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Real Madrid will take 18-year-old academy whizkid on the US pre-season tour

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Photo courtesy: Real Madrid official website

With Real Madrid set to fly out for their pre-season tour of the United States of America soon, Mario Cortegana of The Athletic has provided an update on the composition of the squad for the trip.

All the first-team stars that are currently training under Carlo Ancelotti will be flying across the Atlantic, where they will be joined by the remaining players who were given an extended break, such as Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes, and Aurelien Tchouameni, among others.

Now, Cortegana has reported that apart from the first-team players, Real Madrid also plan on taking a total of three academy prospects on the US tour, including teenage prodigy Nico Paz.

Along with the Argentine wonderkid, Los Blancos will also have two academy goalkeepers – Diego Pineiro and Fran Gonzalez – present during their pre-season tour of the USA.

Paz’s presence on the tour does not come as a surprise, considering that he is regarded as one of the brightest young talents to have come through the academy ranks at Real Madrid in recent times.

Indeed, the young attacking midfielder has been tipped for great things and is said to have caught the eye of manager Ancelotti as well.

Young Nico has been impressing heavily for Real Madrid’s Juvenil A team. Last season, he scored five goals in seven games for the side in the UEFA Youth League, helping them reach the quarter-finals.

The Argentine has made a solid impression while representing the Castilla outfit as well, for whom he has played 24 times, scoring two goals and setting up three more.

Real Madrid will take on AC Milan, Manchester United, Barcelona, and Juventus in pre-season friendlies during their US tour. It will certainly be interesting to see if Paz and the two goalkeepers, Pineiro and Gonzalez, get any minutes during those encounters.

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Real Madrid News

Benzema talks Vinicius, Mbappe, Ballon d’Or, decision to leave Real Madrid

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Photo by Neville Hopwood/Getty Images

Last Saturday marked a special moment for Real Madrid fans as Karim Benzema, the former captain and Ballon d’Or winner, made his return to Spain. 

This visit was his first in over a year and has generated significant excitement among his supporters. Benzema, now playing for Al Ittihad, was set to participate in a pre-season friendly match against Elche at Estadi Olímpic Camilo Cano.

The Al Ittihad team had been gearing up for the new season by holding training sessions in Benidorm, a well-known Spanish coastal town that is a favourite among tourists. 

This picturesque setting has provided a perfect backdrop for the team’s preparations, blending hard work with the beautiful scenery of the Mediterranean coast.

Benzema’s return to Spain is not just about playing one match. The 36-year-old striker is also set to face two of his old rivals in upcoming games. 

Al Ittihad has scheduled matches against Sevilla on July 26 and Real Betis on August 3. These encounters are highly anticipated, as Benzema has a long history with both clubs from his time in La Liga.

Real Madrid hold a special place

During a recent training session, Benzema took some time to sit down for an interview with MARCA, he shared his thoughts on his return to Spain and his enduring connection to Real Madrid. 

Real Madrid will have a special place in Karim Benzema’s life. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

Benzema made it clear that, despite moving on to a new chapter in his career, Real Madrid will always hold a special place in his heart.

“[Last season was] spectacular, very good. Real Madrid are always the best team in the world. Players come and go, but Real Madrid will always be at the top, at the very top. It is the best and will continue to prove it,” he began saying.

“Joy. A lot,” said when asked about Madrid’s recent UEFA Champions League triumph. 

“It’s my team and I will always be on the side of Real Madrid and my teammates. It’s logical. Real Madrid is Real Madrid, something unique.”

Decision to leave Real Madrid

The 36-year-old forward left Real Madrid last year and when asked if he regrets he decision, he added,

“Some come and others go. It’s like that and it will always happen. It was the right moment. Of course, I look back and feel happy. 

“Last season they gave a sensation of power, of good football and that’s why they won the Champions League and the League. Today I don’t see any other team that can be better than Real Madrid,” he said.

Furthermore, when asked if there is any team capable of threatening Real Madrid, he said, 

“It’s the best team in the world. It’s always strong and fighting for everything. I stand there, look around and don’t see any team that’s capable of being better.”

Benzema picks Vini Jr for Ballon d’Or

Karim Benzema says Vinicius Jr deserves to win the Ballon d’Or. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

This year’s race for the Ballon d’Or is going to heat up as multiple players have made the case for themselves. However, Benzema thinks that Vinicius must win the honour.

“Ballon d’Or? I’m going to say Vini because he deserves it for his season and not just for what he’s done this year, but also for what he’s done last year. 

“He was also above the rest with his football and what he does with the ball. He’s a kid, a complete footballer”

Speaking about Vinicius, he added, “He can win a game on his own, of course with the help of his teammates, but he is very good when Real Madrid needs him and that is why I think he deserves it. 

“He is always there and he always shows up. For all of that, my favourite is Vini.”

Benzema’s thoughts on Mbappe

Karim Benzema says Kylian Mbappe was destined for Real Madrid. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

The 2023/24 season had no owner of the number 9 shirt at Real Madrid, but Mbappe’s arrival has now fulfilled that. Speaking about his compatriot’s move, Benzema explained,

“Sooner or later he will play for Real Madrid. I have always thought that and that is what has happened. He is a great player.”

Lastly, when asked about Madrid’s dominance and if they can repeat the success of last season, he said, 

“Of course, of course. Really. I just don’t see a team that can be better than Real Madrid. Really. They have everything. Players, coach and president.”

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