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Official: Real Madrid’s schedule for the Champions League group stage



Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In a little under two weeks, the group stages of the UEFA Champions League will kick off and champions Real Madrid will begin the defence of their European crown.

The defending champions of Europe have been drawn in Group F along with familiar foes Shakhtar Donetsk, Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig and Scottish champions Celtic.

And UEFA has now released the official schedule for the group stages of the Champions League which is set to begin on September 6.

Real Madrid will kickstart their journey in the continental competition against Celtic away from home, which will come only a few days after a tricky La Liga clash against Real Sociedad at home.

A week later, Los Blancos will lock horns with RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu on September 14, which will only be days before the derby against Atletico Madrid, post which teams will fly off on the international break.

Upon return from the two-week break, Real Madrid will face Shakhtar Donetsk in their third Champions League fixture on October 4, at home, before facing the Ukrainian giants away from home a week later on October 11.

Real Madrid’s penultimate fixture in the group stages of the Champions League will come against RB Leipzig on October 25 at the Red Bull Arena. They will finally bring an end to the first round of the continental competition with a home game versus Celtic on November 2.

Having lifted the trophy last season, the pressure will be on Carlo Ancelotti & co. to repeat the heroics again this time out. And while the draw might seem to easy on the paper, away trips to Leipzig, Shakhtar and Celtic could prove to be tricky affairs.

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Real Madrid News

U-turn? Benzema hints at Real Madrid stay during ceremony: “Reality is not the internet”



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

There has been a lot of talk around Karim Benzema’s situation over the course of the last week or so, with reports claiming that the Frenchman was on his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it was reported that Benzema was joining Al Ittihad as part of an incredible deal worth nearly €200 million. The striker was also offered 100% of his image rights and advertising deals by the Saudi government.

Over the last day or so, it has been reported that the move is all but official at the moment, as Benzema has accepted the offer, and will soon inform Real Madrid about it.

Benzema was awarded the MARCA Leyenda awards for contribution to sports today, and speaking during it, he dropped a rather cryptic message about his future – one that says quite the opposite to what has been in the news recently.

“Speak to the fans? Speak about what? Why should I speak of the future if I’m in Madrid?”, Benzema said.

“It’s the internet speaking, and reality is not the internet,” he added.

This certainly falls away from the departure line for Benzema, who was reportedly already contemplating his life away from Madrid.

At first, though, he was hesitant about speaking about his future, saying, “Staying or leaving Real Madrid? At the moment, I’m here…we have a game on Saturday.”

He repeatedly talked about the fans, calling them the best in world football. He also said, “I know how much Real Madrid fans love me. I feel that when I’m on the pitch, I give my best for them, always.”

“I always say that we play with 11 on the pitch but also with a crucial factor, Real Madrid fans,” Benzema concluded.

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