·7 February 2023
·7 February 2023
Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images
According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano (h/t Madrid Xtra), Real Madrid are closely following RB Leipzig and Croatia centre-back Josko Gvardiol ahead of the summer window.
The 21-year-old has long been regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe. His stock rose further at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, as he put in starring displays to help Croatia achieve a third-place finish.
Gvardiol’s development and progression have not gone unnoticed, with several top clubs across Europe casting admiring glances towards the defender.
And, Real Madrid are understood to have Gvardiol on their transfer wishlist for the summer and are among the clubs following the 21-year-old.
As things stand, Los Blancos have Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba and Nacho Fernandez as options for the centre-back role, while Jesus Vallejo is also available at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal.
But, Nacho’s contract expires at the end of the season while Vallejo could also be offloaded, which would create room for a new arrival in the position.
Furthermore, Gvardiol’s ability to slot in on the left side of the defence could also appeal to the Spanish capital club, considering the lack of depth in the left-back position.
So, it does not come as a surprise to see Real Madrid following the 21-year-old, although Romano adds that it is too early to talk about negotiations with RB Leipzig for the defender.
It has previously been reported that Gvardiol has a mammoth €110 million release clause in his contract, and Romano goes on to state that the towering Croatian could be the ‘most expensive centre-back ever’.
Considering that Real Madrid are also planning a huge financial layout for Jude Bellingham in the summer, whether they can afford to splash the cash on Gvardiol as well remains to be seen.
Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
Real Madrid recorded a vital 4-0 win over last-placed Elche on Wednesday night to cut down the gap with Barcelona to eight points. Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, and Luka Modric were the goalscorers on the night but it was an all-round display from the Merengues.
Eduardo Camavinga, Dani Ceballos, and Nacho Fernandez spoke to the media after the final whistle to share their thoughts on the performance.
The French midfielder began his conversation with the media by assuring fans that the team would continue fighting for the league title despite the large gap.
“Nothing is impossible at this club. We saw that last year with the Champions League, we’re going to fight to the end to win La Liga,” he said.
Camavinga played as a make-shift left-back for Real Madrid in the absence of Ferland Mendy and David Alaba but returned to the middle of the park against Elche. Speaking of his preference for the position, he said,
“I prefer playing in the middle of the park. I’ve played as a full-back to help the team, and now I’m back playing as a deep-lying midfielder and I’m happy. Kroos and Modrić are amazing players, I’m here to learn and play as much as possible.”
The youngster then spoke about the team’s performance on the night, with a special emphasis on defensive resilience, as he said:
“We didn’t give away any chances. We scored a load of goals and it’s great for our confidence. When we play, we want to score goals, so we’re happy to have done that today.”
Finally, Camavinga went on to express his gratitude to the fans in the stands and spoke on the schedule ahead, saying:
“I would like to thank the fans for their support and we’re happy with the win. The team is in good shape and we’re going to keep going. This is a difficult month but we’re going to give it all we have.”
Nacho Fernandez started the game in central defence and recorded 13 defensive actions at the Santiago Bernabeu. He addressed the importance of the three points and the special defensive performance, stating:
“A clean sheet and a game full of goals. Couldn’t ask for anymore. The team put in a complete performance from the off, despite Elche’s current form. We needed to take the points to stay in the chase in La Liga. These three points mean we’re still right in the fight.”
Nacho happy with Real Madrid’s win over Elche (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
The veteran has seen continuity in playing time in recent games after a difficult start to the season and commented about the same after the game.
“I’m very happy. I didn’t start the season off in the best way, but now I’m stringing games together. It’s very important to help the team and I’m ready,” he said.
Real Madrid are in dire need of confidence after a rough patch of results in the past month. Los Blancos have gifted Barcelona a dominant lead and must strike back with consistency to bridge the gap. Nacho echoed the same thoughts about confidence saying:
“This game has helped us to build our confidence, we were solid both at the back and upfront. It was a match to boost our confidence and now we have to win on Saturday.”
Finally, the centre-back spoke about the status of his renewal and hinted towards easy negotiations towards the same.
“I’m happy playing here. I want to focus on the season and whatever happens will be a personal decision and with respect for the club because we have a magnificent relationship.”
Dani Ceballos was the third player to share his thoughts after the game and began his interaction by saying that they could catch up with Barcelona with a fine run of form.
“It was important to win to match Barcelona’s good run. Eight points are not insurmountable and this team deserves to fight until the end and that’s what we’re going to do until the last game,” he said.
The midfielder once again oozed class after starting against Elche, providing three key passes and over 100 touches. He shared his two cents about his regular playing time after the game, saying:
“I’m very happy to be in the starting line-up. It’s easier to get into the game because I’m in the swing of things and feel match fit. I keep trying to work every day to make it difficult for the coach.
“With the schedule coming up, we have 25 players who are switched on, which is what we need because we have some very tough games on the horizon.”
Ceballos ended his media interview with a token of gratitude to the fans who cheered him on and applauded him after the game.
“I would like to thank the fans for their support. Without them, it’s different. This year nobody has been able to take the three points from the Bernabéu and with them, we are stronger. We have to carry on in the same way.”
Source: Real Madrid official website
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