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Real Madrid icon the toughest striker he has ever faced, claims Barcelona mainstay



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

Despite their rivalry with Barcelona, the Real Madrid dressing room is said to have immense respect for their defender Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan international has been one of the biggest thorns for Los Blancos in recent Clasicos but his professionalism is said to be admired in Madrid.

With El Clasico scheduled to kick off later this week, the defender was interviewed by Movistar Plus about the grandstand fixture.

During the same interview, he was asked about the most difficult striker he had ever faced, to which he named a Real Madrid player.

“Karim Benzema,” Araujo said when quizzed about the toughest striker he had come face-to-face against in his career.

Considering that the French striker has scored three goals in his last five official Clasicos, the centre-back’s choice is understandable. While Araujo may have faced a tough time against Benzema in recent clashes, one would more often find the Uruguayan to be facing Vinicius Jr at right-back.

Since Xavi began his new strategy of deploying the youngster at right-back, the Brazilian winger has found it difficult to shine against Barcelona. In their most recent meeting, Vinicius could not manage a single shot on target.

The clash at Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday will be critical for the La Liga race. A Barcelona win would extend the Catalans’ lead to 12 points atop the standings. That figure could reduce to six on the night if the Merengues can pick up a victory.

The 24-year-old missed the Catalans’ last clash through suspension as he picked up a red card against Valencia on Matchday 24. With his one-game ban out of the way, he will return for the next league game.

The battle between Ronald Araujo and Real Madrid’s duo of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr will be a massive factor on Sunday. It remains to be seen what plan Carlo Ancelotti has in mind to combat the Barcelona defender.

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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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