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Reason behind Real Madrid defender’s exclusion from starting XI vs Espanyol



Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

A wounded Real Madrid take on Espanyol at Santiago Bernabeu later today. Having suffered two draws and a defeat in their last three games, the Merengues will be under pressure to deliver for they cannot afford any more slip-ups in La Liga.

However, there seems to be a never-ending list of problems for Carlo Ancelotti to settle before kick-off. Karim Benzema, Ferland Mendy and David Alaba are all unavailable for the clash through injury. To add salt to the wound, Rudiger has been excluded from the starting XI.

According to reports from the AS, the German is not at 100%, forcing him to start on the bench tonight. In his absence, Ancelotti has named Nacho Fernandez in the lineup who is expected to take up a central defence role alongside Eder Militao. Eduardo Camavinga will play as the left-back.

The last-minute change in personnel is a concerning development. However, the silver lining for Real Madrid is that Camavinga has performed well on the left side of defence this season and Nacho is ever-reliable.

Espanyol are no stranger to big games and have taken points off both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona on the road. Joselu, in particular, has been in spectacular form for the Catalans with 11 goals in 20 league starts this season.

Given the compromised defence, the Merengues must be wary at the back if they are to return with three points. After all, they have maintained only one clean sheet in their last four games across all competitions.

The game between Real Madrid and Espanyol is set to kick off in less than an hour in the Spanish capital. While the defence is an interesting situation, all eyes will be on the hosts’ attack to see who steps up in Benzema’s absence.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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