Real Madrid round-up: Plzen, Vinicius, Varane, Aytekin...
Ahead of the Champions League game in the Czech Republic, we look at the stories doing the rounds related to the reigning European champions.
Emergency manager success
Santiago Solari takes charge of his first European match against Plzen and, according to most commentators on the situation, is not expected to be in the Real Madrid hotseat for too long. He should take some comfort, however, from the fact that across the unprecedented success that the club has had in the continent's top club competition, seven of the 13 titles have been won with a 'caretaker' boss at the helm.
Prior to Zinedine Zidane winning the 2016, 2017 and 2018 trophies, Miguel Muñoz picked up two (1960 and 1966), and he was followed by Vicente del Bosque, who won in 2000 and 2002. All three managers had been elevated to the job in an emergency situation.
A 'Vinicius era' ahead?
Speaking to AS, the agent of the exciting young Brazilian forward, Vinicius Jr, has said that the player is not afraid to be in the limelight, and is taking everything in his stride. We also pressed him to give an honest answer about how his client fits into the club and first team.
Aytekin in the middle
German referee Deniz Aytekin has been put in charge Viktoria Plzen's game against Madrid. This is the first time that he'll have refereed Los Blancos, although he's certainly not unknown to Spanish fans, and possibly more so, those of PSG. His much-criticised performance 'assisting' Barcelona ended up with him sitting out for a while.
Small stadium, big noise
The Doosan Arena that is home to Viktoria Plzen holds under 12,000 supporters, 11,700 to be more precise. This makes it bigger than just four of the current 20 sides playing in LaLiga Santander, namely El Acoraz (5,500), Ipurua (7,400), Montilivi (9,282) and Butarque (11,454). Hoping to make their support heard over the home fans will be 670 Madridistas who have made the trip to the Czech Republic.
Varane talks gold
Speaking to France Football, them chaps responsible for the under-the-radar Ballon d'Or award, Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane gave his views on the team ethic behind his nation's World Cup win, among other things.
"We do a team sport," he said. "Individually, you're worthless! You can be a huge player, if you play alone, the team loses."