Valverde returns for Real’s CL semi-final at Chelsea

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde has recovered from Covid-19 after posting a negative test result on Tuesday and has been called up for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Brazilian left-back Marcelo will also be able to travel with the squad to London on Tuesday morning, despite being chosen to work at a Madrid polling station as part of local elections.

Reports in Spain on Tuesday morning said the Brazilian turned up around 8am at the Liceo Europeo in La Moraleja to fulfil his duties as an assistant but was excused and allowed to return home after being substituted by one of the main electoral council members.

Raphael Varane, meanwhile, will miss Real’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Chelsea.

The 28-year-old centre-back sustained an injury to his right abductor during Real’s 2-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday.

Real will also be without Dani Carvajal due to the hamstring injury he suffered during the first leg last week, with the right-back set to miss the rest of the season.

Captain Sergio Ramos is named in the squad after he returned to training at the end of last week. The 35-year-old defender has not featured since playing for Spain at the end of March.

Sergio Ramos is available for Real Madrid ahead of their clash with Chelsea
Sergio Ramos has not featured since playing for Spain at the end of March

Real drew 1-1 with Chelsea in the first leg in Madrid, meaning they must better that score in west London on Wednesday if they are to reach their first final since 2018.

Raiola: I think Real Madrid can afford Haaland

Mino Raiola says Real Madrid will be able to afford to sign Erling Haaland this summer, despite the Spanish champions’ financial issues.

Real reported a debt of €354.3m (£307m) in the financial year to last June with finances having been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Erling Haaland has scored 49 goals in his first 52 games for Borussia Dortmung
Erling Haaland has 37 goals in 38 games for Borussia Dortmund this season

While Haaland has a reported £66m release clause in his contract that comes into effect next summer, Raiola and his father, Alf Inge Haaland, held talks with Barcelona and Real earlier this year.

The striker would be expected to fetch over £100m for Borussia Dortmund if they sold him this summer and, when asked whether Real could afford to buy him, Raiola said: “I don’t know if they can afford him, because I’ve haven’t studied their books. But I think they can.

“I think they all can. The question is different: can Madrid afford not to buy Haaland? And Barca?”

“He [Haaland] needs to tell me when everything is clear and I can create a menu for him, and put the things on his plate: we’ve got this, that and the other.

“And at the moment we can’t. What we know as of today is that Dortmund spoke extremely solemnly to us and said, ‘we are not selling him’. That’s the situation, definitely.

“That’s what they’ve said. Now let’s see if that desire is still there through to the 1st of September.”


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