The UEFA Champions League draw sees defending champions Real Madrid pitted against relatively easy opposition in Group F. Shakhtar Donetsk, RB Leipzig and Celtic are the teams that constitute Los Blancos‘ group as decided in the draw conducted in Istanbul.
As a part of the same event, UEFA also awarded its various awards for the previous season to acknowledge the individuals who excelled on various fronts. Needless to say, Real Madrid was well represented on the podium.
Karim Benzema was officially declared the UEFA Player of the Year after a spectacular season where he led his team to the UCL title almost single-handedly.
The Frenchman expressed his gratitude to the club and manager amongst others and shared his thoughts on why he had a phenomenal run last year.
“I would like to thank my teammates, my coach and the president. Without the president of Real Madrid and Ancelotti, I would not have won this award. We at Real Madrid do not know how to give up, we fight for everything until the last moment,” he said, as quoted by RM4Arab.
He had only praise for his manager Carlo Ancelotti and said it was his fortune to work under the Italian.
“Ancelotti, in my opinion, is the best coach in the world. I’m very fortunate to play under Ancelotti and I hope he stays at Real Madrid for as long as possible.”
Ancelotti, too, had an honour to his name as he picked up the UEFA Best Men’s Coach award. The Real Madrid coach conveyed his gratitude while collecting the award as follows,
“Thank you to UEFA for this award. What a night! It has been an incredible season. I want to thank Sachi, my teacher. I would like to thank the players, the clubs, the fans, my family, the staff and the president. I want to thank everyone for this award.”
Then, the coach spoke about what made his team special and separated them from other elite European sides.
“I have a crazy passion for this sport. The quality of our players has been great last season. There was a great relationship and bonding with the experienced and young players and this helped us a lot as we reached and achieved the desired goal. The fans helped us a lot and were a key factor in our success.”
Finally, Ancelotti gave his view on Karim Benzema’s imperious form last year which made him the favourite to pick up the best player award.
Atletico striker hoping Bellingham has an off day during derby: “He is at a great level”
Speaking to DAZN (h/t Mundo Deportivo), Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata admitted that Real Madrid midfield superstar Jude Bellingham is performing at a great level.
Real Madrid take on Atletico in La Liga on Sunday in the Madrid derby at the Civitas Metropolitano and without a doubt, Bellingham will pose a huge threat for the Rojiblancos.
Alvaro Morata hopes Bellingham as a quiet outing
Ahead of the blockbuster encounter on Sunday, Morata, who is Atletico’s main striker, admitted that Bellingham has great quality.
“I saw him last year in a few games, the truth is that he caught my attention. I saw him in his team and in his national team, and talking to people who had played with him, teammates he has, you could already see that he was a great player,” he said.
However, the former Real Madrid striker added that he hoped that the England international has an off day during the derby.
“The truth is that he is at a great level, we can only hope that he doesn’t do well and that we also have very good players to counteract that. We hope he doesn’t have a good day on Sunday,” Morata stated.
Bellingham fit and ready to go
Bellingham has been the in-form player for Real Madrid this season with six goals and an assist in six matches across all competitions.
So, naturally, there were concerns when he did not complete the training sessions on Friday due to stomach issues.