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How Real Madrid can cope with Brahim Diaz’s AFCON leave

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Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will face a significant challenge in the middle part of the 2025/2026 season.

The 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is set to take place in Morocco from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026, which could lead to the temporary loss of one of their key players, Brahim Diaz.

Brahim Diaz, an integral part of Real Madrid’s squad, is likely to be called up to represent Morocco in the tournament.

Under FIFA regulations, Real Madrid cannot refuse to release him for international duty. His potential absence could create a void in the squad during a crucial part of the season.

Diaz, whose contract with Real Madrid runs until 2027, has been a standout performer. In the recently concluded season, the 24-year-old scored 12 goals and provided 9 assists in 44 appearances for Los Blancos.

His contributions have been vital to the team’s success, and his absence will certainly be felt.

Three potential solutions for Real Madrid

To mitigate the impact of Diaz’s potential absence, Real Madrid could look to other talents within their squad. One promising option is Arda Güler, often referred to as the “Turkish Pearl.”

In his debut season with Real Madrid, the 19-year-old showcased his abilities despite having a relatively reserved role for most of the campaign.

Güler’s prominence increased towards the end of the season, especially after Real Madrid had already secured the league title. He finished the season with 6 goals in 12 appearances, demonstrating his potential to step up when needed.

Güler’s ability to play in advanced midfield positions and his knack for scoring could make him a suitable replacement for Diaz during the AFCON period.

This opportunity could also accelerate the player’s development, providing him with more significant playing time and a chance to solidify his place in the team.

Another option for Real Madrid would be to make a signing in the summer of 2025 to cater for Brahim’s vacancy.

Currently, the name of Germany and Leverkusen ace Florian Wirtz has been mentioned as a possibility for Real Madrid in a year.

His versatility and vision on the ball make him a good option to replace Brahim Diaz in the squad.

Lastly, with the absence of signings, Real Madrid can look into their youth side and call up Nico Paz to the first team for the one month Brahim Diaz will be out for.

The 19-year-old scored 11 goals and 4 assists in the just-ended season, with one of the goals coming in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli when he had his chance in the first team.

He has the vision, drive, and skillset that make him a like-for-like replacement for Brahim Diaz.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid trailing Premier League heavyweights in UEFA club rankings

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Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images

UEFA has announced its latest club rankings, based on the performance of each team in European competitions over the last five seasons, and despite winning the Champions League last season, Real Madrid trail Manchester City in these standings. 

It must be noted that the coefficients of these rankings are calculated purely on the basis of results in European competitions, without considering domestic league performance. The rankings are crucial as they determine the seedings in UEFA competition draws.

Top teams in UEFA rankings

This time, Manchester City haves outshone Real Madrid, topping the list with a coefficient of 123,000 points, while Real Madrid have 119,000 points. Bayern Munich complete the top three with a score of 108,000 points. 

Man City have been incredibly consistent since 2021, securing a Champions League title, reaching a final, and making it to a semi-final, which has propelled them to the top spot in the rankings.

Manchester City are above Real Madrid in UEFA club rankings. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The competition between Manchester City and Real Madrid has been intense, especially in the Champions League. The two giants of European football have faced each other in four knockout ties since 2020, each winning two ties. 

Their consistent performances have solidified their status as the current powerhouses of European football.

What about the other La Liga teams?

Spanish football, particularly La Liga, is well-represented in these rankings. Alongside Real Madrid, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona are notable mentions. 

Villarreal, on their part, are in the 7th place after winning the Europa League in 2021 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2022. 

Atletico Madrid are positioned at 17th, just ahead of Barcelona, who is struggling to maintain its usual high ranking. 

Amidst all this, the English Premier League stands out as the dominant force in these rankings. Six of its teams are in the top 20, showcasing the strength and competitiveness of English football. 

The Italian League and the Bundesliga also have a strong presence, each contributing four teams to the top ranks.

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