The UEFA Champions League returns to action this week after a long hiatus. The biggest clash in the round of 16 fixtures is undoubtedly Real Madrid’s face-off against Paris Saint-Germain.
While both teams have dominated their respective domestic leagues, they will have to fight tooth and nail when they meet next week.
However, Carlo Ancelotti has a problem on his hands. Casemiro and Ferland Mendy are both just a booking away from being suspended. This implies that if either of them is booked in the first leg at Paris, they would be unavailable for the second leg at the Bernabeu.
Casemiro has been part of one of the world’s best midfield combinations alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kross over the past seasons. The trio continues to dominate the game even today, and the Brazilian’s absence would come as a big blow to Ancelotti’s plans.
Given his delicate situation, one could expect Ferland Mendy to start on the bench in Paris. This would not only enable Marcelo to play the first leg but keep Mendy fresh and raring for the second leg.
Real Madrid and PSG are contenders to win the competition but have both strayed off-track in recent weeks. The hiccup from Los Blancos was minor as they tied Elche and lost to Athletic Club in successive games. Against Granada, they struggled to create chances but eventually pulled away with a nervy win.
Meanwhile, PSG were eliminated from their domestic cup by OGC Nico before returning with a bang against OSC Lille. The Parisians scored five on the night as Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe put up a masterclass.
Real Madrid considering move for Manchester City superstar as club faces possible sanctions
Premier League has come up with a shocking statement, charging defending champions Manchester City with more than 100 breaches of the financial rule between 2009 to 2018.
The allegations levelled at Man City could lead to a point deduction for the defending champions or perhaps even expulsion. This could prove to be significant for not Premier League but European football in general.
To that end, a new report from Daily Mail suggests Real Madrid are keeping close tabs on the situation. They are aware of the fact that if Man City get sanctioned, it could rule them out of the chase for top target Jude Bellingham.
But more importantly, it may open up the opportunity to sign Erling Haaland in the near future. The Norwegian international was one of Man City’s smartest business move in the summer when they roped in the star striker for a meagre fee.
However, Spanish media believes Haaland has a release clause in his contract worth around €200 million. It could be activated in the summer of 2024 and clubs like Real Madrid are said to be interested in activating the clause.
But in light of the recent allegations made against Man City, Real Madrid are anticipating a potential mass exodus, and could make an early move for the forward, especially if the English giants get sanctioned by the Premier League board.
It goes without saying that Haaland, who has been scoring goals for fun since joining the Premier League outfit, is someone who demands to play at the highest level of football. It was one of the key reasons he joined Man City – a club that can offer consistency in terms of sporting success.
But a potential sanction for City could change the dynamic, possibly paving the way for a club like Real Madrid to establish themselves as an excellent suitor for Haaland.