Carlo Ancelotti says Eden Hazard is aware of exactly why he is being given so little playing time at Real Madrid this season.

Belgium international Hazard has endured a tough time of things across his three years with Madrid, mainly due to fitness reasons.

Despite largely being fit this campaign, however, the 31-year-old has started just one of Madrid's 10 matches in all competitions and has featured only twice as a substitute.

He was an unused sub in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Osasuna, with the likes of Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz being preferred as Los Blancos chased a winning goal.

Ancelotti stood by his selection calls after the match and has reiterated ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Shakhtar Donetsk that Hazard must fight for his place.

"It is clear that each player knows his situation. I have to explain to them what's going on," Ancelotti said.

"In this regard, Eden has not spoken to me. He has a lot of competition. The situation of his and others is quite clear.

"He understands the situation very well – every player understands his situation very well. There's a lot of competition here."

One player whose place in the side is not up for debate is striker Karim Benzema, who has scored four goals in seven appearances this season.

However, the France international has gone three games without finding the net, either side of a month on the sidelines, and missed a penalty in the draw with Osasuna.

But team-mate Dani Carvajal does not believe that missed spot-kick will play on Benzema's mind when Shakhtar travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

"He's a key player on and off the pitch," Carvajal said. "I don't think Karim is influenced by scoring or missing a penalty. 

"He would go away unhappy, but he is above it all. For us he is indispensable, the best in his position

"He's irreplaceable, there's no one like him. Hopefully he can score two or three goals and that penalty will be behind him."

Madrid have won each of their past six games in the group stage of the Champions League, scoring 17 goals and only conceding once in the process. 

They are two points ahead of unbeaten Shakhtar in Group F after two rounds of fixtures as they look to retain the European crown lifted in Paris a little over four months ago.

But Shakhtar have won two of their six ties with Madrid in the competition, with that 33 per cent win rate the fourth best of any side against the Spanish giants.

Madrid will be expected to claim a routine victory, though, and Carvajal accepts his side must live with the perennial tag of being favourites to conquer the continent again.

"We know how difficult it is to win the Champions League, I think when teams play us, they see we are in with a chance," he said.

"I don't know how it works, who decides who is favourite. I think in the top four or five, Real Madrid are there.

"I have to respect everyone's opinion. I think we've won five of the last nine, so I don't think it's down to luck."

Carlo Ancelotti has rejected claims Real Madrid have been fortunate in recent Champions League campaigns, insisting "you have to do everything well" to prevail in Europe.

Ancelotti led Madrid to their 14th European crown last season, and Los Blancos have made a perfect start to their Champions League defence, topping Group F following wins over RB Leipzig and Celtic.

Madrid repeatedly defied the odds en route to last season's triumph, losing a match in each of their first three knockout ties (against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City).

But speaking ahead of Wednesday's clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, Ancelotti – the only coach with four European titles to his name – said fortune can only take a team so far.

"I always want to win the Champions League. The league is very important, but the Champions League is the most important competition," he said.

"They are different. One is 38 games and the other is much less. Sometimes it's a 180-minute tie. That's where the little details matter. 

"It's not luck or bad luck. Sometimes talking about luck hides the problems that you have and the merit of the rival. 

"If I say that we had bad luck against Osasuna [in Sunday's 1-1 draw], it means that I hide the problems we had with the ball, and the good performance of the rival. 

"Talking about small details is important, in the Champions League, you can score three goals in a few minutes, as has happened to me. It can also happen to you in a semi-final. 

"Small details are controlled with a very strong mentality. Real Madrid has been the team that has taken the most care of these details.

"Everyone has their opinions. Football is made of many things. In the Champions League, you have to do everything well, I think the best team wins the Champions League.

"I think the history and tradition of this club plays a part in the way we play. It's not luck or good fortune that this team has such extraordinary success in this competition."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti offered an update on the conditions of Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric after both players missed Sunday's draw with Osasuna through injury.

While Courtois will not feature on Wednesday, Ancelotti is certain he will return for their huge Clasico meeting with Barcelona in LaLiga, which takes place in less than two weeks.

"He's much better, he received some treatment yesterday," Ancelotti said of the Belgium goalkeeper. "We have to wait and see if he can play against Getafe [on Saturday], but he should definitely be ready for the return fixture against Shakhtar and El Clasico.

"Lucas Vasquez and Luka Modric have both trained with the team."

However, when pressed on Modric's availability for Wednesday, Ancelotti added: "I doubt if he will start." 

Madrid have won four of their six Champions League matches against Shakhtar, although they suffered two defeats against the Ukrainian outfit in the 2020-21 campaign.

Carlo Ancelotti believes Real Madrid "deserved" to beat Osasuna in Sunday's draw, but called for a reaction from his players as he defended his decision to keep Eden Hazard benched.

The Belgium international was a spectator as Los Blancos slipped to a 1-1 draw against their visitors, with Karim Benzema fluffing a potential match-winning penalty to ensure the spoils were shared.

The club's first dropped points of the domestic season saw them surrender top spot to rivals Barcelona, with the pair's Clasico encounter – which takes place in just under a fortnight – set to represent a huge moment in the title race.

Speaking after Sunday's stalemate, Ancelotti acknowledged his team's frustrations after they dominated for long periods, but added that he anticipates a response.

"This team is upset when it doesn't win," he stated. "The game was under our control and we deserved to win. 

"We're not happy and that's the reason why this side won a lot last year. We're not happy with the draw and we will react soon. 

"We shouldn't be making excuses about the [international] break. We need to manage the break. We've got a very good squad."

Mariano Diaz was preferred to Hazard when Ancelotti required attacking reinforcements in the second half, and the Italian was succinct in his reasoning for the Belgian's absence.

"It was a game that needed a strong centre forward who was good in the air like Mariano, who had chances to score with his head," he added. "It wasn't the right match for Hazard’s qualities."

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois missed the game through a case of sciatica, but Ancelotti is hopeful he could return as soon as the club's midweek Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk.

"He's got some tests and we'll see if he can get back," he stated. "It's a muscular issue, I think it's with the sciatic nerve. We'll find out if he can play on Wednesday."

Carlo Ancelotti refused to single Karim Benzema out for criticism after the striker's penalty miss saw Real Madrid drop points in LaLiga for the first time this season against Osasuna.

Despite Benzema's return from a three-week injury lay-off, Madrid produced a disjointed performance on Sunday, squandering a first-half lead when Kike Garcia cancelled out Vinicius Junior's fortunate opener.

Benzema had the chance to fire Madrid to a seventh consecutive league victory when David Garcia was sent off for a push on the striker six yards out, but the France star crashed his spot-kick against the crossbar.

Osasuna's 10 men held on for a point in comfortable fashion thereafter, and Benzema has now missed three penalties against Jagoba Arrasate's team in LaLiga this year.

Ancelotti refused to blame Benzema for the result, however, and insisted Madrid had not performed badly, telling DAZN: "Karim usually scores. 

"The match wasn't spectacular, but after the goal we conceded, the team played as it had to play. 

"Karim had no problems starting to play 90 minutes. He has to get in the best shape by playing. 

"It's a footballing accident that can sometimes happen. We've been quite solid at the back, we had a good balance, we hardly conceded any counter-attacks."

Osasuna have now claimed three draws against Madrid since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, more than any other team in LaLiga.

Madrid's failure to find a winning goal means they remain behind Barcelona on goal difference at the summit, and midfielder Dani Ceballos says they lacked dynamism in Sunday's draw. 

"We wanted the three points, we tried until the end, but we have lost two points," he said. "We improved in the last minutes, but we have not been able to get the victory.

"We were not good facing the goal, nor with the ball, we lacked a bit of dynamism. We have another game on Wednesday [against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League] to face in a good way."

Real Madrid saw their perfect start in LaLiga halted by 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, as Karim Benzema missed a late penalty on his return from injury in a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Injuries to Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois left Madrid depleted at the Santiago Bernabeu, but they took the lead in fortunate fashion when Vinicius Junior's cross beat Sergio Herrera.

Courtois' replacement Andriy Lunin was caught out by Kike Garcia's header as Osasuna equalised shortly after half-time, but the hosts were awarded a penalty when David Garcia pushed Benzema, earning himself a red card.

However, Benzema hammered his spot-kick against the crossbar as Osasuna clung on, ending Madrid's 100 per cent record in LaLiga this season.

Osasuna gave as good as they got during a frantic opening, twice going close through tricky winger Abde Ezzalzouli on the break.

Benzema almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion from Vinicius' cross after 37 minutes, clipping the left-hand post with an acrobatic volley, but Madrid did not have to wait long for their opener.

Vinicius' in-swinging cross evaded Benzema before nestling in the bottom-right corner after 41 minutes, with a VAR review awarding the goal after ruling Benzema was not interfering with play from an offside position.

Osasuna needed just five minutes to level after the break, however, as Kike's glancing header looped beyond Lunin to find the top-left corner, stunning the Bernabeu into silence.

Just as Madrid appeared to be running out of ideas, Garcia's clumsy foul on Benzema saw the defender dismissed and handed the France striker the chance to win the match with 11 minutes left.

However, the Ballon d'Or favourite stuck the bar with a poor effort before heading Rodrygo Goes' stoppage-time cross wide as Osasuna held on.

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Karim Benzema will start against Osasuna on Sunday and backed the Real Madrid captain to get back to his "spectacular" best.

Benzema has been sidelined for three weeks due to a knee injury but will be in action in the champions' first LaLiga game after the international break at Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.

The France striker has scored four goals in six appearances for Los Blanco this season after an outstanding 2021-22 campaign.

Benzema found the back of the net a staggering 44 times last season as Madrid secured a famous Champions League and LaLiga double. 

Head coach Ancelotti expects the Ballon d'Or favourite to hit those heights again after recovering from an early-season injury setback.

"Benzema is doing very well, he is going to start the game," he said. "He's been with the team all week. His physical condition is good because he was able to recover well and then work well."

When it was put to Ancelotti that Benzema has not looked the same player he was last season, the Italian replied: "Well it's true he didn't score in the last few games – he didn't score because he didn't play.

"There is nothing different with Karim, he's been training very well. Maybe if he didn't have a problem in pre-season, he would not perform this way, but after this injury and time, he didn't play. I'm absolutely sure we are going to see the same Karim Benzema we saw last season, a spectacular player."

Ancelotti revealed midfielder Luka Modric will not face Osasuna and could also miss the Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

He said: "Modric has a minor injury, not a very serious one. I'm not sure he will make it for Wednesday. He will train on Monday, let's see how he feels. If not fit for Wednesday, he will play next weekend [at Getafe]."

Ancelotti plans to make full use of the options at his disposal with such a hectic schedule to come ahead of the World Cup.

"It's an important moment, with many games in a short time," he said. "League, Champions [League]... We have to think that rotating would be important, because we play every three days. Everyone will give and put in their quality and commitment."

Real Madrid were among the contenders chasing Erling Haaland's signature over the off-season.

Los Blancos, along with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, were keen on the former Borussia Dortmund forward.

Ultimately, the Norwegian decided to join Manchester City, starting on fire with 14 goals in 10 games in all competitions, but Madrid are keeping an eye on him.

TOP STORY – MADRID PLANNING LONG-TERM MOVES FOR CITY DUO

Spanish giants Real Madrid are plotting moves to sign Manchester City pair Joao Cancelo and Erling Haaland, reports AS.

Madrid will attempt to sign the 28-year-old Portuguese full-back in mid-2023, with Cancelo contracted until 2027, although the report claims he will cost around €40-50million (£35-44m).

The Spanish champions are planning a swoop for Haaland but not until 2024, with Karim Benzema in the twilight of his career.

Haaland reportedly has a termination clause in his City contract worth €180m (£158m) up until 2024.

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star reports that Manchester United and David De Gea are set for key talks on his future, with the goalkeeper's contract expiring in mid-2023. United hold an option to extend his stay.

Manchester United may struggle in their bid to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, with the Villans to turn down any offer for him in January, claims Football Insider.

Barcelona are keen to sign Wolves 25-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves as a long-term replacement for 34-year-old Sergio Busquets, reports Sport. Neves will be the Blaugrana's top target at the end of this season.

Gerard Pique is not interested in joining Atletico Madrid in January, claims Sport. The defender has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, but he is determined to fight for his spot.

– Calciomercato claims that Chelsea are interested in Inter wing-back Denzel Dumfries. The Italian club may be willing to part with the Dutchman for approximately £44m.

– Colombian forward Luis Muriel is ready to leave Atalanta, with a move to Fiorentina on the cards, according to Calciomercato.

– PSV striker Cody Gakpo is likely to have more offers in January with Manchester United, Southampton and Everton all still interested, claims Football Transfers.

Thomas Tuchel is Real Madrid 's preferred replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, according to El Nacional. The Italian has told the club he does not intend to manage Madrid beyond this season.

Carlo Ancelotti thanked Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone for praising Real Madrid's defensive work after Los Blancos won Sunday's derby.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first half sent Madrid on their way to a sixth win from as many league games this season.

Although Mario Hermoso pulled one back, before being sent off late on for two bookings, Madrid were good value for the win at the Civitas Metropolitano.

Simeone commended the work of Ancelotti in his post-match press conference, applauding Madrid's defensive organisation in a "low block" and their effectiveness on the break, likening them to his 2013-14 title-winning Atletico side.

His comment claiming that critics accused that Atletico side of being "defensive" may have been interpreted by some as a backhanded compliment for Madrid, though Ancelotti decided not to take the cynical view.

"I think that in the first half we managed very well defensively at the start, then we were comfortable with the goals and in the second half we got rid of the idea of ​​​​doing damage," Ancelotti said.

"It affected us because then we suffered at the end. Atletico pushed and created problems for us.

"Yes, we have defended with a low block and we are used to it. We removed the danger of [Atletico] breaking with [Antoine] Griezmann or Joao Felix. The low block allowed us to control them well.

"If Simeone says that we have defended well in a low block, I tell him thank you, it is a compliment.

"The ideal football is to score many goals and not concede, perfection does not exist."

Madrid's two goalscorers have emerged as key players this season, taking on greater responsibility after previously being deployed more like rotation options.

Rodrygo was starting in the injured Karim Benzema's place in attack and led the line effectively, earning LaLiga's MVP award for the match, and Ancelotti was eager to commend him and Valverde.

"Both of them are very special players because they are what the modern footballer has to be now, who must play in different positions, must have physique, technique," Ancelotti added.

"Both of them have progressed a lot, and we are delighted because they are doing very well."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone applauded the work of his opposite number Carlo Ancelotti after losing to the Italian's Real Madrid in Sunday's derby.

Los Blancos claimed a 2-1 win at the Civitas Metropolitano to ensure they go into the international break at the top of the table.

Madrid have won all of their first six LaLiga games in the 2022-23 season and rarely looked especially worried against Atletico, despite the hosts dictating the tempo for much of the second half.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde in the first period sent Madrid on their way and, although Mario Hermoso – who was also sent off late on for two bookings – pulled one back, the away side were good value for the win.

Simeone subsequently struggled to hide his admiration for Ancelotti's team, suggesting they were comparable to the Atletico side that won the 2013-14 LaLiga title.

"Madrid defends very well, runs little, closes spaces for you, attacks on the counter-attack," Simeone told Movistar+. "They have a terrific forcefulness.

"The forcefulness is wonderful and seeing a team that attacks from deep and counter-attacks reminds me of our team with [Diego] Costa, and they [critics] told us that we played defensively. But when there is force, football is wonderful.

"[Atletico] made a great effort, we were close to drawing, but it's true that a team that defends organised like them and counter-attacks like that, I like it because you can play deep and play well. I congratulate them, it is a great job by the Madrid coach.

"But I am happy with the work of my team because they stuck it out until the end, the players made a great effort. Mario's expulsion was a pity because there were a few minutes left."

The result left Atletico seventh in the table heading into the international window – they go to Sevilla on October 1 in their next game after the break.

Antoine Griezmann was the headline inclusion in Atletico Madrid's starting XI for the derby with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Griezmann has scored three goals for Atleti this term, but all of his seven appearances had come from the substitutes bench.

Diego Simeone suggested this has in part been a financial decision, with Atleti set to owe Barcelona a fee for the on-loan forward should he play over half of the available minutes.

Yet he got the nod ahead of Alvaro Morata for the match at the Civitas Metropolitano, starting alongside Joao Felix.

Griezmann's introduction was one of five changes made by Simeone, whose team lost 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, made two alterations to the Madrid team that started in Wednesday's win over RB Leipzig.

Ferland Mendy and Toni Kroos came in for Nacho Fernandez and Eduardo Camavinga respectively.

With Karim Benzema out injured, Rodrygo – who has scored in his last two LaLiga appearances – was selected to lead Madrid's line along with Federico Valverde and Vinicius Junior.

Ancelotti has lost four of his six meetings as a manager with Simeone in LaLiga (W1 D1), while Atleti have the chance to win consecutive games against Madrid in Spain's top flight for the first time since February 2015

Karim Benzema will have to sit out Sunday's derby, Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has announced.

The France international came off with a knee injury in Madrid's Champions League win at Celtic earlier this month and has not featured since.

Ancelotti previously said Benzema could be fit for the derby with Atletico Madrid this weekend, but also noted caution at the time by saying if he did not recover, he would also not be available for the upcoming international break.

With Benzema absent from Didier Deschamps' squad announcement for Les Bleus this week, it seemed unlikely he would feature at the Wanda Metropolitano, which Ancelotti confirmed at his press conference on Saturday, saying: "I'm not saying [who will play up front], Benzema won't be there.

"He has started working individually and will be ready after the [international] break."

Ancelotti also spoke about the recent controversial comments from Pedro Bravo, a senior agent in Spain, on Vinicius Junior.

Bravo appeared on television show El Chiringuito earlier this week, saying Vinicius had to stop dancing when he celebrated a goal, accusing the Brazilian of "playing the monkey".

Bravo has apologised and said he used the wrong expression, insisting he was sorry for causing offence.

"It's something that we don't touch on in the locker room, these are issues that are not normally discussed in the locker room, we usually talk about football," the Madrid boss said.

"Racism is one thing and what happens in football is another thing. We have not touched on this issue of racism because the player has responded very well."

When asked if he had spoken to the player about it, Ancelotti said: "No, because I'm not his father, nor am I his brother. I'm his coach.

"Nothing is wrong with him. He is playing with joy. Vini is joy, happiness."

Madrid have won all eight of their games in all competitions this season and will come up against an Atletico side who suffered a Champions League defeat at Bayer Leverkusen in midweek.

Ancelotti is not underestimating Madrid's local rivals, though.

"It will be a competitive match. They don't expect anything new and it will be a very competitive duel, a good football match, because there are very good players on both teams," Ancelotti said. "The match is open, but there is nothing definitive."

Carlo Ancelotti saluted the impact of substitute Marco Asensio following his goal in Real Madrid's 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

The reigning champions made it six points from six in Group F after netting twice in the final 10 minutes to battle past their spirited opponents at Santiago Bernabeu.

After Federico Valverde opened the scoring, Asensio sealed the victory by sweeping a wonderful first-time effort into the top corner from Toni Kroos' lay-off for his eighth Champions League goal as a substitute - now the most of any player in the history of the competition.

The winger, who replaced Eduardo Camavinga in the 64th minute, was repeatedly linked with a move away from Madrid during the transfer window, and entered the contest having played just 17 minutes for Los Blancos across all competitions this season.

His frustration at the lack of playing time boiled over when he was overlooked by Ancelotti during Sunday's 4-1 win over Mallorca; throwing his bib to the ground while kicking a water bottle. But the Italian was pleased by Asensio's response.

"[I am] happy, he has had minutes and has delivered. I think he needed this goal," said Ancelotti, who became only the second coach to record 100 Champions League wins after Alex Ferguson (102). 

"At first, he hesitated whether to leave or stay, but he has stayed, and we were all happy. [It was a] good game, although we suffered a bit in the first half.

"The most important thing was to prevent them from having space behind the defenders, and that's why we wanted a slow pace. At half-time, we decided to put more energy into the game."

Madrid have now recorded clean sheets in each of their last three matches in the competition; doing so for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

And goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois highlighted the significance of making a strong start in Group F, with a double-header against Shakhtar Donetsk to come.

"It was important to start our defence with two straight wins," he said. "Now, if we can win our two against Shakhtar, we'll be nearly through to the next round.

"Maybe when we played better, we still didn't make huge danger [today], but the key was that we took our chances. 

"We applied much better pressure in the second half. We marked our men, played the ball simply when we had it. Our general play needs to improve - too many times, we failed to make our passes."

There was no shortage of thrills and spills on matchday one of the Champions League, and Wednesday's action promises more of the same as one of the world's most in-form strikers faces his former club.

Erling Haaland has made a spectacular start to his Manchester City career, hitting 12 goals in all competitions since his move from Borussia Dortmund, but how will he fare when his old team visit the Etihad Stadium? 

Elsewhere, Graham Potter will hope to have an immediate impact in his first game as Chelsea's head coach as they bid to bounce back from last week's 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, are among the favourites to be crowned European champions, and will both be hopeful of making it two wins from two outings.

Ahead of another intriguing set of European ties, Stats Perform trawls through the Opta data to highlight the most noteworthy facts for each game.

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund

City striker Haaland netted 15 times in 13 Champions League appearances for Dortmund, and few would bet against the Norwegian haunting his former team on Wednesday.

Haaland helped himself to a brace at Sevilla last time out, bringing him to 25 Champions League goals in just 20 appearances – the highest tally managed by any player in their first 20 games in Europe's premier club competition. 

The visit of BVB will represent a landmark outing for City boss Pep Guardiola, taking him to 150 Champions League games. Only five other coaches have reached that tally, while only two have earned more victories than Guardiola's 94 – Alex Ferguson (102) and Carlo Ancelotti (99).

The omens are certainly good for the Premier League champions, who are unbeaten in their last 20 Champions League home games, winning 18 and drawing two. That represents the longest such sequence by an English side since Chelsea's run of 21 without defeat between September 2006 and December 2009.

Dortmund, meanwhile, have not won at an English side in the competition since beating Arsenal 2-1 in October 2013.

Chelsea v Salzburg

Defeat to Dinamo Zagreb spelled the end of Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea reign last week, and Potter is the man entrusted to ensure they avoid back-to-back continental defeats when Salzburg visit.

Chelsea have never previously lost their opening two games of a Champions League campaign, and last lost consecutive games in the competition in 2019-20, when they were beaten by Bayern Munich in both legs of a last-16 tie.

This will be the first meeting between Chelsea and Salzburg, with the Blues only losing one of their previous four European ties against Austrian teams (W1 D2). Salzburg, meanwhile, have never beaten an English side in European competition in six attempts (D1 L5).

But the Blues will have to be wary of Matthias Jaissle's young guns at Stamford Bridge, and may need to keep a particularly close eye on Noah Okafor. 

The 22-year-old has four goals in his last five Champions League outings for Salzburg – only Haaland (eight) has ever scored more for the club in the competition.

Real Madrid v RB Leipzig

Holders Madrid are looking to secure consecutive wins when they host RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu, and are unbeaten in their last 11 Champions League games against German opponents, scoring at least two goals in all of those matches (27 in total).

Leipzig, however, are unbeaten in their three European clashes with Spanish sides (W2 D1) and will be looking for a result comparable to their 2-1 quarter-final win over Atletico Madrid in 2019-20.

Los Blancos possess a remarkable amount of experience at the highest level; should Luka Modric feature, he will become the first 37-year-old outfield player to play a European Cup/Champions League game for Madrid since Ferenc Puskas in November 1965 against Kilmarnock.

Coach Ancelotti, meanwhile, is on the brink of his 100th win in the Champions League, and could become just the second boss to bring up such a century in the competition (after Alex Ferguson with 102).

Maccabi Haifa v Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe scored a terrific brace to get PSG's European campaign off to a flying start against Juventus, and a trip to Maccabi Haifa gives him the opportunity to make club history.

The striker has scored 29 goals in 45 Champions League outings with PSG, scoring against 14 of the 17 opponents he's faced with the French champions. One more goal will see him level Edinson Cavani's record of 30 goals in the competition for the Ligue 1 side.

He could be aided by the in-form Neymar, who has provided eight assists for Mbappe in the Champions League, more than any player has assisted another in the competition since the start of 2017-18.

The final member of their revered forward trio, Lionel Messi, also has his eyes on making history.

Messi has scored against 38 different teams in the Champions League, the same amount as his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, and will be keen to claim the record outright when he faces Maccabi for the first time on Wednesday.

Other fixtures:

Rangers v Napoli

1 – Wednesday's rearranged match will be the first competitive meeting between Rangers and Napoli. The Serie A side have only faced a Scottish team in European competition once before, exiting to Hibernian in the Fairs Cup in November 1967.

3 – Piotr Zielinski was directly involved in three of Napoli's four goals as they thrashed Liverpool last week (two goals, one assist). This is already his best campaign for goal contributions in the competition since joining Napoli.  

Milan vs Dinamo Zagreb

6 - Milan have failed to win any of their last six home games in the Champions League (D3 L3), their longest run without a home victory in the competition.

31.8 – Dinamo Zagreb had just 31.8 per cent possession against Chelsea on matchday one, the lowest of any team who managed to avoid defeat in their opening game.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Celtic

3 – Shakhtar's Mykhailo Mudryk was one of three players to be directly involved in three goals on matchday one (one goal, two assists), along with Robert Lewandowski and Zielinski.

1/13 - Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart has only kept one clean sheet in his last 13 away Champions League games, with his last coming at Roma in December 2014 (for Manchester City).

Copenhagen v Sevilla

8 - Spanish sides are unbeaten in all eight of their Champions League games against Danish clubs (W6 D2) – only against sides from the Czech Republic (13) have Spanish teams appeared more often without defeat.

3/4 - Sevilla have lost three of their last four Champions League group-stage games (W1), as many as they lost in their previous 22 such matches (W10 D9).

Juventus v Benfica

2 - Juventus have lost their last two Champions League games. Only once in the history of the European Cup/Champions League have they lost three in a row, doing so between May 1968 and September 1972.

4 – Benfica's Alejandro Grimaldo has been involved in four goals in his last four Champions League games (one goal, three assists), more than he was in his first 27 games in the competition (two goals, one assist).

Mallorca head coach Javier Aguirre has hit out at LaLiga's scheduling as he considered the decision to play in the afternoon heat against Real Madrid "a crime".

Los Blancos maintained their 100 per cent start to the new season with a 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, played under 32-degree heat after kicking off at 2:00pm local time.

The kick-off time left Mexican boss Aguirre furious as he detailed the problems his players had in such temperatures.

"You can't play at this hour, it's a crime. You can see how the players end up after going after the ball," he said in his post-match press conference.

"We are all exhausted, so are the fans. It is very difficult to play at this time, [Vedat] Muriqi with cramps, [Rodrigo] Battaglia with discomfort, Dani [Rodriguez], too.

"I had to change the whole midfield, and we have another one on Saturday at the same time and we have come from another. Let's see if we have better luck in the future."

Carlo Ancelotti also discussed the conditions after the game but came to a different conclusion, understanding the schedule is necessary due to the upcoming World Cup.

"That's the way the calendar is – like today we had to play at 2pm," Ancelotti said. "Fortunately, it wasn't too hot."

Carlo Ancelotti says he empathises with Marco Asensio following his angry reaction to being left on the bench during Real Madrid's 4-1 win over Mallorca.

Los Blancos returned to the LaLiga summit after coming from behind to maintain their 100 per cent start to the season, while remaining the only team in the big five European leagues with a perfect record still intact.

Federico Valverde's marvellous individual effort cancelled out Vedat Muqiri's earlier header, while goals from Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Antonio Rudiger completed the turnaround after the break.

Asensio, who was repeatedly linked with a move away from Santiago Bernabeu during the transfer window, has played just 17 minutes for Madrid across all competitions this season.

His frustration at the lack of playing time boiled over when he was overlooked by Ancelotti after Dani Carvajal replaced the injured Lucas Vazquez in the 71st minute; the winger throwing his bib to the ground while kicking a water bottle.

When asked about the incident, the Italian said: "We were preparing if we didn't make it 2-1 to put Mariano and Asensio in. Lucas has been injured, and we only had one window, and I didn't think about making that change.

"If he is angry, I agree with him. It's normal, it means you want to play, feel important. In this period, he has been the most affected player in the squad and I take that into account. I totally agree with his anger, nothing happens."

Ancelotti also praised the leadership qualities of Valverde after the Uruguay international's wonderful solo goal that saw him pick up the ball from deep inside his own half, before firing into the top corner from 20 yards.

"You are a leader when you are an example, and Federico is very, very important to us," the head coach said of the midfielder, who netted his first Madrid goal in nearly two years. 

"He is doing very well, he is still very humble and this can help him to be a leader in the future. Here, we have many leaders who are leaders with examples, not with language. This is very important."
 

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