Marcelo Viera defined an era at left-back for Real Madrid. The Brazilian had his name engraved in stone in the starting lineup for several years until age caught up with him in his final years at the club.
With the club legend now no longer a part of the dynamics, Carlo Ancelotti must restore order in the left-back department. As it stands, there are two contenders to take over the duties – Ferland Mendy and David Alaba.
According to reports from Relevo, the Austrian international is Ancelotti’s first choice to start at left-back for the coming season. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy’s future at the club is far from guaranteed.
Los Blancos are willing to part ways with the Frenchman and are listening to offers. If an interesting proposal arrives on the table, he will leave the club this summer. However, if Mendy stays, he will compete with Alaba for a starting spot.
In the event of the Frenchman’s transfer, Real Madrid eye two options to take his place. Fran Garcia has been on the agenda for several months now after his successful spell at Rayo Vallecano. He would be available for a fee of €10 million but the figure could reduce by half during negotiations.
The other option on the table is Miguel Gutierrez, who is looking for a loan in the first division. He currently plays for Real Madrid Castilla and could become a serious option if his defensive numbers improve.
It is not surprising that Ancelotti counts on Alaba as his primary option. Though the former Bayern Munich player performed exquisitely at centre-back for the team last season, his natural position is at left-back.
With Antonio Rudiger set to take up responsibilities alongside Eder Miltao next season, the idea of reverting Alaba to his natural role could reap solid rewards for the Champions of Europe. At the same time, it would close the curtains for Mendy at the club.
In 22 league appearances for Real Madrid last season, the Frenchman scored two goals and provided just one assist. He oversaw five clean sheets and averaged close to seven defensive actions per game.
Stats via Transfermarkt
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.