Real Madrid round up: Pedraza, Hazard, Bale, Plzen...
There's always plenty going on around the Bernabéu club, and especially in the build-up to another Champions League test, this time in the Czech Republic.
Santiago Solari has had his first taste of Real Madrid senior team management, picking up wins in both the Copa del Rey and LaLiga, and now he gets to dine at the top table of European football, in the Champions League. Ahead of Los Blancos trip to Plzen we look around some of the news surrounding the club...
Giggs sends support to Bale
The Wales manager has sent his support to Gareth Bale who once again finds himself under pressure from many of the Madrid fans. His apathetic performance prior to being substituted against Valladolid drew some whistles from those in the Bernabéu, with many vocal about a preference for Vinicius, but his national team manager has selected him to lead his side in the upcoming games against Denmark and Albania.
"I had it at United," said the Old Trafford legend. "You're under that scrutiny all the time so that's something Gareth's used to. He likes coming away. He was with us for more or less the duration the last camp trying to get over his injury.
"So, I know he can't wait to join up with the lads and be a part of the game."
"We're talking about a world-class player who obviously never lets his country down," Giggs continued. "Being at a big club like Real Madrid and such a successful one, he would've seen everything.
"I don't expect Gareth to turn up in any other way, any other sort of mood than he would have in the past, because he's a professional player, a brilliant player and one that we obviously want within the team and the squad."
Pedraza interest building
What happens regarding the managerial situation at the Bernabéu is likely to have an effect on any upcoming transfer dealings, but one name currently in fray is Villarreal’s Spanish under-21 winger, Alfonso Pedraza. AS understands that the winger is getting plenty of attention from the club, with a very accessible buy-out clause being eyed.
Hazard not looking to Madrid
In terms of the transfer of Chelsea's Eden Hazard, which looked nailed on not so long ago, things are looking less clear. The Belgian's brother, Thorgan, has reiterated the point that Eden is "he’s not thinking about moving at the moment," although did leave a question mark about what may happen next summer. We'll continue to ponder warning sign puns just in case.
Champions League squad announced
Early on Tuesday the club confirmed their matchday squad for the game against Plzen Viktoria. Sergio Reguilón keeps his place after a good showing at the weekend, while there will be much interest over whether or not Vinicius gets some pitchtime after scoring(!) against Valladolid.
Touchdown in Plzen
The capital club shared some images of the squad arriving at their destination on Tuesday, with captain Sergio Ramos, a player with much of the responsibility for recent performances, and the desired turnaround, getting some artistic attention from the social media team.
Random 'on this day'
Did you know that 43 years ago this week saw an incredible comeback from Madrid in the European Cup? After losing the away leg 4-1 in England, Los Blancos stunned Derby County at the Bernabéu with a 5-1 victory. Two goals each for Roberto Martínez (no, not him!) and Santillana, plus one from Pirri secured the win in the Round of the Last 16. Madrid's run in the 1975/76 competition ended in the semi-final at the hands of eventual winners Bayern Munich.
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