Phil Foden admits his confidence is soaring after delivering for Manchester City yet again.

The England international claimed his 22nd goal of the campaign with a stunning strike from outside the area in City’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old, who scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa earlier this month, appears to be City’s most in-form player heading into the closing stages of a season they hope will yield another three trophies.

“I seem to be in good scoring form this year,” said academy graduate Foden. “When you’re scoring, your confidence is really high.

 

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“I put it down to my determination and wanting to score goals. I always believe – no matter what – I’m going to get a chance in the game and hopefully I can put them away.”

Foden’s brilliant long-range effort at the Bernabeu pulled City back level at 2-2 after they had surrendered the lead.

“It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored,” he said. “I always have this special ability in and around the box where I see myself scoring a lot of goals – it’s one of those you practice on the training ground after training.

“When I received it on the edge of the box, I thought why not try it. Thankfully I got a chance in the game to do that. I made good contact with it and when it went in the top corner, I was delighted.

“It’s one of the best feelings – to score in one of the best stadiums in the world, I can say I’ve ticked it off the bucket list now.”

Foden’s goal was followed up by an equally impressive strike from Josko Gvardiol but Real hit back to level again and ensure the second leg of the quarter-final next week will begin evenly poised.

“We stayed calm when we went behind and we just played our football, we grew into the game,” Foden said.

“I feel we’ve come a long way to come here and do what we did. We could have controlled it better when we went 3-2 up but we’re playing one of the best teams in the world.

“Overall, it’s not a bad result for us. To come here and score three goals, we’ll take it back to the Etihad.”

Federico Valverde admits Real Madrid will need to draw on all their Champions League-winning experience to see off Manchester City in the quarter-finals.

The two clubs, meeting in the knockout stages for the third successive season, played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the first leg of their last-eight tie at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

The competition’s record 14-time winners now face a tough battle to see off the holders at the Etihad Stadium.

City have not lost in 30 Champions League outings at home in a sequence stretching back to September 2018 and thrashed Real 4-0 at the ground last year.

Valverde, who secured the draw with a fine late volley, said: “There’s always a first time.

“You always have to believe, to have conviction, us especially. We are the first to believe it can be done.

“We have to work hard, every player has to give everything in every ball and if we all pull in the same direction I think we can do it.

“It’s very even. We’re two of the best in the Champions League. They have that plus of playing at home, but we’re going to fight, as we always do.

“We have lots of players who have won five Champions Leagues. We have to make that count.”

Valverde was frustrated Real did not claim an advantage, having led 2-1 at half-time.

“The draw feels like last year, like a defeat,” the Uruguay international said. “It’s not a good result because we would have liked to win.”

Rodri admits he needs a break amid the intensity of Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of an unprecedented second successive treble.

The Spain international, who has not lost any of his last 66 games for club and country in a run stretching back more than a year, is vital to City’s bid to make history.

Yet Pep Guardiola’s influential midfield driving force looked laboured at times in Tuesday’s thrilling 3-3 Champions League draw at Real Madrid and concedes the schedule is taking its toll.

The 27-year-old said: “Every one of us can do better, even myself, but we need to rest to be honest.

“I do. I do need a rest. Let’s see how we speak, how we live the situation. Sometimes it is what it is.

“I need to adjust. It (rest) is something we are planning, yes.”

Guardiola could therefore make some changes for Saturday’s Premier League encounter with relegation-threatened Luton, as he looks ahead to the return clash with Real next Wednesday.

Yet with just a point separating the top three in the domestic competition, there is little margin for error for third-placed City.

Rodri felt the holders showed their mettle as they recovered from a 2-1 half-time deficit to lead on an enthralling night at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Bernardo Silva’s early strike was wiped out by a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort, but the English side responded with stunning strikes from Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol.

Real, however, were able to have the final say as Federico Valverde volleyed a late equaliser to ensure the second leg of the quarter-final tie will begin evenly poised.

“We showed our mentality to come back, to be honest,” said Rodri. “To go against them and come back with those goals sums up the mentality of the champions we are.

“It was a good result for us in terms of how the game was and everything is open. It’s one game in our home now and we are very strong there.”

City claimed a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the semi-finals last year before thrashing the Spanish giants 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium to go through.

“Of course we can recreate it,” said Rodri, a former Atletico Madrid player. “We know how strong we are in our home.

“The key thing was, we knew whatever happened it wasn’t going to be over, even if we won or we lost. We have a draw that is the same result we had last season.

“It’s a good result in terms of the feeling of the team. We were finding the spaces in the second half, we did it great and now we move to Manchester. If we copy the first 20-30 minutes of the second half here, it’s going to be difficult for them.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hailed his side’s character after the Champions League holders played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Real Madrid.

Guardiola claimed the City of previous years could easily have crumbled under the weight of pressure as the Spanish giants twice hit back in a compelling quarter-final first leg at the Bernabeu.

City led after just two minutes through Bernardo Silva but Real hit back to go in front with a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort.

Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol turned the game around again with stunning second-half efforts but Federico Valverde levelled to ensure next week’s return clash at the Etihad Stadium will begin evenly poised.

Guardiola said: “I think it was really good. Two teams that want to attack. The quality of the goals was fantastic.

“What I liked most is how we played in the second half. We were 2-1 down, playing here without much composure.

“They are so dangerous on transitions and could score more goals but we controlled the game really well.

“This game, in the first three seasons together, we’d have lost 4-1 or 5-1 as we were not stable emotionally.

“You need time to learn and now we are more stable and hopefully in the future we can do better and better.

“We went 2-3 but here it is never over. It’s Madrid, it’s special. We take the result and in one week in Manchester, with our people, it will be sold out and they will help us.”

City were without chief playmaker Kevin De Bruyne after he was sick shortly before kick-off.

Guardiola said: “He started to vomit when we arrived and he didn’t feel good to play.

“But one of the secrets at the high levels is to adapt quickly to chaos. There is no time to complain.”

In De Bruyne’s absence, it was Foden who played the key role as City recovered from their half-time deficit.

Guardiola said: “Phil was not involved in the first half. He was not one of the best performers but he has this spark and incredible talent to score goals and create something.”

Foden was taken off with an injury late on but Guardiola played down fears it was serious.

He said: “It’s a knock. He was grumpy with me for the substitution so that means he’s OK.”

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was taking charge of his 200th game in the competition, felt the result was fair.

“It was a well-balanced game,” the Italian said. “Both teams really competed to the limit. It was a hard-fought draw.

“They scored early but we reacted really well and played excellently for 60 minutes, but City scored two unstoppable goals.”

Manchester City face a battle to retain their Champions League crown after being held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The holders twice led in an enthralling contest under the Bernabeu Stadium’s new roof but the quarter-final remains on a knife edge after Federico Valverde gave the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Bernardo Silva got City off to a flying start but a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort sent Real in at half-time of Tuesday’s first leg 2-1 ahead.

Phil Foden equalised for City with a brilliant strike and Josko Gvardiol put them back in front but Valverde had the final word to set up another intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium next week.

City missed the creativity and influence of Kevin De Bruyne who, having been feeling unwell, was sick soon after the team arrived at the stadium.

That forced manager Pep Guardiola to make a late change to his plans and bring Mateo Kovacic into the starting line-up.

The visitors initially seemed unaffected both by that and the raucous atmosphere Real had attempted to amplify by closing the roof at their newly-remodelled 85,000-capacity arena.

They were quickly onto the front foot and were given their early chance to take the lead when Aurelien Tchouameni crudely halted Jack Grealish to earn a booking that will keep him out of the second leg.

With Real failing to form a wall, Silva took full advantage and caught goalkeeper Andriy Lunin napping as he thumped a left-foot shot into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

City went close to adding a second as Erling Haaland had a shot saved from a tight angle and Grealish’s follow-up effort was blocked.

It had seemed the perfect start for City but Real hit back with two quickfire goals.

The equaliser came after a patient build-up as Eduardo Camavinga charged forward and fired a long-range shot that took a wicked deflection off Dias and gave Stefan Ortega – starting despite Ederson’s presence on the bench – no chance.

The hosts grabbed the lead just moments later as Rodrygo broke clear down the left and outpaced the backtracking Manuel Akanji before delicately poking the ball past Ortega.

Real threatened again as Valverde shot at Ortega and Rodrygo put another effort over.

City began to get sloppy in possession as Real upped the pressure. The normally solid Rodri looked laboured and Vinicius Junior tested Ortega before the break.

Grealish cut inside but missed the target as City tried to re-establish themselves early in the second half but Real regained control with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius going close.

Lesser sides could have folded but City underlined their enduring class as they not only weathered the storm but pulled themselves back into the game with a stunning strike from Foden.

The England international, who had been enduring a frustrating game, caught Lunin unaware as he lashed a ferocious strike into the top corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.

It was soon to get better for City as Gvardiol bagged his first goal for the club with an equally thunderous long-range effort five minutes later.

Yet, in keeping with a compelling encounter, it was not to be the end of the scoring as Real responded yet again.

This time Valverde was the player on target as he met a Vinicius cross with a fine volley that flew past Ortega.

Manchester City face a battle to retain their Champions League crown after being held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The holders twice led in an enthralling contest under the Bernabeu Stadium’s new roof but the quarter-final remains on a knife edge after Federico Valverde gave the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Bernardo Silva got City off to a flying start but a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort sent Real in at half-time of Tuesday’s first leg 2-1 ahead.

Phil Foden equalised for City with a brilliant strike and Josko Gvardiol put them back in front but Valverde had the final word to set up another intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium next week.

City missed the creativity and influence of Kevin De Bruyne who, having been feeling unwell, was sick soon after the team arrived at the stadium.

That forced manager Pep Guardiola to make a late change to his plans and bring Mateo Kovacic into the starting line-up.

The visitors initially seemed unaffected both by that and the raucous atmosphere Real had attempted to amplify by closing the roof at their newly-remodelled 85,000-capacity arena.

They were quickly onto the front foot and were given their early chance to take the lead when Aurelien Tchouameni crudely halted Jack Grealish to earn a booking that will keep him out of the second leg.

With Real failing to form a wall, Silva took full advantage and caught goalkeeper Andriy Lunin napping as he thumped a left-foot shot into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

City went close to adding a second as Erling Haaland had a shot saved from a tight angle and Grealish’s follow-up effort was blocked.

It had seemed the perfect start for City but Real hit back with two quickfire goals.

The equaliser came after a patient build-up as Eduardo Camavinga charged forward and fired a long-range shot that took a wicked deflection off Dias and gave Stefan Ortega – starting despite Ederson’s presence on the bench – no chance.

The hosts grabbed the lead just moments later as Rodrygo broke clear down the left and outpaced the backtracking Manuel Akanji before delicately poking the ball past Ortega.

Real threatened again as Valverde shot at Ortega and Rodrygo put another effort over.

City began to get sloppy in possession as Real upped the pressure. The normally solid Rodri looked laboured and Vinicius Junior tested Ortega before the break.

Grealish cut inside but missed the target as City tried to re-establish themselves early in the second half but Real regained control with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius going close.

Lesser sides could have folded but City underlined their enduring class as they not only weathered the storm but pulled themselves back into the game with a stunning strike from Foden.

The England international, who had been enduring a frustrating game, caught Lunin unaware as he lashed a ferocious strike into the top corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.

It was soon to get better for City as Gvardiol bagged his first goal for the club with an equally thunderous long-range effort five minutes later.

Yet, in keeping with a compelling encounter, it was not to be the end of the scoring as Real responded yet again.

This time Valverde was the player on target as he met a Vinicius cross with a fine volley that flew past Ortega.

UEFA insists this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as scheduled amid an Islamic State terror threat.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will host the first leg of the Gunners’ last-eight tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, while Manchester City are also in action away to Real Madrid.

A media outlet linked to the terror group has issued a threat concerning all four of this week’s ties, and European football’s governing body UEFA has now issued a statement on the matter.

“UEFA is aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week’s UEFA Champions League matches and is closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues,” the statement said.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

What the papers say

West Ham will join Liverpool, Tottenham and AC Milan in the hunt for 26 -year-old Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, according to the Guardian. The former Manchester City player will be a free agent in summer, but Fulham are hoping to retain his services.

Football Insider says Chelsea are trying to secure the signature of Athletic Bilbao forward Nico Williams for £43million. The 21-year-old Spain international has scored six goals and had 14 assists for Athletic in all competitions this season.

Former Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos is set to leave Real Madrid for rivals Atletico Madrid as he struggles for game time at the LaLiga leaders, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old Spain midfielder has played just 14 games for the Real Madrid in the league this season, mostly as a substitute.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mohamed Salah: The 31-year-old Liverpool striker is set to be targeted once again by Saudi Pro League clubs this summer with Al Ittihad reportedly set to offer £70million for the Egypt star, Talksport says.

Lucas Paqueta: French media outlet L’Equipe says Manchester City have agreed to terms with the 26-year-old West Ham midfielder.

Real Madrid have asked for permission to close the Bernabeu Stadium’s new retractable roof for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with holders Manchester City.

It is thought the record 14-time winners of the competition hope playing under the optional covering of their newly-redeveloped arena can enhance the atmosphere and make it more intimidating for the visitors.

The PA news agency understands Real have approached organisers UEFA with the request and the European governing body will consider it, in collaboration with the referee, on the morning of the quarter-final first-leg encounter.

Some Real players have also been urging supporters to wear the club’s traditional white in the build-up to add a further strong visual element to the environment at the 81,000-capacity stadium.

Real previously had the roof closed for their last-16 second leg against Leipzig last month.

If a decision is made to close the roof, it will remain closed for the entire match. City are not thought to have any influence in the matter.

Real Madrid enter their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City as favourites due to their counterattacking prowess, believes former City loanee Kiki Musampa.

City became European champions for the first time last season as they won the treble, and they are seen by many as strong favourites to retain their crown this campaign.

However, Pep Guardiola's men have been handed a tough draw in the last eight, facing 14-time winners Madrid with a semi-final tie against Arsenal or Bayern Munich on the line.

It will be the third successive season in which City and Madrid have faced off in the Champions League's knockout stages following semi-final ties in 2021-22 and 2022-23, with the Santiago Bernabeu playing host to the first leg on Tuesday.

While Madrid have only won one of their last six Champions League matches against City (one draw, four defeats), Musampa – who spent the 2005-06 season on loan at the Etihad from Atletico Madrid – does not feel Los Blancos can ever be described as underdogs.

Musampa, an ambassador for ANF Sports, said: "I'm very excited. It's a very complicated and difficult game because Madrid are always Madrid. 

"I have experienced them in Spain and no matter how their form is or what type of players they have, they will always be the favourites and you need to be at your best, all of you, to beat Madrid in these games."

City's average possession share of 71.26 per cent is comfortably the highest in the Champions League proper this season, with Madrid ranking sixth by that metric with 57.37 per cent. 

However, Madrid's 31 direct attacks are at least 11 more than any other team has recorded in this edition of the competition (Bayern have 20), and Musampa feels their dynamism may give them the edge.

"One team will want to play, that's City, and Madrid are comfortable with dropping back and trying to counterattack," he said. 

"So, it's interesting from a tactical point of view. What will City do? We have seen a lot of times that they are vulnerable when the opponent is counterattacking them. 

"Nowadays, with Liverpool, I think Madrid are one of the best counterattacking teams. So, I think in the end it's going to be a very difficult game for City, but I hope they go through."

Veteran Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he is nervous ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.

The record 14-time winners host the current holders in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

It is the third season in succession the two clubs have met in the knockout stages, with Real claiming a remarkable comeback victory in the 2022 semi-finals but City avenging that loss in emphatic fashion 12 months later.

The game will be Ancelotti’s 200th as manager in a competition he has won a record four times, but he recognises it will not be straightforward.

The Italian, whose side are eight points clear at the top of LaLiga, said at a press conference: “Yes, very nervous. The hours before a match are a time when you have to suffer.

“I was thinking the other day that defeat is suffering and victory is happiness, but it’s not that way. Victory is relief.

“It’s happiness if you win trophies, but an isolated victory is a relief.

“You’re calmer and happier the days after, but suffering is part of your job. It’s what keeps you alive. It’s fuel for me.”

The 64-year-old comes up against the manager perceived as the best of his generation in Pep Guardiola who, after his two previous successes with Barcelona, now has three Champions League triumphs to his name.

Ancelotti insists he is not interested in comparisons.

He said: “Guardiola is a great coach, I don’t care much about what they think of me. I care what my club thinks.

“But Guardiola is a great coach and there’s no doubt about that.”

Madrid took the lead in the first leg of last year’s tie but City hit back to claim a draw before winning convincingly 4-0 in the return at the Etihad Stadium.

Ancelotti said: “We didn’t play with courage and personality, which are fundamental aspects in this kind of game. We lacked that in the second leg.

“They put a lot of pressure on us up front and we didn’t find alternative solutions. We want to avoid these things in this tie.

“I’m confident we’re going to give our best. We have the quality to compete.

“We expect to be superior in some aspects and they will be superior in others.”

Madrid are a different proposition this season following the signing of England midfielder Jude Bellingham, who has made a stunning impact in the Spanish capital.

Ancelotti said: “He’s having a very good season in the penalty box.

“He’s physically very strong and he’s helping us a lot in the defensive aspects and up front, to create space and provide movement.

“He’s very mature. He’s only 20 years old but he’s very professional, very serious and humble.”

Pep Guardiola remains undecided about which of his goalkeepers will start the first leg of Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

Ederson, who was forced off in City’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool last month, was on the bench for the Premier League title-holders’ 4-2 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Stefan Ortega put in another solid performance, including a first-half Cruyff turn to deny in-form Palace forward Jean-Philippe Mateta the opportunity of breaking a 1-1 deadlock at half-time.

Guardiola said: “I have to think about it because Eddie (Ederson) comes from injury, he feels good, I think so, so now I have to decide if a lack of rhythm for that match, I have to decide, but we are really pleased with the (performance) from Stefan. He is an exceptional keeper.”

There was speculation over whether Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne would start at Selhurst Park, but both were on the pitch at kick-off, shortly after which Mateta fired in the opener.

It was a De Bruyne masterclass that would win it for City, who were challenged by Oliver Glasner’s hosts throughout the first half but returned from the break a far more organised side.

Rico Lewis fired the visitors into an early second-half lead before De Bruyne set up Haaland’s 19th of the league campaign, then brought up a century of goals for City with his second of the afternoon.

Guardiola’s 2023 treble-winners remain in contention to repeat the feat this season but remain one point shy of both table-toppers Arsenal and Liverpool, who are level on 71 points and separated by the Gunners’ advantage on goal difference.

Though City have experience in finding themselves deep in multiple competitions late in the season, Guardiola admitted more injuries this campaign has made the task of fielding a fresh side for every match a bigger challenge this time around.

That may mean a few changes for Tuesday’s contest – and watching a bit more of the opponent.

He said: “I know everyone wants to play but I’ll have to see. The doctors will knock on the door and say, ‘OK, you can count on this player, you can count on this player’, and after we’ll try to see Madrid.

“Because still I didn’t see a lot. I will talk with my staff that see more games than me and change the line-up and try to win.”

Palace are still looking for their first win since Glasner replaced Roy Hodgson in February but showed plenty of promise in the first half of Saturday’s home contest.

Captain Joel Ward, who recorded his 300th Premier League appearance for the Eagles on Saturday, told the club website: “I think there’s a lot of positives that we can take from that game. Obviously we created a good few chances as well and scored two goals. I think from front to back we were solid for large spells of the game.

“You’re always going to have your back up against City. Against another team we’d probably go on to win that game.”

Rodrygo's double helped Real Madrid strengthen their position at the top of the table in LaLiga as Athletic Bilbao were beaten 2-0 at the Bernabeu.

The hosts went ahead just eight minutes into the game through Rodrygo's excellent top corner finish and an energetic start to the second half saw Brahim Diaz go close twice either side of Inaki Williams' strike, but Jude Bellingham's neat pass set the Brazilian up for his second in the 73rd minute to seal the three points.

Real remain at the summit, eight points clear of second-placed Barcelona, while Athletic remain fourth.

Although Athletic started the brighter of the two teams, Real struck with their first attack of the game when Brahim broke forward and dispatched a fantastic cross-field ball into Rodrygo, who cut in from the left to curl the ball sweetly from the outside of the box into the top corner.

The hosts settled into the game after their early goal, with Brahim having plenty of involvement on the right flank, but Athletic were handed an early blow when Yeray Alvarez Lopez was taken off with injury in the 24th minute and Daniel Vivian came on to replace him.

Toni Kroos' deflected 34th minute strike was comfortably claimed by Julen Agirrezabala and moments later the German international's corner was cleared as far as Federico Valverde, who chipped the ball from long-distance towards the bottom left corner but Agirrezabala made a quick low save.

The hosts pushed for a second in the closing stages of the first half when Brahim pounced on a loose ball and his cross was poked just wide of goal by Vivian and Real threatened again from the resulting corner when Aurelien Tchouameni headed just wide.

Real were straight out of the blocks after the break and nearly doubled their lead following a mazy run from Rodrygo, who cut in from the left and played the ball through to Brahim on the right, but his low shot rattled off the far post.

Athletic had a brilliant chance seven minutes into the half when Berenguer's corner picked out an unmarked Williams at the far post, but Andriy Lunin palmed away before Brahim threatened again at the other end, firing over the crossbar.

Real extended their lead in the 73rd minute when a quick ball from Bellingham picked Rodrygo out in plenty of space on the left and the Brazilian cut into the centre to coolly slot home into bottom corner.

Athletic had two great chances when Iker Muniain's flicked effort was collected by Agirrezabala and after finding some space Williams dragged a shot wide.

Eder Militao made his first appearance in seven months since picking up a cruciate ligament injury after coming off the bench in stoppage-time as Real comfortably saw out the win.

Eder Militao could return for the first time in seven months as Real Madrid look to tighten their grip on the LaLiga title race against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The Brazilian picked up a cruciate ligament injury on the opening day of the season against the same club, but has been named in the matchday squad by head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

However Ancelotti warned not to expect too much of the centre-back, saying: “He’s available, he’s trained well, but obviously he’s not 100 per cent fit because he hasn’t played football.

“Militao is a very important player who helps us in many areas of the game. I wouldn’t rule him out completely. If we don’t go with Militao, either Nacho or (Aurelien) Tchouameni will play.”

Ancelotti will also have keeper Thibaut Courtois available after a long-term knee injury, but star striker Vinicius Junior is absent after picking up a one-game ban for his fifth booking of the season in last week’s win over Osasuna.

Jude Bellingham is also likely to return for the league leaders after missing the last two games following his red card against Valencia, as well as a minor ankle injury.

Real go into the game against their fourth-placed opponents on the back of two straight wins and Ancelotti added: “We’re feeling confident but we have to bear in mind that we’re playing against a team that’s having a great season.

“We’re feeling good and we have all the confidence in the world to perform well.”

Meanwhile, Ancelotti went on to dismiss renewed speculation that star midfielder Luka Modric could be leaving the Bernabeu at the end of the current season.

The 38-year-old’s contract runs out at the end of the current campaign, but Ancelotti insisted: “Everyone is talking about next season except us.

“Luka is focused and what we want to do is finish the season strongly and compete until the end. We’ll deal with the future of the players when the season is over. Nobody is interested in talking about his future now.”

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has undergone surgery on a meniscus tear in his right knee and is set for another spell of rehabilitation.

The 31-year-old Belgium international had already missed most of Real’s campaign so far after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee last August.

Courtois only recently returned to first-team training and it had been hoped he could soon be available again as Carlo Ancelotti’s side challenge for the LaLiga title and Champions League success.

Real Madrid confirmed in a statement on Wednesday: “Our player Thibaut Courtois underwent successful surgery today for a tear to the internal meniscus of his right knee, under the supervision of the Real Madrid Medical Services.

“Courtois will start his recovery program in the next few days.”

It remains to be seen how long his latest injury setback will leave Courtois sidelined again.

Courtois had already been ruled out of Belgium’s upcoming friendlies against Republic of Ireland and England in the international break.

He also now looks likely not to be in contention for both legs of next month’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

Given Courtois’ absence, Ukrainian stopper Andriy Lunin has established himself in goal for Real this season.

Ancelotti’s side are eight points clear of fierce rivals and reigning Spanish champions Barcelona with nine games remaining.

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