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Real Madrid duo set to be beaten by Messi and Martinez at FIFA Best Awards



Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

After releasing the finalists’ list for the FIFA Best Awards earlier this month, football’s top governing body is set to host a ceremony on Monday, February 27 to crown the winners.

Heading into the gala in Paris, a recent report from ABC (h/t Madrid Xtra) has claimed that Emiliano Martinez is leading the race to be crowned as the FIFA Best Goalkeeper ahead of Real Madrid superstar Thibaut Courtois.

Courtois, along with Martinez and Yassine Bounou were the three final candidates to win the coveted award from FIFA.

All three goalkeepers had enjoyed an excellent 2022, with Courtois, in particular, retaining his status as one of the best goalkeepers in world football, if not the best. Bounou, too, made some important developmental strides at Sevilla while helping Morocco reach the World Cup semifinal.

But it is Martinez who looks set to bag the FIFA Best Goalkeeper award, largely thanks to his inspiring performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The former Arsenal star was one of the best performers for an Argentina side that scripted history by becoming the first South American team to win the World Cup since Brazil in 2002. He was subsequently awarded the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Martinez is now set to bag the FIFA Best Goalkeeper award in Paris on Monday. Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard Mendy had won the 2021 edition of the award, ahead of Courtois.

The Belgian is not the only Real Madrid player likely to be snubbed on Monday either. Former Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is also expected to win FIFA Men’s Best Player award, ahead of Karim Benzema.

The prestigious award was won by Robert Lewandowski last year, but is now likely to be won by Messi, whose tremendous performances at the World Cup helped Argentina triumph for the first time since 1986.

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Real Madrid News

Manchester City join race to sign €40 million-rated Real Madrid target



Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Manchester City have now joined the ever-growing list of admirers for Celta Vigo midfielder and Real Madrid target Gabri Veiga, reports Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.

The 20-year-old midfielder has emerged as one of the breakout stars of La Liga this season, having impressed with his goalscoring abilities from the centre of the park. Indeed, the youngster has notched up nine goals in La Liga and his exploits have made the giants of Europe sit up and take notice.

Real Madrid are said to be interested in Veiga’s services heading into the summer. The Merengues have Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Dani Ceballos on expiring contracts and it is unlikely that all three will be renewed, especially with Jude Bellingham being on the agenda.

In case of Modric and Kroos, even if they stay, it will likely be for only a season at the most. Hence, Los Blancos could require more than one central midfielder come summer, with Veiga emerging as an option.

The 20-year-old was also attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid. Now, Manchester City have also jumped on the bandwagon of clubs interested in Veiga’s services.

The Cityzens, who are battling Real Madrid for Bellingham as well, are set to lose Ilkay Gundogan in the summer when his contract expires. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva’s future is also far from certain, thus necessitating the signing of another midfielder.

Veiga has a release clause worth €40 million in his contract with Celta Vigo, which should not be a problem for either Real Madrid or Manchester City.

Celta Vigo president Carlos Mourino recently admitted that the midfielder could leave the club in the summer, saying:

“We don’t want to sell Gabri Veiga, but they are going to buy him from us. And we can’t do anything there. We know some of his offers and it is impossible to reach them.

“There are several teams behind Gabri. Real Madrid? They haven’t asked us, we don’t know if they will have called the player. Of the top 10 in the Premier League, four have asked about him.”

It will certainly be interesting to see whether Real Madrid are prepared to go all out for Veiga’s signing or decide to entirely focus on their pursuit of Bellingham.

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