Real Madrid were dealt a major blow earlier in the campaign when Karim Benzema picked up a thigh injury. The forward, one of the favorites to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or award, was subsequently ruled out for a few weeks.
However, Real Madrid have coped well with the absence of Benzema, with the likes of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo coming to the fore.
But the lack of an alternative for Benzema remains a major issue for Real Madrid, especially with Mariano Diaz having no prominence in the first team. The former Lyon starlet is even set to depart the club in the near future.
In light of all this, Carlo Ancelotti has been criticized for not giving priority to the younger players in the academy, with many urging the coach to call up some of the top performers from the Real Madrid Castilla squad.
However, reacting to the issue, Castilla manager Raul has heaped praise on Ancelotti, suggesting that the senior team coach is aware of all the players in the subsidiary squad.
“Ancelotti knows about all the players here (Castilla),” said Raul (h/t MARCA). “It is very positive for the boys to see that we are all united: the first team, Castilla, with Ancelotti, with Davide…,” the Real Madrid legend added.
A host of Castilla starlets are already making a case for earning promotion to the senior side lately. The list involves the likes of Sergio Arribas, Rafa Marin, Carlos Dotor, and Peter, among many others.
As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see whether any of these youngsters can make a breakthrough into the first team.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.