Real Madrid has seen a radical shift in ideology over the past few seasons. The club has shifted from its trademark strategy of signing established stars to a more defined project involving the development of young talents and early scouting.
Sergio Arribas is one of the youngsters that comes to mind on that front. The Real Madrid Castilla star has been knocking on the doors of the first team for a while now, and now at 21 years of age, deserves the breakthrough he was promised.
Earlier today, AS revealed important quotes from a conversation with the prodigy’s father in which he talks about Zinedine Zidane’s faith in his son and how the former manager motivated him.
“Zidane told my son ‘you’re going to get there, for sure’,” Arribas’ father stated.
The Real Madrid legend left a mark over his two spells as the club’s manager as one who always turned to the academy before looking to the market. It was at the root of Zidane’s ideology to trust the young and coming players, and Arribas was one to benefit from that.
The story with Carlo Ancelotti is different. The Italian tactician has only given 71 minutes to Castilla players all season. Arribas has received 19 of them and even made his mark in the short duration with a goal against Al Ahly in the semifinal of the Club World Cup.
The 21-year-old made eight league appearances for the Merengues under Zidane in 2020-21. While he did not contribute to any goals in that duration, he left a positive impression and announced himself as one of the contenders to be promoted.
With the French manager rumoured to be among the candidates to replace Ancelotti in June, it remains to be seen if he returns and whether he retains his faith in the Castilla star.
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.