Category Archives: real madrid

Ramos Targets Madrid return


The planned return date for Los Blancos’ captain has been set as the Spanish champions set some big goals for the final stretch of the season.

On 6 February 2021, Sergio Ramos underwent surgery to repair the damaged meniscus in his left knee. Real Madrid described the operation as “a success” and that he was expected to return to action between six and eight weeks. However, AS has found out more detail and the team captain is working on his recovery with two specific dates in mind.Ramos and Madrid are eager that he returns to the starting XI, his contract and future at the club after this season remain up in the air…

Sergio Ramos eyes return dates
The first date Ramos is looking at for his comeback is 13 March, as Madrid welcome Elche for the LaLiga match at Valdebebas. The second is three days later, on the 16 March, when Atalanta come to town for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie, also at the Alfredo Di Stéfano. If the first one remains a doubt in his head to start the game, the second does not.

If Ramos, who turns 35 on the penultimate day of March, achieves this goal he will be advancing by a week the best of the deadlines set on the day of his operation. Any pitch time against Elche, as he is hoping, will see him return to Zidane’s side in just 36 days, proof, if it was needed, that the operation was indeed extremely successful.


The Madrid derby: an impossible goal
When the captain realised that an operation was inevitable – the discomfort persisting after the Super Cup match against Athletic Club – the first thing he was hoping to avoid was missing the derby at the Wanda Metropolitano on 7 March. But the club’s doctors spoke to him and explained that if he pushed himself to be back for that game then he risked missing the rest of the season. That was when he changed his outlook.

His eagerness to be available for the business end of the campaign with Los Blancos – as well as being fit for Spain in the European Championship this summer – was the deciding factor in going under the knife.

Ramos to miss more key games
Ramos is currently going through his recuperation process in the gym at Valdebebas, as can be seen from the various photos and videos he uploads to his social networks. With the pain now subsiding, he is focused on gaining muscle strength in his left knee, with a relapse of the injury the last thing he can consider at this juncture.


In terms of what lies ahead for the team, the next two league games – at home to Real Sociedad on 1 March and the aforementioned derby against Cholo’s Atleti at the Wanda on 7 March – will be faced without their influential captain. Likewise, Ramos will miss Wednesday’s game against Atalanta in Bergamo, where he will once again be replaced by Nacho, who is performing at an exceptional level.

Of course, while Ramos and Madrid are eager that he returns to the starting XI, his contract and future at the club after this season remain up in the air…



Benzema suffers Injury ahead Atalanta’s clash.


The Frenchman has scored 17 times in all competitions this season and has netted in his last two consecutive matches.

Karim Benzema could miss Real Madrid’s Champions League game against Atalanta next week after Zinedine Zidane confirmed the striker was injured on Thursday.


Benzema missed training on Friday morning and Zidane said he will not travel with the team for Saturday’s La Liga game away at Real Valladolid.

The club have not yet confirmed the specifics of the problem.


“He won’t be with us tomorrow,” said Zidane in a press conference on Friday. “He has a problem and because it came up yesterday he won’t be there tomorrow. We’ll see for next week.”

Madrid might cope without Benzema against Valladolid but his absence for the trip to Bergamo in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday would be a huge blow.

The Frenchman has scored 17 times in all competitions this season and has netted in his last two consecutive matches.


“We know what Karim gives us and how important he is for us,” said Zidane. “But we have to deal with this and get him back as soon as possible, like the others.”

Real Madrid have been plagued by injury problems in recent weeks with Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo also likely to miss Saturday’s trip to the Jose Zorilla Stadium.

Madrid sit six points behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga, having played a game more than their city rivals.

Zidane was also asked on Friday about Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, following the duo’s superb outings in the Champions League this week.


In particular, Real Madrid have been regularly linked with a move for Mbappe, whose PSG contract expires in June 2022. “I watch all the games and I like to see great things like any fan,” said Zidane.

“They are both very good and very young, players of the present and the future. Whether I prefer one or the other, I won’t say, everyone has their own preferences.”



Real Madrid sights perfect Sergio Ramos’ replacement.


Reports claim that Liverpool registered their interest in the Portuguese defender during the January transfer window, with AS noting that Braga and Liverpool failed to agree terms over structuring the finances of a deal for a defender.

Real Madrid are keeping tabs on Braga defender David Carmo as they continue to prepare for the possible exit of Sergio Ramos.

Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and is yet to agree terms to a new deal with Los Blancos, forcing the club into planning for life without their captain and drafting up a list of replacements.

Plenty of names have been linked with a move to Madrid as a result of the ongoing conundrum, including David Alaba – who has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich.


AS report that Real Madrid have been scouting Carmo at Braga and remain keen on the player, who has been heavily linked with a move to top European sides in recent months and is said to have a release clause of €40m (roughly £34.8m).

Carmo is currently nursing a fractured ankle, which he suffered in Braga’s clash with Porto on 14 February and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines. This hasn’t deterred Real’s interest however, nor will it warn off other sides from attempting to sign Carmo in the summer.

Reports claim that Liverpool registered their interest in the Portuguese defender during the January transfer window, with AS noting that Braga and Liverpool failed to agree terms over structuring the finances of a deal for a defender.

Braga were insistent on a loan deal with an obligation to buy for €25m, while the Premier League champions were only prepared to go as high as €20m.


Ramos is currently nursing an injury of his own and remains unavailable for Real Madrid. He confirmed he had undergone knee surgery to alleviate a persistent problem, but reassured fans via Twitter that he would be back on the pitch soon.

Carmo had made 21 appearances in all competitions for Braga this season before his injury and would perhaps represent a more cost-effective defensive signing from the Portguese league compared to Eder Miltao, who set Real back by €50m in 2019.



‘I will come back way stronger than ever’ – Dani Cavajal


Another period of injury recovery awaits for Dani Carvajal, whose return only lasted 25 minutes against Valencia on Sunday.

Despite suffering a new issue that could see him miss two months, the right-back is remaining optimistic and positive.

“I told some of my teammates that on Saturday night I had butterflies in my stomach and that I was anxious to come back to do what I’m passionate about,” he said as he shared a social media post on Monday, after it had been revealed that he has a muscle injury in his right thigh affecting the tendon.

“I had worked really hard over the past few weeks…

“Now, it’s time to deal with this latest setback and to start a new countdown to be able to return and have these special feelings.

“I just want to communicate one message: I will come back better and stronger than ever.

“Thank you for all the messages of support.”

Due to four different injury issues, the Spaniard has only been able to play in 12 official matches so far in 2020/21.


Cavajal out to Hamstring injury and would miss Atalanta’s Clash


Dani Carvajal to miss Real Madrid’s first leg against Atalanta due to muscle injury

25 minutes. That’s how long Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal could play after making his return from injury during Sunday’s match against Valencia. The defender suffered a hamstring injury which forced him to leave the game, being replaced by Lucas Vazquez.

The first reports from club sources indicate that Carvajal suffers a hamstring injury on his right leg and that he will undergo tests to reveal the extend of said injury today. The defender seems all but ruled out for Real Madrid’s upcoming clash against Atalanta in the first leg of their Champions League tie in the Round of 16 and it’s likely that he eventually misses the crucial return leg as well, given how tricky these injuries have been for Carvajal all season long.

With Odriozola and Militao also injured, Lucas Vazquez seems ready to be Zidane’s choice to play at the right-back spot, given that Nacho is playing well at the center-back position in Ramos’ absence.


Things Ramos will lose if he departs from Madrid

There’s no debate over Sergio Ramos’ legendary status at Real Madrid. However, if he pens a new deal in the coming weeks and sees out the rest of his career in the Spanish capital then he could statistically become the club’s number one player every category except goals.

He’s closing in on a few important records, but his future is still undecided.

If he leaves now, this is what he’d miss out on.

Player with most appearances
Ramos will almost definitely break the record for most appearances for Los Blancos if he renews his deal.

At the moment, he’s fourth on the all-time appearance list with 668 games played.

Ahead of him are Raul (741), Iker Casillas (725) and Manolo Sanchis (710).

Ramos would likely need to play for another year and a half to hold the record.

The player with most seasons completed
The central defender is also closing in on the record for most seasons completed in a Real Madrid shirt. He currently sits on 16 completed campaigns and would need to remain at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for two more to break the record of 18 held by Paco Gento and Miguel Angel.


Most decorated player in the club’s history
This record could be broken without signing a new contract, although he would need to win a Champions League and LaLiga Santander double, which seems unlikely at the moment.

Ramos and Marcelo both boast 22 titles at Real Madrid, just one behind Paco Gento.

He could also become the player with most Champions League medals. He currently has four, but is two behind Gento.

Most seasons completed as captain
The longest-sitting captain in Real Madrid history is honorary president Gento, who held the armband for nine seasons. Chendo has eight as captain while Felix Quesada and Raul both have seven.

Ramos has held the honour for six seasons and would need to renew until 2024 to break this record, which seems unlikely given his current relationship with the club over his contract talks.

Most minutes in LaLiga Santander
He’s currently the player with the fifth most minutes played in LaLiga Santander.

He has played 43,900 minutes and is just 99 minutes behind Raul.

The only players with more are Casillas (45,684), Francisco Buyo (48,717 and Andoni Zubizarreta (55,746). He would need to play at least two more full seasons to break Zubizarreta’s record.

Captain in the new Bernabeu
The new Bernabeu stadium will be the crowning jewel of Real Madrid and Ramos could have the honour of being the club’s first captain in their newly redeveloped stadium.

It can’t be forgotten that, if he leaves now, he won’t be able to say goodbye to the fans due to the pandemic and no one would dispute the fact that Ramos deserves a huge send-off at Real Madrid.



Real Madrid offer Ramos deadline to ‘either leave or stay’


Real had hoped Ramos would lead by example and accept a pay cut until the club were in a steadier financial position.

After months of endless speculation regarding the future of Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s hierarchy appear to have finally had enough – setting their captain a deadline to accept their contract renewal offer by.


Talks over a renewed deal at the Bernabeu have long since hit the buffers, with Los Blancos unable to fulfil the financial demands of their legendary captain as they look to balance the books amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Real had hoped Ramos would lead by example and accept a pay cut until the club were in a steadier financial position.

Ramos has been issued a deadline by Real | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

However, with the 34-year-old yet to accept the offer of a two-year-deal and a 10% pay-cut, ABC claim the club’s hierarchy have issued a March deadline for a final decision.


As it stands, Ramos is free to discuss his future with potential suitors, and back in November, NoRM exclusively revealed that all of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ sides were monitoring the defender’s situation with interest.

Manchester City are particularly keen on the four-time Champions League winner, but city rivals United are Ramos’ preferred destination should he leave Madrid.

Ramos has previously stated his desire to remain at Real Madrid, whom he has played for over the past 16 years. But now in the twilight of his career, he recognises that this is likely his last opportunity to secure a bumper payday elsewhere, as well as a chance to try something new.

File Photo: Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

Ramos’ continued importance to Zinedine Zidane’s side has been further outlined this campaign, with Real’s La Liga title bid left in tatters in the Spaniard’s absence.


A number of niggling injuries have seen Ramos miss six league games this season, and Zidane’s men have picked up just three wins without their world class defender.

However, it seems Real just aren’t in a financial position to offer their talisman what he wants, and they could well wave goodbye to the man who has led them through one of the most successful periods in the club’s glittering history.



Real Madrid could be ‘losing’ Sergio Ramos this summer.


Ramos, a four-time Champions League winner with Real and fourth on the club’s all-time appearance list, is out of contract this coming summer and talks over a fresh deal have consistently failed to produce an agreement.

Real Madrid are preparing for the departure of Sergio Ramos this summer, with one news outlet in Spain claiming that Los Blancos ‘assume’ the 34-year-old will be leaving.

According to Spanish broadcaster El Chiringuito, Real have concluded that Ramos is probably now going to be playing his football elsewhere next season, which would bring an end to his glittering career with Los Blancos after 16 years.


A separate report from newspaper El Pais suggests that Ramos is unhappy with the offer currently on the table from Real, which proposes a 10% pay cut to extend his contract for a year until 2022. That offer includes the option of an extra year, but still on the same terms with the reduction.

It is said that Ramos believes he deserves more, both in terms of the actual contract and more of a formal approach with concrete clarifications, as opposed to informal conversations.

El Pais claims that Real president Florentino Perez promised Ramos an extension to his contract in 2018 if the club beat Liverpool in the Champions League final. They did, winning a record 14th European title in the process, but the player has never had that new deal.

Ramos is alleged to have told Perez in recent weeks that he has an offer from Paris Saint-Germain worth €20m per year, although a source from the French club has told El Pais that isn’t true, citing it as more than superstar forward Kylian Mbappe gets paid and suggesting it is another example of PSG being used as a bargaining tool in contract negotiations with other clubs.


But the stance from Perez appears to be that he would rather let Ramos go than improve the offer, which has created the current impasse and is leading Los Blancos to believe he will move on. The club is even preparing to sign David Alaba on a free transfer as a replacement.

Real aren’t thought to want to lose a player who still has such quality and influence in the twilight years of his career, nor is Ramos thought to want to leave and play elsewhere. Right now, it appears to be a game of chicken as player and club wait for the other to blink first.



Marcelo has fallen ‘out of Grace’


He will have to bring out his best version if he does not want to be overtaken.

In the last few weeks there have been reports of Marcelo putting his all into getting back into the starting line-up at Real Madrid.

NoRM‘s known Newspaper reveals the main strategy of his plan to return in style.

Marcelo has been working hard to get back to into the team after the Christmas break. He has reportedly been doing extra work for weeks.


Alfonso Madrid, his new personal trainer, is getting him in shape and Sport Media known to NoRM has revealed the keys to his plan.

It is based on two pillars: food and extra work. The Brazilian is taking great care with his meals so as not to overweight himself and to be quick on the pitch.

This is partly why he has been seen to be a bit more toned in some of his social network publications.

He is also giving a lot of importance to his physique, aware that his main competitor for the leading role under Zidane’s guidelines is Mendy, seven years younger.


And, for the moment, that is what is happening. Marcelo has not been on the pitch as a starter since 28 November, just one month ago, in the La Liga match that Madrid lost to Alavés.

Otherwise, he is currently without minutes both in the domestic championship and in the Champions League.



Options weighing: Isco could leave Real Madrid


His contribution, in this course, is limited to the 358 minutes that he has been on the field.

On the verge of a new transfer market, Real Madrid’s Isco continues to weigh up the idea of leaving the Madrid club. The Premier League and Serie A being his most likely destinations.

These are not good times for Isco. The Spaniard has only played eleven matches so far and his performances on the pitch have left much to be desired.

Both his quality and his physical condition continue to cause issues at Real Madrid, who may agree to a transfer of the Malaga-born player in this upcoming winter transfer market

Isco has been losing prominence in the ‘merengue’ team and not even Zinedine Zidane has managed to recover that footballer who amazed the world.


In a period of somewhat muted transfers due to the scarce economic capacity of many teams, the Premier League seems to be the most probable destination for the offensive midfielder, English teams seem to have been the least affected by the crisis. Arsenal and Everton are both reportedly interested in him.

However, Serie A is also being tipped as the favourite to host Isco, as both Juventus and Inter Milan have reportedly enquired about his situation. All this, in the event that the 28-year-old decides to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.



Real Madrid Still counts on Asensio


It was expected to be tough for Real Madrid to earn a sixth win in a row. Above all, because Granada are a very serious team and they know exactly how to play their game. They’re well-organised and efficient under Diego Martinez, the kind of team that give Los Blancos the most difficulty. Without Eden Hazard and his ability to win one-on-one matchups, Real Madrid needed Karim Benzema to find solutions. They’ve also been relying on Vinicius, which is not to be sniffed at, but it’s clear that they struggle to find holes in the opposition defence.

It was also complicated because Real Madrid didn’t have Luka Modric and he is able to move the team forward. It was going to be a night of suffering and that was made clear in the first 30 seconds thanks to Raphael Varane and his latest giveaway. Granada made this happen by keeping Sergio Ramos from bringing the ball out and ensuring it was the Frenchman who had to do so.

Granada’s tactics and ability to irritate Real Madrid worked until the 55th minute, when Marco Asensio reminded us all of what a great footballer he can become again, doing so in the space of two minutes. It’s said that players either do or don’t recover from an injury as serious as the knee injury he suffered, but any recovery comes from hard work, time and patience. Real Madrid and the player have bought into this and, given the superb flick off the post that he produced, this seems the right approach. With that attempt and the passes for a Fede Valverde shot and the Casemiro goal, Real Madrid overcame a Granada side that were locking them out. This is what talent brings about, at the moment when it seemed Granada’s organisation couldn’t be overcome.


Asensio is back on fire, he solves Zidane’s equation better


Having played the last five games for Real Madrid, three of them as a starter, Asensio is once again a protagonist for Zinedine Zidane.

The wings are the most volatile positions in Zidane’s eleven, where the French coach has opted for several variants over the campaign so far. But in the Clásico, the first important game of the season, Zizou put his faith Marco Asensio.

The previous two defeats prompted Zidane to strengthen the centre of the field for the Clásico, with Kroos, Modric and Valverde accompanying Casemiro. The Madrid boss trusted in the formula that has given him so many successes in the past, opting to start Asensio in a position that, against Barcelona, had the added responsibility of giving support to Nacho (and eventually Lucas Vázquez after Nacho’s injury) to keep Jordi Alba at bay.

Zidane has a lot of confidence in Asensio. The serious injury he suffered last season prevented him from stamping his mark on one of the most competitive positions on Zidane’s team, but to which no one could claim a permanent hold in his absence.


Asensio takes Bale’s 11 shirt
Asensio has become the owner of the 11 shirt with the exit of Bale, and the appreciation between coach and player is mutual. “We understand each other very well, almost just by looking at each other. He told me to score a goal”, revealed Asensio when talking about what Zidane said to him before he came on in the game against Valencia after the coronavirus suspension. It was his first appearance back after recovering from his horror injury and it took him half a minute to satisfy his coach’s wish. He ended up contributing two more goals on the way to Madrid’s 34th LaLiga title.

Asensio has been envisioned to become a regular fixture in Madrid’s attacking trident alongside Hazard and Benzema – an offensive line of which Real Madrid has been deprived because of both Isco’s injury and Hazard’s recurrent injuries. The three have only coincided on the field for nine minutes, in the aforementioned game against Valencia that marked Asensio’s return.

The prudence that Zidane has shown when it comes to reintroducing injured players to the fold meant that Asensio only played 362 minutes in the final 12 games of last season following the coronavirus suspension.

In the seven games played so far this season, Marco has played 318 minutes, making him the 11th most-used player in the squad. Having played the last five games, three of them as a starter, Asensio is a protagonist once again.


5 Reasons why haaland Is more better than Jovic


Luka Jovic cost Real Madrid 60 million euros, and Zinedine Zidane has acknowledged that it was a signing made on his request, yet the Serbian hasn’t yet lived up to expectations at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, all whilst Erling Haaland is going from strength to strength.

There is clear uncertainty with regards to Jovic’s future in the Spanish capital, whilst fans are clamouring for the signing of Haaland to take his place, with some even going as far as to wonder just why he isn’t at the club already.

There are five clear reasons as to why Haaland would be a much better fit with Los Merengues than Jovic:

  1. Passion against coldness
    Jovic showed his ability as a goalscorer during his excellent spell with Eintracht Frankfurt, but he is a very cold player. He’s too cold for what the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid stand for. Haaland is the polar opposite, he exudes passion in every single player he is involved in and easily connects with supporters, whether they are in the stands or not. In this regard, Haaland would very quickly create a bond with the club’s fans, something even Karim Benzema didn’t always do.
  2. The speed of the Norwegian
    Haaland is possibly the fastest player in world football right now. His moving starts are barely believable and Los Blancos miss that kind of player in their attacking line. Jovic doesn’t have that speed.
  3. Haaland is a leader
    Despite only joining the club in January 2020 and being just 20 years old, Haaland is already a leader at Borussia Dortmund. On the pitch he makes his teammates better and he drags them forward when things aren’t going well. Jovic is different, on the pitch he is a secondary figure and hasn’t showed the propensity for leadership in any of his appearances for the Spanish club. He doesn’t have the soul of a natural leader.
  1. Haaland’s reliability is beyond question
    The Norwegian international gets better with every season that passes. He didn’t notice the change from Salzburg to Dortmund, the goals just kept coming, despite the fact the German side are one of the biggest in the world. His goalscoring averages are consistently excellent and you have to consider that the current iteration of Real Madrid is possibly one of the worst going forward that there has been since 2000. Jovic has only had one standout season and that came in Germany, and this generates doubt where there is none with Haaland.
  2. Jovic has too many off-pitch problems
    The Serbian has had a difficult year on the pitch, but also away from it. He has too many problems away from football as we saw with him bypassing lockdown and travelling to Serbia, he then was at a barbecue in the middle of the pandemic, which was clearly prohibited. Finally, he suffered a strange injury whilst he was on holiday. This is simply too many problems for a club like Real Madrid. Where Haaland is concerned, you only ever hear about him scoring goal after goal, nothing away from the pitch.


Reports claims Zidane’s departure from Madrid will not affect Mbappe’s move


Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane potentially leaving the club would not impact any deal to sign PSG star Kylian Mbappe next summer, according to reports.

Zidane, who as recently as July won LaLiga in this his second stint as Madrid boss, is suddenly under-pressure after two consecutive losses at home to Cadiz in the league and Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe.

Madrid face fierce rivals Barcelona in El Clasico on Saturday and amid a poor run of form, speculation is building about a potential departure from the Bernabeu for the French manager – yet according to Spanish outlet AS, that would not affect Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappe as a marquee signing in 2021.


The report details that though Mbappe has spoken glowingly about Zidane in the past, his apparent desire to move to the Spanish capital does not hinge on Zidane being in the managerial hotseat.

Mbappe said of Zidane in May: ‘My first idol was Zidane for everything he achieved with the national team. Then it was Cristiano [Ronaldo]. He has won a lot and is still a winner after so much success.

‘Both have left their mark on the history of football and I want to leave my own chapter in the books.’

Mbappe’s contract at PSG runs until the summer of 2022 and so far he has resisted talks of an extension.

The 21-year-old, who signed for the Ligue 1 champions in 2017 from Monaco, sees his long-term future at Real Madrid according to sources close to the player.

On the other hand, Madrid president Florentino Perez sees the French World Cup winner as the ‘cornerstone of the next project at Real Madrid’.

Madrid will reportedly consider appointing Mauricio Pochettino or former star Raul as their next manager if they decide to sack Zidane.


According to a separate report in AS, Raul, who won 16 trophies in 16 years at the Bernabeu, is the ‘ideal option’ for Perez.

Another option is former Tottenham boss Pochettino who has previously been linked with the job.

The Argentine has been without a club since he was sacked by Spurs last November and would be a ready-made replacement for Zidane.

Meanwhile, Zidane has received a big boost ahead of El Clasico with news that captain Sergio Ramos will be fit for the clash at the Camp Nou.

Ramos went off at half-time in Madrid’s 1-0 defeat by minnows Cadiz last weekend and was also absent as they crumbled on Wednesday in the Champions League – however, he took a full part in training on Friday.

‘He’s our captain, our leader. He’s over his injury, but obviously we won’t take any risks. He’ll be with us, you need players who are 100 per cent fit and Sergio is,’ Zidane told a news conference.


Shakhtar Defeat shows Madrid’s defense is nothing without Ramos


The Shakhtar game was Madrid’s latest European disaster without their captain. Since 2018, the team has suffered defeats to Ajax, PSG, City and CSKA…

Real Madrid’s shambolic first-half display against Shakhtar Donetsk once again illustrated how important Sergio Ramos’ influence is on the team. In Europe, whenever they have been without him, Madrid fall to pieces. The magic that accompanied the team’s eleventh and thirteenth European crowns has long disappeared. And since then, when Ramos has been unavailable for suspension or injury, Madrid have looked listless and leaderless. It was plain to see in the last Champions League game of last season, when Zidane’s team were beaten 2-1 in Manchester on an evening which Varane will be keen to forget. It happened again in the first group game of this season’s edition with Militão seemingly miles away and at fault for much of Madrid’s sloppy defending. Last night both players – Varane for showing no leadership in Ramos’ absence and Militão for a lack of attitude, have come under fire…


Madrid, weak without Ramos in Europe
And there have been other games in which Madrid have disintegrated without their captain. In the 2017-18 season, Juventus came close to eliminating a Madrid side without Ramos by beating them 1-3 in the first leg of the quarter finals. Then there was the humiliating 1-4 defeat to Ajax at the Bernabéu during the season when the club went through three coaches – Lopetegui, Solari and Zidane. Without Ramos, Madrid lost home and away to CSKA that same season (1-0 and 0-3). Last season, with Zidane at the helm, the Varane-Militão pairing were picked apart by PSG as it ended 3-0 at Parc des Princes and Madrid were left looking exposed once more in Europe without their leader.

Ramos missed the Shakhtar game after taking a knock to his knee against Cádiz at the weekend. Madrid fell behind as early as the 13th minute to a rival with most of its first choice players self-isolating after positive coronavirus tests and yet still managed to open the scoring in a one-on-one with Courtois. After that, instead of improving, it got worse. The Ukrainians put three past Madrid in the first 45 minutes and it could easily have been four or five. The sight of Militão trudging back at an almost pedestrian pace in the move that led to the third goal shocked Pedja Mijatovic, commentating on Carrusel Deportivo, who exclaimed, “I don’t know what is going on with Madrid’s centre-backs but Good God…”


Result could have been even worse for Madrid
If Militão was at fault, Casemiro, Varane, and Marcelo weren’t much better – the left-back was caught upfield several times and unable to get back. Férland Mendy, a naturally left-sided defender playing out of position as a makeshift right-back was the only one who gave a good account. Dentinhó missed a golden chance to make it 1-4 on 55 minutes and Teté could have made it 2-4 in another one-on-one with Courtois in the 68th minute. Teté was caught offside when Marlos had the ball in the back of the net with 10 minutes of normal time remaining. Madrid’s defending was simply not the standard you would expect from a team which aspiring to win the Champions League – as both Courtois and Zidane claimed in the pre-match press conference.

What’s worse for Zidane is that Wednesday’s lesson could leave psychological scars. Varane admitted that he struggled to regain focus after his two costly mistakes at the Etihad in August. This latest defeat, including an own goal, will only rub salt in the wounds. In the meantime, Ramos isn’t getting any younger and his contract expires in 2021…


‘Why would I leave when Madrid clearly still wants me to stay’ – Luka Modric


Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has made clear that he would like to remain at the club, with his contract currently set to expire next summer. The 35-year-old joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for 35 million euros in 2012, and during his time in the Spanish capital he has played a total of 347 games and won 17 trophies for the club.

Modric is currently on international duty with Croatia, where he briefly discussed his Real Madrid future. “It’s the same as with the national team. I go from match to match and then we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“Of course I’d like to stay at Real Madrid. However, I am aware that I am at a certain age and the club must do the best for everyone. As long as I feel that I am an important part of Real Madrid, I would like to stay. When that is no longer the case, I will look for new challenges”. However, this issue is not yet on the agenda”.


Ahead of Croatia’s Nations League match against Sweden on Sunday evening, which comes four days after Modric came on as a substitute in a 2-1 friendly win against Switzerland, the midfielder emphasised his commitment to the Croatia shirt. “I don’t want to set any limits or dates for myself,” Modric stated.

“I’m going from match to match and I’ll see how I feel both physically and mentally. As long as I feel good, I want to play for the national team.” Modric made sure to thank Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic after he was allowed to miss the internationals in September in order to do pre-season with Real Madrid. “I feel very good. Thanks to coach Dalic for letting me go through the pre-season with Real Madrid,” he said.

“This is extremely important for a player of my age because if you don’t do pre-season, it is difficult to return to the correct rhythm.” With regard to the match against Sweden, Modric is firm in the belief that Croatia will need to leave everything out on the pitch. “Two big matches [against Sweden and France] are waiting for us in the space of three days and we will need all the players to be at a high level,” he said. “It is difficult to predict how many points we will get, but we play at home [against Sweden], in front of the fans and we are always going to go for the win.”


Bale says ‘GOODBYE’ to all Madrid Squad during his last training


Real Madrid had their fourth training session of the week on Thursday as they continue their preparations for their LaLiga Santander opener on Sunday away at Real Sociedad.

Gareth Bale, who is on the verge of completing a return to Tottenham Hotspur, was not present on the pitches at Valdebebas as he worked out in the gym.

Officially, this is due to a blow to his left knee which he picked up whilst playing for Wales against Bulgaria, although he was able to see out the full 90 minutes and didn’t appear to have any problems.

Since that day, September 6, and his subsequent return to the Spanish capital, Bale has not set foot on the pitches at Real Madrid’s training ground.


It seems that there will be no photos of Bale’s final hours as a Real Madrid player, since his return to Spurs – as well as the transfer of Sergio Reguilon – will be closed in the coming hours.

In addition to Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Eder Militao also worked out in the gym, while Isco, Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard did specific work out on the grass.

Luka Jovic, meanwhile, completed a part of the session with the group and is in contention to be in the squad to face Real Sociedad.

The session started with a warm-up and defensive exercises without the ball.

Los Blancos then practiced possession and pressing drills before playing a match on a small pitch.

Finally, they worked on shooting.

Tomorrow, at 11:00 CEST, the Real Madrid squad will train again.


Asensio and Vinicius Jr battles for Bale’s no.11


Gareth Bale’s departure will free up an iconic number at Real Madrid, with No.11 left unassigned in the absence of the Welshman.

The number had been Bale’s since his 2013 arrival, but now it will be one that both Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio will battle to get their hands on.

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It’s a number that would suit him nicely, but he hasn’t made any firm decisions and won’t comment while Bale is still a Real Madrid player.

Vinicius would also suit it well, having worn it at Flamengo. But at Real Madrid he’s had to wear No.28 and No.25.

Should he not take Bale’s shirt, he’ll have to continue with his No.25 or else take James Rodriguez’s old No.16 shirt.

Other options are Brahim Diaz’s No.21 or Asensio’s No.20, should the latter take Bale’s number.


Bale reaches Real Madrid’s training for one last time


Gareth Bale has been filmed arriving at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground on Thursday morning as he edges closer to a sensational return to Tottenham.

The Wales international has agreed terms on a year-long loan deal that Sportsmail understands to be worth more than £13million.

Part of the move will be financed by Real Madrid – and Bale is relishing the prospect of reviving his career back in the Premier League.


Benzema once again ‘On Fire!!!’


Karim Benzema has started the 2020/21 season with four goals in Real Madrid’s 6-0 friendly victory over Getafe at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on Tuesday.

The Frenchman picked up the baton from Cristiano Ronaldo when he joined Juventus in 2018 and, since then, he has scored 57 goals for Los Blancos.

Unlike Gareth Bale, Benzema has been the only Real Madrid forward who has tried to fill the void left by the Portugal international.

Last season he competed until the end with Lionel Messi for LaLiga Santander’s top scorer award, although he didn’t manage to overtake the Argentine.

Real Madrid signed Luka Jovic in the summer of 2019 to help Benzema with the scoring task, but the Serbian striker didn’t live up to the expectations and it was Sergio Ramos who finished as the team’s second top scorer.

The Frenchman’s four goals against Jose Bordalas’ side on Tuesday is just a sign that he is once again in position to help his club meet their objectives.


Hazard is under microscope


Eden Hazard arrived at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last summer as Real Madrid’s Galactico replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, in his first year with Los Blancos, the Belgian has been far from the talisman and leader everyone was expecting.

A large part of this is due to his fitness issues, with his international boss raising further questions over his physical state going into the new season.

Hazard didn’t play in either of Belgium’s Nations League games this month, despite travelling with the squad.

Roberto Martinez believes the forward is 60 training sessions away from being fit enough to start, which begs the question as to why he was called up in the first place.

Heading back to Real Madrid for the start of the new season, Hazard has a reputation to rebuild, as well as his fitness.


Appreciated in the dressing room
The Real Madrid squad have no problems with Hazard or any aspects of his behaviour.

He might not have made a good first impression last summer, turning up for pre-season overweight, but he’s had bad luck with injuries since then.

The ankle problem he suffered in November 2019 and the following relapse in February were really bad news for everyone connected with Real Madrid.

When Hazard and Los Blancos returned after lockdown, the former Lille star showed glimpses of his best before picking up a knock against Espanyol.

Now, it’s about finding his feet as a player and regaining his confidence in his injured ankle.


Mixed emotions for the future
Real Madrid still believe Hazard can become the player they thought he would be at the Bernabeu, but recent events on international duty have prompted some concerns about his fitness.

The club would’ve preferred him to stay at Valdebebas rather than go with Belgium, but they also understand what representing his country means to the 29-year-old.

Amongst the coaching staff, they’ve put a plan in place to allow Hazard to rediscover the form that saw him become one of the best players in the world at Chelsea.

The Belgian was named player of the year three times at Stamford Bridge, most recently in his last campaign there in 2018/19.

Looking forward, Hazard will be focused on reaching full fitness within the next two or three weeks, just in time for the start of the LaLiga Santander season.

Before he goes on international duty again in October, Real Madrid play Real Sociedad, Real Betis, Real Valladolid and Levante.


Hazard lacks commitment


Real Madrid’s 2019/20 season finished on August 7, when they lost 2-1 away at Manchester City in the Champions League. While Raphael Varane’s couple of errors stood out in that game, so too did Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne. Their Belgian teammate Eden Hazard was much less involved, taken off in the 83rd minute.

Now, this new season has begun with the internationals travelling to represent their national teams before even training one day with their clubs. Courtois, though, was back after three days working with Belgium as he returned to Valdebebas on Friday instead of travelling to Denmark. He had agreed this with his national team coach Roberto Martinez and with Zinedine Zidane. On the other hand, Hazard preferred to stay with Belgium instead of prioritising his club and didn’t even play one minute against Denmark or Iceland.


Hazard’s main problem isn’t his right ankle, which Martinez said will need to be looked after throughout his career. His main problem is that he hasn’t realised how demanding it is to represent Real Madrid, after a first year in which he practically did nothing. He was signed for a huge fee and he was signed to be a star, which is why his lack of commitment is so concerning. He has all the footballing skills he needs, but this mentality could prevent him from succeeding.

The other problem is that while he keeps playing without being in optimal condition, like during last season, he’ll continue to take opportunities away from young players who are showing ambition. Players like Vinicius, but also Rodrygo, Martin Odegaard and Marco Asensio. Zidane could be making a mistake if he prefers to give out minutes by prioritising status over sporting merit and hard work.


‘Madrid are making things difficult for me’ – Bale


Gareth Bale’s future at Real Madrid looks bleak and Ramon Calderón has suggested the outcast forward may even be allowed to leave for free.

Real Madrid turned down a €100million bid from a Premier League club for Gareth Bale last year, according to the Spanish side’s former president Ramon Calderón.

Bale EPL move denied by Madrid
Bale hit out at Madrid in an explosive interview on Wednesday, accusing the LaLiga giants of “making things very difficult” for him to move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Wales international was on the brink of joining Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning in July 2019, only for Madrid to pull the plug on a deal at the 11th hour.

And Calderón – Madrid president between 2006 and 2009 – has claimed an unnamed English club also stepped forward with a big offer for Bale 12 months ago.


“I know in the last day of the transfer window last year there was an offer from the Premier League,” he told talkSPORT.

“They offered €100m [£89.12m] and Real Madrid turned down that offer because they thought Bale would be a player in their side.”

Asked to reveal the identity of the Premier League team in question, with Manchester United among those linked, Calderón said: “I’m not allowed to say the name, though I do know the name of the club.

“I think at the end there was a disagreement as Madrid decided not to sell the player, because they thought he was a player who could be used and be in the starting line-up.

“But I think the player neither wants to leave nor to reduce his salary. It is true his salary is very high, but in 2016 the club decided to increase his salary.

“It is difficult for any club to pay that salary, especially knowing the situation of football nowadays.”

Bale made just 20 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20 and asked to be left out of the squad to face Manchester City in last month’s Champions League last-16 second leg.


The former Tottenham player has two years to run on the contract he signed in 2016 and Calderon suggested it may well be a case of Madrid terminating that deal if his situation does not improve.

“I think his agent was here yesterday trying to get a deal,” he said. “But I don’t see any club paying that salary.

“And, on top of that, if Real Madrid want to get a transfer fee, that’s impossible.

“I think Real Madrid would now be willing to let him go without any transfer fee – that would be the solution.

“But in that case, I don’t see any club paying €40m a year for a player who is 31 and who hasn’t been playing regularly in the last two years.”

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