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A Brazilian front three with Bellingham in behind? How Real Madrid could line up in 2024 after Endrick's arrival

14:00 WAT 16/12/2022
Endrick Vinicius Bellingham GFX
The Brazilian teenager cannot officially move to the Spanish capital for another 18 months, but how will Los Blancos look when he eventually shows up?

After Real Madrid confirmed that there is an agreement in place to sign Brazilian wonderkid Endrick on Thursday, the Spanish giants seem to have their frontline of the future figured out.

A potential heir to Karim Benzema has been purchased, and though Endrick's lack of experience makes it difficult to project just how good he could turn out to be, that Madrid have been willing to spend up to €60 million on the 16-year-old should illustrate just how highly they rate him.

He will not, however, be gracing Santiago Bernabeu for another 18 months, with FIFA rules meaning that he cannot move to Europe until after his 18th birthday, with Madrid planning to welcome him into the fold in the summer of 2024.

And though 18 months is a long time in football, the Madrid team when Endrick finally arrives might look pretty similar to the one that lines up currently.

Yes, the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Dani Carvajal are likely to have moved on or at least have diminished roles, but most of Madrid's presumptive XI seems to be sorted.

There are, though, some holes that need addressing, and perhaps even areas to upgrade on, with everyone knowing that Florentino Perez is not afraid to splash the cash in a bid to improve the team.

So how will Madrid line up when Endrick begins his career with the club? GOAL has attempted to figure it out...

  • courtois

    GK: Thibaut Courtois

    At 30 years old and among the best in the world, Courtois appears to have the goalkeeper spot at Madrid nailed down for the foreseeable future.

    Who backs him up could be up in the air, however, with the promising Andriy Lunin possibly looking for a move elsewhere at the end of the current campaign so as to earn more first-team minutes.

    Still, with Courtois as the No,1, the future seems bright.

  • Vinicius Tobias Real Madrid 2022-23

    RB: Vinicius Tobias

    Right back is the most immediate problem area for Los Blancos both in 2022 and going forward.

    Dani Carvajal isn't as reliable as he used to be, with injuries and a decline in pace seeing the Spain international's career a the highest level being to crumble.

    Madrid, though, might have an in-house replacement in the shape of Vinicius Tobias.

    Signed on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk in March, the 18-year-old Brazilian has made excellent progress this season, shining for Real Madrid Castilla in the Spanish third tier.

    Madrid have the option to make the deal permanent by paying around €18 million, and they are likely to trigger that clause in the coming months.

    Meanwhile,there are, inevitably, also potential big name signing being tossed around. For example, rumours surrounding a potential return to the club for Achraf Hakimi continue to pop up, although Paris Saint-Germain will likely request a massive sum for his services.

  • Militao Real Madrid vs. Getafe

    CB: Eder Militao

    Brazilian centre-back Militao has improved immensely over the last 18 months, having initially found himself behind Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane in the pecking order when he signed for Madrid back in 2019.

    His appearances across his first two years in Madrid, meanwhile, looked a little shaky, and there were questions asked regarding whether he lad a long-term future at the club.

    But since stepping into the starting line up at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Militao has looked a reliable and composed presence, and his partnership with David Alaba has been excellent.

    That he can also slot in at right-back if needed makes him all the more useful, and at 24, there's still a lot of football to come.

  • Antonio Rudiger Real Madrid 2022-23

    CB: Antonio Rudiger

    This one is a toss up, and largely depends on the health of David Alaba. The Austrian centre-back is two years older than Rudiger, and hasn't been at his best so far in the 2022-23 campaign.

    That could leave room for Rudiger, signed as a free agent from Chelsea last summer, to slide into the starting XI on a more regular basis going forward.

    Rudiger is a similar profile of defender to Militao, but has impressed when called upon for Madrid this season.

    And while Alaba appears to be declining, Rudiger's best football might still be to come.

  • Ferland Mendy Real Madrid

    LB: Ferland Mendy

    This is a tricky one for Madrid. Mendy has been a steady presence at left-back for Los Blancos since 2019, but has a troubling injury history and appeared in danger of losing his starting spot last summer.

    Odds are, though, that the starting spot is Mendy's unless someone else is brought in.

    On that front, there have been scattered reports of Madrid having one eye on Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies. Signing the Canadian would be a major coup, but Bayern would likely demand a massive fee.

    Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano youngster - and former Madrid youth product - Fran Garcia could also be a potential signing. But until anything concrete materialises, the spot is Mendy's to lose.

  • Aurelien Tchouameni Real Madrid 2022-23

    CM: Aurelien Tchouameni

    It's become clear fairly quickly exactly why Madrid were willing to let Casemiro leave the club this past summer.

    Tchouameni isn't a like-for-like replacement for the Brazilian, but the France international has slotted into the base of Madrid's midfield with aplomb.

    An excellent tackler and tidy passer, Tchouameni plays with composure beyond his years, and already looks like one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe, with his performances at the World Cup having only served to raise his stock further.

    And there could be more to come. Tchouameni, for all of his raw quality, does have a few flaws to his game. His passing can occasionally be too conservative, and he gets booked quite often — he picked up 11 yellow cards last year for Monaco. Still, these are areas of his game to be cleaned up, not overhauled.

  • fede valverde

    CM: Federico Valverde

    Valverde's talent has been known for a while at Madrid, but he has enjoyed a true breakout season in 2022-23.

    After being asked to deputise on the right of a front three for much of last year, he's played in a more central position for longer periods this team, and doing so seems to get the best out of him.

    A natural box-to-box midfielder whose shooting ability and drive has lead to some likening him to Steven Gerrard, Valverde has flourished by making late runs into the penalty area and breaking lines with his dribbling ability. And at just 24, there's a lot more to come.

    It's also possible that Eduardo Camavinga gets a look here. A few eyebrows were raised when Madrid signed Camavinga last summer given the Frenchman was just 18 and wasn't ready to break into a Kroos-Modric-Casemiro midfield. But he played all over the pitch and steadily won favour with Carlo Ancelotti.

    It seems unfair to deny such a quality player of a starting spot, but with another midfielder potentially arriving between now and 2024, Camavinga might not have his starting spot guaranteed.


    CM: Jude Bellingham

    Now, here's a scary proposition.

    The Jude Bellingham transfer saga is bound to drag on over the coming months, but, as of now, the England teenager's major suitors appear to be Liverpool and Real Madrid. And Madrid might just be able to offer more to the young star.

    The opportunity to be a part of a midfield alongside Valverde and Tchouameni - or, indeed, Camavinga - for the next decade might be too much to turn down.

    Bellingham at Madrid, getting into advanced positions and creating for an exciting front line, would make for one of the most devastating attacking teams in Europe, both immediately and in the long run.

    But even if Bellingham goes elsewhere, a midfield three of Camavinga, Tchouameni and Valverde appears to be on the cards. And that's not bad, either.

  • Rodrygo Real Madrid 2022-23

    RW: Rodrygo

    Rodrygo has shown flashes of quality over the past couple of seasons without quite reaching his full potential yet, but the winger is an exciting dribbler and solid finisher, and appears to have all of the traits of a top modern attacking player.

    There is, though, room for improvement. Rodrygo has often looked lost when playing through the middle in Benzema's absence, and he doesn't always have the killer pass in his arsenal. But he will still only be 23 when the 2024 season rolls around, with many years of improvement to come.

    There isn't much depth behind him at the time of writing. Although Valverde has often filled in on the right, his natural position is in midfield. Marco Asensio, meanwhile, appears to be entering the final months of his Madrid career as his contract runs down, while Lucas Vasquez seems to be preferred at right-back these days.

    It's entirely possible, then, that Madrid dip into the transfer market to add even more quality to their frontline. There were some rumblings that they might be in the Serge Gnabry hunt before he committed his future to Bayern Munich, while Cody Gakpo could be an option to play anywhere across the front line should Madrid want to get involved in that transfer battle.

  • Endrick Palmeiras 2022

    ST: Endrick

    In Endrick, Los Blancos appear to have found a future star. Though he only has seven senior appearances to his name, he is already been dubbed the best talent to come out of Brazil since Neymar.

    It's high praise, especially for a 16-year-old. But Madrid have judged those comparisons to be accurate, and now they much hope that Endrick begins to show a return on their investment over the next 18 months in Palmeiras before completing his move to Europe

    Endrick becoming an immediate starter in Madrid, however, is dependent on a number of factors, even if he does prove himself to be a generational talent.

    One of those factors is Karim Benzema, who though he will be 36 in 2024, will not be keen to give up his starting spot without a fight, especially given he has been playing at Ballon d'Or-winning level in his mid-30s.

    Florentino Perez's admiration for both Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, meanwhile, is well known, and though he has invested a huge amount in Endrick, it would still not be a shock if Madrid moved for at least one of the superstar strikers over the next year or two.

  • Vinicius Junior Real madrid 2022-23

    LW: Vinicius Junior

    Was it ever going to be anyone else?

    Vinicius endured a difficult start to his Madrid career, as he was often maligned for his decision-making and finishing ability, but after a breakout 2021-22 season, he is now a fan favourite at the Bernabeu.

    It's hard to find a more exciting dribbler in world football, and his goalscoring ability has improved immensely over the last 18 months.

    He will likely never be a truly prolific goalscorer, but by 2024 could be one of the best players in the world.

    Madrid might need to add depth behind him, with Eden Hazard likely to leave soon enough and Asensio on his way out too, but finding a starter on the left of the forward line in the transfer market is well down Madrid's priority list right now.