The champions are back in business. Real Madrid get ready to defend their La Liga crown as they travel to Estadio del Mediterraneo to lock horns against the newly-promoted UD Almeria tomorrow.
Ahead of the game, Carlo Ancelotti has pretty much the entire squad present at his disposal. All three goalkeepers – Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, and Luis Lopez make the cut.
The defence is nearly completely fit as well, with only Daniel Carvajal missing from the squad. Alvaro Odriziola is also included, despite being linked with a move away. New signing Antonio Rudiger will also travel, but his starting spot is still in the air.
There are five central midfielders in the squad, including Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric, Dani Ceballos, and Federico Valverde, alongside Aurelien Tchouameni and Casemiro available as defensive midfielders.
Mariano Diaz has been included, as well, even though his future at Santiago Bernabeu is bleak as of now. Rodrygo and Jesus Reinier are the only first-team player missing from the travelling team.
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.