The unusual substitution made by Carlo Ancelotti during the 2-0 win over RB Leipzig raised several eyebrows. Eduardo Camavinga rightly deserved to go off, but no one in their right mind expected the Italian to throw a winger, Marco Asensio, in the fold.
The change seemed confusing at the time but it’s fair to say that Ancelotti knew exactly what he was doing. For someone who had barely kicked a ball this season, a return of a goal in injury time followed by an apologetic gesture towards the fans went a big way for Asensio.
The celebration was justified as the 26-year-old had an indirect fallout with the fans after his pitch-side antics against Mallorca. The winger desperately wanted to come on against his former side but as Ancelotti decided to do the otherwise, he viably expressed his anger by kicking a water bottle.
The exasperated gesture was bound to hit back and it certainly did when he came on against Leipzig. The fans let their voices know by throwing whistles toward the winger.
All that, however, changed once he scored Real’s second goal and apologised for his actions.
Now, as reported by The Athletic, Asensio may have received consolation from the fans but he is not really appreciated by his teammates. In fact, there is a growing sense of belief that Asensio only has himself to blame for the position he finds himself in.
It is said that most of the displeasure is caused by the fact that he failed to secure a move away from Real Madrid during the summer. The 26-year-old did all he could, changing his agent to Jorge Mendes, one of the most respected men in the industry, but even that did not help.
For Ancelotti, he understands the situation Asensio finds himself in. Although the frustration is understandable, the Italian has defended him in his own way, appreciating the ‘hard work’ he has put in the training.
But it is defined that the situation won’t change in the future. The best Asensio can hope this season is to secure a move in the January transfer window.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.