In a matter of hours, Real Madrid will lock horns with SC Braga in their fourth UEFA Champions League Group C fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men are on the cusp of securing a spot in the knockout stages of the competition with a win against the Portuguese outfit.
The game at the Bernabeu tonight could also turn out to be a special occasion for a certain Arda Guler, who is on the squad list for the match.
Guler to make his Real Madrid debut
Indeed, as per AS (h/t Madrid Xtra), Arda Guler will finally get his first minutes on the field as a Real Madrid player.
It has been a frustrating start to life in the Spanish capital for the 18-year-old wonderkid since joining the club during the summer transfer window.
Back-to-back injuries have meant that Guler has not played a single minute of football in Real Madrid colours, which has been a disappointment considering the excitement he had generated upon arriving at the club.
But Guler has been back in training for a couple of weeks now and was on the squad list for the weekend’s draw against Rayo Vallecano, although he did not get any minutes.
However, that appears set to change later tonight when Real Madrid host Braga, with the 18-year-old Turkish international expected to make his first appearance for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
If so, it will be a special and memorable occasion for Guler, getting to make his debut in front of a packed Santiago Bernabeu on a Champions League night.
Real Madrid summer signing set to return to training soon – report
Real Madrid’s main goal heading into the summer transfer window was to wrap up the signing of Jude Bellingham amid massive interest from Premier League giants such as Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s City, especially, were ready to match and increase any salary Madrid offered, and were going strongly into the bidding war.
Eventually, Bellingham decided to join Madrid after they reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund for €3 million.
However, following this, los blancos had to improvise a fair bit as Karim Benzema decided to leave the club to join Al-Ittihad on a free transfer. They were expecting him to continue for another season, at least, and it stumped their plans in the market.
In the next few weeks, Madrid chased forwards, and ended up signing Joselu, Brahim Diaz, and a certain Arda Guler, who was close to Barcelona before eventually ending up at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Unfortunately for Madrid, he is yet to play a single minute for the club after picking up a serious injury in pre-season. Despite being on the bench for a couple of games, Guler suffered a relapse in training, and was sidelined again.
Now, reports from Yagiz Sabuncuoglu say that the Turkish international is close to returning to team training.
Guler has slowly, but surely, been recovering from his injury, and could take to the pitch for his first minutes with the club in the next few weeks as Madrid look for solutions after a month full of injuries.
With Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois all out until early 2024, Madrid have relied on Castilla for reinforcements, but could do with Guler’s services in their forward line.
That said, Carlo Ancelotti and co. are expected to be extremely cautious when it comes to the Turkish international. The slightest spell of poor man-management here could make or break the youngster’s career.