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Real Madrid defender close to returning from injury, but will miss El Clasico



Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

According to reports from MARCA, Real Madrid’s Ferland Mendy is close to returning to action after spending close to a month on the sidelines. He will not return in time for the Merengues‘ clash against Barcelona on Thursday but could feature as early as the weekend.

The Frenchman went off injured in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinal of the Copa Del Rey late in January.

Consequently, he was forced to sit on the sidelines for the team’s next nine games including the Club World Cup, the Champions League clash at Anfield and the league game against Atletico Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti was forced to dive deep into his resources to compensate for the left-back’s absence given that the manager does not have a like-for-like replacement in the department.

Initially, it was Eduardo Camavinga who took over duties as a surprise candidate. The midfielder did well to fill the void but was slowly phased out by David Alaba who has past experience playing at left-back.

Most recently, it was Nacho Fernandez who played in the position against Los Rojiblancos given the Austrian’s absence through injury.

Mendy’s imminent return, needless to say, comes as a massive boost for Ancelotti who will finally have his first-choice left-back back under his command. However, the manager must still look towards Nacho for the upcoming Clasico at least.

The 27-year-old has played 17 league games for Real Madrid this season and has provided one assist in the process. Further, he averages close to seven defensive actions per game and has overseen two clean sheets.

Mendy has come under pressure this season for his declining contributions in the final third. Once back in action later in the month, the Frenchman will look to overturn that school of thought with his performances.

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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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