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Open Thread: November 16, 2021

Our Tuesday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Russia v Croatia: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

The board asks Modric to re-sign

First, it’s a great thing for the Croatian Real Madrid legend. He wanted to be there for the full opening of the Bernabeu (with his whole blonde family) and now he will.

Second, it surely comes as no surprise as the other midfielders who would come in and partner with Kroos & Casemiro either haven’t had the greatest time being fit and available, or are just clearly at a stage where they have some growth to do before being given the main role.

Third, if you are not looking forward to seeing “KCM” for another year in the biggest of games for Real Madrid, there is a positive way to look at this: the way is open for the youngsters to make their case for the big starts. Ancelotti has said that he rewards performances of players in training and in games. All it would take is for one of Real Madrid’s younger midfielders to make his consistently and compellingly over the course of his appearances.

VIA AS: Ancelotti has been working Rafa Marin into first team training

That’s quite big and interesting news regarding our center-back depth.

Carlo Ancelotti has been incorporating Castilla defender Rafa Marín into Real Madrid first-team training during the international break and the club have high hopes that the 19-year-old could become a mainstay of the Bernabéu back four for years to come. The Italian tactician has identified the central defender - who stands at over 6”2’ – as the most promising prospect in the academy and is considering promoting him to the first team given his side’s lack of cover across the back line.

As well as his physical presence, Marín is good on the ball and can play it out from the back while his height makes him an asset at both ends of the pitch, especially from set-pieces. He also possessed a quality that is in high demand at Real Madrid at the moment: he is extremely fast.

The teenager has become a fundamental part of Raúl’s Castilla side this season, making seven appearances, and the club’s technical staff have been impressed with his performances. Spain under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente is also keeping a closed eye on Marín’s development as La Rojita also have plenty of room for improvement in central defence.

Bale will not start for Wales on Tuesday’s match

Gareth Bale will not start when Wales face Belgium in Cardiff for their final World Cup Group E qualifying match as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Wales are already assured of a place in the play-offs going into Tuesday’s game due to their Nations League results.

But they need at least a point against Belgium to be sure of finishing second to Roberto Martínez’s men in the pool, which would give them the best chance of a home draw in the play-off semi-finals.

The Czech Republic are still in with a chance of catching Wales.

Good News from Mexico

Santiago Solari is doing well as a coach in Liga MX. That’s impressive from him. The Mexican top league has respectable quality.

Long interview with Kroos is worth reading

Real Madrid info on Twitter has posted this. Toni is certainly the chattiest of the Real Madrid legendary mid trio — luckily for us.

Zlatan was lucky to remain on the pitch versus Spain

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