When Real Madrid faced SC Braga last month, the game was nowhere near as one-sided as many expected it to be. The Portuguese opposition were indeed relatively new to the big stage but did not show any nerves going up against the record champions.
Braga pushed Real Madrid to the limit, even creating a higher xG tally in the process. Notably, they were without the services of one of their key cogs, Victor Gomez, on the night.
The Spanish defender has made eight starts for Braga in Liga Portugal this season but suffered an injury late in September that kept him out of action for over a month. He is back in the squad now and will face Real Madrid in the return fixture later tonight.
Speaking ahead of the game against Carlo Ancelotti’s men, Gomez praised Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr and the threat he created in the game.
“Vinícius is an incredible player. He demands 100% of you. Every time he has the ball, he will try to take on you. As a team, we have to do things very well so that those situations happen as little as possible.”
“Each player has his game. I will try to make my game so that I can cover him in the best possible way,” he added on how he hoped to neutralise the Brazilian’s impact.
The defender also spoke on the special occasion that awaited him, for he is returning to his home country and playing in arguably the biggest stadium it nestles.
“It is true that it is a special match for me because I am in Spain. The team is very aware of what they have to do. We come with a lot of desire to face this match to take the three points,” he said.
Finally, the Braga defender gave his two cents on how they would approach the game against Los Blancos, saying,
“We have mutual respect for Real Madrid and they for us. The Portuguese league has grown a lot in recent years and Braga, much more. It is a very positive thing that they respect us and we have to respect them.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.