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Atletico Madrid have advantage over Real Madrid in race for 17-year-old defensive target



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

One of the agendas on Real Madrid’s hectic transfer window planned for June is to beef up the centre-back position.

Having recovered Eder Militao from a long-term injury, Carlo Ancelotti can breathe a sigh of relief heading into the business end of the season.

Yet, it is clear that more depth is required in the unit especially when one considers that three of the team’s four central defenders are over the age of 30.

A grass root option

As revealed recently, Real Madrid have their eyes on Alcorcon’s 17-year-old centre-back Cristian Nikolaev as a promising option and have been following his development for a while now.

The teenager stands out as an option to reinforce the ranks in the youth department and potentially make the jump to the first team based on his development.

Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, Atletico Madrid have also entered the race to sign the Bulgarian-Spanish player.

Los Rojiblancos have reportedly watched the player live multiple times and have even accelerated contacts in recent weeks. As it stands, they have an advantage in the race to sign Nikolaev.

They are, however, not the only competitors Los Blancos must fend off as Juventus, Everton and several Spanish clubs are also said to be interested.

Who is Nikolaev?

At 17 years of age, Nikolaev plays for the subsidiary team of Alcorcon and is said to be one of the country’s more promising young defenders.

In fact, he has trained with the senior team, who are in the second division, on multiple occasions

The teenager is primarily known for his aggression, agility and quick decision-making in defence and his progress to the top has been rapid to this point.

Standing at 1.95 metres, he also boasts of a dominant aerial presence and can be a force to reckon with in the box.

Moving to the Real Madrid youth side, thus, would be a step up for the 17-year-old. What remains to be seen, however, is how far Florentino Perez is willing to push to sign the player.

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Real Madrid News

‘Will have to put my feelings aside’ – Bellingham on facing Borussia Dortmund in UCL final



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

It has been a special debut season for Jude Bellingham at Real Madrid.

Since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth €103 million, plus add-ons, last summer, the 20-year-old sensation has become an instant hit at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite his form declining a bit in the second half of the season, Bellingham has racked up returns of 23 goals and 12 assists from 41 games in all competitions.

A special game for Bellingham

Having won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup, Bellingham now has the chance to end the season in the most epic ways possible by lifting the UEFA Champions League, against his former club, in his homeland.

As such, Saturday’s UCL final at Wembley, against Dortmund, is set to be a special one for the young phenom, and he acknowledged as much during an interview today.

“It’s a very special game for me but I’ll have to put feelings aside. It’s been a great season, they’ve made me feel very welcome and I’ve enjoyed playing football with them,” said Bellingham, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.

Bellingham faces his former club in the UCL final. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

When asked if he had been in touch with any of his former Dortmund teammates ahead of Saturday’s showpiece event, Bellingham replied:

“I’ve spoken to Sancho, we said we’d meet there. He took me under his wing when I came to Dortmund and that meant a lot to me.”

On how Real Madrid can win the game

Earlier today, Carlo Ancelotti was asked if he had sought any information from Bellingham to prepare a strategy to beat Borussia Dortmund.

The midfielder himself was asked by the media as to how Real Madrid can get past his former club at Wembley this weekend, to which he replied:

“To win we will have to play at our maximum level, if we are at that level it is very difficult for our opponents. The staff are sure to do a great job analysing Dortmund, I trust them 100 per cent.”

Stressing how it is a dream for him to win the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, Bellingham remarked:

“Winning the Champions League is the reason I’m here, I always dreamed of playing for this team, and this team is linked to the Champions League. I want to be a small part of their history.”

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