Real Madrid Starting XI Prediction vs. Elche in the Copa del Rey Round of 16

Real Madrid, Peter Federico Gonzalez (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Peter Federico Gonzalez (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga
Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

CM Toni Kroos

It seems like a surprise for me to select Toni Kroos in a match where you would expect only the young midfielders to play, as Carlo Ancelotti is seemingly prioritizing the youngsters in the Copa del Rey, such as Andriy Lunin in goal. But because it is easier to rotate in midfield than goalkeeper and because Carlo quietly wants to win this cup badly, I think he will roll with a veteran in midfield.

Kroos does not have to worry about national team duties this season, and he won’t have to do too much running against Elche. Meanwhile, Real could really use the quality of passing he provides against low blocks.

Further, Casemiro is usually the one who does not rest for Real, and he is very important, even against Elche. That said, I think Ancelotti will experiment with Eduardo Camavinga in the 6 role – even if he is truly an 8 – so he can get Kroos in the lineup. Kroos has no national team duties anymore, so his fatigue can be managed more easily than Casemiro’s and Luka Modric’s when those matches start up again.

DM Eduardo Camavinga

Eduardo Camavinga was the best player on the pitch throughout the 90 minutes against Alcoyano. Even when Los Blancos struggled before Militao’s opener, the ex-Rennes standout looked good. Madridistas have to be impressed with the Frenchman, even if his goals and assists have cooled since his sensational start to life in Madrid. He is going to start, 100 percent, against Elche in the Copa del Rey. The question is, where? For now, I have him in the middle.

CM Fede Valverde

It’s not out of the question for Luka Modric to start instead of Toni Kroos, but I think it is easier for him to be an X-Factor off the bench in case Ancelotti needs him. Fede Valverde needs all the minutes he can get, because consistent minutes in the lineup are truly the thing holding him back from bursting out again. The Uruguayan is a wrecking ball on offense with his carrying, and I bet Ancelotti will challenge him to provide even more quality in the final third. That will be necessary against a stingy Elche side that will give all that they have against a Real team that they know has difficulties against all-out defending.