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Official: Manchester City starting XI against Real Madrid – key duo back

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Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to run up his unbeaten streak against Real Madrid to four games as his Manchester City side take on Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium for the second-leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Cityzens were able to rescue a 3-3 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first-leg, which makes tonight’s affair even more captivating.

Ederson is fully fit now, and makes his way back into the starting lineup as a goalkeeper after an injury kept him out of the first-leg. He will be guarded by a four-man defence, featuring Ruben Dias and Manuel Akanji as centre-backs.

Kyle Walker returns to the team after missing the first-leg due to injury, and will be starting as the right-back, while Nathan Ake has not been given the medical green light to start, which means Josko Gvardiol continues as the left-back.

Rodri takes his place as the holding midfielder, with Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne forming the trident alongside him.

Man of the Match from the first-leg, Phil Foden retains his place as the right-winger, while Jack Grealish has been given the nod over Jeremy Doku to start on the left side of the attack.

Erling Haaland is the final piece of he puzzle, hoping to finally open his scoring account in this fixture in his fourth attempt.

Confirmed City XI: Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodri; Foden, Bernardo, de Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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