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UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”

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Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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).

Topuria triumphed over Volkanovski last Saturday. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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.

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Real Madrid News

Barcelona find legal precedent to replay El Clasico after ‘ghost goal’ controversy

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s recent defeat to Real Madrid in El Clasico appears to have caused calamity inside the Catalan camp.

The defeat has effectively ruled Barça out of the title race while further diminishing the chances of Xavi staying at Camp Nou.

Amid all this, Barcelona president Joan Laporta appears to be having a hard swallowing the result and has gone on a rampage against the use of VAR, which notably annulled a goal from Lamine Yamal after it was cleared from behind the line by Andriy Lunin.

A day after the result, Laporta even warned that Barcelona might seek legal measures to try and replay El Clasico if they find any evidence of wrongdoings. And that statement could now soon turn into reality.

Barcelona consider legal measures

According to Cadena SER, Barcelona are considering legal action under the guidance of none other than Laporta to force a replay.

Their inspiration? An incident earlier this year in the Belgian League, where a VAR error led to the permission for a replay of an Anderlecht vs Genk match, although the decision was later annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

Joan Laporta ready to take legal measures. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

CAS is the apex body for all things related to sports. And although the entity was involved in annulling the replay between Genk and Anderlecht, Barcelona are hopeful they would intervene in this matter.

The Catalans are aware that local bodies such as RFEF and CTA might not cooperate with Barcelona, knowing the image and prestige of Spanish football could be at stake.

As such, Barça are hopeful of intervention from CAS. They want the apex court to look into the matter and stage a replay of the Clasico.

Barca’s threats of legal action, including potentially involving the CAS, seem like a desperate attempt to try and remain in the title race – the only avenue for silverware left for the Catalans this season.

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