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Rival watch: Man City manager confirms two injury doubts ahead of Real Madrid clash

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Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Kyle Walker and John Stones will be absent from their upcoming matches, leaving them in a race against time to recover for the clash against Real Madrid.

This setback for the English team comes as both players sustained injuries while on international duty with England.

Guardiola anticipates that Walker’s recovery period will be longer than Stones’, however, the exact duration of their absence is yet to be determined as the manager awaits further information on their injuries.

“Kyle and John are out [against Arsenal],” said Guardiola as quoted by the Independent

“It is what it is. [The injury for] Kyle is tougher than John but I don’t know how many games,” he added.

Meanwhile, it is said that Manuel Akanji, who missed training on Thursday, is expected to be fit to fill one of the defensive positions.

Additionally, Ederson is poised to return to the goalpost after recovering from a thigh injury sustained during the draw against Liverpool.

Grealish could be back though

On the other hand, Jack Grealish returned to the training field and seems ready to make his comeback after being sidelined for a month. 

Grealish could be back. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

It is to be noted that the English player had to miss out on national team duties recently due to groin injuries. Nevertheless, he was spotted back in action during training sessions.

“It’s been a long time since he played but it’s a decision we will take tomorrow but you also have to see the calendar that we have,” said Guardiola about the forward. 

“If we want to fight in all competitions we need all the players. We have enough and the calendar doesn’t look good for us but it is what it is.”

Lastly, the Man City boss also shared some information related to Kevin De Bruyne’s fitness, stating, “He trained really well yesterday so we will see what we’re going to do in the next days.”

Real Madrid take on Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on April 9 at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the stadium already sold out for the blockbuster clash.

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Real Madrid News

National embarrassment: Real Madrid star faces backlash over poor NT display

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Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

Vinicius Jr., the star forward for Real Madrid and a strong contender for the Ballon d’Or, has faced heavy criticism for his recent performances with the Brazil national team. 

Despite his impressive displays at Real Madrid, Vinicius has recently struggled to live up to expectations in Brazil’s preparatory matches for the Copa America.

Brazilian fans and analysts had high hopes for Vinicius, expecting him to take on a leadership role in the national team’s attack, especially after the season he had with Madrid. 

Unfortunately, he has not managed to replicate his club form in these recent games. This situation mirrors what happened when he first joined Real Madrid, where his inconsistent performances initially raised doubts about his abilities.

Ballon d’Or in doubt?

In the lead-up to the Copa America, Brazil played two friendly matches. They narrowly defeated Mexico 3-2 and drew 1-1 with the United States. 

During these games, players like Endrick and Rodrygo stepped up, scoring crucial goals. However, Vinicius failed to make a significant impact, which has led to widespread disappointment among fans and media in Brazil.

Vinicius Jr. has scored just three goals for Brazil.(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

For what it is worth, Vinicius’ last goal for Brazil dates back to June 17, 2023, when he scored against Guinea in a 4-1 win in a friendly match. In competitive matches, his last international goal dates back to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

This underwhelming performance has resulted in sharp criticism towards the forward, who is considered one of the top candidates for the Ballon d’Or. 

Interestingly, his chances of winning this prestigious award heavily depend on his showing in the upcoming Copa America, which begins this week. 

Public opinion and the press in Brazil suggest that unless he drastically improves and leads his team to victory, his hopes for the award are slim.

Deserved criticism

Critics argue that Vinicius’s level of play with the national team is far below what he delivers at Real Madrid. 

They point out his poor goal-scoring record for Brazil, having only netted three times in 30 appearances, which is seen as unacceptable for a player of his calibre. 

Analysts are particularly disappointed by his inability to finish chances, dribble effectively, make successful passes, and escape defenders to create scoring opportunities.

Vinicius is also criticized for making poor decisions on the field. Commentators have noted that he doesn’t have the same impact with the national team as he does with Real Madrid. 

This echoes the concerns from his early days at the Spanish club, where he was praised for his persistence but criticized for his poor decision-making and lack of precision.

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