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Real Madrid – Manchester City ‘combined XI’ ahead of Champions League clash



Photo by DAVE THOMPSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Two of the biggest names in world football at the moment are set to go head-to-head in a mouthwatering clash in the UEFA Champions League semifinals.

Real Madrid and Manchester City have an indisputable amount of pedigree flowing through their squads across every position. And if a combined XI was to be made with the two rosters, the result would be a team with frightening quality.

Let us take a look at a hypothetical combined XI consisting of the best players from each side.


Thibaut Courtois

An incredibly tough choice, as Ederson and Thibaut Courtois, are two of the best keepers in the world. It comes down to weighing up the pros and cons of the system.

So, while Ederson fits the Man City system so well due to his impeccable distribution, if this team were to choose a goalkeeper down to pure shot-stopping ability, Thibaut Courtois gets in ahead of the Brazilian.

Massive presence. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Few keepers have been as reliable as the Belgian when it comes to saves or thwarting attackers in 1-v-1 scenarios.

This season (per fbref and in their respective leagues) Courtois has faced 107 shots, saving 79 of them with a save percentage of 74.8%, while Ederson has saved 50 shots out of the 72 he has faced with a percentage of 72.2%.


Kyle Walker – Ruben Dias – Eder Militao – Joao Cancelo

At left-back, there can be no qualms about the selection of Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese has arguably been the best left-back in the world this season, and arguably one of the most efficient players in the world in general.

Cancelo has three goals and nine assists from left-back this season across all competitions, making him a major threat going forward, and his recovery pace is a huge asset while defending.

Complete. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

At centre-back, there is a lot to choose from. David Alaba, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are all very accomplished in their own right, but Ruben Dias and Eder Militao make the perfect duo to marshal the backline.

With Dias’ brilliant spatial awareness, strength and tackling ability he is undroppable in this team, just as he is in Pep Guardiola’s City setup. Militao, on the other hand, brings brilliant aerial ability, pace and youthful aggression to perfectly complement his CB partner.

On the right side, Kyle Walker slots in comfortably. Having established himself as one of the most solid fullbacks in the world ever since moving to Manchester City, his incredible speed and tirelessness round out a very balanced backline.


Kevin De Bruyne – Toni Kroos – Luka Modric

Modric and Kroos have been one of the most revered midfield partnerships of this generation. The Real Madrid duo can rightfully stake a claim as two of the best midfielders of all time.

Modric’s footwork and ludicrous creativity gives the Ballon d’Or winner a nailed-on spot in this combined XI.

Oozing class. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Although Casemiro is in with a shout of being in this side as well, ignoring a player as intelligent as Kroos who can manage the game with his technique and smart decision-making is very difficult. Not to mention, he is not afraid to work hard and get his hands dirty sometimes.

In the final midfield spot comes the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is arguably the best midfielder in the world at the moment and has consistently been in that discussion for the past few years.

His technical ability is not up for debate, but to go with it, he brings incredible energy to the team with a willingness to run hard and proactively make things happen.

De Bruyne is always scanning his surroundings and his low crosses or line-breaking through passes are sights to behold. Not to mention, of the midfielders mentioned so far, he has the sharpest eye for goals and the ability to get them.


Riyad Mahrez – Karim Benzema – Vinicius Jr

Two tricky wingers and a lethal centre-forward make the perfect recipe for an attacking trio.

Mahrez jumps to mind immediately as a goal-scoring right-winger with a delightful first touch. He is the obvious candidate for the right flank, with his flair and eye for goal. The Algerian has 22 goals across all competitions this season.

Vinicius Junior comes in on the left side after a tremendous season for the Brazilian. His stint at Real Madrid started off slow, and he was seen as a diamond in the rough, particularly due to his woes with finishing.

However, Vini has truly come into his own this season. His dazzling speed and quick feet are a nightmare to deal with for any defender.

To complement that, he seems to have resolved his confidence issues in front of goal, and has been providing assists for fun. His haul of 17 goals and 14 assists in all competitions is nothing short of spectacular.

And finally, we have Karim Benzema. At 34, he has been in spectacular form and is arguably the best player in the world at the moment. The Frenchman is joint second in the race for the European Golden Boot and is running away in the La Liga top scorer charts.

In a class of his own. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

His movement, finishing and creativity to boot, make him an incredibly dangerous striker with an air of inevitability every time he takes to the pitch. Any chance, no matter how small, on his right foot, left foot or head, can turn into a goal.

City’s own midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also said that Benzema could win the Ballon d’Or this year. In this kind of form, it is hard to argue.

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MU Shorts

Five summer transfer operations that Real Madrid are currently working on



With renewed energy, Real Madrid approach the summer transfer window oozing optimism. The air in the Spanish capital is filled with anticipation as Los Blancos prepare to embark on a new chapter — one that promises to bring numerous changes and opportunities.

Following the exits of several high profile names, with the most recent departure of Karim Benzema leaving a gargantuan void in the front-line, Madrid are necessitated to act swiftly in the window. They are reportedly set to prepare for a revolutionary summer.

Currently, Los Blancos maintain emphasis on five operations that hold priority. These are as follows:

Jude Bellingham

The English starboy with the world at his feet continues to be one of football’s hottest commodities. Bellingham has amassed considerable interest from Europe’s top sides, but appears to be closest to striking a deal with Real Madrid.

While the player had no shortage of suitors, his desire to play for the Royal Whites has given Madrid a very realistic chance of obtaining the teenage sensation’s signature.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid aspire to complete details of Jude Bellingham’s deal next week. Talks are in the final stages, with add-ons as well as the €100m fixed fee to BVB.

In spite of his high price tag, Bellingham has bedazzled at the tender age of 19, having also won the Bundesliga player of the season. Strengthening the squad with a talent as renowed as him is bound to engender energy in the midfield department next season.

Harry Kane

Karim Benzema’s exit has given rise to several top class strikers being linked with Madrid, but Kane’s name stands out most remarkably. The English forward enjoyed a spectacular season with Tottenham Hotspur, despite the club’s collective shortcomings.

Los Blancos face a whopping price tag of €120 million due to the player’s significance for Spurs, but possess an edge in negotiations, owing to the absence of a direct domestic conflict.

According to Jose Felix Diaz, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is willing to let Harry Kane leave, as long as his next destination is outside of England.

Kane has established himself as one of the world’s most demanded forwards. Interest from Real Madrid particularly makes sense, with how many stylistic similarities he possesses with Benzema.

The forward is adept at dropping deep and linking plays, while also possesses an incredible eye for goal. Kane ended the Premier League season as the second top scorer, scoring 30.

Kai Havertz

Havertz closing in on Madrid move. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The German international appears to already have one foot in the Spanish capital. Havertz has garnered great interest from Perez, who will be tasked with filling a barren front-line, where Rodrygo and Vinicius are the only two forwards remaining at the club.

The 23 year old was signed by a grand figure of €80 million, but failed to live up to expectations. With a difficult period at the English club, Chelsea would not present much resistance if an adequate offer is presented.

However, Chelsea are reportedly demanding Madrid to put a figure of around €60 million to sign Havertz, which by no means is an amount the Merengues throw around lightly.

Still, Havertz has proven to be a talented youngster when the conditions favour him. At Bayer Leverkusen, he soared to incredible heights. The player is also well acquainted with the German players in Madrid’s squad, which will ease the adaptation process.

Alphonso Davies

While Madrid yearn to reconstruct most of their attack, the club have not abandoned the defensive side of the squad and particularly appear interested in bolstering the left-back position, where Davies has emerged as a potential signing.

As Ferland Mendy faces an almost imminent departure or, at the very least, a demotion in the pecking order, Davies looks to be the chosen one to reinforce the area.

The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the world’s most productive full-backs as he has undeniably proven to be one of the Bavarians’ main assets.

According to Spanish outlet MARCA, Madrid have contacted the German side in hopes of sealing a deal. The reported figure is expected to exceed €60-70 million.

Moreover, Alphonso Davies has dual citizenship, Canadian & Liberian and with the Cotonou agreement, he doesn’t take a NON-EU slot in the squad. 


Joselu has been one of the most mentioned links with Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window. As Madrid are willing to especially beef up their attacking depth, the Espanyol man would prove to be a solid buy.

After bidding farewell to Mariano and Asensio, the need for a reliable back-up striker exists in the squad. In such a context, Joselu would aid the depth department.

The Spaniard ended the league season as the third top scorer, securing an impressive 16 goals. Despite Espanyol’s relegation, he looked to be one of the few bright spots in a struggling side.

To successfully reinforce the squad, Real Madrid aim to create a formidable lineup capable of competing at the highest level. They are targeting both established stars and young individuals, believing that a blend of experience and potential will formulate a well-rounded squad.

Following a bucketload of player exits as well as failures in La Liga and Champions League, the club believe a transformative phase is essential to move forward.

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