Predicting Real Madrid's Starting XI vs. Bournemouth

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Predicting Real Madrid's Starting XI vs. Bournemouth
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Real Madrid are training hard for the start of pre-season 2013/14.

Real Madrid open their 2013/14 preseason account in England and a match against recently promoted Championship club Bournemouth.

Yes, Bournemouth.

A chance conversation between the son of Cherries chairman Eddie Mitchell and a contact at Real sees the "all whites" beginning this campaign at the inconspicuous Goldsands Stadium—formerly Dean Court.

Excitement is certainly building along the South Coast with the match already sold out and recent confirmation that Cristiano Ronaldo will lead a strong squad of players in this exhibition match.

Former Bournemouth legend Ted MacDougall will also be honoured before the start.

A stand that will be named after him will increase capacity to 11,000, and this uplift is sure to add more atmosphere to a fixture that has already had the locals talking for weeks.

Michael Steele/Getty Images
A sold out Goldsands Stadium will play host to Real Madrid.

With Bournemouth having already played seven friendlies of their own, the advance level of fitness from the home side could make things interesting, and older fans may even be hoping for a result akin to the greatest ever in their clubs' history.

Way back in 1984, reigning FA Cup holders and overwhelming favourites Manchester United came to town for a third-round tie.

They left with their dreams shattered as Harry Redknapp's inspired charges defeated the Reds 2-0 in a stunning upset.

Carlo Ancelotti won't want to lose his first game in charge and has kept his word by naming a strong 23-man squad for the trip.

Ronaldo is joined by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric and new signings Isco and Asier Illarramendi, amongst others.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Luka Modric, Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo will all play a part in the match vs. Bournemouth.

There will, of course, be a few notable absentees.

Captain Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo will not travel after their Confederations Cup exertions, but the pool of talent still at Ancelotti's disposal is enviable.

Diego Lopez will start in goal for the visitors in Casillas' absence.

Whatever the truth behind the latter's omission from match squads toward the back end of last season, there can be no denying that in Lopez, manager Jose Mourinho recruited a more-than-able deputy.

Expect the ex-Sevilla stopper to carry on where he left off last year and not make Casillas' selection in La Liga a foregone conclusion.

Daniel Carvajal enjoyed a fine 2012/13 season in the Bundesliga. The Madrid canterano, was sold to Bayer Leverkusen for €5 million at the end of the 2011/12 season but made such an impression that Madrid wasted no time in exercising their option to reacquire the player for 6.5 million just a year later.

Carvajal— part of WhoScored.com's U21 team of the season—should start at right-back for this one.

Dani Carvajal made whoscored.com's U21 team of the season.

Real Madrid Castilla's David Mateos is a tall elegant centre-back in the mould of Raphael Varane. The Frenchman has not been selected for this trip, so Mateos should slot in nicely alongside the experienced Pepe.

The Portuguese has been the subject of interest from Manchester City, but as Ian Herbert of The Independent reports, Carlo Ancelotti will not sanction any sale.

Another Castilla defender, left-back Jorge Casado is likely to complete a youthful-looking back line. Casado has already made his debut for the first team having been part of the side that played against Ponferradina in last season's Copa Del Rey. 

New midfield signings Asier Illarramendi and Isco will start in two of the midfield three positions.

Isco is in the form of his life at the moment, and Bournemouth will have their hands full trying to contain his mastery. His dynamic recent performancesincluding those during a successful U21 campaign with Spain—saw a host of clubs cast admiring glances before Madrid moved quickly and decisively to secure the player.

Illarramendi will take up the defensive midfield role usually reserved for Xabi Alonso, who won't travel due to injury.

The recent signing from Real Sociedad also picked up a knock himself earlier this week, but as Football Espana report, the player will be fine to make his debut for Los Blancos.  

Asier Illarramendi's inclusion could see Madrid playing a different style of football.

His inclusion could see Madrid playing a very different style of football to that which Madridistas are used to. So says Graham Ruthven of Goal.com.

Complementary to both will be the industrious Casemiro. Signed in January, the young Brazilian has yet to make a real impression; however, this run of preseason games gives him every chance to stake a claim for a more permanent residency.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the player everyone wants to see, and he will captain the side in the absence of Casillas

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo has been training well and is raring to go.

The ultimate showman, Ronaldo will doubtless showcase his full repertoire and use this game as the ideal platform to remind the English public exactly what they are missing.

Karim Benzema is likely to be preferred over Gonzalo Higuain in the central striking berth with the Argentine's future still very much in the balance, per Tuttomercato/AS (h/t ESPN).

After a season where he didn't perform to expectations, Angel Di Maria may find that his starting berth is handed to the exuberant and hungry Alvaro Morata to complete a devastating front three which Bournemouth will find difficult to contain. 

There are no restrictions on the amount of substitutions during the game, so most of the 23-man squad will play some part—probably a halfin the match.

Given a ticket price of £60 (£30 concessions) and the fanfare surrounding the matchper Glenn Moore, The Independentit would be foolish for Los Blancos to give the likes of Kaka, Ozil and Modric et al anything less than 45 minutes of football.

 

Full Real Madrid Squad for the Match As Follows

Diego Lopez
Jesus Fernandez
Tomas Mejias
Pepe
Fabio Coentrao
Daniel Carvajal
Nacho
David Mateos
Jorge Casado
Sami Khedira
Mesut Ozil
Luka Modric
Angel Di María
Isco
Asier Illarramendi
Casemiro
Denis Cheryshev
Quini
Cristiano Ronaldo
Karim Benzema
Gonzalo Higuain
Alvaro Morata
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