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Achraf Hakimi looking forward to duelling with Real Madrid winger at World Cup

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with MARCA, former Real Madrid defender and Moroccan international Achraf Hakimi has revealed that he is looking forward to facing Marco Asensio at the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022.

Hakimi came through the ranks at Real Madrid and shared the dressing room with Asensio at the first-team level. However, after a couple of seasons away on loan at Borussia Dortmund, he left for Inter Milan in 2020, before signing for PSG last year.

Representing Morocco at the international level, the right-back is a key part of the African outfit and will be in the lineup when they face Spain in the Round of 16 stage in the competition tomorrow.

And Hakimi has claimed that it will be nice to battle with Asensio, given that both of them know each other’s games well.

“He knows what kind of player I am, I know what he’s like…. It will be a nice duel,” Hakimi said.

Talking about Asensio’s form in general and his plight at Real Madrid, where he is fighting to earn a contract, the right-back said that the Spaniard enjoys the confidence of the coach at the national team, which could be the reason for his better performances in La Roja colours.

“It is the confidence that a coach gives him. At Real Madrid he has had very good moments and now there are players better than him,” Hakimi said.

“But in the national team he has shown that he is at a spectacular level, that you have to be very careful with him and that, when he is given the confidence and support of the coach, he responds.”

Asensio has been used in a central role by manager Luis Enrique with the Spanish national team at the World Cup. While he had a great game against Costa Rica, he was fairly quiet in the contest against Germany, although his movement and link-up play looked sharp and on-point.

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Real Madrid News

Rival watch: Barcelona midfielder essentially ruled out of Real Madrid clash

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

In what could be a real deal breaker for Real Madrid ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash against Barcelona, it has been revealed that as many as three Barça will be absent from the game while another key player remains a major doubt.

The list includes the likes of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen. The trio is certain to miss the game through respective injuries while a certain Frenkie de Jong is more or less ruled out, as per Javi Miguel.

It must be remembered that Barcelona are heading into the second leg with a 1-0 advantage. But the absence of the aforementioned players means Madrid can work on exploiting the frailties.

Despite the absence of such big names, Barcelona did pretty well against Elche in their previous outing, coming out 4-0 victorious, with the goals coming from Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres.

With options lacking in midfield, Xavi decided to use the likes of Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia along with Gavi in the heart of the lineup. In any way, they do have Sergio Busquets and Franck Kessie as backups if needed.

The defence, on the other hand, was perfectly guarded by Jordi Alba, Marcos Alonso, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde.

One can expect Xavi to once again interchange Araujo with Kounde on the right since the Uruguayan has been rather successful in minimizing the threat of Vinicius Jr.

As far as Madrid are concerned, they are sweating over the fitness of three key defenders, namely, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, and Ferland Mendy. Between these three, the Frenchman is out for about a month while Rudiger and Nacho are expected to be back before the Clasico.

If there are no casualties against Real Valladolid, Madrid will have a perfect midfield and attack, with only Mariano Diaz missing. 

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