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Rival watch: Liverpool ace van Dijk out for over a month, doubt for Real Madrid clash

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Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Real Madrid have restarted their campaign with a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid in La Liga, which was followed by a narrow victory over Cacereno in the Copa del Rey. But the road is set to get tougher, especially as the reigning Spanish champions look to shift their focus on European competitions.

One of the biggest tests for Real Madrid in this second half of the season will be the Champions League Round of 16 clash against Liverpool.

Heading into the first-leg encounter at Anfield next month, however, Real Madrid have been handed a major boost as Virgil van Dijk, one of Liverpool’s most important players, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Regarded as the defensive leader for Liverpool, the Dutchman had picked up a knock and had to be substituted during the Reds’ game against Brentford. It was not thought to be a serious one initially.

But Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that van Dijk’s hamstring injury appears to be much ‘harsher’ and the defender has been ruled out for more than a month.

 “Virg was a surprise for us, obviously, a big blow. He didn’t feel a lot. I took him off, actually, no risk. In the end, the diagnosis was pretty harsh, but we talk about weeks – more than a month. I hope it goes quickly, but for now, he is not available. That’s how it is,” said Klopp (h/t GOAL).

“For Virg, it’s harsh. He played an incredible amount of games over the last years. [Now] we cannot use him on the pitch at least. Off the pitch, we will do that,” the German added.

Van Dijk’s hamstring injury means he could face a race against time to be fit for Liverpool’s clash against Real Madrid, with the first leg to be played on February 21 at Anfield.

The Dutchman’s absence could be a major blow for a Liverpool defence that has leaked goals this season. Klopp, though, backed his other options to do well, adding, “We have other centre-halves, as long as that’s the case everything is OK for the team.”

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Report: Arsenal willing to spend €70 million on Real Madrid attacking midfielder

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz is attracting interest from Arsenal, with a report from SPORT affirming that the Gunners are willing to offer €70 million for the winger.

It is to be noted that Brahim has decided to play for Morocco instead of Spain, a decision some Real Madrid supporters, while not overly invested in, express a sense of disappointment as they had hoped to witness him don the Spanish jersey rather than the Moroccan one.

Arsenal eyeing Brahim

And now, there is talk that Arsenal might want to buy him for a big amount—€70 million.

It must be remembered that Brahim has a contract with Real Madrid until 2027 and unless he says he wants to leave, the club won’t do anything about it. 

For what it is worth, the 24-year-old has insisted he is very happy at Real Madrid, most recently having won the club’s Player of the Month award for February.

An exit can’t be ruled out

At Real Madrid, they wouldn’t like it if Brahim wanted to leave the team. But right now, it can be argued that at Arsenal, he would have a better chance to play regularly.

At Real Madrid, Brahim is often a substitute. And now with Kylian Mbappe and Endrick set to join, the competition will only get tougher as there are already lots of good attackers like Vinicius, Rodrygo and Jude Bellingham too. 

On top of it, the club really wants Arda Guler to play more and if Brahim leaves, it would give Guler more chances to show his talent. 

But for now, the Moroccan plans to stay at Real Madrid because he says he is happy here unless he doesn’t get enough chances to play.

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