Real Madrid’s defence of their UEFA Champions League crown was off to a great start as they defeated Scottish giants Celtic 3-0 away at Parkhead.
It was not the most comfortable of wins for Los Blancos as the scoreline might indicate as Celtic pushed and probed hard in the first half which ended goalless.
However, Real Madrid stepped it up a notch after the break to cruise to a crucial victory, even though they were without star man Karim Benzema, who had been taken off with an injury.
Vinicius Junior got the ball rolling before Luka Modric doubled the Merengues‘ lead. The third goal came from Eden Hazard, the man who was sent on to replace the injured Benzema.
The Belgian international has made a slow start to the season and was low on confidence after the penalty miss against Celta Vigo a couple of weeks back.
However, he looked in good touch at Celtic Park and made things happen on the pitch, before finding the back of the net, which was the cherry on top. Apart from putting the ball into the net, Hazard had a key involvement in the buildup to his goal.
It was the 31-year-old who instructed right-back Dani Carvajal to make a forward run into the box, which was then found by Toni Kroos’ sublime pass. And Carvajal squared it up for Hazard to tap in and make it 3-0. It was his first goal from open play in the Champions League in five years.
Hazard’s return to goalscoring form bodes well for Real Madrid as Benzema is likely to miss out against RCD Mallorca this weekend in La Liga.
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.