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Rival watch: Sevilla defender pushing to return for Real Madrid encounter



Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

After Barcelona’s dominant 3-0 victory against Villarreal on Thursday night, the onus is on Real Madrid to maintain their lead at the top of La Liga with a win against Sevilla.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side have been a shadow of their usual selves, with former boss Julen Lopetegui recently shown the door. Their plight has not been helped by injuries to players, including defender Marcao.

The 26-year-old joined Sevilla this past summer but struggled with a hamstring issue in the early parts of the season. Having recently returned, he impressed in the three matches he played against Borussia Dortmund, Athletic Club and Mallorca. However, he missed the last game against Valencia.

With Tanguy Nianzou and Karim Rekik ruled out with injuries and Kike Salas suspended, Sevilla are in need of reinforcements at the back. And Marcao is keen on returning from injury to help his side get a result against the reigning champions.

“I want to play, I want to help the team. I know that we are going through a not very good moment and we lost important players and the goal is for him to play on Saturday. I think so. We are going to talk and we will see,” he told on official Sevilla television, as relayed by Mundo Deportivo.

The defender continued, “Real Madrid are a great team, all the players want to play against them. It will be very difficult but we are prepared for great challenges. When you’re off the pitch it’s very difficult, I want to be on the pitch to help my teammates.”

Ultimately, Marcao’s potential availability is likely not to distract Carlo Ancelotti’s men from their primary goal of returning to the summit of the league table.

Considering Barça made a number of blockbuster additions in the summer, it is no surprise to see them give Los Merengues a tougher test in a bid to become domestic champions.

As a result, the last thing Real Madrid can afford to drop unnecessary points, against Sevilla for instance, especially before the start of the Qatar World Cup, as it remains to be seen how the return to club football mid-season will affect the players.

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Real Madrid News

25-year-old ‘impeccable’ star viewed as the leader of the Real Madrid defence



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

According to MARCA, Eder Militao is seen as the undisputed leader of the Real Madrid defence, thanks to his ‘impeccable’ level of performances. The 25-year-old’s standing in the team has forced a duel between David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger for the second centre-back slot.

Militao arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2019, joining from FC Porto in a deal worth €50 million. While he made a slow start to life in Spain, the Brazilian slowly grew in stature from his second season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following the exits of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Militao established himself as a permanent fixture in the backline for the Merengues and was a standout performer last season as they won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League trophy.

The 25-year-old has carried on in the same vein of form this season as well, featuring in 35 matches across all competitions for Real Madrid, even chipping in with six goals.

The Brazilian international is seen as one of the best centre-backs in the world currently, with Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti sharing that opinion.

“I may lose credibility if I say Vinicius and Militão are the best striker and defender in the world respectively but it’s the truth. I am honest. Militão lacks nothing,” he had said last month.

Militao is not only viewed as the leader of the Real Madrid defence, but has also grown into a leader within the locker room as well, with the player being loved and fully supported by his teammates.

Militao’s presence has meant that Alaba and Rudiger have had to battle it out for the lone centre-back slot. The former had enjoyed a stunning season last time out after joining from Bayern Munich in 2021, but has struggled with injuries and fitness problems this term.

As for Rudiger, the German arrived last summer from Chelsea and started out slow, but has grown in confidence and stature, especially in recent months. So much so that, his signing is already being regarded as a success within the club.

In Militao, Real Madrid undoubtedly have a long-term fixture at the heart of the defence. But with Rudiger and Alaba in their thirties, the Merengues must look to bring in one more player who can take over from them in the near future and can form a partnership with Militao.

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