The UEFA Champions League draw this season has made the run into the final more interesting than ever.
On one side, the competition sees all of the perennial favourites fight it out for just one spot in the final. Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich are the four teams on the same side of the draw and three of them will bite the dust.
On the other hand, stand four relatively unconventional candidates when considering recent seasons of football. AC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, and Benfica stand together with the assurance that one of them will get to play the club football’s greatest game.
Earlier this week, Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas was asked who he thought would advance to the final. Keeping the draw in mind, he selected Real Madrid and an Italian opposition for the crowning game.
“Champions League final? I’d say Real Madrid vs Napoli,” he told DAZN Italy (h/t Madrid Xtra).
His prediction is not surprising, and in fact, has a great chance of coming true. The Naples-based side have been unstoppable all season and enter the competition as favourites to advance to the final.
28 games into the Serie A campaign, Napoli sit 16 points clear on the league standings and have scored a whopping 64 goals in the competition alone. On that front, they sit 20 and 21 points above the Rossoneri and the Nerazzuri respectively.
In fact, it is the men in white who have a more difficult run into the final. To get to the grandstand fixture, they will have to overcome Chelsea over two legs this month before taking on either Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City or Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich in the semifinal.
The first leg of the UCL quarterfinal will kick off next week. Given Chesea’s managerial crisis, the onus to capitalise is on Real Madrid.
Real Madrid may look to sell 24-year-old star if top target arrives in the summer – report
Real Madrid are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to assemble an even stronger squad for the upcoming campaign.
Kylian Mbappe and Alphonso Davies are the club’s top targets in that regard, for the two new signings will be regular starters and bonafide difference makers on the field for Los Blancos.
The latter, in particular, arrives to reinforce a position where none of Carlo Ancelotti’s current options are convincing. Fran Garcia and Ferland Mendy have both had their hiccups at the left-back position for Real Madrid, leaving the position open for Davies to take over.
A potential departure
As revealed by MARCA, Davies’ arrival next season will jeopardise Garcia’s importance in the team for the Canadian will be the manager’s first choice by a mile.
Moreover, Ancelotti is said to be in favour of renewing Mendy, implying that Garcia will practically be his third choice.
Come summer, Garcia could thus be sold if the club receive an offer that they can make money off. Considering that they shelled out €5 million last summer for his incorporation, any offer north of that mark could do the job.
In 18 appearances and 11 starts in La Liga this season, the 24-year-old has provided four assists for Los Blancos. Interestingly, he has started just one of Real Madrid’s last six games across all competitions.
As revealed earlier this week, Real Madrid have reached a verbal agreement with Alphonso Davies. An agreement with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee could be a difficult proposition, however.
As such, it is unclear if Los Blancos will make the move for Davies this summer at a subsidised fee or wait until next year when the player will be a free agent.
Garcia’s future, needless to say, depends on their plan of action on the Davies front.