The buildup to the summer transfer window was long and tedious for Real Madrid as they chased not one but several star signings. Of them, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland were the names that attracted all the headlines.
As it panned out, neither player ended up joining Los Blancos. While the former decided to sign an extension with PSG, Haaland opted for Manchester City as his next club ahead of Real Madrid.
According to reports from MARCA, the Norwegian international’s move to Spain had three main non-financial obstacles.
First, the player was not amused by the club’s pursuit of Mbappe. He believed that both players thrived in the same position and that the Frenchman’s arrival would complicate his situation.
The second reason was the presence of Karim Benzema. The French striker is an irreplaceable part of Carlo Ancelotti’s setup and Haaland felt he would not get enough playing time under his shadow.
Finally, the striker desired to follow in the footsteps of his father. Alf-Inge Haaland played for Manchester City as a right-back between 2000 and 2003 which was a big factor that influenced the youngster’s decision.
The English champions confirmed the Norweigan’s signing for five seasons at the beginning of June. It was reported that the club paid around €60 million for his transfer.
Haaland opened his goal tally for the Premier League side in the pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich. Needless to say, the spotlight will be on him throughout the season to see if he can keep up his goalscoring streak.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.