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Real Madrid predicted lineup vs Atletico Madrid

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Real Madrid will be hoping to record their 115th win against city rivals Atletico Madrid when they meet in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Los Rojiblancos make the short crosstown trip to the Santiago Bernabeu looking to reach the last four in the backyard of their greatest rivals.

Carlo Ancelotti was still in his first spell as Real Madrid boss the last time they won this competition, with the now-retired Gareth Bale scoring the memorable clincher.

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Here’s how Los Blancos could set out for this quarter-final.

GK: Thibaut Courtois – Under-appreciated outside Madrid and boy does he want you to know about it.

RB: Nacho Fernandez – Ancelotti explained that Nacho’s proficiency as a centre-back are exactly the reason why he will be playing as a full-back in this one. Whatever you say, Carlo.

CB: Eder Militao – Will play at centre-back presumably because he is less capable of playing this role by Ancelotti’s logic.

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CB: Antonio Rudiger – Come under fire for recent performances but has a chance to impress with David Alaba out injured.

LB: Ferland Mendy – His place in the side is rather protected given the lack of competition for the role.

DM: Aurelien Tchouameni – Continuing a steady first season as Real’s long-term Casemiro replacement.

CM: Luka Modric – Starting to look his 37 years of age which is understandable. Will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing big-game performance against Barcelona in the Supercopa a few weeks ago.

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CM: Toni Kroos – Scored a proper Toni Kroos goal last time out.

RW: Federico Valverde – His form has cooled off a bit since the World Cup. Unfortunately for Atleti, that means he’s well overdue a great performance.

CF: Karim Benzema – Remember when Benzema won the Ballon d’Or? That was only three months ago, apparently.

LW: Vinicius Junior – Started the comeback in their 3-2 win at Villarreal in the last round of the Copa del Rey.

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Erik ten Hag explains why he wanted Marcel Sabitzer

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag pointed to a shortage of midfield options due to injury as the main reason the club secured a deadline day loan deal for Marcel Sabitzer.

Sabitzer, who made his name at RB Leipzig, has joined from Bayern Munich for the remainder of the season, completing his move to Old Trafford late on Tuesday night.

United initially weren’t planning to dip into the transfer market as the January transfer window drew to a close. But 90min reported on Tuesday that Sabitzer had been offered, while Ten Hag had also advised trying to add to the cover in midfield late on.

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Injuries were really the driving factor behind the approach. Christian Eriksen in particular was suddenly ruled out until May as a result of a bad tackle from Reading forward Andy Carroll over the weekend, potentially leaving United too light in the centre of the pitch.

“We are really happy with that transfer because we need it after Donny van de Beek dropped out, now Christian Eriksen for a longer time and also, I think for a short time, Scott McTominay is also not available,” Ten Hag said of Sabitzer’s arrival.

“So that gives us a shortage of midfield players. But then to bring a quality player in on deadline day that is difficult, and we got this opportunity.”

Ten Hag continued: “I know the player already a long time from [RB] Salzburg. Especially from [RB] Leipzig. He performed fantastically, so I expect that he will do the same here.

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“I think he has a great attitude; he is at the right age, and I am sure this opportunity will motivate him greatly and he will perform strongly for us.”

On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Manchester United’s late acquisition of Bayern Munich midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on loan. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

In earlier comments, Ten Hag seemed to confirm that he had indeed asked for a new midfielder.

“As a manager, I think you always try to find to make your team better. I wouldn’t be a good manager if I didn’t make the request,” he said.

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“If there are opportunities, it is my job to tell the club there are opportunities to strengthen the squad and our team. And it is about them and about financial frameworks and what is acceptable and what is reasonable.”

Sabitzer was in attendance at Old Trafford as United beat Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night and is likely to be in contention for his debut when Crystal Palace visit in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The Austria international, who is very well known to former United interim boss Ralf Rangnick, had played 24 times for Bayern in all competitions this season prior to leaving – however, more than half of those appearances were as a substitute.



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La Liga president lashes out at ‘doped’ Premier League transfer market

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La Liga president Javier Tebas has taken aim at the amount of money spent by Premier League clubs during the January transfer window, insisting it presents a threat to the sustainability of European football as a whole.

Premier League sides parted with a cool £815m in January, £290m of which came from Chelsea, whereas La Liga’s winter spend sat at closer to £25m and was led by Espanyol’s acquisition of centre-back Cesar Montes from Monterrey for around £7m.

Chelsea, who alone outspent La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 combined, were an obvious target for Tebas. But the Spanish football chief made a point of highlighting the dangers of the wider Premier League’s spending.

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“The British market is a doped market,” Tebas said. “You can see it clearly in this winter market, where Chelsea have made almost half of the signings in the Premier League.

“Following the history of the last few seasons, we have done some work at La Liga, because the Premier League is a competition that loses billions of pounds in the last few years. And this is financed with contributions from the patrons, in this case large American investors who finance at a loss.”

The Premier League does not have specific financial controls on teams’ financial dealings, unlike La Liga, who impose a salary cap which is based on the team’s profits in an attempt to control reckless spending – something Barcelona have battled in recent years.

“[Clubs making big losses] does not happen in the Spanish league and neither does it happen in the German league, especially those two,” Tebas added.

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“In our control of economic sustainability, we do not allow contributions to cover losses in these barbaric amounts that are occurring, and that is what makes the difference in the market.

“We also have to recognise that commercially they have a higher turnover than us, but not in the volume of this difference that there is.

“It is quite dangerous that the markets are doped, inflated, as has been happening in recent years in Europe, because that can jeopardise the sustainability of European football.”



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When is the Winter Update released?

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The January transfer window has closed for Europe’s top leagues and now Football Manager players are eagerly awaiting the chance to take charge of their new-look teams.

Every year, Football Manager releases a major update to refresh squads and allow players to start a new save with accurate, up-to-date transfers, and it’s just a matter of time before Football Manager 2023 follows suit.

Here’s what we know about the Winter Update.

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The primary focus of the update is transfers. Every deal that has gone through since the release of the game earlier this season will be included, so Chelsea fans will have almost an entirely new game to enjoy after their record-breaking spend.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however, with the update also including manager departures and changes to player abilities and potentials to reflect the progress of the real players on the pitch.

There is no set date for the release of the update, with Football Manager representatives regularly telling players that it will be ready when it’s ready.

The FM22 update came on February 24, four days later than the release in 2021 but a week sooner than FM20, which ticked over into March.

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Importantly, this is a ‘winter update’ and not a ‘January update’, as it takes into account the transfer windows around the world which do not shut on January 31.

While most windows shut at the end of January, some remain open for a few more weeks. For example, teams in Switzerland have until February 15 and both Bulgaria and Romania can do business until February 22.

A major release usually comes towards the end of February, with a small refresher often released in March to add in the closure of the few windows which drag out until then.



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