Real Madrid Starting XI Prediction vs. Manchester City for second leg of Champions League semifinal

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga
Real Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

CM Eduardo Camavinga

I cannot help but think that Carlo Ancelotti will make a bold move in midfield. It is so hard to even fathom benching Toni Kroos when he is one of the best midfielders in the world, but after disappointing in the second leg against Chelsea and the first leg against Manchester City, it may be time for Carletto to go in a different direction against the highly-aggressive, attacking Cityzens this week.

Eduardo Camavinga is already good enough to start for Madrid and was class in his last few Champions League knockout matches. His defensive work and ball-carrying may be necessary against City. It is a risk to start him over Kroos, but it may be a risk worth taking, judging by how the first half went at the Etihad.

DM Casemiro

Casemiro’s return will be a huge boost to Madrid. The defensive midfielder’s absence loomed large in the first leg as Toni Kroos was forced to chase shadows defensively and the team lacked any sort of cover for the center backs. Manchester City were never uncomfortable or pressured on the ball, and for all of the criticisms about Casemiro’s ball security and inconsistency this season, the Brazilian was 100 percent missed in the first leg.

So he could be a decisive factor in the second leg. And if Real Madrid were to start Kroos and KCM intact, Casemiro’s return could be enough to help the German bounce back in the second leg. Casemiro may hold the keys to a Real Remontada.

CM Luka Modric

The best player in the first leg, even above Karim Benzema at the double, Luka Modric could very well be the Man of the Match in the second leg if Real Madrid are able to pull off the comeback. Already, he was the key figure in two Madrid comebacks, setting up Karim Benzema in the second leg against PSG and producing one of the best Champions League assists in history for Rodrygo Goes in the second leg vs. Chelsea to keep the team’s hopes alive.

Modric has been one of the best midfielders in the world again this year, and with a big game against Manchester City, he can entrench that fact. All eyes are on him, and Madrid just might need a masterclass from their legendary Croatian to get into the Champions League Final.