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Raul talks Benzema, Lewandowski, Barcelona, El Clasico, managerial future



Ahead of the first El Clasico of the 2022/23 season, Real Madrid legend and Castilla manager Raul Gonzalez has heaped praise on Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.

Real Madrid and Barcelona lock horns against each other later this week at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the top spot in the La Liga table on the line.

The game will also see two of the most prolific strikers in Europe come face to face as Real Madrid captain Benzema locks horns with Barcelona ace Lewandowski.

While Benzema won the Pichichi Award for most goals scored in La Liga last season, Lewandowski has emerged as the early favourite for the trophy in the ongoing campaign.

And ahead of their meeting on Sunday, Raul has stated that the two are the best strikers in the game currently, along with Manchester City superstar and Real Madrid target Erling Haaland.

“They are possibly the best strikers, along with Haaland. They are the ones who have the most scoring ability and contribute the most to their teams,” Raul said (h/t SPORT).

Raul further hailed Lewandowski, claiming that he was a great signing for La Liga as a whole. However, he added that he hopes Benzema comes out on top in the battle between the two on Sunday at the Bernabeu.

“Lewandowski is a great signing for La Liga, he is showing his quality. But I hope that the battle of scorers on Sunday will be won by Benzema,” he added.

Talking about the forms of both teams heading into the Clasico, Raul said that Barcelona’s injuries were a cause for concern in defence, although he insisted that they were doing a good job with the players they have.

As for the importance of the game, he said: “I see it as a very exciting game, as always . They both arrive with the same points. Too early, because it’s in October. Whoever wins will be able to come out stronger mentally.

“It will be a very demanding game and Real Madrid, playing at home and being with their people, they could be the favourites,” Raul said.

“All the players are good, they are international. I think they have top squads with high-quality players. We are all looking forward to Sunday, but first there is the Champions League , which are two important games that they have before,” he added.

On his favourite El Clasico memory, Raul said: “I have been lucky enough to play many and score goals. Possibly I would keep the first of my career, with Valdano in 94. We won 5-0 after months before It was the other way around.

“On a personal level, I’ve had good performances , also average or bad. They are always special games that a player is always looking forward to.”

Talking about the iconic image of the silencing gesture he made to the Camp Nou crowd after scoring, Raul said: “These are things that happened at that time. Many Madridistas are very happy with that image. I’m happy but within codes of respect that have always been there.”

Opening up on his relationship with Barcelona and their players in the past, the Castilla manager stated:

“The relationship I have always had with Barcelona players and with the club has been very good. They are part of what football is, of what that moment of tension is and of wanting to do things well. It is an image that will remain for history.”

On his desire to coach Real Madrid in a fixture like El Clasico, he added: “I would like to but now I am very happy where I am, working with my boys.

“I am happy and I am going to enjoy it as a fan, with the desire that we get those three points that will not define anything but will give more confidence and morale to the winner.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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