo at the top, would allow the madridistas to protect themselves more in the midfield, with power and also the quality of Kroos or Modric. However, it would minimize the relevance of a Bellingham who is a top scorer in LaLiga with 4 goals, the last of which was against Celta, in a duel in which he won 7 of the 11 duels he played, recovered 3 balls and generated 2 scoring chances.

It would not be unreasonable to see Valverde with more travel on the right, while Camavinga, Tchouameni and Kroos or Modric act as squires in the center of the field. A more versatile system, although risky, which would also give Fran García more flight on the left, although it would sacrifice a greater presence of Bellingham, until now vital for Real Madrid.

Finally, the alternative Brahim Díaz appears, who has only enjoyed a minute of play in this domestic start. The little participation of him so far and his status as a winger and generator of play than as a scorer detract from his options to appear as a starter, although he will have to take a step forward, since he will probably act as one of the first revulsive for the Madrid attack.