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Man City midfielder says Benzema ‘has what it takes’ to be the next Ballon d’Or winner

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Photo by CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the world will have its eyes fixed on the gargantuan clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City. The two European giants face off for a place in the final of the UEFA Champions League in what will be a treat to watch.

The last time the two sides met, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos had games to forget. The former had two errors directly leading to goal, while the latter was sent off in the first leg.

Eventually, City walked out of the game with a 4-2 win on aggregate, with two goals from Gabriel Jesus, and one each from Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne.

The first leg is set to take place at the Etihad Stadium and the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ahead of the game, there is nothing but respect between the two sides, and Ilkay Gudogan is the latest to follow suit.

The German international was asked about Karim Benzema’s unreal form this season.

“For me, Benzema is currently the best striker in the world alongside Lewandowski,” he said, as relayed by SPORT1.

Further, he went on to say that the Real Madrid striker was a clear candidate to take home the Ballon d’Or this season.

“Benzema definitely has what it takes to become the next Ballon d’Or winner.”

The striker has started 29 games for Real Madrid in La Liga, scoring 25 goals and providing 11 assists. In the Champions League, he has found the back of the net 12 times and has recorded one assist, pioneering back to back comebacks for Los Blancos.

Meanwhile, Gundogan has been vital for Pep Guardiola’s plans. In 17 starts for the Premier League champions, he has scored six goals and provided four assists. With 1.5 key passes per game and six big chances created, he has been ever-reliable for the manager.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid €25 million-rated ace receives offer from Arsenal – report

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin is at a crossroads in his career, with several offers on the table, including one from Premier League club Arsenal, according to a report from Diario AS

It is understood that Lunin has grown tired of playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Real Madrid and he feels that his performance last season warrants more playing time and equal opportunities. 

Although he will start training with Real Madrid today, it does not guarantee his future at the club.

Real Madrid, on their part, have offered Lunin a contract renewal, which he has yet to respond to. The club has proposed a renewal that would extend his stay until 2029, but the 25-year-old is still unsure about committing.

However, his hesitation is fueled by advice from those close to him, who encourage him to seek opportunities outside of Real Madrid. 

The situation is complicated

Lunin’s situation is complicated. Despite having a contract that runs until 2025, he has received numerous offers, some quite attractive, such as the one from Arsenal. 

Arsenal are interested in signing Andriy Lunin. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

However, Lunin remains undecided about his next move. His uncertainty is understandable given the setbacks he has faced, such as Courtois securing the starting position in crucial matches like the one at Wembley in the UEFA Champions League final. 

Lunin had shone in games against Leipzig, Manchester, and Munich, earning praise for his performances, yet he still finds himself in Courtois’ shadow.

The dilemma Lunin faces is significant, as his decision will impact several stakeholders. If he decides to leave Real Madrid, the club will need to find a replacement, with Kepa Arrizabalaga being a potential candidate

On the other hand, if Lunin chooses to stay, Real Madrid have no plans to alter their treatment of him.

For now, everyone is eagerly awaiting Lunin’s decision. His future is hanging in the balance, with the potential to shift the dynamics at Real Madrid and affect his career trajectory significantly. 

Will he stay and continue to fight for his place, or will he seize a new opportunity with a different club, perhaps in the Premier League? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear: Lunin’s next move will be a pivotal moment in his career.

*Player valuation in title obtained from transfermarkt.com on date of publication

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