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

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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

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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