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Key Real Madrid ace expected to start on the bench against Celtic – report



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Group F leaders Real Madrid take on Celtic in their final group stage game with the aim of finishing at the top of the standings. 

The game against the Scottish giants, however, will force Carlo Ancelotti to make several changes and club captain Karim Benzema is expected to start from the bench.

According to Spanish publication Diario AS, any decision regarding Benzema will be a last-minute call mostly because he has been training lightly.

The Ballon d’Or winner, who hasn’t appeared for the team since scoring a goal in a 3-0 away win over Elche, has already missed seven games this season. And now that he is lacking match fitness, even if he is available for selection, he is expected to start from the bench.

Speaking on the eve of the game, Ancelotti confirmed the same, saying that his striker will only be assessed sometime before the match.

“Benzema is training right now and we will see how he feels. Then we will decide if he’ll be in the squad for tomorrow.”

If that’s the case, Ancelotti is expected to stick to the attacking trio of Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Federico Valverde. Furthermore, with Aurelien Tchouameni unavailable as well, the Italian is anticipated to go with the midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric.

Despite qualifying for the Last 16, Real Madrid will enter the game at full throttle, mostly because finishing at the top is at stake. Following the 2-3 defeat against RB Leipzig, the team from the Spanish capital is differentiated from their German counterparts by just one point.

So even in case of a draw, they risk losing the spot if Leipzig beat Shakhtar Donetsk in their final group game. This means the team that takes the field on Wednesday will be a recognized group and not the second-string squad.

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Real Madrid News

Turkish giants to go all-out to sign Real Madrid outcast – report



There is no way back for Eden Hazard at Real Madrid. The Belgian international has not given the management any reason to have faith in his abilities over his past four seasons at the club and is unsurprisingly the most important departure for the Merengues in the summer.

Hazard has one more year on his contract in Madrid. However, it is clear that Carlo Ancelotti does not trust him and that any potential replacement manager in the summer will echo his stance.

According to reports from Mundo Deportivo, Fenerbahce are willing to go all out to sign Hazard this summer. The Turkish side have made the former Chelsea their prime target, yet face a steep task ahead of them.

The 32-year-old is hellbent on seeing out his contract with Los Blancos despite seeing his career sink right before his eyes. It thus becomes complicated for the party to lure away the forward, especially in a competition outside Europe’s top five leagues.

Fenerbahce attempted to sign the winger in the recently concluded winter transfer market. They reached an agreement with Real Madrid but failed to get over the line as they could not convince the player of the move.

The biggest obstacle for the Turkish side will be convincing Hazard to make the move by letting go of his lucrative contract in Madrid. The chances are slim, but not impossible.

Hazard has made just three league appearances and one start for Ancelotti’s side this season in La Liga, a steep fall from last season’s 18 and seven respectively.

His last appearance for the team came back in January when Real Madrid faced Cacereno in the Copa del Rey. In La Liga however, he last played in September 2022 in a 4-1 win over Mallorca.

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