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Open Thread: April 24, 2021

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Our Saturday issue of the Daily Merengue!

Real Madrid Training Session 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 Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

It’s matchday!

This is matchday 32 of 38 and Real Madrid sit in second place, three points behind Atleti. Los Blancos take on Real Betis at the Alfredo di Stéfano at 3PM EST / 9PM CET.

Last time we played the Beticos Sergio Ramos netted the game winner with a panenka penalty. Martin Odegaard started in the #10 position — see the immediate reaction thread by Kiyan for a trip down memory lane.

The full squad list for today’s game:

Hazard is back in the lineup!

He went out March 13th in the game against Elche with a muscle injury, thought to be related to his earlier ankle surgery. He trained fully with the squad at the Valdebebas on Friday. Recall that throughout his career Hazard has been — unquestionably — a world class attacking player. Only recently has he been plagued with continual injury problems starting with the brutal tackle in November 2019 vs PSG.

Betis defender Emerson says he studies Vinicius

It is a key aspect of climbing to the top echelons of football: being able to adjust to and overcome opposition who study in detail what runs the attacker likes to make and what he tends to do with the ball. Vinicius Junior has developed into the kind of player who can make big, sudden plays even though it is well known that he is dangerous.

Meanwhile, Vinicius’ development into an excellent player has not gone unnoticed. J.L. Calderon writes at MARCA:

The 2020/21 season has been a turning point for Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid. The Brazilian has really taken strides forward in how he’s seen at the club.

He has been one of the most influential players at Valdebebas this season, and his importance cannot be overlooked. His impact has been noticed at the club, and nobody doubts how key he has been to the 16-game unbeaten run.

Vinicius has played 41 times already this season - breaking the 40-game barrier for the first time - and he has accumulated 2,242 minutes, the first time he’s added more than 2,000 minutes at the club. He has moved on from those spells of disappearance that he once had, and any doubts about his relationship with Zinedine Zidane are now in the past.

Vinicius is already a top player for Real Madrid and his statistics back that up this season. He is now as important to Los Blancos’ plans as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema are.

Eduardo Camavinga is reportedly looking to leave Rennes, RM has been his dream

The central midfielder has great footspeed, acceleration, power and plays well both offensively and defensively. That sounds much like our current number ten.

#CeferinOut is trending on Twitter