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Champions League build-up: Man City without key defensive partnership for Real Madrid clash



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

All eyes will be on the Champions League next week as blockbuster clashes await fans on the pinnacle of European football.

Barcelona have been pitched against PSG, while Bayern Munich will take on Arsenal in two modern-day UCL classics. Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund promises a ton of entertainment, too.

Perhaps the biggest game of them all, though, is defending champions Manchester City locking horns against record-winners Real Madrid.

And while it is difficult to pick out a favorite for this game, Real Madrid have been handed a major boost for this game, but on rival watch.

Man City missing key duo

According to Fabrizio Romano, Manchester City have travelled to Spanish capital Madrid without Nathan Ake and Kyle Walker, both of whom picked up injuries across the last fortnight.

While Ake went down with a calf problem against Arsenal on 31st March, Walker’s injury came while on international duty with England. He went down injured in the first-half vs Brazil at Wembley and had to be replaced by Ezri Konsa.

A huge blow for City. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Josko Gvardiol and John Stones , though, have been deemed fit for the game and is part of the travelling squad.

Who will be Vinicius up against?

Walker’s injury, especially, is a huge blow for Guardiola’s side as the English right-back was key last season to keeping Vinicius Jr quiet in the second leg, even though the Brazilian ended up scoring in the first one.

Guardiola could resort to using Rico Lewis as his right-back, but John Stones, who has played as a right-back on several occasions could be an option, too.

Ruben Dias’ spot in the backline is pretty much fixed, though, and depending on Gvardiol’s fitness, Guardiola will likely choose between him and Manuel Akanji as the other option.

This could mean Man City start with Bernardo Silva and Rodri as the double pivot, while Kevin de Bruyne takes on the no. 10 position behind Erling Haaland.

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Real Madrid News

Revealed: The blueprint behind Real Madrid’s €1 Billion revenue ambition



Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

As one of football’s biggest and most successful institutions, Real Madrid enjoy serious perks on the economic front. After all, they cater to a worldwide audience and thus see their remunerations come in from across borders.

The arrival of Kylian Mbappe will only serve to further grow Los Blancos’ fanbase, and with a generational squad set to dominate world football for the years to come, Florentino Perez sees a special marketing opportunity.

According to reports from SPORT, Real Madrid have thus set themselves a target to hit €1 billion in revenue and have drawn up a concrete plan for the same.

The player aspect

As a football institution, one of the most significant aspects of remuneration is the team’s direct winnings in terms of prize money. Having won the Champions League last season and with Mbappe coming in, the team is in safe hands.

Moreover, the average age of Real Madrid’s squad is just 27.1 years implies that the team has significant longevity with little change expected in personnel.

The second important aspect that the club hopes to count on is the crowd-pulling factor that such young players exert on the new generation.

Kylian Mbappe will be the face of Real Madrid’s marketing campaign. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid already boast 410.9 million followers on social media and have added 48.4 million just last year. Mbappe, who himself has 132 million followers across Instagram and X, will further amplify that number next season and add to the club’s followers.

It is thus clear that the Frenchman will become the face of the club and the centre for all marketing operations of Real Madrid plan.

The road to €1 billion is thus not complicated, although Perez must be wary that Mbappe is picky with the brands he endorses. Further, the distribution of image rights will be a major factor to finalise.

The new Bernabeu

Having undergone extensive renovation, the New Santiago Bernabeu will take over as the world’s highest-grossing football stadium next season and play a massive role in boosting Real Madrid’s collections. The partnership with Sixth Street and Legends will also be crucial.

Furthermore, the new venue will also serve as a massive economy generator through miscellaneous events. Apart from Taylor Swift, the club also has agreements with Karol G, Aitana, Lola Indigo and La Velada del Ano de Ibai Llanos for exclusive events.

Real Madrid plan to add extra revenue from exclusive events at Santiago Bernabeu. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Needless to say, such events will serve significantly to boost the income and near the elusive €1 billion mark.


The final, yet critical manoeuvre Perez plans is to cut the costs on the wage front with a salary reduction of €0% already being made in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. That was, in fact, one of the major reasons Real Madrid stayed on their feet in the pandemic.

Player sales is another element where the men in white have worked their plan, getting rid of the older players while their market value was still high and reinvesting the cash into younger talents who can serve for at least the next decade.

The club recorded north of €800 million in income last year and the €1 billion mark is not too far off. Needless to say, the coming year could thus be special for the men in white.

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