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Lionel Messi is a huge fan of two Real Madrid icons – report



We are less than a day away before the Lusail Stadium draws its curtains for the 2022 FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and France.

This will be the final chance for Lionel Messi to win the coveted title that has eluded him all his career.

Heading into this exciting affair, L’Equipe (h/t Le10 Sport) has put out an insightful piece, where it has been claimed that the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is a huge admirer of two French players.

The players in question are Real Madrid icons Karim Benzema and Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane is widely celebrated as one of the best French players to ever grace football and famously helped France secure the 1998 World Cup title. Benzema has also won plaudits for his consistent performances at Real Madrid. It was he who helped the Merengues secure the UEFA Champions League title last season.

Benzema even won the Ballon d’Or award earlier this year and was expected to play a central figure in France’s attacking unit in the World Cup. However, shortly before the tournament kickstarted, the forward picked up an injury that ruled him out of the competition.

France, though, have done extremely well even without their talismanic goalscorer, especially with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann stepping up to the plate, while Benzema’s Real Madrid teammate Aurelien Tchouameni has become a key part of the team.

As for Benzema, he has worked his way back to full fitness and will be available for Real Madrid when the season restarts at the end of the month.

The report suggests Messi admires and respects Real Madrid striker Benzema and former manager Zidane very much due to their footballing abilities. It is also claimed that the 35-year-old Argentina captain felt that Benzema deserved his Ballon d’Or award this year.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid could be in trouble with RFEF if too many Spanish players leave



It is astounding that despite being the biggest club in Spain, Real Madrid do not have many Spanish players to show for it.

Los Blancos do indeed boast of a special diversity in the dressing room, but their lack of locally trained players could pose problems according to MARCA.

The Spanish outlet confirms that UEFA does not mandate the inclusion of any minimum number of locally grown players for a club. However, the Spanish federation stipulates that a club in Spain must boast of at least eight players who meet a specific set of conditions.

Of the aforementioned eight candidates, there must be at least four players who have spent three seasons or 36 months at the club between the ages of 15 and 21.

Currently, only Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Federico Valverde, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo and Mariano make up the required number on that front.

The problem, however, arises with the condition for the other four players in the list of eight. RFEF stipulates that the second set of four players must have completed at least 36 months in teams attached to the federation of Spain between the ages of 15 and 21.

Only Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola, Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos tick the aforementioned box. However, all four players have uncertain futures at the club and are well-placed to depart in the summer.

There are thus big decisions to be taken over the transfer strategy for June. Real Madrid can work ways to ship all four players out, it would require the re-integration of players like Sergio Arribas, Miguel Gutierrez or Fran Garcia to ensure the fulfilment of the criteria.

With both Vallejo and Odriozola seemingly frozen out of Ancelotti’s plans, their departures from Santiago Bernabeu appear inevitable. Thus, the management could be forced to renew one of Asensio or Ceballos come June.

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