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Five key stats ahead of Napoli vs Real Madrid | UEFA Champions League

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be looking for their second win of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League when they lock horns with Napoli in a Group C encounter later tonight.

The Merengues began their campaign in the Champions League with a narrow 1-0 win over Union Berlin, courtesy of a late winner by Jude Bellingham.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will need to be at a much higher level tonight if they are to overcome the challenge posed by the reigning Serie A champions at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Real Madrid do have history on their side though heading into this encounter as Napoli have never beaten Los Blancos in the four previous occasions that the two teams have met on the football pitch (D1 L3).

The Merengues boast a healthy record against teams from Italy in general as well.

Indeed, Real Madrid have won 28 of their 48 UEFA Champions League encounters against Italian outfits. No other team has beaten clubs from a specific country more often in the history of the competition.

In fact, Real Madrid have won 14 of their last 15 Champions League encounters against Italian clubs. This run includes seven victories in seven away from home as well.

But Napoli will be no pushovers as they have an exemplary record at home when it comes to the group stages of the Champions League.

After all, the Partenopei have been undefeated in 19 of their 21 home games in the Champions League group stages (W15 D4 L2).

It will be a special occasion for manager Ancelotti as he returns to Napoli for the first time after leaving the club back in December 2019.

The Italian tactician has a very impressive record against the Partenopei, as he has led his team to nine wins out of 12 games versus his former employers (D1 L2), but his last match as manager against Napoli came way back in 2009, when he was still at AC Milan.

Jude Bellingham is the MVP for Real Madrid at the moment and all eyes will certainly be on him when the Merengues take on Napoli tonight.

If Bellingham were to start at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona tonight, he would go past Liverpool ace Trent Alexander-Arnold and become the Under-21 English player with the most starts in the Champions League.

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Real Madrid News

Shocking Modric, Vinicius, Cristiano fact makes Real Madrid fans ‘feel old’

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Luka Modric is set to stay with Real Madrid for another season, meaning he will have played more seasons with Vinicius Jr. (7) than he did with Cristiano Ronaldo (6). 

Feeling old yet? We thought so too!

Modric joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2012 after four seasons with Tottenham Hotspur. On the other hand, Vinicius Jr. joined Real Madrid in 2018. 

By the end of the 2023/24 season, Modric and Vinicius will have spent six seasons together. This is the same number of seasons Modric played with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was at Madrid from 2009 to 2018. 

However, with Modric set to stay for another season, he will surpass that, playing more seasons with Vinicius than with Ronaldo, the club’s all-time top scorer.

A new contract for Modric

It is important to note that Real Madrid and Modric have reached an agreement in principle for his contract renewal for another year.

Luka Modric will stay at Real Madrid for another season. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

At 38, Modric’s contract was set to expire at the end of the current season. For a while, it seemed the Croatian star might leave Santiago Bernabeu this summer. 

However, things have changed recently, and Real Madrid have decided to offer him a new contract. 

Interestingly, Real Madrid have also offered a renewal to Toni Kroos with club president Florentino Perez personally involved in the negotiations.

Modric and Kroos will continue

Reports suggest that Modric has agreed to the new proposal, with an agreement in principle now in place. It is also expected that Kroos will accept his offer, meaning Real Madrid will keep both veteran players for another season.

The Croatian was reportedly willing to accept a pay cut and a reduced role in the team to continue playing for Real Madrid. This flexibility may have sped up the agreement process.

His willingness to adapt to a reduced role and accept a pay cut has likely influenced the club’s decision to renew his contract for one more year. 

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