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Real Madrid to exchange veteran superstar for €100million-rated Serie A defender

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According to the latest reports, Real Madrid are keen to sell Luka Modric to Serie A giants Inter Milan, in exchange for their star defender Milan Skriniar.

Skriniar is being targeted by several top-flight European clubs, having displayed remarkable skills and consistency over the past two seasons at Inter Milan. The Slovakian has been a virtual ever-present in the Nerazzurri squad since joining from Sampdoria for £30million in 2017, clearly impressing Luciano Spalletti and Antonio Conte.

Meanwhile, it is the Spanish outlet El Desmarque who reports via Daily Star that Real Madrid are one of the many clubs interested in Skriniar, and that they are willing to put up Luka Modric, who is one of their most important players on the table to add him to their ranks.

Modric is now 34-years-old and has just 18 months left to run on his contract. Although he remains an important figure for Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, his lowly 12 La Liga starts across all competitions so far this season certainly seems to suggest that he is steadily losing importance at the club.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup finalist and Ballon d’Or winner had been approached by Inter Milan several times before – but Los Blancos had not agreed on a deal so far.

This time around, as they look to sign the €100million rated Skriniar from the Serie A giants, it is expected that they will trade Modric in exchange, to bring down the value of the transfer fee.

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Reports say Real Madrid in talks with Dortmund over Erling Haaland, PSG want Koulibaly

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Is a move to Real Madrid on the cards for Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland?

Everyone wants a piece of Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian teenager has taken Europe by storm this season. First with Salzburg and now with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland’s exploits have reportedly alerted Real Madrid.

TOP STORY – MADRID MAKE CONTACT FOR HAALAND

Real Madrid have held talks with Borussia Dortmund over the signing of star striker Erling Haaland, according to Radio Marca.

Haaland has enjoyed a record-breaking start to life at Bundesliga outfit Dortmund after arriving from Salzburg in January, having turned down Manchester United.

But the 19-year-old’s time with Dortmund could be brief as LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly circle amid their goalscoring woes.

ROUND-UP

– La Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira claims Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. With veteran centre-back Thiago Silva out of contract at the end of the season and facing an uncertain future, Ligue 1 champions PSG are set to turn to Koulibaly, who has been linked to the likes of UnitedManchester CityArsenal and Tottenham. Napoli are reportedly set to demand at least €100-110million.

– Madrid are also reportedly interested in Koulibaly, while El Desmarque says Zinedine Zidane is tracking Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

– Tottenham are monitoring Manchester United defender and Roma loanee Chris Smalling, reports Calciomercato. Roma want to sign Smalling permanently.

– According to Football Insider, City have identified Everton defender Mason Holgate as a primary transfer target. Pep Guardiola is determined to bolster his defensive options after an injury-plagued season.

– Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is wanted by LaLiga champions Barcelona but Madrid are ready to go head-to-head with their rivals for the Argentina star, according to Mundo Deportivo.

– Milan are eyeing a move for Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul at season’s end, reports Schira.

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El Clasico – Real Madrid vs Barcelona: 5 players to watch out for

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Ahead of what could be a season-defining El Clasico on Sunday night, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at five players who could make a difference in the encounter between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

1. Lionel Messi

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Lionel Messi has been head-and-shoulders above everyone else as the fixture’s main attraction and it will not be any different on Sunday night. Messi’s four-goal outing in a 5-0 win for the Blaugrana vs Eibar last Saturday was the latest in a career littered with dominant performances.

The Argentine will be even more motivated after Barcelona’s 1-1 draw against Napoli in the UEFA Champions League. A big game against Real Madrid might be the perfect platform to wash away their Champions League struggles. Who knows we might even get a repeat of his iconic jersey-to-the-crowd celebration!

2. Vinicius Junior 

At 19, Vinicius Junior looks miles ahead of most players his age, evident by the faith Zinedine Zidane puts in him in the absence of Eden Hazard. The Brazilian youngster set up Isco’s opener against Manchester City and came close to score himself before City’s late fightback.

Vinicius’s interview post-match was explosive, wherein he blamed the referee for Real Madrid’s collapse, also defiantly stating they would go to the Etihad and win the reverse leg. An angry Vinicius Junior is bad news for Barcelona and if Madrid do end up winning, expect him to play a starring role.

3. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring for Real Madrid

Sergio Ramos’s red card in the Champions League was the tipping point of what was a shocking Real Madrid loss in the first leg of round-of-16 UCL encounter against Manchester City. The Spaniard was sent off for the 26th time in his career.

While he will have to watch the second leg of the City tie from the stands, he can still contribute to his team’s domestic title charge via El Clasico. Ramos tends to be either the star or the villain in such encounters and fans can expect more of the same on Sunday night.

4. Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm in his first season at Barcelona but there have been glimpses of what could be. In Luis Suarez’s absence, the team needs him to step up now more than ever.

Bailing out Barcelona with a goal against Napoli was the first step and should Griezmann star in a Barcelona win over Madrid, it will go a long way in pleasing the Camp Nou faithful.

A Barcelona win would open up a five-point gap at the summit of the table, which might just be enough to earn the Frenchman the league in his first season with Lionel Messi and co.

5. Federico Valverde 

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde

Federico Valverde has stepped up for Real Madrid in spectacular fashion this season. The Uruguayan has completely justified Madrid’s decision not to sign Paul Pogba last summer and is one of the first names on Zidane’s team-sheet at the moment.

Barcelona fans will remember his performance in the reverse fixture last year, where Valverde not only dominated the game but also came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. The youngster is one of those players who never seem fazed and will have a key role to play for Madrid at the Camp Nou.

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It’s Real Madrid v Manchester City, not Zinedine Zidane v Pep Guardiola

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Zinedine Zidane shifted the focus away from the dugout ahead of his first meeting with Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola.

Zinedine Zidane hailed Pep Guardiola as the best coach in the world but insisted Real Madrid’s clash with Manchester City is not a battle between the two men in the dugout.

Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu will mark the first time the managerial pair have faced off in a competitive match.

Zidane has won the competition three times as Madrid boss, while the second and most recent of Guardiola’s successes came at Barcelona nine years ago.

However, the Frenchman has labelled his counterpart as the best in the business ahead of the midweek clash.

“He’s shown it at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City,” Zidane said at his pre-match news conference. “There are a lot of good coaches, but I think it’s him [at the top].

 

“But it’s Real Madrid v Manchester City, not Zidane vs Guardiola. What people want to see is a game of football between Madrid and City. It’s an attractive game.”

Madrid enter the match on the back of disappointing run of domestic form that has seen them exit the Copa del Rey and relinquish top spot in LaLiga.

By comparison, City have won back-to-back matches since being rocked by UEFA’s announcement that they face a two-year ban from European competitions for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations – pending an appeal.

But Zidane has won all nine two-legged Champions League ties he has been involved in and has urged his players not to dwell on the recent defeats to Real Sociedad and Levante.

“We know the quality of the opponent that we’re going to face,” he said. “They’re a very good team and they will come to play their way.

“What we have to do is play a very good match. We have to think about what we’ve been doing well and not focus on the two games with negative results we’ve had. We have to play well tomorrow.

“There are lot of teams who like to have the ball. Every side you play against is always going to have certain strengths, and it’s our job to cancel them out.

“City are a side with many strengths, including possession. But it’s also about what we do – that’s what we’re interested in.”

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