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Opponent watch: Valencia boosted by the return of key star ahead of Real Madrid game



Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to take on Valencia this evening, with coach Carlo Ancelotti seeking three points that will help the team consolidate their position at the top of the league table.

On the other hand, Valencia are heading into this game desperately needing a win, having secured only one victory in the last four league matches.

As Valencia look to pose a fight for the European places, three points against Real Madrid could go a long way in aiding their campaign.

While Valencia’s form in recent weeks has not been particularly impressive, coach Ruben Baraja does have something to cheer about heading into the Real Madrid contest.

Valencia boosted by return of Andre Almeida

As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Valencia will be boosted by the return of Andre Almeida heading into the Real Madrid game.

Almeida is one of the most important elements in the Valencia midfield, having enjoyed immense success since joining the club in the summer of 2022.

The Portuguese, though, had his season marred by injuries this term. Following an appearance against Real Betis in early October, he picked up a muscle injury that has kept him out on the sidelines for five months.

Andre Almeida is a crucial outlet in Valencia midfield (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

But Almeida is now back in contention and is hoping to make his first appearance of 2024 against Real Madrid this evening.

How Almeida will aid Valencia

The return of Almeida should go a long way in shoring up Ruben Baraja’s options in the middle of the park.

Almeida is a versatile operator in the middle of the park, who can play a variety of roles and can be an excellent outlet in the second line of press.

It must also be noted that coach Baraja may also be boosted by the return of Thierry Rendall and Diego Lopez, who is likely to play with a mask on after a suffering a cheekbone fracture against Almeria.

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Real Madrid News

PSG president wanted Real Madrid to bear Mbappe’s €80 million loyalty bonus



Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

It is only a matter of days before Kylian Mbappe is officially confirmed as a Real Madrid player.

The French superstar announced his departure from PSG as a free agent recently and even though nothing is official yet, everything points to him arriving at the Spanish capital club.

An official announcement and presentation are expected to take place sometime before the UEFA Euro 2024 starts.

While the move is all but done, it appears that PSG, in particular president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are left with a bitter taste over Mbappe’s imminent exit.

Al-Khelaifi wanted Real Madrid to pay €80 million

As has already been reported, Al-Khelaifi tried to convince Mbappe to snub Real Madrid by presenting various arguments which had no effect.

Now, French publication L’Equipe has brought forth a report which claims that the PSG president simply cannot accept the fact that Mbappe is joining Real Madrid for free.

And things are now happening behind the scenes which suggest that the Frenchman’s departure will be far from smooth and amicable.

Indeed, as per the report, PSG have not paid Mbappe his salary for the month of April as well as an additional bonus he was due.

This is because of the €80 million loyalty bonus payment that the club had made to the France captain back in February, even though he had waived it off after deciding not to renew his contract.

Headed for an ugly split with PSG. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

In August 2023, after he was frozen out of the team for refusing to extend his contract, Mbapp agreed to give up his loyalty bonus so that PSG do not suffer a huge financial hit as a result of his leaving as a free agent this summer.

However, Al Khelaifi made a U-turn and granted Mbappe the loyalty bonus in February this year, with the caveat that Real Madrid cover the €80 million as compensation for the 25-year-old leaving for free.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, however, refused that demand as he deemed that it was completely out of the question, as the La Liga champions are not obligated to pay for a player who will be out of contract in a few weeks.

A complete breakdown

Things have not been well between Mbappe and Al-Khelaifi ever since the player informed him of his decision to leave PSG.

The report suggests that the pair are no longer on speaking terms and that lawyers are involved in trying to resolve the matter of the unpaid dues.

PSG are looking for written confirmation that their all-time top scorer will waive the €80 million, which he had agreed to in the past, only for the club to make the payment.

As for Mbappe, he wants the money he is owed as part of his salary which was not paid in April.

Al-Khelaifi has not had the best relation with Perez either and this development further escalates the situation.

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