Real Madrid News
Just in: Real Madrid veteran not in training today, ruled out of Elche clash – report
According to journalist Jose Luis Sanchez, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos is not training with the team today due to gastroenteritis and is set to miss the La Liga clash against Elche on Wednesday.
Real Madrid were not involved in league action this past week as they were away in Morocco, participating in the FIFA Club World Cup, which they won by defeating Al Hilal in the finals in Rabat.
Kroos, who had been in the starting XI in both the Club World Cup matches against Al Ahly and Al Hilal, is currently out with gastroenteritis.
Having not participated in the final training session before tomorrow’s game against Elche, the 33-year-old midfielder is set to sit out the contest.
Kroos has featured 30 times across all competitions this season, scoring two goals and registering four assists.
Despite his advancing age, the midfielder remains a crucial part of the setup under Carlo Ancelotti. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Los Blancos are keen to renew him for another year, although the German icon is yet to make a decision.
Along with Kroos, Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard were also not spotted in training today as they recover from their respective injuries. Vinicius Jr was also not seen as he is set to miss the Elche clash due to suspension for accumulation of cards.
However, Jorge Picon reports that Thibaut Courtois and Lucas Vazquez started the training sessions normally, which will come as a boost for Ancelotti, although it remains to be seen if the duo will be ready in time to play tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid News
Kovacic speaks ahead of Real Madrid vs Chelsea: “Strange to have Modric as a rival”
In less than two weeks, Real Madrid will play hosts to Premier League giants Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
It is a repeat of last season’s Champions League quarter-final, with the change being that the first leg was played at Stamford Bridge back then, which Real Madrid won triumphantly.
So, even though they lost the second leg 3-2, Los Merengues progressed on aggregate. At one point in the second leg, Real Madrid were 3-0 down and looked to be crashing out of the tournament.
But, that is not how the match played out as Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, sending in a stunning outside-of-the-boot pass for Rodrygo to guide home. That forced the match into extra time and Karim Benzema then scored to seal an aggregate win for his team.
Mateo Kovacic, a former Real Madrid midfielder, was on the losing side with Chelsea on that fateful night. And the Croatian has now spoken to Sportske Novosti, about that moment of magic from Modric last year as well as the prospect of facing Real Madrid again.
“We were good against Real Madrid last year, especially in Madrid. Then Modrić invented that trivela assist for Rodrygo… We have to be at 120% against them. They immediately punish every minor mistake. Although I repeat, we are also a difficult opponent for them, we showed it,“ Kovacic said.
On the prospect of facing his close friend and national teammate Modric, Kovacic added: “[laughs] how the draw arranges it… It won’t be easy for us because Real Madrid is always the most dangerous team in the Champions League.”
“It’s a strange feeling to have Modric as a rival. There were hard fouls last year because neither he nor I pull back. We will fight for sure. I play on the left, he’s on the right, we will see who wants what. But I wouldn’t like to hurt him,” he added.
Chelsea had met Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League during the 2020/21 campaign as well and had managed to eliminate them at the semi-final stages on their way to winning the title.
While the Blues have not been in the best of form this season, they have the star power and quality in their ranks to hurt Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti’s men must be at their best to get through to the next round.