Why Jude Bellingham was ‘penalised’ in favour of Rodrygo for Real Madrid vs Man City

A fascinating insight into the decision-making process behind Real Madrid’s change in tactics for the club’s meeting with Manchester City in midweek has today come to the fore online.

Los Blancos, of course, went toe-to-toe with reigning Champions League holders City on Tuesday night, in the first leg of the quarter-final tie between the clubs.

When all was said and done, the two sides could not be separated, en route to a pulsating 3-3 stalemate.

Post-match, much of the chatter in Madrid centered on Carlo Ancelotti’s tweak in formation, in the attacking third.

Real’s boss sprung something of a surprise at the Santiago Bernabéu, in placing Rodrygo on the left, and compatriot Vinícius Jr. in a roaming role through the middle.

Los Blancos’ other most advanced player came in the form of Jude Bellingham, who was tasked with providing support to an at-times isolated Vinícius.

The Englishman, however, struggled with as much, the action in Spain’s capital largely passing him by.

And, today, an insight into precisely why has been forthcoming online.

As per a report from The Athletic, citing anonymous sources in the Real Madrid coaching setup, the decision to shift Rodrygo out wide was made in the knowledge that Bellingham would be the player most likely to suffer as a result.

With the former in the midst of a more productive stretch of form, though, it was ultimately decided that Bellingham would be the one ‘penalised’ on the night:

“We wanted to keep Rodrygo on the left because his form has been better than Bellingham’s and that penalised Jude. Normally it’s the other way around and Rodrygo has to sacrifice more for the team.”

Conor Laird | GSFN

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