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Open Thread: February 18, 2021

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Another issue of the Daily Merengue!

Photo by Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via 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 lx or NeRObutBlanco.

Preparations continue at Real Madrid City for Valladolid.

The side travels to Valladolid for LaLiga matchday 24 (Saturday, 9pm CET) and preparations for the game continued at Valdebebas. Injured players Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Hazard, Rodrygo, Valverde and Carvajal trained inside the facilities, while Odriozola and Militão trained both inside the facilities and out on the pitch.

With Atletico dropping 2 points at Levante the door to the title race has opened, if only just a crack. Rojiblancos are now 6 points clear at the top with a game in hand. They have dropped 4 points in the last 3 games. Real cannot afford any more slipups if they still want to challenge for the title.

Mbappe or Haaland? Haaland or Mbappe?

With both players having excelled in their round of 16 clashes, Haaland with a brace against Sevilla and Mbappe with a hatrick against Barca, the rumors have gone into overdrive again. ABC Deportes reported that Real Madrid will go all out for Haaland this summer and hope Mbappé doesn’t renew his contract with PSG, so they can sign him for free in 2022. Los Blancos don’t have the resources to sign Mbappé this year - apart from his huge transfer fee, the club will not be able to provide him a massive contract like PSG can. Meanwhile French daily L’ÉQUIPE reiterated that Kylian Mbappé’s childhood dream is to play for Real Madrid.

Haaland meanwhile was asked post game by journalists how does it make him feel that he’s desired by Real Madrid fans and he simply replied ”It’s always nice when someone wants you.” AS’s online poll claimed that 65% of users prefer Mbappe over Haaland. It’s unclear what will happen in the summer but it seems essential at this point that Madrid land at least one of these phenoms.

Jonathan Barnett is at it again.

Gareth Bale’s agent was asked why Bale was not playing regularly at the Financial Times’ Business of Football event, Barnett said: “He’s towards the end of his career. Really, you have to ask Mourinho that.”

Barnett also defended Bale’s record, which includes four Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles with Real Madrid.

“When they say ‘what’s happened to him?’ He’s won more trophies abroad than any British player in history,” Barnett said. “He’s done very well financially, and he has enough money for the rest of his life. He has a very good lifestyle, so that is what has happened to him”.

All indications at this juncture point towards Bale and his massive wages returning to Madrid next season.

ICYMI: Toni Kroos has second most Goals and Assists after Performance against Valencia.

Toni Kroos is having some season and C Trick breaks down the data to highlight his impact in this must read article.