The curious case of Aymeric Laporte will continue to astound many fans as despite being a first-team regular at Manchester City, the player ended up signing for Al Nassr for a lucrative offer of €25 million per season, which happens to be tax-free.
For what it is worth, the Spaniard had offers on the table but none of them convinced the player to move. Among the Premier League sides, the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa expressed interest but the player showed little to no interest.
Truth be told, journalist Sam Lee has reported via The Athletic that Laporte was hoping for a bigger jump and his dream was to return to Spain, either to Real Madrid or Barcelona.
As it turns out, however, none of the Spanish giants were ready to make a move.
His former team Athletic Club approached the player, but their financial offer was even less than what he was earning at City.
Real Madrid’s interest
Eder Militao’s potentially season-ending injury on Matchday 1 of the ongoing season suddenly forced Real Madrid to look for alternatives.
The manager, Carlo Ancelotti, was initially reluctant to make any more signings, but given the intensity of the season, Madrid were expected to get an alternative.
In this regard, we did report that Laporte was being considered and even the player was willing to make the switch to Madrid, but the team from the Spanish capital decided not to enter into negotiations.
At Madrid, Laporte’s defensive skills, composure on the ball, and tactical awareness were qualities that seemed tailor-made for the team.
Yet, football is a realm of unpredictability, and Laporte’s dream of a return to Spain with either Real Madrid or Barça did not turn into a reality.
Despite his impressive track record at Athletic Club and Manchester City in 2018, no official offer materialized from either of the Spanish giants. Eventually, the player ended up moving to Saudi Arabia, joining Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr for around €27.5 million.
Bellingham reacts after Real Madrid 1-0 Union Berlin: “Every day I’m very grateful to be here”
Just over a month into the 2023/24 season, Jude Bellingham is already the toast of the town in Madrid.
Indeed, the 20-year-old midfield prodigy has made a sensational start to life as a Real Madrid player and the story continued last night on his UEFA Champions League debut for the club.
With the game against Union Berlin seemingly headed towards a draw, Bellingham found himself in the right place at the right time to turn home a late winner in stoppage time and send the Santiago Bernabeu into a state of frenzy.
The England international is making it a habit of scoring late winners for Real Madrid and is basking in all the admiration that is coming his way.
Following yet another match-winning performance, which led to him being named the MVP of the game, Bellingham spoke to the club’s media and said:
“It was a good win. It was a tough match, they were very well-organised at the back. It was frustrating at times, but we knew we had to keep insisting and try to find those gaps.
“We missed a lot of chances, but in the end, I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to score.”
On his dream start to life at Real Madrid with six goals in six games, Bellingham said: “I am very happy. Every day I am very grateful to be here. I come with a smile on my face, happy to learn from my teammates and to keep winning. Winning is the most important objective here.”
“I didn’t expect a start like this. I was confident in doing things well and, so far, it’s going very well. I’ve got my feet firmly on the ground and I’m calm. I hope it continues like this,” he later added.
The 20-year-old sensation also opened up on the goal he scored last night to win it for Los Blancos against Union Berlin, saying:
“I thought I had to follow the ball, just like against Getafe. They’re not aesthetic goals, but you have to be there to score them. Now it’s my turn to take advantage of those moves, but we’re a team and we help each other with the moves. That’s key.”
Talking about the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu on a Champions League night, Bellingham could not hide his joy at experiencing it as he said:
“It’s the best. I thought La Liga was going really well until I heard the noise after the goal. I’m crazy about the support of the fans. You don’t know how big this club is until you are part of it. Hopefully, I’ll be here for many years to come.”
Signing off, he had a few words about Real Madrid’s start to the season, with six wins in six games across all competitions, saying:
“It’s the most important thing. At the beginning of the season, we would have signed it. We have to maintain this level and carry this rhythm into the next game. We all have to continue with this level of play because we have a lot of games ahead of us.”