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Champions League Matchday 4: Game-by-game preview



Get the lowdown on the next 16 matches as the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage continues.
There is no let-up in the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage schedule; get abreast of the next batch of fixtures coming up on Matchday 4.

Tuesday 11 October
Copenhagen vs Man City (18:45 CET)

“He’s just ridiculous. It’s just not human, the stuff he’s been doing since he signed,” said Jack Grealish of, who else, Erling Haaland after his double in City’s 5-0 win against the Danish side last time out. The Norwegian marksman was even substituted at half-time to keep him fresh for this latest assignment – worrying given Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup said his team “were simply overpowered” in the first meeting.

Did you know?
Haaland’s double in the reverse fixture was the tenth time he has scored two or more goals in the Champions League (group stage to final) – in just his 22nd game.

Maccabi Haifa vs Juventus (18:45)
Highlights: Juventus 3-1 M. Haifa

The relief was palpable in Turin on Matchday 3 as Juventus beat Maccabi Haifa to break their Group H duck, but the Bianconeri will be acutely aware they need to follow that up with another victory given they still trail Paris and Benfica by four points. The return to fitness and form of Ángel Di María and two-goal Adrien Rabiot is timely for Massimiliano Allegri, who was gushing in his praise of the pair after that 3-1 win: “Di María is an extraordinary player; it was his first game in a long time. Rabiot is a player who has grown a lot, matured physically and has a little more room for improvement.”

Did you know?
Rabiot’s only previous goal in the Champions League group stage before Matchday 3 came against Malmö in November 2015.

Dinamo Zagreb vs Salzburg (21:00)

It’s bottom versus top in Group E, but only two points separate these teams after Noah Okafor’s winner sent Salzburg to the summit on Matchday 3. Much like the section as a whole, there was little to choose between the sides in that encounter, and defender Dino Perić is bullish about Dinamo’s chances in this game and qualification: “We have two more matches at Stadion Maksimir. We feel very good at home; we have already defeated some big teams there and I hope we can do it again.”

Did you know?
Okafor became the first Swiss player to score in each of the first three matchdays of a Champions League group campaign – and only the second player to do so for an Austrian club after Haaland.

AC Milan vs Chelsea (21:00)

The Blues’ 3-0 defeat of Milan at Stamford Bridge offered promising signs for manager Graham Potter. “You saw the appetite of the players; we got control of it and offered a threat,” he said after that victory. “The boys have been really open, responsible and honest. They’ve been fantastic to work with.” Milan need a similar improvement if they are to turn the tables here, with midfielder Ismaël Bennacer saying after the first meeting: “It hurts to lose this way. In the Champions League, we need to raise our level. We’ll rewatch the game and work on our mistakes.”

Did you know?
Milan have won only one of their last 11 Champions League matches against English clubs (D2 L8).

Shakhtar vs Real Madrid (21:00)

Coach Igor Jovićević was proud of the way his Shakhtar team stood up to Real Madrid in trying circumstances in Spain last time out. “Madrid deserved to win and they might have scored more,” he said, “but we played with bravery and took risks and, in the end, might have grabbed a 2-2 draw.” Carlo Ancelotti forgave his charges their profligacy at the Santiago Bernabéu, knowing that the right result this week will take his side through: “Obviously, intensity is very important, but you can’t have it to perfection all the time.”

Did you know?
Real Madrid’s only previous game in Warsaw ended in a 3-3 draw against Legia in the 2016/17 Champions League group stage, with Karim Benzema one of the scorers.

Celtic vs Leipzig (21:00)

With just the one point after three games, Celtic are not having an easy time of it in this season’s group stage, a 3-1 loss at Leipzig last time out pushing them to the bottom of Group F. An injury to captain Callum McGregor was an additional concern for coach Ange Postecoglou, who was disappointed that his side were “too negative” at times. Leipzig’s spirits are higher, but they are also set to be without a key performer, goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi suffering a cruciate injury.

Did you know?
Leipzig have lost both of their previous games in Glasgow: 2-1 to Celtic in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League group stage, then 3-1 at Rangers in last season’s Europa League semi-finals.

Dortmund vs Sevilla (21:00)

Dortmund can feel optimistic as they head into their rematch with Sevilla, knowing that the right combination of results could see them seal a knockout berth at the end of the night. Edin Terzić will hope his side’s 4-1 win in Seville on Matchday 3 marks the end of a recent sticky patch, the coach noting: “We found another gear and were able to keep things tight at the back.” Sevilla will look to do something similar in their first game following the long-expected departure of boss Julen Lopetegui.

Did you know?
Dortmund have yet to beat Sevilla at home in two attempts (W1 D1) but have not lost to their opponents in Spain (W2 D1).

Paris vs Benfica (21:00)

The Group H rivals remain level on points at the top following a 1-1 draw in Lisbon, crowned by an exceptional Lionel Messi goal. However, sports daily O Jogo spoke for many in Portugal by flagging up Benfica’s impressive performance as they went “eyeball to eyeball” with Paris, the draw extending Roger Schmidt’s unbeaten start as Eagles coach to 15 games (W13 D2). The result left Paris boss Christophe Galtier in a similar situation after 13 Paris matches (W11 D2).

Did you know?
Benfica are yet to win in five trips to the French capital (D2 L3), including three games against Paris Saint-Germain (D1 L2).

Wednesday 12 October
Napoli vs Ajax (18:45 CET)

The 6-1 victory in Amsterdam was Napoli’s biggest ever European away win (and matched their biggest UEFA margin of victory, home or away). “Divine” was the one-word headline in local paper Il Mattino the following morning, but Napoli will expect a response in Italy, their Georgian sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia saying, “[Ajax] are a good team and have very good players. They need to keep going.” Ajax, meanwhile, hope to prove wrong, the website having written: “This Ajax team are out of place in the Champions League.”

Did you know?
The win in Amsterdam took Napoli’s tally to 11 games unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the season (W9 D2).

Atlético vs Club Brugge (18:45)

Most assumed that Club Brugge’s dream start in Group B would end against Atlético last time out, but Carl Hoefkens’ side produced another outstanding performance, local paper Het Laatste Nieuws writing: “Club Brugge are the best ambassadors Belgian football could hope for.” Atlético hit the bar in the 2-0 loss and are bottom of the section as the return game looms into view, but Diego Simeone is not one to concede defeat, saying: “We’re not throwing in the towel. There are three matches left for us to put things right.”

Did you know?
Club Brugge have yet to win in four games in Madrid (three defeats against Atlético and a draw against Real Madrid) despite scoring seven goals in those previous visits to the Spanish capital.

Rangers vs Liverpool (21:00)

Keeper Allan McGregor stole some of the limelight at Anfield, keeping the Matchday 3 scoreline respectable as Jürgen Klopp’s side aimed to cut loose and leave early-season woes behind them. Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst said, “After our first three [group stage] games, our development has been positive,” but they have yet to score or pick up a point in Group A. Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson knows the Light Blues are not a spent force: “We have another tough test coming up… at Ibrox. That will be a really difficult game for us.”

Did you know?
Liverpool have played away against Scottish sides six times (W2 D2 L2) but have only once scored more than a single goal in those games, in a 2-2 draw at Celtic in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup.

Leverkusen vs Porto (21:00)

New coach Xabi Alonso will hope to tap in to predecessor Gerardo Seoane’s positive spin on Leverkusen’s 2-0 loss in Porto on Matchday 3, where he cited “a very good all-round performance” and concluded: “We are only disappointed with the result.” Patrik Schick had a penalty saved in Portugal, but Leverkusen will be confident that they can get a better result in the return encounter, though defender Wendell feels equally optimistic for his Porto side: “If we maintain the same spirit, the same hunger for the fight, we will hardly lose against any team.”

Did you know?
Leverkusen won 2-1 in their only previous home game against Porto, the first leg of their 5-2 aggregate win against the Dragons in the 2019/20 Europa League round of 32.

Barcelona vs Inter (21:00)

With just three points after three matchdays, Barcelona are not in a happy place, coach Xavi Hernández conceding: “We should have put in a better performance [in the 1-0 loss at Inter]. This defeat leaves us in a very difficult position.” Simone Inzaghi’s Inter put some shaky performances behind them to win, even without Marcelo Brozović and Romelu Lukaku. However, they can expect a tougher game at the Camp Nou, Xavi adding: “In the Champions League, we have three finals left – and that’s how we’ll treat them.”

Did you know?
Barcelona have won all five of their UEFA competition home games against Inter, but the Nerazzurri did win 2-1 at the Camp Nou in a 1970 game in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the non-UEFA affiliated predecessor of the UEFA Cup and Europa League).

Plzeň vs Bayern (21:00)

“Bayern showed their quality, which was out of our reach,” shrugged Plzeň boss Michal Bílek after his side’s 5-0 loss in Munich on Matchday 3, and if the Czech champions will have limited expectations for the return fixture, the coach at least wants to see them give a better account of themselves: “We mustn’t give them even a little space; we must try to recover balls we lose in the attacking half and return back to the block at speed.” Six points clear of third-placed Barcelona, Bayern would take a big step towards the last 16 with another positive result.

Did you know?
Bayern have visited Plzeň twice before, and won 1-0 on both occasions: in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971/72 and in the Champions League group stage in 2013/14.

Tottenham vs Frankfurt (21:00)

A 0-0 draw in Germany was about fair last time out, with many of the plaudits going to Frankfurt defender Makoto Hasebe, the 38-year-old having helped to shackle Harry Kane. He may find that harder to do at White Hart Lane, but Spurs will be mindful of the Europa League holders’ strengths. “They are tough to play against, very good on the counter,” defender Clément Lenglet told Eintracht boss Oliver Glasner, meanwhile, may have some new plans for the return leg: “There are a few things I noticed which I told our analyst about.”

Did you know?
Frankfurt have lost only one of their last nine UEFA club competition matches against English clubs (W4 D4).

Sporting CP vs Marseille (21:00)

Having taken a first-minute lead in the teams’ Matchday 3 meeting in France, Sporting’s evening soon unravelled, with Alexis Sánchez’s enterprising equaliser inspiring Marseille to a 4-1 win (helped by the dismissal of visiting goalkeeper Antonio Adán). “We will turn it around,” said coach Rúben Amorim, whose side still top Group D with six points. As for OM, they now have their first points on the board, and midfielder Amine Harit is feeling upbeat. “We anticipate a very difficult game in Lisbon,” he said. “We hope to continue where we left off.”

Did you know?
Sporting had not conceded a goal in their three Champions League matches before Alexis’s freak equaliser. OM, meanwhile, have not kept a clean sheet in 18 Champions League matches.

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Barca Still Vulnerable in Europe, Xavi Admits



FC Barcelona might be threading a familiar path in Europe with the latest result where they slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday (07 November).
With this result, they spurned the chance to seal an early qualification to the Round of 16 Champions League knock-out stages.

FC Barcelona have struggled miserably in Europe since they last lifted the trophy in 2015, only reaching the quarter-finals in two occasions.

Danylo Sikan’s dipping header in the 40th minute secured Shakhtar a famous victory as Xavi Hernandez’s flat Spanish champions failed to trouble their Ukrainian opponents.
Barcelona still lead Group H ahead of Porto, second, hosting Royal Antwerp later on, with the Portuguese side able to pull alongside the Catalans on nine points with victory.
“We can see we’re in a bit of a footballing rut, we have to do a reset,” said Barca coach Xavi.
“We played a bad game, we have to admit it.”
Xavi said his team had wasted a good chance to progress.

“After two years without qualifying for the last 16, today is a missed opportunity,” he continued.
“It’s the most inopportune moment. There are a lot of demands (on us), I think that today we couldn’t fail and we failed.”
After failing to progress from the group stage for two seasons running, Barcelona saw this clash as an opportunity to get the job done with two games to spare.
However Shakhtar, playing their home games in Hamburg because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, held their own from the start.

Barcelona missed big chances in the first match in October but this time Marino Pusic’s team shut down their uninspired visitors, who produced just one shot on target.
Xavi insisted his team’s performance in the narrow 1-0 league win over Real Sociedad on Saturday was unacceptable, despite the good result, but his team did not heed the coach’s words.
Shakhtar forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the first save of the game, with the German goalkeeper denying Mykola Matviienko at the near post after he got in behind Joao Cancelo.
Ilkay Gundogan and Raphinha lashed over from distance as Barca created no danger, with veteran striker Robert Lewandowski woefully disconnected on his return to Germany.

The former Bayern Munich forward has not scored in any of his last six appearances for Barca, amounting to his worst run of goalscoring form for over a decade.
The hosts took the lead a few minutes before half-time, easily slicing the visitors open when Giorgi Gocholeishvili took advantage of Barcelona left-back Marcos Alonso being a long way out of position.

The full-back crossed for Sikan, who beat Andreas Christensen in the air and headed beyond the reach of Ter Stegen.
Ter Stegen saved from Gocholeishvili early in the second half as Shakhtar continued as they left off.
Just before the hour Xavi took action, sending on speedsters Alejandro Balde and Lamine Yamal, as well as Pedri, looking to shake up his team’s lifeless display.
Barcelona were better but not bright enough, as Shakhtar goalkeeper Dmytro Riznyk enjoyed a quiet night.
“Not so long ago we were playing very good football — it’s a mental issue,” said Xavi.
Shakhtar’s latest young Brazilian winger, Newerton, scored a stunning second in the final stages but it was chalked off for offside — it would have been a superb way to crown a glorious night for Pusic’s team.

Barcelona had seven minutes of added time to work with but could not find a breakthrough, with Felix unsuccessfully appealing for a penalty after he was clipped on the edge of the box.
The Ukrainian champions, third, celebrated joyously at full-time and now sit only three points behind Barcelona, who host Porto in their next Champions League match on November 28.
“We do things step by step and we stay humble,” said Pusic, who was proud of his team’s defensive effort.
“We like to attack and we had several good moments tonight, but game organisation comes first.
“If you concede easily at this level there is not a high chance you will win.”
Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu said his team had to look in the mirror after their disappointing display.
“Every defeat is a warning,” he told Movistar.
“We have to be self-critical and see what we did wrong, to correct it quickly.” with reports

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Champions League: Man City, Real Madrid, Bayern qualify for UCL last 16



Expectedly, there were less drama as the record 14-time champions, Real Madrid joined holders Manchester City, last season’s runners-up Inter Milan, Real Sociedad, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich, to qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games to spare.

However, Manchester United’s poor form continued as they slipped to a stunning 4-3 defeat against FC Copenhagen, just as FC Barcelona could not wrap up qualification, having to wait till matchday 5, before attempting to scale the hurdle.

Madrid, the record 14-time European champions, made sure of their progress from Group C with a 3-0 home win over Braga after surviving an injury setback just before kick-off.
There were grunting around the Santiago Bernabeu when starting Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled out hurt in the warm-up, but his replacement Andriy Lunin excelled by saving Alvaro Djalo’s sixth-minute penalty.

With recuperating Starman, Jude Bellingham rested, to properly recover from the shoulder injury he sustained during the LaLiga game against Rayo Vallecano over the weekend, returnee Brahim Diaz gave Real a 27th-minute lead before the fantastic Brazilian duo of Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo both scored in the second half.

Rodrygo thanked Carlo Ancelotti for supporting him through a tough start to the season after scoring in Real Madrid’s 3-0 Champions League win over Sporting Braga on Wednesday.
Rodrygo, who hasn’t found the net in LaLiga since the first weekend of the season, but has now scored in consecutive Champions League games, ran to hug Ancelotti after scoring in the 61st minute at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I’m very happy, it was a perfect game,” Rodrygo told Movistar. “I’m very happy with the goal and the assist, but also with the win and qualification.
“The hug was to thank Ancelotti. When you aren’t in a good moment, that’s when you see who people really are. I wasn’t in a good moment and he was always there with me. I scored and I had to celebrate it with him.”

Rodrygo has been an important player for Madrid in recent seasons, contributing to their 2022 Champions League and LaLiga double and scoring 18 goals in all competitions last season, but has struggled so far this campaign.

“In my career, there’ve been forwards who’ve scored in every game and others who have moments when it’s hard to score,” Ancelotti said in his postmatch news conference. “All you can do is support them. A player with Rodrygo or Vinícius’s characteristics will score sooner or later. They have extraordinary quality, it’s just a question of time.

“Vinicius and Rodrygo combined spectacularly in the second half. There aren’t many duos who can counter-attack like Rodrygo and Vinicius.”
Ancelotti admitted that playmaker Diaz, who returned to Madrid from AC Milan last summer, had been unlucky not to play more often.
“He showed great quality, defensive sacrifice, he did very well,” Ancelotti said. “That means he could have played more minutes. But [Jude] Bellingham has played in that position. Today Brahim replaced him very well.”

The coach said goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who dropped out of the starting XI before kickoff and was replaced by Lunin, had felt “discomfort” in the warm up and would be assessed on Thursday.

Napoli are poised to go through from the group alongside Real despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Union Berlin.
Matteo Politano put Napoli ahead late in the first half but David Datro Fofana, on loan from Chelsea, equalised soon after the restart.
The result allowed Union to end a 12-game losing run but they cannot now qualify for the last 16.

Their Bundesliga rivals Bayern qualified with a 2-1 victory at home to Galatasaray, their 17th consecutive win in the Champions League group stage.
Thomas Tuchel’s side saw Galatasaray have a goal disallowed for offside before Harry Kane headed in the opener with just 10 minutes left.
Kane then added another, his 19th goal already for Bayern in just 15 appearances, before Cedric Bakambu pulled one back in stoppage time for Galatasaray.

“He’s a phenomenon and we’re proud that he’s playing in the team,” Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer told broadcaster DAZN of Kane.
Galatasaray still stand every chance of going through from Group A after United lost in a remarkable game in Denmark.
Erik ten Hag’s team appeared to be cruising thanks to two goals in the first half an hour by their Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund.

Yet they suffered a blow when Marcus Rashford was controversially sent off in the 42nd minute for a foul on Elias Jelert, and Copenhagen took full advantage to haul themselves level by the break.

Mohamed Elyounoussi pulled one back before Diogo Goncalves equalised from the spot in the ninth minute of stoppage time.
Still United got back in front via a Bruno Fernandes penalty midway through the second half, but Lukas Lerager made it 3-3 seven minutes from time and Roony Bardghji, the 17-year-old Kuwait-born Swedish Under-21 international, got Copenhagen’s winner in the 87th minute.

Ten Hag’s team have now lost three of their four Champions League matches this season and have been beaten in nine of their 17 games in all competitions.
“I think first we played very good until the red card. The red card changed everything. Then it becomes a different game,” Ten Hag told broadcaster TNT Sports.
“I saw lots of positives, but in the end we lose some focus. It’s hard when you play so long with 10 men.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal are on the brink of progressing from Group B after a 2-0 home win over Sevilla, in which Bukayo Saka set up Leandro Trossard for the opener in the first half, and then added the second after the break.

“I’m really happy with the performance from the team. They showed aggression and commitment,” Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told TNT Sports.
The Gunners are four points ahead of both Lens and PSV Eindhoven, with the Dutch side boosting their own hopes by beating the French side 1-0 thanks to Luuk de Jong’s early header.
Lens had substitute Morgan Guilavogui sent off late on.

In Group D, Inter secured their progress with a 1-0 win away to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, a game settled by a late Lautaro Martinez penalty.
That result also allowed Real Sociedad to qualify after their earlier 3-1 defeat of Portuguese giants Benfica, who have lost all four matches in the group.

Mikel Merino, Mikel Oyarzabal and Ander Barrenetxea all scored in the first 21 minutes for the hosts, before Brais Mendez hit the post with a penalty. Rafa Silva pulled one back for Benfica. with reports

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Ancelotti returns to Napoli with Real to prove a Point



Fourteen times champions, Spain’s Real Madrid are set to play one of the most in-form teams in Italy in what promises to be their “toughest group-stage game”, as veteran coach, Italian Carlo Ancelotti, said on Monday (02 October) ahead of the huge Champions League clash.

LaLiga leaders Real began their quest for a record-extending 15th European Cup with a last-gasp 1-0 home victory over Union Berlin last month, while Italian champions Napoli, who are currently third in Serie A, won 2-1 at Sporting Braga.
Tuesday’s clash at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium could be pivotal to both sides’ aims of taking top spot in group C.

“We’ll play against one of the best teams in Italy. They did very well last year. It will be a competitive and evenly matched game as they have a high level,” Ancelotti, who once managed Napoli, told a news conference.
“It’s going to be the toughest game of the group stage for us. I don’t want to say that we’re used to it, but the shirt of this club weighs on us.”
The match will also see Ancelotti return to Naples after he managed 73 games at the club from 2018 to 2019, leading the team in an unbeaten run in the Champions group stage before being sacked with the team in seventh place in Serie A.

“I had positive moments, it is a wonderful city. There were also less good moments, but I have the memory of a positive experience,” Ancelotti said.
“Backtracking before a game like this doesn’t make sense. When the relationship between a club and a coach doesn’t have the right feeling, it’s better to stop.
“I think it was the right decision for Napoli and for me, because two years later I came back to the best club in the world.”

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is not a man to hold a grudge, as reflected by his return to the Spanish capital despite being harshly sacked by Los Blancos chief Florentino Perez in 2015.
However the 64-year-old veteran would doubtless enjoy proving a point when his Madrid side visit Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Ancelotti was axed by president Aurelio De Laurentiis in December 2019, less than an hour after helping Napoli reach the Champions League knock-out stages with a 4-0 thrashing of Genk.
The Italian side were struggling in seventh in Serie A at the time and won their first Scudetto for 33 years in 2023, so De Laurentiis will consider his decisions more than justified.

Ancelotti spent a year and a half in charge of Napoli, guiding them to a second place finish in the 2018-19 campaign, but his tenure was abruptly cut short in its sophomore year.
At the time it seemed Ancelotti had reached the game’s summit years earlier and was on the way down football’s food chain, with his next appointment at Everton appearing to confirm that.
Dressing room tensions and a dispute with De Laurentiis over a training camp led to his downfall in Campania. The president appeared to think Ancelotti did not have it in him to manage the squad.

However Ancelotti’s surprise return to the helm of Madrid in 2021 put him back among the elite, and in 2022 he won his fourth Champions League title as a coach, more than anyone else, as well as LaLiga to complete a superb double.

Meanwhile, Madrid’s 3-0 win at Girona on Sunday ensures they also arrive in Italy as leaders in LaLiga, after a wobble in the derby against rivals Atletico Madrid. A painful 3-1 loss at the Metropolitano on September 24 saw Ancelotti come in for criticism for his tactics and diamond midfield system.

However the Italian made some minor changes and it proved sufficient to earn a comfortable victory over the high-flying Catalans, who had hoped to score a second consecutive home win over Madrid at Montilivi.
“Winning here means that we did well and I’d like to highlight our defensive work, which was very good,” Ancelotti told reporters.

The coach deployed Eduardo Camavinga at left-back instead of the more attacking Fran Garcia, and also asked Jude Bellingham to help with covering Girona to ease the burden on Vinicius Junior.
“We put Bellingham on the outside to avoid Vini having too many defensive duties, bearing in mind that (Aurelien) Tchouameni was in the centre to provide cover,” added Ancelotti.

Bellingham has seven goals and two assists this season across all competitions, largely playing in the number 10 role, despite his capacity to operate in deeper areas.
It was an “invention” by Ancelotti to help cover for the departed Karim Benzema and so far it has paid dividends for the England international, top scorer in Spain.

The coach’s tactical shift and subsequent tweaks dispel any doubts over his dedication at Madrid, showing he is not just on cruise control and heading towards the Brazil national team job he is set to take next summer.
Part of the reason behind the new set-up is to add muscle to the team and bolster the midfield, after Manchester City demolished the record 14-time European champions in last season’s semifinal.

The visit to Napoli will be another acid test for both Ancelotti’s plan and Madrid’s squad depth, with striker Victor Osimhen in excellent form, despite his recent anger over the club insulting him on social media network TikTok.
Los Blancos are without injured defender David Alaba, leaving only Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez available in central defence.

Napoli coach Rudi Garcia will also be looking forward to the game – he was due to face Madrid when at Roma in 2016, but was sacked ahead of the last 16 tie.
Real Madrid and Napoli last met in the Champions League in the 2016-17 round of 16 when the Spanish giants won both legs 3-1 to and went on to claim the title. with and www.reuters reports

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