The semifinals of the UEFA Champions League could not boast of a more exciting set of teams. In Machester City, Real Madrid and Liverpool, there are three genuine European giants in the running. The addition of Villarreal as the dark horse spices things up perfectly.
Los Blancos are set to go up against Manchester City for a place in the finals over two legs. The games are scheduled for the last week of April and the first week of May respectively.
Pep Guardiola, manager of the Premier League side, spoke about Karim Benzema earlier this week and did not hold back his admiration for the French striker.
“Benzema is exceptional, not only because of what he is doing now, but for what he has been doing for 10+ years at Real Madrid. He is not only a scorer, but is a fantastic all-round player. His career is phenomenal,” he said (h/t The Madrid Zone).
The comment becomes more relevant with the two teams set to face each other. City have only conceded 20 goals in 31 league games this season, boasting of one of Europe’s best defences.
Needless to say, it will take something special from Benzema to take Real Madrid through to the next round.
The French striker has been in unbelievable touch in recent weeks, more so in the Champions League. Benzema scored back-to-back hat-tricks against Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea before scoring the winning goal in the second leg against the latter.
In La Liga, he has scored 24 goals and provided 11 assists in just 27 starts.
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.