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Rival watch: Manchester City key defender picks up injury vs Arsenal ahead of Real Madrid clash

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Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images

Less than six hours ago, Pep Guardiola was quoted complaining about their football calendar as compared to their Champions League rivals Real Madrid, and how they will get three days to prepare for the game, while Carlo Ancelotti’s side get nine.

The Spaniard also mentioned how Madrid will play today and then not again until the first leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. City, on the contrary, are playing Arsenal today, Aston Villa in three days, and then Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Pep’s complaints, while not directed at Real Madrid, are understandable to an extent, especially given Man City lost Kyle Walker and John Stones to injury during the international break while they went to represent England.

And if that was not enough, City have been dealt with a huge blow during their game vs Arsenal right now.

Nathan Ake off

Guardiola fielded Nathan Ake in central defense alongside Ruben Dias, but the Dutchman picked up what looked like a calf injury in the first-half, and had to hobble off for Rico Lewis around the 27th minute.

Boon for Madrid, bane for City. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ake has been a key piece in City’s defensive puzzle, starting 19 out of the 23 games he has played so far this season. He has played both as a centre-back, and a left-back this season, shuffling with Josko Gvardiol, who arrived from RB Leipzig this summer.

The Dutchman also has two goals and two assists to show for his efforts, but interestingly enough, only three clean sheets.

Ake played both games for Netherlands during the international break, as well, and if Man City were not playing Arsenal, of all clubs, today, he would have likely been rested.

Either way, unless Ake is able to miraculously recover in time, all signs point towards him missing the next few weeks due to the injury.

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Real Madrid News

Revealed: The blueprint behind Real Madrid’s €1 Billion revenue ambition

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

As one of football’s biggest and most successful institutions, Real Madrid enjoy serious perks on the economic front. After all, they cater to a worldwide audience and thus see their remunerations come in from across borders.

The arrival of Kylian Mbappe will only serve to further grow Los Blancos’ fanbase, and with a generational squad set to dominate world football for the years to come, Florentino Perez sees a special marketing opportunity.

According to reports from SPORT, Real Madrid have thus set themselves a target to hit €1 billion in revenue and have drawn up a concrete plan for the same.

The player aspect

As a football institution, one of the most significant aspects of remuneration is the team’s direct winnings in terms of prize money. Having won the Champions League last season and with Mbappe coming in, the team is in safe hands.

Moreover, the average age of Real Madrid’s squad is just 27.1 years implies that the team has significant longevity with little change expected in personnel.

The second important aspect that the club hopes to count on is the crowd-pulling factor that such young players exert on the new generation.

Kylian Mbappe will be the face of Real Madrid’s marketing campaign. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid already boast 410.9 million followers on social media and have added 48.4 million just last year. Mbappe, who himself has 132 million followers across Instagram and X, will further amplify that number next season and add to the club’s followers.

It is thus clear that the Frenchman will become the face of the club and the centre for all marketing operations of Real Madrid plan.

The road to €1 billion is thus not complicated, although Perez must be wary that Mbappe is picky with the brands he endorses. Further, the distribution of image rights will be a major factor to finalise.

The new Bernabeu

Having undergone extensive renovation, the New Santiago Bernabeu will take over as the world’s highest-grossing football stadium next season and play a massive role in boosting Real Madrid’s collections. The partnership with Sixth Street and Legends will also be crucial.

Furthermore, the new venue will also serve as a massive economy generator through miscellaneous events. Apart from Taylor Swift, the club also has agreements with Karol G, Aitana, Lola Indigo and La Velada del Ano de Ibai Llanos for exclusive events.

Real Madrid plan to add extra revenue from exclusive events at Santiago Bernabeu. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Needless to say, such events will serve significantly to boost the income and near the elusive €1 billion mark.

Cost-cutting

The final, yet critical manoeuvre Perez plans is to cut the costs on the wage front with a salary reduction of €0% already being made in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. That was, in fact, one of the major reasons Real Madrid stayed on their feet in the pandemic.

Player sales is another element where the men in white have worked their plan, getting rid of the older players while their market value was still high and reinvesting the cash into younger talents who can serve for at least the next decade.

The club recorded north of €800 million in income last year and the €1 billion mark is not too far off. Needless to say, the coming year could thus be special for the men in white.

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