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Real Madrid set sights on 22-year-old standout Italian defender – report

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Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for FIGC

It is no secret that Real Madrid are looking to strengthen their defence following Nacho’s departure and while Leny Yoro is expected to be their first choice, reports from Mundo Deportivo suggest that Riccardo Calafiori has caught their attention too. 

This Italian defender has become a hot topic among many European teams, especially after his impressive display at the Euro 2024.

Calafiori’s standout moment came during the match against Croatia. In the dying moments of injury time, he assisted Mattia Zaccagni, who scored the equalising goal. 

This crucial goal secured a spot for the Italian team in the next stage of the tournament, while it spelt the end for Luka Modric’s Croatian team, which failed to rank among the top three third-placed teams in their group.

Interest in Calafiori is high

Currently playing for Bologna, Calafiori has been attracting interest from several top clubs. Juventus, now managed by Thiago Motta, who previously coached Calafiori at Bologna, is also keen on bringing him on board. 

Riccardo Calafiori is wanted by a lot of teams. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for FIGC)

At just 22 years old, Calafiori has already established himself as a key player under Luciano Spalletti. Having come up through the youth system at Roma, he has also played for Genoa and Basel, with Basel holding 40% of his federative rights.

Inside Bologna, there is a growing sentiment that retaining Calafiori will be a significant challenge. The club initially planned to keep the talented defender, but his rising stock and the increasing interest from bigger clubs have made this seem unlikely. 

As a result, Bologna are bracing itself for substantial offers for Calafiori.

While the Italian media discusses Real Madrid’s interest in Calafiori, the truth is that the Madrid club has a clear primary target for their next central defender: Leny Yoro, with whom they have an agreement in place

The young talent from Lille has shown a preference for Real Madrid’s offer over those from other top clubs like PSG and Manchester United and now, all that remains is for Real Madrid and Lille to negotiate the terms of the transfer.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid occupy second place in UEFA coefficient rankings, behind Manchester City

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Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images

With the 2024/25 season only a month away, UEFA have released the latest coefficient rankings for clubs and Real Madrid occupy the second position in the standings, behind Manchester City.

The new season removes the oldest of the five seasons that count towards the rankings from the overall tally and instead adds the one yet to be played, which is currently at zero because none of the big teams have played yet.

And, as like last year, Real Madrid continue to be in the second position behind Manchester City despite having won the UEFA Champions League in the campaign gone by.

With the elimination of points from the 2019/20 season, the ranking is altered to give value to the latest campaigns, but even so, Real Madrid are still unable to overtake City.

Source: UEFA

Pep Guardiola’s side have 123,000 points to Real Madrid’s 119,000 while Bayern Munich sit third with 108,000 points. Liverpool take up the fourth position.

Real Madrid have won two Champions League titles to Manchester City’s one in the last five years.

But Guardiola’s side have managed to reach at least the semi-finals, as well as two finals, in all the editions that count towards the current ranking. That has allowed them to rack up a considerable number of points and still lead the standings.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s arch-rivals, Barcelona have dropped to the 18th position in the standings while Atletico Madrid are just a place above them in the 17th spot.

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