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Rival watch: Key Barcelona star to miss Copa del Rey semi-final first leg vs Real Madrid



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will lock horns with arch-rivals Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals on March 2 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With two weeks left for the match, Los Blancos have been handed a boost as Barcelona midfielder Pedri is set to miss the contest due to a thigh injury.

The 20-year-old sustained an injury earlier today when the Blaugrana played Manchester United in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League knockout playoffs at Camp Nou.

Around the 40th-minute mark, Pedri went to the ground clutching his thigh and asked to be taken off, with Sergi Roberto replacing him.

Following that, Catalunya Radio is now reporting that Pedri will be sidelined for a period of three to four weeks, which rules him out of the Copa del Rey semi-final clash against Real Madrid.

The 20-year-old midfielder could return in time for the second El Clasico next month when Barça host Real Madrid in La Liga on March 19 – a match that could have major repercussions on the title race.

Apart from Pedri, Barcelona will also be without Ousmane Dembele for the Copa del Rey clash next month, which will be another boost for Carlo Ancelotti & co.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have already tussled twice this season. The Merengues secured an impressive win over their bitter rivals in La Liga. But they were completely outplayed by Xavi Hernandez’s side in the finals of the Spanish Super Cup last month.

Los Blancos have not won the Copa del Rey in over eight years and will be aiming to set that record straight this season. But first, they will need to get past Barça in the semi-finals.

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Real Madrid News

Canadian international says playing against Luka Modric was a ‘lesson’ for him



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid are blessed to have the services and loyalty of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. The duo have run the show in the Merengues’ midfield for close to a decade and continue to deliver flawless performances to date.

Of the two, however, it is the Croatian who deserves the higher credit. The veteran is now 37 years of age, yet dominates the middle of the park with grace and poise like none other.

Stephen Estuaqio, an FC Porto player and Canada International, spoke earlier this week about why he considered Luka Modric to be a special player and compared him with Kevin de Bruyne to support his stance.

“I played against De Bruyne, but I ran behind Modrić. I couldn’t play against him. It’s crazy how he dictates the game and controls everything. It was a lesson for me,” he said on The 90th minute on Youtube.

With his contract running out next season, Real Madrid are looking to renew his deal by one year come June. Yet, it is difficult to see him continue beyond next season and his imminent departure will mark the end of an era at the club.

Thus, Modric could be an altered role come next season. With a young midfielder, possibly Jude Bellingham set to arrive, the veteran could move into a mentorship role with the occasional appearance in big games.

This season, however, Carlo Ancelotti will continue to use him as one of the backbones of the side and deploy the maestro in the must-win fixtures coming up later this month.

At 37 years of age, Modric has started 16 La Liga games over 24 appearances this season in the competition. He has scored four goals and provided three assists in that process in addition to creating eight big chances with an average of 1.8 key passes per game.

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