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Open Thread: April 23, 2021

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Our Friday 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.

Back to training for Los Blancos at the Valdebebas

Real Madrid play Real Betis this Saturday (home) at 3:00 PM EST / 9:00 PM CET and Chelsea this Tuesday (home) at 3:00 PM EST / 9:00 PM CET for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Sergio Ramos’ return is imminent

(HT: NeRo)

The Royal Whites’ captain has been out since April 1st with a calf strain, but he is back with his shorts hiked up during training as always. He’s not expected to play against Betis; however, the Osasuna match next week is being eyed for his return. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos did not join practice due to, respectively, a back strain and an adductor issue. Kroos is expected to sit out the Betis game (@diarioas). Ferland Mendy has been out with a calf strain as well, but he has been working in the weight room and his status for Chelsea is reported to be tentative (@marca).

Kroos has been a goal engine

Ceferin: “There’s a small possibility Real Madrid vs Chelsea won’t be played.”

EUFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Thursday stated on Slovenian TV:

The key is that this season has already started, so broadcasters would come at us for damages if we don’t play the semi-finals.

So, there’s a relatively small possibility that this match isn’t played next week.

But things could be a little different in the future.

He also declared that Florentino Pérez is “the president of nothing.”

At MARCA, however, José Félix Díaz writes that according to legal experts there is no legal grounds for the EUFA executive committee (recently in the news for re-electing Nasser Al-Khelaifi in place of Andre Agnelli) to ban Real Madrid from this match.

Real Madrid have not violated any article of the competition regulations. There is no article that mentions the incompatibility of creating or presenting a parallel competition. In the Champions League regulations for the 2021-24 triennium approved on Tuesday, it does not mention it either.

MadridXtra notes that being president of UEFA has been a windfall for Ceferin:

Florentino Perez raised the issue of people ages 16-24 reportedly losing interest in watching matches

It is surely a bizarre moment to raise another topic likely to generate a lot of passionate opposition, but he nevertheless broached the subject of possibly shortening the length of games to appeal to younger generations.

Football has to change and adapt. We have to analyze why young people, 16-to-24-year-olds, 40% of them aren’t interested in football. Why? Because there are a lot of low-quality games, and they have other entertainment platforms.

It’s a reality. They say the games are too long. We have to change something if we want football to stay alive. Sometimes we don’t understand our children or grandchildren. They’re different generations, the world changes. If young people don’t watch an entire game, it’s because it isn’t interesting enough, or we’ll have to shorten the games ... There are matches that even I can’t watch all of them, to be honest.

There is nothing wrong with having this discussion as rational people facing a problem. However, the current ESL drama is more than enough contentiousness for the time being and this would seem to compound matters unnecessarily.