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Opponent watch: Key Real Betis duo set to miss La Liga clash vs Real Madrid



Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

While Real Madrid’s total focus is on the upcoming El Clasico against Barcelona in a few hours, they have another hugely important fixture coming up at the weekend in La Liga, where they face Real Betis.

Indeed, following their Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg contest against Barça, the Merengues will be taking on Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis away at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Sunday evening.

The Verdiblancos are fifth in La Liga currently and will pose a stern challenge to Carlo Ancelotti’s men, especially in their own backyard.

However, Real Madrid have received a boost ahead of that contest on Sunday as Betis are set to be without two of their key players in Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales.

Indeed, as per reports from AS, the Seville-based club will have to make do without the services of both of their influential attacking midfielders for the game against Real Madrid on Sunday night.

Fekir suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and will not play again this season. The 29-year-old has played 20 times for Betis this term, contributing with six goals and three assists and his absence is bound to hurt the home team this weekend.

Meanwhile, former Real Madrid ace Canales picked up a hamstring injury earlier this week and will not recover in time for the game against Los Merengues.

The 32-year-old is another influential figure in Pellegrini’s side and has turned out 28 times this season, chipping in with six goals and two assists.

The duo’s absence from Sunday’s clash is certain to come as a boost for Real Madrid, who will be keen on avoiding any more slip-ups in the league as they are already seven points behind leaders Barcelona.

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Real Madrid News

Canadian international says playing against Luka Modric was a ‘lesson’ for him



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are blessed to have the services and loyalty of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The duo have run the show in the Merengues’ midfield for close to a decade and continue to deliver flawless performances to date.

Of the two, however, it is the Croatian who deserves the higher credit. The veteran is now 37 years of age, yet dominates the middle of the park with grace and poise like none other.

Stephen Estuaqio, an FC Porto player and Canada International, spoke earlier this week about why he considered Luka Modric to be a special player and compared him with Kevin de Bruyne to support his stance.

“I played against De Bruyne, but I ran behind Modrić. I couldn’t play against him. It’s crazy how he dictates the game and controls everything. It was a lesson for me,” he said on The 90th minute on Youtube.

With his contract running out next season, Real Madrid are looking to renew his deal by one year come June. Yet, it is difficult to see him continue beyond next season and his imminent departure will mark the end of an era at the club.

Thus, Modric could be an altered role come next season. With a young midfielder, possibly Jude Bellingham set to arrive, the veteran could move into a mentorship role with the occasional appearance in big games.

This season, however, Carlo Ancelotti will continue to use him as one of the backbones of the side and deploy the maestro in the must-win fixtures coming up later this month.

At 37 years of age, Modric has started 16 La Liga games over 24 appearances this season in the competition. He has scored four goals and provided three assists in that process in addition to creating eight big chances with an average of 1.8 key passes per game.

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