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Guardiola confirms major fitness boost for Man City vs Real Madrid, praises Bellingham

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Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester City will lock horns with Real Madrid in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinals tomorrow night at the Etihad Stadium.

With the first leg ending in a 3-3 draw, the tie is nicely poised and both teams will battle hard to come out on top in Wednesday’s clash.

Building up to the game, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed a major boost for his team, stating that Kyle Walker was ready to play having recovered from his fitness woes.

“I am going to see at training. He has had one or two training sessions. He feels good with his mood. I don’t know if from the beginning, or from the bench, but he will be with us tomorrow,” he said.

“It is incredibly good news for many reasons. Today at 4 pm we train again so we will see.”

Discussing the match against Real Madrid, Guardiola praised Los Blancos and insisted that this contest will always feel special for him, saying:

“Always has been and always will be [big]. It’s Real Madrid and in this competition, it is always a big game. It’s special for me. Of course it is.”

There was also praise reserved for Real Madrid superstar Jude Bellingham, with Guardiola marvelling at how well the Englishman has adapted to life at the Spanish capital club.

“It is not always easy to settle quick but from the beginning his impact was huge in terms of goals and many other things,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola praised Bellingham for his adaptation at Real Madrid. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

“At his age, he feels pressure without a problem. I think he has a good mentality and is an exceptional player. We have to control him and take a look at what he does.”

Asking the Manchester City fans to come out and create a daunting atmosphere for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Guardiola said:

“We feel comfortable having won it [the Champions League] but we need the right energy. I think the people at our home will help us.

“We need a lot of noise, we need the presence of them and especially in the bad moments because it’s 90 minutes and there are moments you are going to suffer. We need to be present in who we are, perform the maximum and at our best.”

At the same time, he also insisted that City need to be wary of any surprises that Ancelotti might spring at them tomorrow, saying:

“We would like more days to prepare but it is what it is. 24 hours a day is a lot so you can find a way, and you have people to help you. It’s about taking the right decisions. We have to be wary of surprises like Carlo Ancelotti has done in the first game.”

On how he thinks the game might go, Guardiola added: “Real are not just ‘any’ opponents so we have to adapt. I don’t fear Real, I respect them.

“I want us to do as well as we can, if we lose I wish them well. Tomorrow will be a great game I’m sure. We’ll see what happens.”

Source: Man City official website

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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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