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Real Madrid superstar back in team training following ACL tear

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Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Real Madrid have been given a huge boost ahead of the final third of the season as Thibaut Courtois has returned to team training, as reported by Rodra.

The Belgian goalkeeper tore his ACL in preseason before the 2023/24 campaign was even kicked off. He was ruled out for pretty much the entire season, and therefore, Madrid brought in Kepa Arrizabalaga from Chelsea on loan to replace him.

However, after a series of underwhelming performances from the Spaniard, Carlo Ancelotti decided to use Andriy Lunin as his starting goalkeeper, and the Ukrainian has not disappointed one bit.

Lunin has been one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga and the Champions League in the time he has played, including match-winning saves against RB Leipzig, Sevilla, and Atletico Madrid just in recent weeks.

His performances have been so impressive that Madrid are not even considering keeping Kepa permanently, despite initial reports in the season claiming that they could retain his services next season.

Now, however, Kepa will return to Chelsea at the end of the season, with Lunin expected to be handed a new contract at the end of the season.

At 25, Lunin will soon enter the theoretical prime of his career as a goalkeeper and could replace Courtois at the club as the first-choice in a few years, especially depending on his recovery from the ACL injury.

Ancelotti did provide an update on Courtois’ situation ahead of their game against Valencia on the weekend, saying, “The date has not been set. But we have to take advantage of the international break and then the mini-break for the Copa del Rey.”

“At that time they will do some work with the team. After 14 April, after Mallorca, they could be back,” he added.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid superstar reveals how advice from Brazil legend helped him improve

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Even with all the excitement around Kylian Mbappe, it is Vinicius Junior, who continues to be Real Madrid’s biggest star.

In the past few years, the Brazilian has witnessed substantial growth, notably establishing himself as one of the best players in world football.

Vinicius’ rapid rise to prominence has been backed by numbers as well, with the forward racking up 82 goals and 75 assists in 262 competitive matches for Real Madrid.

Vinicius on receiving advice from Ronaldo

In a recent media interaction, Vinicius Junior, when talking about his success at Real Madrid, revealed that the forward constantly receives advice from his compatriot and former Real Madrid legend Ronaldo.

Vinicius particularly pointed out Ronaldo’s advice in 1v1 situations and how it has helped him improve in such scenarios.

“Ronaldo always calls me and gives me advice, he teaches me so many things. Since he told me that his favourite thing is a 1v1 vs a GK, I thought about it a lot and started working on it really hard,” Vinicius said (h/t Madrid Zone).

Ronaldo regularly speaks with Vinicius. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“Now, every time I’m in a 1v1 with a GK, I’m the calmest guy in the world. Ever since that conversation with Ronaldo, I stopped being afraid of making mistakes in a 1v1,” the forward added.

Vinicius has indeed witnessed an improvement in his 1v1 play in recent years, which has been reflected in his higher goalscoring numbers.

This season, the forward has netted 23 goals in all competitions while racking up 11 assists. His goalscoring prowess, coupled with his ability in 1v1 situations could prove to be critical as Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final next month.

The Brazilian international, though, will be up against a challenging defensive duo of Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck, who have been able to keep the opposition attacks quiet this season.

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