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Rayo Vallecano manager claims key absences will affect Real Madrid in tonight’s clash



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Rayo Vallecano coach Andoni Iraola has assessed Real Madrid’s current situation ahead of matchday 13 of the La Liga 2022-23 season, saying that absence of key players like Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos will hurt the defending champions a big time.

Both Benzema and Kroos have been left out of the travelling squad that face Rayo tonight at Estadio de Vallecas. The former played his part in the 5-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League, but missed training ahead of the game, meaning that he is not match-fit.

Kroos, on the other hand, is suspended from the game after picking up the first red card of his career against Girona in the 1-1 draw. Apart from the duo, Antonio Rudiger is also set to miss the trip after picking up a knock in the buildup for the Rayo game.

Reacting to Real Madrid’s troubles, Iraola analysed: “Benzema’s absence affects them less because they’ve been without him for several games and the team is achieving a very high level of performance,” he was quoted as saying by MARCA.

He added, “Kroos’ absence is important because he gives them a lot of control, he is very intelligent and knows how to interpret football perfectly. Very difficult, but it’s good for us.”

Iraola also said that his team has a great chance to beat the defending champions and for that, he will make sure Carlo Ancelotti’s men do not play at their usual pace.

“We will have to do a lot of things well. We cannot let them play at the pace they want throughout the game. There will be moments when they will push you more, but we will have to pass them and take advantage of our good moments. The key is going to be not to make mistakes and to stay focused,” he said.

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Real Madrid News

Argentine manager in pole position for Real Madrid job if Ancelotti leaves



Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

According to a report from journalist Jorge C Picon, former Tottenham Hotspur and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is in pole position to become the next manager of Real Madrid, if Carlo Ancelotti leaves at the end of the season.

Ancelotti’s topic has become a topic of much debate and discussion over the past few weeks. The Italian tactician has a contract that runs until next year and has stated that he wishes to see it out.

However, the team’s failure to win any major title this season could end up spelling trouble or the 63-year-old. The La Liga title looks like a lost cause already while Real Madrid are in a disadvantageous position in Copa del Rey as well.

The UEFA Champions League remains Ancelotti’s best bet to win a trophy this season. Should he do so, the Italian could continue at Real Madrid or even possibly sign a new contract extension.

But, failure to land the trophy could end his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu and Pochettino is said to be the frontrunner for the position in that case.

The Argentine is currently unemployed after being sacked by PSG in July last year. The 51-year-old did not have the most memorable of stints in Paris but his stock has not diminished in the Real Madrid offices, who had considered appointing him once before as well.

Thomas Tuchel was also a candidate for Real Madrid and talks were also held with him. But, the club informed him that if Ancelotti won the UCL, he would stay on, which played a part in the German signing for Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, club legend Raul Gonzalez, who is currently the manager of Real Madrid Castilla, is also a candidate, but is seen only as Plan B, with Pochettino very much the frontrunner at this point.

A lot will depend on how the rest of the season pans out and whether Ancelotti is able to lead Real Madrid to back-to-back Champions League triumphs.

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