On Sunday, two Real Madrid stars in Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Now, Los Blancos’ veteran Luka Modric will also look to do the same when he leads his Croatia team against Japan in their Round of 16 tie later today.
The European nation earned a passage through to the knockout stages of the World Cup following their hard-earned goalless draw against Belgium in their final group game.
Modric, as was the case four years ago in Russia, has been one of Croatia’s standout performers yet again and will again have a crucial role to play.
The 37-year-old will be partnered by former Real Madrid star Mateo Kovacic in midfield, along with Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic.
Bruno Petkovic, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic form the attacking unit for the Vatreni while the defence will be headlined by Dejan Lovren and Josko Gvardiol, who recently admitted that he would be open to a Real Madrid switch in the future.
Borna Barisic and Josip Juranovic line up as the two full-backs for Croatia against Japan while Dominik Livakovic starts in goal.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.