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Rival watch: Barcelona could be handed a major injury boost before El Clasico



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid and Barcelona are set to lock horns with each other for the first time this season as they meet at Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.

It is a must-win game for Los Blancos, who have slipped to second in the league table, trailing their arch-rivals on goal difference.

However, heading into this game, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been handed a major blow, as opposition defender Jules Kounde has returned in contention to feature in this El Clasico.

This has been reported by SPORT, who suggests the defender has made a quicker recovery than expected. He is in a position to even feature in Barcelona’s upcoming UEFA Champions League affair against Inter Milan. But the club have opted not to take any risks.

Kounde had picked up an injury during the international break. He has since missed out on quite three matches, including the crucial UCL encounter against Inter Milan, where Barça fell to a 1-0 defeat, while his involvement in El Clasico was also a major doubt.

The Frenchman, though, is now reported to be in contention to make his return against Real Madrid this weekend. The report suggests the defender could start for Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu, featuring as a right-back.

Kounde will be tasked with the responsibility of stopping Vinicius Jr out wide. His pace and athleticism on the flanks could serve as a breath of fresh air for a Barça team that has lacked a proper option at right-back in recent weeks, especially with Hector Bellerin also out injured.

While Kounde could return, Barcelona will still be without Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Memphis Depay for the game. Franck Kessie also remains a doubt for the trip to Real Madrid.

Ancelotti & co., meanwhile, do not have any pressing injury concerns heading into the game, with the manager expecting to have Thibaut Courtois back in time for El Clasico.

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Real Madrid News

€85 million-rated Serie A winger ‘dreams’ of playing for Real Madrid, claims father



Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia dreams of playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid, the winger’s father has revealed following the UEFA Champions League clash between the two teams last night.

Kvaratskhelia, 22, exploded upon arriving at Napoli last year, leading them to the Serie A title on the back of his explosive performances.

The Georgian winger has been impressing in the ongoing campaign as well, although he failed to score or assist in either of Napoli’s meetings with Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.

Kvaratskhelia has previously spoken about how he has always been a lifelong supporter of Real Madrid and grew up idolising some of the club’s legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Guti, among others.

Now, the 22-year-old winger’s father has revealed that his son has always dreamt of and continues to dream of playing for Real Madrid.

As quoted by Fabrizio Romano, Kvaratskhelia’s father said: “Khvicha always dreamed and still dreams of playing for Real Madrid. I am sure about it.”

Talking about the fact that the winger got to play against Real Madrid, Kvaratskhelia’s father added: “For Khvicha, playing vs Real Madrid was special. In my family, everyone is a Real Madrid supporter, except me.”

Real Madrid are in the market for attacking reinforcements, but they are looking for a centre-forward next summer and have Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as their main targets.

As for Kvaratskhelia, whose market value stands at €85 million, it seems quite apparent that he harbours dreams of playing for Real Madrid. But it remains to be seen if there is some interest from Los Blancos in signing the winger.

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