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Pep Guardiola says injured star defender could get minutes as he considers Real Madrid clash ‘a final’

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Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that key defender Kyle Walker could feature against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg tie at the Etihad.

The England international has been absent for City even since picking up an injury during the recent international break. 

The full-back also missed the first-leg encounter at the Bernabeu, but Guardiola has mentioned that he might get a few minutes of action this Wednesday.

“Kyle Walker feels much better, maybe he can help with minutes against Real Madrid because it’s a final,” the City manager was quoted by Fabrizio Romano.

Guardiola added that he does not want to take any risk with Walker, meaning that the player’s sensations will determine his availability for the home leg.

“But I don’t want to lose him for a long time… we will decide in the next few days,” he added.

A key to stop Madrid’s attack

Kyle Walker is expected to get a few minutes against Real Madrid. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

When Walker is in top form, he is a surefire choice to face Real Madrid. However, since he is only recovering from a hamstring injury, things are a bit different. 

Manchester City and Guardiola won’t want to take any chances with their captain, fearing that there is a chance of a major relapse. 

Nonetheless, Walker’s skills are perfectly suited to neutralize Real Madrid’s attacking prowess, especially Vinicius Jr. The two have put on a great show in the past two seasons, but the last outing missed this exciting contest.

As such, keep an eye on this intriguing subplot as we approach Wednesday night’s showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

As for Real Madrid, manager Carlo Ancelotti is expected to recall Vinicius, Rodrygo, Dani Carvajal, and Toni Kroos to the starting XI after they were rested against Mallorca. 

However, they are facing a decision in defence, as Antonio Rudiger might pair up with anyone from Nacho, Eder Militao, or Aurelien Tchouameni.

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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