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The potential one-man battle of Jude Bellingham vs Atletico Madrid and their tough midfield is something fans from around the globe will have their eyes glued onto this Sunday evening.
This is the England international’s first taste of the Madrid derby, and with Los Blancos flying high after a perfect start to 2023/24, Diego Simeone’s men would love to snap that win streak at the Civitas Metropolitan Stadium.
Jude Bellingham vs Atletico – Can he be the hero again?
Since his 103 million euro move to Real Madrid, a beast has awoken inside Bellingham. He has scored six goals and provided an assist in six appearances for the Spanish heavyweights. Many football fans across English and Spain would assert that Bellingham is the best player in the world right now, and is doing everything to the letter for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
He is scoring clutch goals too, with the most recent being a stoppage-time winner against Union Berlin in their midweek Champions League curtain raiser. Bellingham is also regularly creating chances and making them tick up front in Vinicius Jr’s absence.
With that being said, the 20-year-old is now up for his toughest challenge yet since arriving in Spain. In front of him are a stubborn, physical Atletico Madrid side, and an aggressive upstart midfielder in Pablo Barrios who would take utmost joy in ending his dream run.
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid – Three Key Battles
Jude Bellingham vs Pablo Barrios
Jude Bellingham was amongst the first names in Real’s predicted lineup vs Union Berlin, and went on to score the winner on Wednesday night. Bellingham has been given a free role in the no.10 position at Real Madrid, being allowed to roam away wherever he wants. However, he hasn’t yet been tormented by a tenacious defensive midfielder who will follow his every move.
That could happen against Pablo Barrios, who has gained a more prominent first-team role for Los Rojiblancos this season.
Amid their injury troubles, Barrios (pictured below) is starting more games and will probably be tasked to rattle Bellingham with aggressive challenge and tight marking. Barrios has averaged 2.8 tackles and 2.8 interceptions per 90 minutes this season in La Liga, and clearly knows how to steal away possession from players.
Rodrygo vs Stefan Savic
Rodrygo has slightly struggled by the new system in place at Real Madrid, only scoring one goal in six appearances. He’ll look to redeem himself in the upcoming derby but faces off against a no-nonsense defender like Stefan Savic.
The 32-year-old centre-back has helped his side keep two clean sheets so far this season, averaging 2.3 interceptions and 1.8 clearances per game. Savic is aggressive and often takes a no-holds-barred approach, which means he’ll definitely look to clatter Rodrygo with harsh challenges. The Brazilian has to be smart with his movement and improve his final product to become a Derby Day hero.
Antoine Griezmann vs Aurelien Tchouameni
After having 31 goal contributions for Atletico Madrid in La Liga last season, Antoine Griezmann is yet to get going. But nobody can doubt the quality of the 2018 World Cup winner. He has that spark in him to score a goal or create something in the blink of an eye.
That is why Aurelien Tchouameni has to be at his sharpest in midfield to keep his fellow countrymen quiet. Tchouameni has been a bit shaky in recent games and needs to dominate Griezmann and Atletico to get his groove back.
This battle between the two France internationals should be an enticing battle. Griezmann (pictured below) is able to trouble opponents with his off-the-ball movement and smart delivery in the final third, which Tchouameni will look to end with his smart interceptions.
Even though the spotlight will firmly be on a few individuals, the Madrid derby should be a feisty affair. Tensions will be at fever pitch among the fans and the players will be under added pressure to deliver. Only the calmest and most clutch players can come out on top in this game. Thus, Real Madrid fans will hope that Bellingham can be at his clinical best and win another game for his side.
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