For Real to take the La Liga championship, Bellingham has assembled a “complete squad”

THE GETTY IMAGES
Photographic notes: In the summer of 2023, Jude Bellingham made an £88.5 million transfer to Real Madrid.

On Saturday, Real Madrid emerged victorious from La Liga, defeating relegation-threatened Cadiz 3-0 at the Bernabeu to win the championship. Meanwhile, Barcelona suffered a 4-2 defeat to Girona.

The season has been frustrating for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, who have only lost once, in September against Atletico Madrid, a domestic rival. They have gone undefeated in their past 28 league games.

BBC Sport looks at their remarkable tale, which concluded with them winning another trophy and having their sights set squarely on the Champions League.

Hey Jude!

He is without a doubt La Liga’s player of the season after scoring the game-winning goal in injury time twice in an El Clasico, scoring the winner late in his home debut, and scoring on his debut.

It’s true that Jude Bellingham’s first campaign in Spain was a huge success.

Not only for his eighteen goals in the league. The England midfielder has won over the Bernabeu supporters and Madrid’s influential media with his desire to work relentlessly from box to box and his ability to create opportunities for his teammates. This was seen in a recent Marca story that described his reaction as “sudden and unique.”

In addition, he has shown some really impressive leadership abilities for a 20-year-old, coming into a superstar-filled locker room and gaining the respect of his teammates as the team’s standout player.

His outstanding season has demonstrated Bellingham’s status as one of the world’s greatest players, and in Spain, the consensus currently holds that he should win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

However, Real Madrid is far from a one-man show, as their two Brazilian forward, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, who play more central and versatile roles now than in the past due to Benzema’s departure and Bellingham’s installation as “the false nine,” have also contributed thirteen assists and ten assists in the league.

Both goalkeepers, Brahim Diaz with six goals and four assists, and former Stoke and Newcastle player Joselu with nine goals despite making just 13 starts, have made tremendous contributions in their debut seasons with the team.

Real Madrid leads La Liga in scoring with 74 points as a result of this, and Ancelotti has been able to rotate his starting lineup and keep his players fresh without experiencing a significant decline in output.

Getting past injuries sustained on defence

However, what makes Real Madrid so remarkable is that they have succeeded even with Thibaut Courtois, the custodian, and David Alaba and Eder Militao, the starting defensive midfielders, all suffering long-term injuries.

First and foremost, the substitutes—especially Andriy Lunin, the custodian from Ukraine—have plenty to celebrate. The 25-year-old has only made nine league starts for Real Madrid this year, and after Courtois got hurt, he had to pull out of the duel against Chelsea loanee Kepa.

Though Courtois’ sudden recovery to condition by barely ensures a spot in the starting lineup in the midst least the Europa League battle, it didn’t take much for Lunin to cement himself as the first choice between the positions thanks to solid performance.

In addition to having a fantastic season, Antonio Rudiger has recovered from a lacklustre first season at the Bernabeu and shown the same intense competitive spirit that has won him over Chelsea supporters.

Ancelotti deserves recognition as well for his cool-headed decision to reallocate his assets to offset his injuries.

The numbers also speak for themselves: Real Madrid has the greatest defensive record in La Liga, giving up just 22 goals in 34 games, even though they are without three starting defenders.

Federico Valverde provided an assist for Vinicius Junior’s game-winning goal in the 2022 Champions League final. GETTY PHOTOS

focusing on midfield

A midfield that is perhaps the finest in the game in terms of both quality and quantity has tied everything together, from the prolific attacking line to the well-tuned defence.

On the other extreme of Bellingham’s spectrum, Modric, 25, is now injured and may not be with the team come season’s finish. However, the 38-year-old retains the ability to put up outstanding games when called based on, as seen by his 20-yard victory against Sevilla in March.

With more passes made in the final third of games than any other player in La Liga, Toni Kroos, Modric’s former partner, is having one of his best seasons to date. Kroos’s ability to withstand pressure and his metronomic passing make him a formidable opponent.

Having filled a void left by Bellingham’s departure, Uruguayan heavyweight Federico Valverde, who leads Real in league minutes played, has shown to be incredibly versatile. Ancelotti’s competitive team is completed in the first division by young French players Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni, who combine steel and efficiency in equal measure and can cover in the gaps in the four previous squad members when needed.

Real is as near to a perfect squad as it gets because of their skillful combination of goals from all angles, shifting defences, and an unmatched midfield, all well managed by a dependable coach.

They are skilled in many different types of play, like pushing up, controlling the ball, sitting deep and fighting, and attacking quickly and purposefully when things get rough. But above all, they possess the indisputable trait of knowing how to prevail when things go difficult.

This concoction of personal and group attributes gives Ancelotti’s team both unique inspiration and domestic prestige, and it may soon lead to them being proclaimed European kings once more.

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