Real Madrid will be locking horns with Liverpool in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Coming into the game with a healthy first-leg lead thanks to a 5-2 win at Anfield, Los Blancos have a foot through the doors to the quarter-finals.
However, Carlo Ancelotti & co. cannot afford to take Liverpool lightly, despite the fact that the Reds head into tomorrow’s contest on the back of a 1-0 defeat to AFC Bournemouth.
Ahead of the game, manager Ancelotti has released the squad list that will be available for the match against Jurgen Klopp’s side tomorrow.
And the big news is that superstar striker and club captain Karim Benzema is back in the squad after missing the weekend clash against Espanyol due to an ankle problem.
Meanwhile, left-back Ferland Mendy also makes a return to the roster after over a month out on the sidelines due to injury.
However, David Alaba remains unavailable for selection for Ancelotti against Liverpool, with the Austrian still recovering from the injury he picked up at Anfield. Youngster Alvaro Rodriguez once again gets a call-up to the first-team roster.
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.