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Pep Guardiola backs Real Madrid to defend Champions League crown



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As Real Madrid kickstart their Champions League campaign against Celtic on Tuesday night, all eyes are on the reigning champions to see if they can defend their crown.

Naturally, there are sceptics aplenty about the Spanish side’s prospects to win the competition again, considering they remain the only side in European history to reign supreme on successive occasions. However, Pep Guardiola still tips Los Blancos to get the job done this season.

“If there is a favourite for the Champions League, it has to be Real Madrid, because they always win. But I think many teams are up there. Liverpool, Bayern, Barcelona, all the English teams, PSG”, he said (h/t Madrid Zone), ahead of his side’s upcoming clash against Sevilla.

Ultimately, it is next to impossible to disagree with the Manchester City boss, with Real Madrid winning the Champions League four out of the last nine times.

Never has a team in the history of the competition had such a stranglehold over the tournament as the side from the Spanish capital.

While some claimed that the 14-time European champions rode their luck in certain phases last term, it is undeniable that the club’s heritage in the continental competition gives them an edge over the rest of their competitors.

Staging stupendous comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, before digging deep to walk away with a 1-0 victory in the final against Liverpool, Los Merengues proved once again that they are simply a different breed in Europe.

With an expert in how to win the competition in Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, the additions of top players such as Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni and the squad’s collective desire to defend their title, it would be silly not to agree with Pep Guardiola’s call.

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Real Madrid News

Harry Kane’s signing could complicate Real Madrid’s plan to sign Erling Haaland in 2024



Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Those sitting in the Real Madrid offices are aware that the team needs an emergency number 9. In this context, manager Carlo Ancelotti has already affirmed that they are working on some targets, although he decided not to reveal any names.

Now, what makes this operation trickier is that Madrid already have Erling Haaland on their agenda. The Manchester City forward is billed for the summer of 2024, meaning that any signing Madrid make this year will be extremely short-term.

A couple of days back, we reported that Ancelotti has made the signing of Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane his priority. The manager is of the idea that the England international will be the ideal candidate to provide competition to Benzema, whose physical fitness is now deteriorating.

As far as Kane is concerned, the Tottenham forward is rightly expected to leave and fellow Premier League side Manchester United happen to be interested in his acquisition as well.

It is not really difficult for Madrid to sign Kane, but the fact that Madrid already have Haaland in their plans is a problem, reports AS. At 29 years of age, Kane is not someone who would step down from his starting role when Haaland arrives. 

Add to it the continuity of Benzema is yet another issue. All this means there is a high possibility that if Kane arrives, the team will overbook the number 9 position.

At the moment, there is a parade of names that Madrid are following, namely, Goncalo Ramos, Dusan Vlahovic and even Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but nothing is certain at the moment.

What Madrid need is a short-term option, someone who is either willing to settle for a secondary role, even when Benzema leave/retires or is ready to come on a season-long loan to cover the position until Madrid sign Haaland in 2024. Either way, Harry Kane does not fit the bill.

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