The Champions League clash against Celtic brought with it a big blow for Carlo Ancelotti in the form of Karim Benzema’s injury. The Frenchman is expected to be out for at least three games, bringing up the question – who will replace him?
Prima facie, it would appear that Eden Hazard is Ancelotti’s first-choice backup for Benzema. However, the Belgian is not a centre-forward and cannot be a like-for-like replacement. Given the situation, Iker Bravo would appear to be the best natural alternative.
According to reports from MARCA, Los Blancos are clear with their plan with Bravo. The club will first wait for him to settle with the Castilla team and show his qualities. The door to the first team will only open if he impresses. At the moment, Ancelotti will not risk excessively exposing the youngster.
Real Madrid signed the 17-year-old from Bayer Leverkusen in August on a season-long loan deal. There is, however, a purchase clause of €6 million in the agreement.
He is a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia and spent over a decade there before moving to Germany last year. Several clubs including Atletico Madrid were interested in his signing this summer, but Real Madrid beat their competition to win the race.
Bravo has made only one appearance for Real Madrid Castilla so far, coming on for the final 18 minutes against Racing Ferrol.
While he is yet to open his account in Spain, there is optimism over his quality and the management are convinced that he can replace Benzema in the long term. For now, though, he must make an impression under Raul Gonzalez before he can get a look-in into the senior setup.
Real Madrid’s academy breakout star was close to signing for Atletico in the past – report
Nico Paz has burst onto the scene at Real Madrid after his recent heroics. The youngster was long hyped as Castilla’s brightest upcoming star, and his performances in recent games prove why.
Paz was the hero when Los Blancos took on Napoli earlier this week. Coming off the bench, he netted Real Madrid’s winning goal with six minutes left on the clock, thus scoring his first-ever goal with the first team.
Turning the clock back
As revealed in a recent update by AS, Paz’s arrival at Real Madrid was by no means a simple operation. It was made possible only through rigorous scanning and profiling done by the clubs scouts in Tenerife.
The youngster, at the time, was the crown jewel of the youth team in Tenerife. He was only 11 years old when the administration established contact with his father, back in April 2016.
It was only then that Real Madrid was made aware of Atletico Madrid’s strong interest in signing the player.
Los Rojiblancos had already made an important offer, and it was thus only Real Madrid’s timely intervention and negotiation that secured Paz’s signing.
An interesting clause
Paz’s entourage were naturally thrilled by the interest from Real Madrid and possible transfer. However, they had one clause that they insisted be met.
The Argentine ace’s entourage insisted that, as opposed to staying in the club facilities, Paz would reside with his family who would move to Madrid with the player. They value the family nucleus dearly and wished to keep the player in his comfort zone outside of training.
Needless to say, the green light soon arrived and Real Madrid won the race of Atletico Madrid. The rest, as they say, is history.