Real Madrid edge Man City on the physical front – report

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Real Madrid vs Manchester City, arguably the most awaited game in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final round, takes place on Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu. Last year, the English side easily went past the Spanish giants and went on to win the competition as well.

Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola are two of the best minds in football but the Spaniard was seen complaining about a hectic schedule ahead of this mega clash.

The treble winners played a stalemate against Arsenal (31st March) and won their games against Aston Villa (3rd April) and Crystal Palace (6th April).

Manchester City played 3 games before the Champions League tie, while Real Madrid played just 1 in this period of time. Los Blancos faced Atheltic Bilbao on 31st March and emerged victorious with a comfortable 2-0 scoreline.

As noted by Mundo Deportivo, this is where the ‘physical factor’ comes in and also where Ancelotti’s men would have an edge over Guardiola’s side.

Following the Bilbao game, the Italian manager has taken full advantage of the 8-day break in between, by first giving a day off and then having the players recharge their batteries with gentle sessions, exceeding the 70-minute mark.

The training sessions were not intense and Carlo Ancelotti made sure not to increase the players’ workload, with or without the ball.

On the other hand, Pep Guardiola had just one training session with the players on Monday, with a recovery workout a day ago. Josko Gvardiol, Kyle Walker, and Nathan Ake were the notable absentees of the session.

Tactically, Carlo might have studied Pep’s tactics this season, with the large part of goals conceded by the English side coming after losing possession in bad positions. That is the price City has had to pay by having a 3-man defense, albeit one which can change to a back 4 considering the form of Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, and the counter attack prowess of the Merengues.

From the perspective of the workload of both the teams this season, Real Madrid have played 42 games across all competitions, while Manchester City have competed in 48 – which is 540 minutes more than the men in white.

Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez have played the most matches for Pep’s side – 44. Meanwhile, Rodri has played 40, starting in all of them followed by Bernardo Silva (39), Ruben Dias, and Kyle Walker (38).

For the Galacticos, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo have played in all 42 fixtures, making 38 and 35 starts respectively. Toni Kroos comes close with 39 appearances and 27 starts.

Out of all the names mentioned above, Phil Foden and Rodri have proven to be the most pivotal players for the Premier League side this season, with the Englishman having played 3,473 minutes, having 21 goals and 10 assists in the process.

Rodri, on the other hand, has been the brain of the side, playing 3,408 minutes for Pep’s side. The only Real Madrid player who comes close to these numbers is Fede Valverde with 3,365 minutes.

Following the Uruguayan are Antonio Rudiger and Rodrygo. The duo of Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Junior have played 2,826 and 2,298 minutes respectively, with injuries and suspensions being their main preventions.

Carlo Ancelotti may have decided his lineup for this fixture during the break, with the only conundrum being whether to start Aurelien Tchouameni or Nacho in defense alongside Rudiger.

On the contrary, Pep has a headache – and not a good one. He would be sweating over Kyle Walker especially who did not make an appearance in either of the three games City played in the space of a week.

Overall, it is all setting up to be an exciting fixture, with City still being a strong side and Real Madrid having the best chance to overcome the demons of last year.

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