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Man City mainstay on Real Madrid’s aura in the Champions League: “It’s not about the badge”

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Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

We are just a day away from Real Madrid’s blockbuster encounter against Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals.

Coming on the back of Copa Del Rey triumph at the weekend, Real Madrid are heading into this game full of confidence, especially taking into account their form in the knockout stages. The reigning champions swept aside Liverpool and Chelsea in the knockout rounds.

Following the performances, a lot has been said about Real Madrid’s pedigree at the highest level of football, which was particularly highlighted by former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.

Heading into this game, Manchester City playmaker Bernardo Silva talked about Real Madrid’s success as well, but instead of highlighting their pedigree in the competition, he praised the role of veterans, which play a crucial role in the club’s success.

“It’s not about the badge. If Real Madrid didn’t have Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos, Vinicius or Karim Benzema they wouldn’t win anything, because the shirt doesn’t do it by itself,” Silva said (h/t Diario AS).

The likes of Modric, Kroos and Benzema have indeed played a critical role for Real Madrid this season. They have been ever-present figures in the club’s starting eleven, using their experience and leadership to guide the team out of tricky situations over the past decade.

While not a veteran, Vinicius, too, has been of great importance for Los Blancos. The forward, who has 22 goals and 21 assists in all competitions this season, was involved in six goals during the last two knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Silva’s words, therefore, certainly have a pinch of truth attached to them, though it must also be highlighted that Real Madrid, as a team, have an abundance of experience in the Champions League, which in turn, often turns useful when facing a stern opponent like Man City.

Despite pointing out the role of key players in the Real Madrid team, Silva has no intention of undermining the club’s pedigree.

“We would be stupid if we didn’t respect them, but we have that goal (to eliminate Real Madrid), knowing that we lost last year in difficult circumstances. This time we will try to make it different,” he said.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid eye €3.5 million-rated relegated Premier League striker to reinforce attack

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Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Following a difficult season with troubles in La Liga and the Champions League preventing Real Madrid from retaining their crowns, Los Blancos move towards a transformative summer, full of innovations.

Real Madrid managed to clear plenty of unwanted figures at the club, with a huge relief on the wage bill. However, with an array of exits, the squad has contracted and thus replacements are being inquired.

Apart from the high-profile departure of Karim Benzema, fringe players have also bid their farewell.

Among those names is Mariano Diaz, who was Madrid’s backup striker prior to his withdrawal. Several names have been put on the table to fill his absence as the club largely aim to address their lack of depth.

According to Arancha Rodriguez (via RM4Arab), Leeds United striker Rodrigo Moreno is one of the names gaining consensus in the Madrid hierarchy. Moreover, Joselu has also been considered as a viable alternative.

The two favourites to replace Mariano have proven to be important figures for their clubs as both strikers maintain a starting role.

Playing for Espanyol, Joselu ended the La Liga campaign as the third top scorer, only behind Benzema and Lewandowski. Considering Espanyol’s relegation, such a feat looks even more impressive. The Spaniard secured 19 goals in all competitions.

On the other hand, Rodrigo Moreno recorded 16 goals last season across all competitions. Similar to Joselu’s case, the Spanish international also suffered relegation with Leeds, in spite of his good numbers.

With both players offering adequate output in struggling sides, Real Madrid’s interest is practical. Moreover, considering both Espanyol and Leeds were relegated, their asking price will undeniably lower, which enables the Merengues to sign one of the two targets at a more convenient rate.

It is claimed that Rodrigo has a release clause worth €3.5 million which Los Blancos would have to trigger to sign him from Leeds United.

It now remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti & co. go after the former Valencia man or move for Joselu instead.

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