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Four Real Madrid stars risk missing UCL quarterfinal 2nd leg vs Man City through suspension

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Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The Champions League had only two overwhelming favourites ahead of the draw on Friday.

With the likes of Bayern Munich, PSG, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid far from their best, Manchester City and Real Madrid appeared the best-placed candidates to take the title home.

The draw earlier today, in that sense, provided Carlo Ancelotti with the worst possible outcome. Pitted against Pep Guardiola’s defending champions, qualifying for the semifinals will require a mammoth effort from Los Blancos.

A critical factor

While Manchester City are indeed the toughest opposition the men in white could have been drawn up against, there is a second massive factor that could be pivotal in deciding who progresses to the final four.

Four Real Madrid players, after all, are one yellow card away from missing the second leg through suspension.

What puts the seriousness of the situation into perspective is the identity of the four players. Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Eduardo Camavinga are the four names at risk of suspension, all of whom are pillars in Ancelotti’s setup.

Bellingham is the leading goalscorer for Real Madrid while Vinicius has been the most in-form player for the team in recent weeks.

Tchouameni’s defensive nous and versatility have made him a crucial figure for the team and Camavinga’s value cannot be understated either.

Tchouameni, Camavinga at risk of suspension in UCL. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

All players are currently on two yellow cards in the Champions League and another booking would earn them an automatic one-match ban.

With the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu set to be a cracker, the four players must keep cool heads on the night to avoid getting suspended for the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

A budding rivalry

For the past two Champions League editions, Real Madrid and Manchester City have faced off in the knockout stages.

Two years ago, Guardiola’s side took a 4-3 lead in the first leg and were at the cusp of qualification after an early Riyad Mahrez goal. Rodrygo, however, crushed their dream with two late goals before Karim Benzema’s finish knocked them out.

Last season, the men in blue had their revenge. The 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu set the second leg up well, but City thrashed Real Madrid by a 4-0 scoreline to advance.

In both of the last two editions, the victor of the clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City has gone on to win the title. This time around too, the storyline could well be the same and Ancelotti will hope the third time is lucky for him.

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Real Madrid News

PSG president wanted Real Madrid to bear Mbappe’s €80 million loyalty bonus

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

It is only a matter of days before Kylian Mbappe is officially confirmed as a Real Madrid player.

The French superstar announced his departure from PSG as a free agent recently and even though nothing is official yet, everything points to him arriving at the Spanish capital club.

An official announcement and presentation are expected to take place sometime before the UEFA Euro 2024 starts.

While the move is all but done, it appears that PSG, in particular president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are left with a bitter taste over Mbappe’s imminent exit.

Al-Khelaifi wanted Real Madrid to pay €80 million

As has already been reported, Al-Khelaifi tried to convince Mbappe to snub Real Madrid by presenting various arguments which had no effect.

Now, French publication L’Equipe has brought forth a report which claims that the PSG president simply cannot accept the fact that Mbappe is joining Real Madrid for free.

And things are now happening behind the scenes which suggest that the Frenchman’s departure will be far from smooth and amicable.

Indeed, as per the report, PSG have not paid Mbappe his salary for the month of April as well as an additional bonus he was due.

This is because of the €80 million loyalty bonus payment that the club had made to the France captain back in February, even though he had waived it off after deciding not to renew his contract.

Headed for an ugly split with PSG. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

In August 2023, after he was frozen out of the team for refusing to extend his contract, Mbapp agreed to give up his loyalty bonus so that PSG do not suffer a huge financial hit as a result of his leaving as a free agent this summer.

However, Al Khelaifi made a U-turn and granted Mbappe the loyalty bonus in February this year, with the caveat that Real Madrid cover the €80 million as compensation for the 25-year-old leaving for free.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, however, refused that demand as he deemed that it was completely out of the question, as the La Liga champions are not obligated to pay for a player who will be out of contract in a few weeks.

A complete breakdown

Things have not been well between Mbappe and Al-Khelaifi ever since the player informed him of his decision to leave PSG.

The report suggests that the pair are no longer on speaking terms and that lawyers are involved in trying to resolve the matter of the unpaid dues.

PSG are looking for written confirmation that their all-time top scorer will waive the €80 million, which he had agreed to in the past, only for the club to make the payment.

As for Mbappe, he wants the money he is owed as part of his salary which was not paid in April.

Al-Khelaifi has not had the best relation with Perez either and this development further escalates the situation.

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