Real Madrid vs. Manchester City: 3 individual battles that will decide the first leg

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Diego Souto/ Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Diego Souto/ Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eder Militao
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid CB Eder Militao vs. Manchester City FW Phil Foden

Phil Foden’s spectacular rise over the last few years has increasingly garnered him attention from opposition coaches whenever they have to face the Sky Blues. The young buck has demonstrated silky smooth control and balance whenever he receives the ball, with him regularly featuring on highlight reels with his penchant for artfully slaloming through defenders as if they were ghosts.

Given the exuberant nature of his game, he is perennially looking for outlets to progress play and keep the defence on the back foot. His willingness to come back and retrieve balls is another underrated quality that permits his fellow attackers a little more breathing room on the flanks.

Foden will constantly be looking to rush the center backs in hopes of finding the right amount of space to create opportunities, so it will be vital for Real Madrid to keep a marker on him in order to limit his influence on proceedings.

Ideally, the individual most likely sought to try and keep a clamp on him would have been David Alaba, who has been imperious at the back for the Madridistas this season. However, with the latest update today, it appears he will not be fully fit, which means most likely Eder Militao will feature in his place.

Militao shares similar qualities with Alaba in his ability to keep to a high line, while also possessing great recovery speed in the event his mark slips past him. Given Foden’s quickness and dexterous proficiency, this should settle some of Carlo Ancelotti’s nerves before the match.

The Brazilian also holds a significant edge over the winger in terms of his physical superiority and should be able to boss him off the ball as a means to stymie City’s advances.