Brahim or Joselu: What each brings to the table to replace Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham has undoubtedly been the best player for Real Madrid this season, and arguably the best player in the world. Naturally, his absence due to suspension against Las Palmas has come as a blow for Real Madrid.

However, one of the luxuries of being a club as large as Real Madrid is that there is always someone, or multiple players in this case, ready to step-up and mitigate the loss of Bellingham. As Carlo Ancelotti stated in his press conference today, the two primary options to replace Bellingham are Brahim and Joselu. The two are very different players, who bring completely different qualities to the table. Based on previous starting XI’s, it’s safe to assume that Brahim or Joselu will start in an attack with Vinícius and Rodrygo.

The main difference between starting Brahim or Joselu is the changes in playstyle that the starter brings. Joselu is one of the final few true target men left in football. Standing at 6’4”, Joselu is the quintessential target man. A player who isn’t involved in play much, Joselu’s strengths lie entirely in his ability to present himself as a target in the box. This season in LaLiga, Joselu has scored 2 of his 5 goals from headers, while winning 2.3 aerial duels per 90 minutes played. His statistics reflect what type of player he is; a target man who constantly gets on the end of crosses. Averaging only 15.5 passes completed and 0.9 chances created p90, Joselu is not a player who offers more than what his specific role is. Joselu averages a healthy 3 shots p90 in the league, and his size and aerial ability make him a profile that Real Madrid have lacked for a long time. If Joselu does start, then it can be expected that Real Madrid will start in a classic 4-4-3 with Viní and Rodrygo in their natural positions out-wide. With Joselu starting, it can also be expected that Real Madrid will play a more orthodox style. The wingers will likely play wide, and the main avenue of attack for the team will be through crossing. With Bellingham out of the picture, Joselu will be the sole target in the box, and a majority of the team’s attacks will be geared towards creating for him.