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Real Madrid target with €110 million exit clause names Liverpool as his ‘dream club’

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Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol is attracting a slew of interest from clubs across Europe after his exceptional performances at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Indeed, the 20-year-old centre-half was one of the most standout performers for Croatia as they finished third in the tournament. There had already been considerable interest in the towering defender before the World Cup and it has only multiplied afterwards.

Real Madrid are one of the clubs to have taken a keen interest in Gvardiol. The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea are also said to be admirers of the RB Leipzig defender.

However, in a recent interview with Rtl (h/t MARCA), Gvardiol has revealed that he dreams of playing for Liverpool, having supported the Premier League giants from his childhood.

“My dream club? That would definitely be Liverpool. I used to watch a lot of their games with my father when I was a kid. We watched every season in detail. It’s a club that has stayed in my heart,” Gvardiol said.

While Liverpool have not been mentioned as suitors of Gvardiol, the defender’s comments could certainly alert the officials at the Merseyside club.

The Reds have been woeful in defence this season. Virgil van Dijk, who is currently injured and is a doubt for the game against Real Madrid next month, will be turning 32 in the summer. It could compel Jurgen Klopp & co. to look for reinforcements.

As for Gvardiol, he has a contract with RB Leipzig that runs until the summer of 2027. Reports in Germany, as cited by MARCA, have claimed that the defender has a release clause worth €110 million embedded in his contract.

With Nacho’s future in question, Real Madrid could do with additional cover in defence for the summer. However, it is unlikely that they will splash a big sum for a defender when they will be making a splurge to sign Jude Bellingham as well.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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