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Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti has identified one big advantage Los Blancos have over Manchester City ahead of both teams’ UEFA Champions League tie.

Real Madrid will host Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final first-leg tie on Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Ancelotti believes the advantage Real Madrid have is due to the support of their home fans at the Bernabeu.

Speaking after his team lifted the Copa del Rey trophy on Saturday following a 2-1 win over Osasuna, Ancelotti confidently said at his post-match press conference, “We will play 12 vs 11.”

“We will have an advantage vs City on Tuesday: our fans at the Bernabeu. We will play 12 vs 11,” the Italian said.

 

New Real Madrid goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to make his debut for the club in Friday’s trip to Celta Vigo.

Kepa was signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois, five years after first replacing the Belgian when he swapped Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu.

After missing the first game of the season, Kepa sat on the bench alongside 18-year-old Fran Gonzalez for Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Almeria as Ukraine international Andriy Lunin took the spot between the posts.

However, numerous reports in Spain now state that Kepa is set to get his first chance to prove himself on the pitch for Madrid when they take on Celta Vigo on Friday.

keppa

Marca state that manager Carlo Ancelotti has been hugely impressed with Kepa in training and is now keen to see what the loanee goalkeeper, whose deal does not include an option to buy, can do on the pitch.

Kepa has admitted he hopes to join Madrid permanently next summer but, should the Spanish side choose to pursue such a deal, they will have to negotiate a transfer fee with Chelsea.

Next summer, Kepa will have just one year remaining on his contract with Chelsea, who were open to permanent offers this year and will seek to cut ties with the 28-year-old in 2024 before he can leave for free.

Real Madrid are building a squad full of some of the best young talents from across the world. The midfield of the future is set with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga making a superb start this season. The trio looks set to dominate European football for years to come.

Barring any last-minute surprises in the Kylian Mbappe saga, Real Madrid’s summer transfer business seems to be over. However, that does not mean their future plans have taken a back seat.

On the contrary, it looks like Real Madrid could have plans in place for next summer’s transfer window already. And one of the biggest talents in world football seems to be on their radar.

As reported by SPORT, the name of Florian Wirtz is on Real Madrid’s list to continue strengthening the team in the summer of 2024. The Spanish club thinks of him to strengthen the midfield as a replacement for Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who could leave after this season. Bayer Leverkusen appear to rate the 20-year-old at a transfer fee around €100 million.

Wirtz

Real Madrid eyeing €100 million German wonderkid

Wirtz is only 20 years old and has been a sensation for Bayer Leverkusen since breaking into the senior team. The midfielder consistently puts in top-class performances and is the centrepiece of Xabi Alonso’s side.

Wirtz is at his best in the number 10 role. But has the ability and skills to play as a second striker or even a winger, if the situation calls for it.

There were question marks about whether he would be the same player after his return from a long-term ACL injury last season. He took some time to get back into the groove but now, it seems like the German international hasn’t lost a step and is only getting better with experience.

A transfer to Real Madrid however may be difficult. Los Blancos could face competition from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City for his signature. Of course, the major transfer fee required to sign him would be an obstacle as well.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The World Cup-winning forward has been welcomed back into the fold at Parc des Princes at the start of the 2023-24 campaign, but he is yet to agree an extension to a contract that is due to expire next summer. As a result, intense speculation continues to rage regarding the 24-year-old’s future plans.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

PSG are still hoping to agree fresh terms, with exit triggers set to be inserted into new one or two-year agreements. They are eager to include a €250m release clause in any deal, with the Ligue 1 champions looking to generate a world-record fee from any sale.

Kylian mbappe

AND WHAT’S MORE

El Debate reports that said figures have been laughed out of Santiago Bernabeu, with Real having no intention of parting with such a fee. Instead, the Blancos have made it clear that they will only go as high as €175m (£149m/$190m) in any deal – which includes bonuses – with their opening offer expected to be closer to the €130m (£111m/$141m) mark.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Real are also eager to make it clear to Mbappe and his representatives that they are prepared to walk away entirely, dropping all interest in a long-standing target, if no deal is done in the current window or the summer of 2024.