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Rival watch: Barcelona suffer shock loss vs Almeria, Real Madrid stay seven points behind



Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Following Real Madrid’s failure to defeat a ten-man Atletico Madrid side on Saturday, there was a lot of concern among the fanbase as the La Liga title seemed to be slipping out of their hands for good.

The 1-1 draw against the Rojiblancos meant that Real Madrid were seven points off league leaders Barcelona. And the gap could have widened to ten had the Blaugrana beaten relegation-battlers UD Almeria today.

But, in a shock twist, Xavi Hernandez’s side suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Almeria away at the Power Horse Stadium.

Coming on the back of a defeat to Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League, Barcelona looked fatigued and off-colour from the start. And the hosts capitalised on the league leaders’ lack of intensity to take the lead through El Bilal Toure.

Almeria held their shape and defended in a disciplined manner even as Barça struggled to create any dangerous opportunities as the match ended 1-0 in favour of the newly-promoted La Liga side.

Barcelona’s shock defeat means that Real Madrid continue to trail them by seven points. While the gap is still wide, the slip-up does provide Carlo Ancelotti’s side some hope that the title race is not all done and dusted.

This result also makes the Clasico on March 19 at Spotify Camp Nou even more crucial for both teams.

But before that, Real Madrid will face Barcelona next week in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals at the Santiago Bernabeu.

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Real Madrid News

€40 million midfielder prefers a move to Real Madrid over Premier League clubs – report



The race for Jude Bellingham has become tightly contested in recent weeks. Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid all pursue the Borussia Dortmund star closely and hope to win his signing come June.

Given the heavy competition, it is natural that the clubs have alternative names on their tables. One such name on the radars of the aforementioned clubs is Celta Vigo’s Gabri Veiga.

The La Liga midfielder has offers from the Premier League for the summer. However, SER reports that the player has asked Real Madrid if they will match the offer from England and has displayed his interest in joining the club.

Veiga’s release clause with Celta Vigo is valued at €40 million. If the Merengues can match such a valuation, either through direct means or player exchanges, the young phenom will don white next season.

Real Madrid have followed Veiga’s profile for a while now and have made their interest in his signing known to his environment. Yet, the Spanish outlet also adds that Veiga’s potential arrival in June would not close the doors for Jude Bellingham’s signing.

Rafa Marin of Real Madrid Castilla is a player who interests Celta Vigo, and unsurprisingly is one of the names on Los Blancos’ table to utilise in a swap deal for Veiga. Yet, it is safe to say that talks of a player exchange are in a rudimentary stage.

The 20-year-old Spanish phenom has lit up La Liga this season. In 25 appearances for Celta Vigo this season, he has scored nine goals and provided three assists. He averages close to one key pass per game and has created five big chances in his league campaign.

With Los Blancos unwilling to let go of Bellingham’s pursuit irrespective of Veiga’s signing, the question will boil down to the financial leeway the Merengues have and whether they can afford to shell out €40 million in addition to the Englishman’s fee.

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