The September international break was full of Real Madrid stars strutting their stuff across the globe.
Jude Bellingham, the fans’ newest hero, was in predictably sublime form for England but was by no means the only member of Carlo Ancelotti’s side to stand out this month.
Ahead of the return to action against Real Sociedad, here’s a look at Madrid’s winners and losers from the international break.
Where else is there to start?
The latest star at the Santiago Bernabeu linked up with his England teammates this month and, after a frustrating draw with Ukraine, produced an absolutely sensational performance to inspire a 3-1 victory over Scotland.
Pushed forward into the same role in which he has excelled in Spain, Bellingham pulled all the strings and led England to one of their most impressive victories in recent times.
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Germany were forced to fire Hansi Flick after the international break got off to a disastrous start with a 4-1 mauling at the hands of Japan.
Centre-back Rudiger played the full game and eagle-eyed fans even found footage appearing to show him delay chasing back after Germany lost possession. While the full context of the video is unclear, it obviously doesn’t look great.
Rudiger did end things on a high note as Germany saw off France, but all in all, the September break won’t be remembered fondly by the 30-year-old.
Minutes. Sweet minutes.
Captain Modric started both of Croatia’s victories over Latvia and Armenia, playing over 150 minutes across both games and even completing a full 90 against the latter. By contrast, he has managed just 133 minutes at club level this season.
Modric has completed 90 minutes for Madrid just six times since the start of last season as part of his transition to a backup role, so he will have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to stand up and be the main man once again.
Lunin didn’t do anything during the international break, and that’s the point.
Having seen his starting spot at club level taken away from him before the break, Lunin remained glued to the bench as Ukraine drew with England and lost with Italy. The 24-year-old has managed just nine caps for his country since making his debut all the way back in March 2018.
The last few weeks will have been a real wake-up for Lunin, who clearly isn’t seen as good enough to start for either club or country after three years sitting on Madrid’s bench.
Right-back is regularly touted as an area of concern for Madrid. Nonsensical rumours of a £40m bid for Chelsea captain Reece James are obvious waffle but do stem from an awareness that 31-year-old Carvajal is perhaps not what he once was.
Given the chance to prove himself across two 90-minute appearances this week, Carvajal stood out for Spain, grabbing two assists in the 6-0 win over Cyprus, one of which was for fellow Madridista Joselu.
It was the first time Carvajal completed two entire Spain matches since the 2018 World Cup and a clear sign of his continued importance to his country.
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