Bellingham in Real Madrid’s 4-4-2 Diamond | Ancelotti Tactics

Jude Bellingham is the key player in Real Madrid’s new system, the 4-4-2 diamond that Ancelotti has already used at clubs like Juventus, Milan and Chelsea. In the first tests of the preseason we have seen 2 different diamonds, one with Kroos as a defensive midfielder and the other with Tchouameni. In both, Bellingham is the attacking midfielder, leaving the role of central midfielder for players like Valverde, Camavinga or Modric.

When Real Madrid recovers the ball, Bellingham tries to provide solutions for the team drifting wide, dropping to receive and playing with his back to goal, being a very strong player in these situations, with good first touches, either to take advantage of his quick turns to start a transition or to combine with a teammate through passes breaking the counter-press.

In the build-up the English player drops to receive in the middle of the field trying to create numerical superiority, like in this play in which the 4 players in the diamond come together to progress with 2 passes between Kroos, Valverde and Bellingham. In all the plays he is vertical, even if he receives under pressure, looking for a progressive pass to a teammate who is in and advanced position or carrying the ball.

He does it here with a first touch to turn, dribble and open the ball to the left wing.

Positioning and playing between the lines have never been one of his strengths. It seems that he is working to improve it, appearing in the midfielders back, offering a passing line to receive and start driving, being this a key aspect in his game.

In this one, he carries the ball into the last third and gives a through pass to Brahim who attacks the gap between the full-back and the center-back.

His carries also serve him to reach the edge of the box and finish with is good shot from distance. Last season his contribution of goals plus assists was over 20.

Another strength of Bellingham playing as a midfielder is his ability to run into the box attacking space. He does it with diagonals in all directions, reading where the defensive weakness is, being incisive and once again showing the verticality that characterizes him. In these plays, his good decision-making allows him to play a one touch pass. Great vision, knowing where his teammates are

These movements off the ball in many situations also attract several defenders, freeing up space for the player with the ball to drive unopposed. 

He is a good finisher with the ability to win duels with an outstanding physique and scoring many goals coming from behind shooting unopposed.

Out of possession, Bellingham keeps his position behind the striker, pressing the midfielder in the central channel. When the ball goes to the wing he gives support, showing aggressiveness having a good tackle. If a teammate jumps on, Bellingham swaps positions, but sometimes forgets the player in his back, being one of his main weaknesses.

Jude Bellingham is at the age of 20 one of the most promising talents and Ancelotti’s diamond could make him one of the most important players in the world this season.

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