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Real Madrid defender close to returning from injury, but could miss Espanyol clash



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

According to reports from MARCA, Ferland Mendy is close to returning to action for Real Madrid. The Frenchman has overcome his fitness setbacks, but will likely not be back in time to face Espanyol at the weekend.

Mendy could be available for Real Madrid’s midweek clash against Liverpool and will almost certainly be fit for El Clasico next weekend.

The Frenchman has been on the sidelines since the Merengues’ 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid in January. Ancelotti was forced to replace the left-back in the quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey, and the initial prognosis stated that he would miss six weeks.

In his absence, Real Madrid were forced to use Eduardo Camavinga as a left-back before David Alaba returned from injury to take over duties. On other occasions, it was Nacho Fernandez who started in the position.

Mendy came under immense criticism in the first part of the season with many pointing fingers at him as the weak link in the Real Madrid setup. While his defensive numbers are undeniably positive, his contributions in the final third seemed unsatisfactory.

However, six weeks on the sidelines may have done the player a world of good. There is now a sense of realisation over Mendy’s importance in the team as he is the only natural left-back available in the team.

It remains to be seen if Ancelotti rushes the player back for the second leg against Liverpool or conservatively brings him in for the Clasico. In a situation where Vinicius Jr has been struggling down the left flank, one would hope that Mendy’s return unlocks the Brazilian and allows him to free his wings.

The 27-year-old has started 14 La Liga games for Real Madrid this season and had racked up one assist in the process. He has overseen two clean sheets and averages close to seven defensive actions per game.

With Fran Garcia set to come in and compete for the left-back spot next season, Mendy must look to bounce back strong.

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Real Madrid News

‘Give everything to win’ – Real Madrid UCL hero ready for Barcelona challenge



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Andriy Lunin was Real Madrid’s main protagonist in the club’s narrow win over Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Lunin is going to be in focus once again as Real Madrid brace themselves for another important encounter against Barcelona.

Speaking ahead of this crucial tie, Lunin talked about how Real Madrid will put the title race to an end if they can secure a win over Barça.

Lunin on Barcelona – Real Madrid clash

“It is clear that Clásico is a very important match. We are all clear that winning this Sunday can almost solve the League,” Lunin told TVE (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

“We have prepared ourselves in the best possible way to take three points, which are very important.”

Real Madrid are indeed heading into this game with a solid eight-point lead over Barcelona in the league table.

A win this evening could help them extend that gap to 11 points, effectively ruling Barça out of the title race.

Lunin is focused ahead of the Barcelona tie (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid have attained an excellent record against Barcelona of late. Lunin, though, believes past encounters do not matter in a Clasico.

“In a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona the things that have happened are forgotten and everyone is concentrating,” the Ukrainian added.

Lunin went on to talk about Real Madrid’s gruelling schedule, with the Spanish giants coming on the back of a 120-minute encounter against Man City.

“It is true that last stretch of the season is very demanding. The team played 120 minutes in Manchester, it was good to suffer and overcome difficulties. Now we have Barça at home, with our people and we have no choice but to give everything to win,” he said.

Lunin also talked about his watered-down celebration following his penalty heroics against Man City, adding, “I am a quiet and rather shy person, but within me, I had tremendous joy. I already said after the game that I was the happiest person in the world.”

Finally, the goalkeeper was asked about his future at Real Madrid, with his current deal at Santiago Bernabeu expiring in 2025.

“Real Madrid has been a dream since I was little, but now it is time for the most important games of the season and we have to be focused because we have to get the best result from what we have left. Then we will talk about the papers (contract) and other things,” he concluded.

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