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Chelsea captain warns Real Madrid ahead of UCL tie: “We’re better than they think”



Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

It is Champions League week at the Santiago Bernabeu with Real Madrid set to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea midweek in the first leg of the quarterfinal. Having the home advantage, the hosts will look to muster their all to seal a solid lead after 90 minutes on the night.

Ahead of the clash, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta gave a lengthy interview that included questions about the impending UCL fixture and facing Real Madrid.

The centre-back himself will not play against Los Blancos owing to a horrific injury he suffered earlier in the season but was open with his thoughts about his team’s chances as revealed by Mundo Deportivo.

The Spanish veteran first spoke about the opportunity the UEFA Champions League provided Chelsea with to find solace in a season that has been difficult for them, especially domestically. He then went on to add a note about the opponents they face in the quarterfinal.

“It’s a unique opportunity and only eight teams are here. It’s special and difficult. This is a tie that will demand the most of us, from each one and as a team, because we play against the current champions. It’s the third year in a row that we play against them. They have a lot of experience,” he said.

Given that Chelsea have endured a difficult season so far and have seen two managers getting axed, they are not the favourites going into the game against Real Madrid. But Azpilicueta issued a warning to the Merengues, stating: “We are better than they think.”

Azpilicueta was then asked if the name of Real Madrid struck a sense of fear in the side given the defending champions’ record in the competition and the events of last year. To this he replied:

“All rivals must be treated with respect, with humility. We know that Real Madrid are a club with a great history in the competition and that is why we need to be at our best.”

The defender continued his answer with a remark on Los Blancos’ incredible ability to pull off comebacks and how the men in white could never be written off.

“They are a very dangerous team, because you think you are in control of the game, we have lived it in our flesh when we were 0-3 last year and they came back. That type of micromanagement in every game is vital,“ Azpilicueta added.

Finally, Azpilicueta was questioned about what made Real Madrid such a dominant force in Champions League football year after year. The defender credited it to the Spanish side’s ability to keep their emotions under control and never get overwhelmed.

“How they solve situations. That they were eliminated at every junction and won the competition. It’s based on quality and experience. They go down 2-0 against Liverpool and they don’t go crazy, they don’t sink, he said.

“They end up winning with a big advantage. In those situations, when they seem to have it lost, they calm down and manage it.”

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Real Madrid News

Harry Kane ‘very close’ to completing Real Madrid move, only final details remain – report



Jude Bellingham’s move to Real Madrid was finally closed earlier today as officially confirmed by Borussia Dortmund on their website. Yet, the offices at Santiago Bernabeu have not even taken a break to celebrate their success.

According to reports from Alfredo Pedullà, Los Blancos are now completely focused on the acquisition of Harry Kane. The English striker’s arrival is very close to approaching closure and only a few details remain to be sorted.

The Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur representatives reportedly held a meeting today over the striker’s transfer. The agenda was to agree on a number for the transfer fee.

The Premier League side began the proceedings with an expectation of €100 to €110 million in exchange for Kane. However, the Merengues suggested a lower point at €80 to €90 million, albeit with the option to include bonuses.

There is not much separating the two parties at the moment, and the minor gap will be bridged in the coming days. Overall, the meeting ended with a broad understanding between the two clubs.

Carlo Ancelotti sees the English striker as the centre-piece of his attack for next season given the recent departure of Karim Benzema. After all, Kane has been one of football’s most consistent goalscorers over the past decade.

Yet, Los Blancos cannot afford to let their guard down with one signing and will need to rope in at least two more names in attack to serve as backup options. The exits of Mariano Diaz, Marco Asensio, and Eden Hazard leave them with no squad depth, after all.

Kane has scored 30, 17, and 23 goals in his last three seasons in the Premier League and is the epitome of consistency. Further, he had three assists in his most recent league season and created 14 big chances.

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