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Open Thread: March 18, 2021

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Our Thursday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Helios de la Rubia/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 Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Real Madrid returned to training on Wednesday

There may have been some celebrations at home Tuesday night, but it was back to business Wednesday as the squad returned to the Valdebebas for a closed-door session. RealMadrid.com reports that the starters were out jogging and doing some work indoors, while “[t]he rest of the group did activation exercises and possession drills, worked on pressing and playing out as well as finishing drills. The players then played a match on a small pitch.”

Next up is LaLiga matchday 28, an away game at Celta Vigo on Saturday (11:15 EST / 16:15 CET). Celta are sitting 10th in the table and they can prove difficult with Iago Aspas always capable of playing the spoiler. They drew 0-0 with Athletic Bilbao last Sunday.

The Champions League draw is on Friday

There is but one Spanish team remaining in the most prestigious competition for club football. This will be at 7:00 EST or 12:00 CET.

Real Madrid have the possibility of drawing in the quarterfinals:

Dortmund • Liverpool • PSG • Bayern • Man. City • Chelsea • Porto

Who would you prefer to draw, and to avoid?

The latest on Eden Hazard’s surgery situation

The Belgian Federation had recommended another surgery to remove the ankle plate, as a possible solution to muscular issues, but after consulting with the Real Madrid medical team MARCA is reporting that the surgery is less likely, as the plate would not seem to be causing muscle problems.

Real Madrid’s club doctors have advised their No.7 to not go under the knife again and they’re trusting in conservative treatment to get him back to fitness for the season’s final stretch.

Los Blancos aren’t convinced that his latest setback is due to complications that have arisen from previous interference with his ankle, which saw a plate inserted.

AS reports that the forward has been in London seeking further advice. Further, Mario Cortegana has posted on Twitter that Hazard consulted his two most trusted doctors, Dr. James Calder and Dr. Eugene Curry, and they have concurred with the advice of not removing the plate.

Haaland supporting Vinicius after the UCL match

From Jose Felix Diaz of MARCA:

Interestingly, Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has been strongly linked with a move to Los Blancos, liked all the photos showing Vinicius after the match.

Zinedine Zidane is aware that the Vinicius seen against Atalanta will be an asset to Real Madrid in the remainder of this season and moving forward, while the former Flamengo prodigy understands that he now needs to follow this up with another good display.

“I’m very tough and mentally strong,” Vinicius said defiantly.

A new Champions League Diaries is out

Don’t miss a behind the scenes view of the whole crew before, during and after their victory over Atalanta.

Luis Muriel statements after the Atalanta match

Luis Muriel gives a window into what it’s like to face Real Madrid on the football pitch for a Champions League match (HT: Valyrian steel)

The thing that impressed me the most about Real Madrid was the ease at which they got out of our pressing and the coolness they put on the ball. It was truly impressive.

I have rarely, perhaps never, seen players with such quality in escaping the press. It’s something that stays in your head.

Other messages of note on Twitter