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Rival Watch: Injury woes mount for Barcelona as defender set to miss El Clasico



Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s recent draw to CA Osasuna saw them surrender the top spot in La Liga to arch-rivals FC Barcelona. However, the reigning Spanish champions will have the time to turn things around as they are set to meet Barça in less than a fortnight, in the revered El Clasico.

Barcelona are heading into the game with a few long-term injuries including Ronald Araujo and Memphis Depay. The likes of Hector Bellerin, Jules Kounde and Frenkie de Jong are also on their list of absentees.

And in the aftermath of their recent Champions League defeat to Inter Milan, it appears the Catalans have another player adding to their lost list, in the form of Andreas Christensen.

According to a report from Diario AS, the Danish international had left Giuseppe Meazza with a limp on his left ankle. It was later revealed that the player had suffered a sprain in the external ligament.

Initial reports suggest the defender has sprained his ankle, which could keep him out for a month. But depending on the injury of the ligament, there is a possibility the defender could miss out on the World Cup as well. Tests are set to be carried out on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury.

In either case, Christensen will be ruled out for the upcoming El Clasico, leaving Xavi Hernandez without four of his trusted defensive options.

In fact, Barça may have Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique as the only two options at centre-back, when they take on Real Madrid later this month. Jules Kounde is expected to be fit in time for the game, but his involvement is still under doubt a week and a half ahead of the game.

It should serve as a major boost for Real Madrid, who have recently welcomed back Karim Benzema to the pitch. The Frenchman should provide the added attacking firepower required to help Los Blancos brush aside a depleted Barcelona defence, in this much-awaited Clasico.

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Real Madrid News

Benfica have no interest in selling Real Madrid’s midfield target in January – report



Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s interest in Benfica and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez is now a well-known fact. 

As quoted before, the 21-year-old has a release clause worth €120 million in his current deal and despite strong interest from several suitors, the Portuguese side has no interest in parting ways with the player in January.

The aforementioned information is relayed by transfer market specialist Fabrizio Romano, who also claims that Fernandez’s former side, River Plate, also have a ‘percentage of future sale’.

Enzo Fernandez has been one of the breakout stars at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The 21-year-old has played three games for his national team at the world event and despite playing deep, has returned with a goal and an assist.

Interestingly enough, the 2022/23 season is Fernandez’s first campaign in European football. The midfielder has been with River Plate since 2006 and only moved to Benfica in July 2022 for a fee quoted to be around €10 million plus €8 million in add-ons.

In his debut season with the Portuguese team, he has so far scored one goal in 13 league outings followed by three assists.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s interest in the Argentine does not really strike as any surprise. The team from the capital city is anyway looking for a long-term successor to Luka Modric, but as it turns out, Benfica will fight hard to retain their man as they do not wish to sell their asset in January.

From Madrid’s perspective, they are anyway not expected to make any big signing in January as their primary target is still Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. The England midfielder is highly tipped to leave Germany at the end of the season and Madrid are said to be the most likely destination if not the Premier League.

In any way, the fee for Bellingham might as well rise upto €120 million given the interest he has generated across the continent so it will be upto Real Madrid to decide between the two.

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