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Real Madrid

Real Madrid round-up: Icardi, Piatek, Rodrygo, Bale

It's international week so there's not much action around the Bernabéu, much like the opposition penalty area recently, leading to talk of strikers...

Julen Lopetegui looks on as Karim Benzema eyes the ball against Alavés.

A striking issue

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Julen Lopetegui’s side are on a barren run in front of goal unmatched since 1984-85, when Los Blancos finished fifth in LaLiga and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey in the last 16 but did win the Uefa Cup. It’s been four and half games now since anybody found the net for Madrid, Marco Asensio’s goal against Espanyol in the 41st minute on September 22 the last time an opposition keeper was beaten. What’s the solution? According to two former Real bosses, there are two of them. Do nothing, which is Bernd Schuster’s advice, or splash the cash in January on Mauro Icardi, which is the prescription offered by Fabio Capello. If Real’s drought goes on, we imagine the latter will be looked in to.

A Tek problem in the scouting area?

Krzysztof Piatek found the net against Portugal in the Nations League.
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Krzysztof Piatek found the net against Portugal in the Nations League.PressFocus/MB MediaGetty Images

Real’s scouting department appears to operate largely by suggesting players that most outside of uncontacted Amazonian tribes have probably already heard of. Genoa’s on the other hand seems to have a long arm indeed and last summer the Serie A side plucked Krzysztof Piatek from relative obscurity but the freshly minted Poland international is gaining a bit of a reputation for himself after banging in 13 goals in eight games for I Rossoblu. Madrid have yet to be mentioned as a potential suitor but it’s surely only a matter of time with Juventus, Atlético, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Dortmund apparently already on a growing list of admirers.

Give Goes a go?

Rodrygo in action for Brazil under-20s against Chile.
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Rodrygo in action for Brazil under-20s against Chile.Rener Pinheiro / MoWA PressDIARIO AS

In fairness, Real do have their fingers on the pulse of the Brazilian market and as well as snapping up Vinicius Junior the Bernabéu signed Rodrygo Goes for a similar fee last summer with a view to bringing him in ahead of the 2019-20 season. However, the connection between the two for Brazil’s under-20s during the international break in training and on the pitch has observers wondering if Real will bring the 17-year-old over in January to add a bit of flair to an attack mired in self-doubt. Rodrygo’s nomination for the Kopa Award was greeted with surprise in Brazil. “He sort of came out of nowhere,” ESPN Brasil’s Mario Marra said.

Bale back to lead the line against Levante

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In a rare recent piece of good news for Madrid, it was announced on Sunday that Gareth Bale would not be risked in Wales’ Nations League match against Ireland and the forward was expected back in Madrid a day later to resume training at Valdebebas ahead of next weekend’s game against Levante. Bale hasn’t found the net since week three of LaLiga against Leganés and missed the 1-0 defeat in Moscow but looked the likeliest to score against Alavés a few days later despite his injury flaring up again in the second half. Real have never lost against The Frogs with Bale in the side: it isn’t much, but Lopetegui's fairy tale is in risk of coming to a sticky end if he doesn't get a result in what is a must-win game at home.


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