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 forward set for talks with Arsenal this week – report
With less than six months left on his contract, Marco Asensio looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid very soon. The Spaniard has not yet started talks to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, which has garnered the eyes from several top clubs across Europe.
One of the clubs interested in his signature happens to be Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is said to be a fan of the player, and will try to be bring him to North London on a free transfer this summer.
According to Mirror, Asensio’s agents will fly to London this week to get an a better understanding Arsenal’s interest in the player. Talks are scheduled with Arsenal, among possibly other clubs.
Asensio’s priority remains to extend with Arsenal, but not at ‘any cost’. The winger is looking for raise with his new contract to go along with a four-year deal. The report states that he currently earns around €130,000 per week at Madrid.
The 27-year-old has been waiting for an official offer from Los Blancos for a while, but the club will wait for March or April before taking a decision on his extension.
Asensio took a while to grow important for Carlo Ancelotti this season, but has been featuring regularly on the right-wing lately. He even scored in 2-0 win against Valencia in midweek, taking his tally to two for the season, excluding three assists as well.
Arsenal are definitely looking to add more firepower to their squad for next season, having already brought in Leandro Trossard in the winter. Asensio could serve as the perfect backup to Bukayo Saka, who has been in incredible form all season.