Real Madrid to MISS The Best FIFA Awards & focus on Clasico clash with Barcelona instead
- Blancos held in derby date with Atletico
- Crunch Copa del Rey clash up next
- Set to skip glitzy gala in Paris
WHAT HAPPENED? Two arch-rivals in Spanish football are due to lock horns once more in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday. Both sides have much to work on ahead of that contest, with Real playing out a disappointing derby draw with neighbours Atletico Madrid last time out while table-topping Barca suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Almeria on Sunday.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Real are eager to avoid any distractions at a crucial stage of the season, with The Athletic reporting that they will miss the glitzy gala in Paris as a result. The Blancos have made that decision as a collective, with their star-studded squad and head coach Carlo Ancelotti agreeing to pass up a trip to France.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Real do not want to come across as being disrespectful, though, and will send director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno, and club ambassador Roberto Carlos to the FIFA Best event. With no players or coaches in attendance, the expectation is that Madrid stars will be overlooked for all of the top awards on offer.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Karim Benzema, the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, is nominated for the FIFA Best men’s player award alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, while Thibaut Courtois is up against Morocco’s Yassine Bounou and Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez for the best goalkeeper prize and Ancelotti sits on the men’s coach shortlist with Pep Guardiola and Lionel Scaloni.