Real Madrid will be aiming to take another step towards qualifying for the next round of the UEFA Champions League when they face Shakhtar Donetsk in Matchday 3 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid are at the top of Group F after cruising to wins against Celtic and RB Leipzig and will be aiming to build on that run with another victory against the Ukrainian giants.
On the eve of the game, veteran defender Dani Carvajal attended the press conference with manager Carlo Ancelotti during which he opened up on the club’s past successes and their chances of doing well this season (h/t MARCA).
On the squad: “We have the best footballers for the next generation, combine that with the veterans and we have the perfect squad.”
On his trophy haul at Real Madrid: “I feel very lucky to have won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid.”
On the situation in Ukraine: “Ukraine’s situation is a tragedy. Shakhtar can’t play at home, and they’ve lost many important foreign players – they’re doing incredible in the competition so far and I hope they’ll bring happiness to their fans.”
On Real Madrid’s success in the UCL: “We’ve been the best team in the Champions League in the last few years.
On Xavi’s comments about UCL not always being fair: “I think that when you’ve won the Champions League five times in the last nine years, luck is out of the question.”
On Real Madrid’s chances this season: “I think we are among the four or five teams that can win the UCL.”
On people questioning Madrid’s UCL triumph last season: “It makes me thankful that the debate of justice & non-justice only appears when Real Madrid win the Champions League and not when other teams win it. It seems that it’s unfair only when Real Madrid win the UCL.”
On his physical condition: “I’m really good, I’m playing a lot of minutes.”
On the team mentality: “The values of this club teach you to always fight until the end.”
On the importance of the Shakhtar clash: “It would be a very important step to consolidate the first place. Sunday’s game is forgotten”
On the role of full-backs: “Full-backs are expected to go forward, but you have to make sure your main job which is to defend – that’s a priority.”
On Karim Benzema’s missed penalty vs Osasuna: “I don’t think Karim will have much influence on scoring or missing a penalty, he would be angry on Sunday, but that’s it, he’s the best in his position. Hopefully, he can score two or three goals tomorrow.”
On the criticism towards Benzema: “We all know how football works, it’s very demanding, a couple of bad games and you’re crucified. Karim can turn the situation around tomorrow.”
On the fear of missing the World Cup: “Today I don’t think many players are thinking about the World Cup. It’s a compressed calendar and we all want to be at the top. We’ll see what happens ten days before the World Cup.”
Real Madrid considering move for Manchester City superstar as club faces possible sanctions
Premier League has come up with a shocking statement, charging defending champions Manchester City with more than 100 breaches of the financial rule between 2009 to 2018.
The allegations levelled at Man City could lead to a point deduction for the defending champions or perhaps even expulsion. This could prove to be significant for not Premier League but European football in general.
To that end, a new report from Daily Mail suggests Real Madrid are keeping close tabs on the situation. They are aware of the fact that if Man City get sanctioned, it could rule them out of the chase for top target Jude Bellingham.
But more importantly, it may open up the opportunity to sign Erling Haaland in the near future. The Norwegian international was one of Man City’s smartest business move in the summer when they roped in the star striker for a meagre fee.
However, Spanish media believes Haaland has a release clause in his contract worth around €200 million. It could be activated in the summer of 2024 and clubs like Real Madrid are said to be interested in activating the clause.
But in light of the recent allegations made against Man City, Real Madrid are anticipating a potential mass exodus, and could make an early move for the forward, especially if the English giants get sanctioned by the Premier League board.
It goes without saying that Haaland, who has been scoring goals for fun since joining the Premier League outfit, is someone who demands to play at the highest level of football. It was one of the key reasons he joined Man City – a club that can offer consistency in terms of sporting success.
But a potential sanction for City could change the dynamic, possibly paving the way for a club like Real Madrid to establish themselves as an excellent suitor for Haaland.