Tag Archives: la liga

Facundo Pellistri ‘soon to seal’ La Liga loan from Manchester United


That made it important to find him a club where he could develop at a higher level.

Manchester United teenager Facundo Pellistri is expected to join La Liga side Deportivo Alaves on loan before the January transfer window closes at the start of next week.


Pellistri arrived at United from Uruguayan giants Peñarol in October for around £8m. The club has been determined to give him time to settle and adapt and he has so far only played for the Under-23 squad, despite regularly training with the first-team.

When a January loan became a likely possibility, it was noted that while Pellistri is not deemed ready to be playing in the United first-team, there is a feeling he has already outgrown Under-23 level.

United are thought to have ruled out the idea of a club in the Championship because of the physical nature of the league and Spain was always billed as a likely destination because of the language.


Celta Vigo was one of the rumoured clubs, but journalist Jonathan Shrager has reported that a move to Alaves should be completed by the end of Friday.

Currently 18th in La Liga, Basque side Alaves have struggled for goals this season, scoring just 18 in 20 games, while they have lost their last four in a row. Their current top scorers, with four each, are former Premier League duo Joselu and Lucas Perez.

“We want him to have regular football, of course, at a higher level [than the reserves],” United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said when discussing Pellistri’s immediate future.

Pellistri, who turned 19 in December, has been on the United first-team bench twice this season, both times during the Champions League group stage.


He has three goals and one assist to his name from eight Under-23 appearances in Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy.

Fans were hoping that the FA Cup third round tie against Championship side Watford might have presented an opportunity for his senior United debut. But Pellistri tested positive for coronavirus in the build up to the game and was forced to self-isolate.



Madrid chase Leganes off La Liga amid 2-2 draw


Newly-crowned La Liga champions Real Madrid were unable on Sunday to maintain their perfect run of results since the season re-started.

They drew 2-2 at neighbours Leganes, who were relegated.

Real Madrid ended the campaign on 87 points after the draw interrupted a run of 10 consecutive victories, five clear of second-placed FC Barcelona.

Leganes finished 18th on 36 points, joining 19th-placed Real Mallorca and Espanyol in being relegated, while Celta Vigo, who finished on 37, stayed up after drawing 0-0 at Espanyol.

Madrid and Leganes players anticipate a corner kick during the testy match

Sergio Ramos headed home his 11th league goal this season to put Real Madrid in front after nine minutes.

Zinedine Zidane heavily rotated his team following the 2-1 win over Villarreal on Thursday that clinched their first Liga title since 2017, and it told on their performance.


Leganes levelled on the stroke of half-time through midfielder Bryan Gil, but Marco Asensio restored Real Madrid’s lead early in the second half.

Slide to see images

Roger Assale equalised in the 78th minute to give Leganes a slither of hope of survival and they needed one more goal to pull off a miraculous escape from relegation.

They came agonisingly close to finding it, having a late penalty kick appeal turned down for handball against Luka Jovic after a VAR review.

Oscar Rodriguez then blasted over from inside the area deep in added time, and the Madrid side dropped out of the top flight for the first time since 2016.


That was when they won their maiden promotion to La Liga.

“Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, the sacrifice was worth it and we are proud to have fought until the end,” said Leganes defender Unai Bustinza.

“What we have done should be seen as an example that you should never give up.”

Bustinza also reflected on the fact his side lost their two main strikers at the start of the year.


They were forced to sell Youssef En-Nesyri to Sevilla, and then Martin Braithwaite to FC Barcelona in February after their buy-out clauses were triggered.

Bustinza added: “This year has been an uphill struggle because, as well as the lockdown period, we didn’t have that little bit of luck we needed and some very important players were taken away from us.

“But we’ll do our best to get back up.”


G.O.A.T – Messi for the 7th time emerges La Liga top scorer


Lionel Messi finished as top goalscorer in Spanish La Liga for a record seventh time after netting twice as dethroned champions FC Barcelona went on a scoring spree on Sunday.

They ended their disappointing 2019/2020 campaign on a high with a resounding 5-0 win at Alaves.

Barca finished the season second in the standings on 82 points, five points behind newly-crowned champions Real Madrid who drew 2-2 at Leganes later on Sunday.

Alaves came 16th on 39.

Teenage forward Ansu Fati put Barca in front midway through the first half after the visitors hit the woodwork three times.

Messi and strike partner Luis Suarez further stretched their side’s lead before half-time.

Defender Nelson Semedo hit the fourth early in the second half before Messi struck again, to end the campaign on 25 league goals.


The Argentina captain had four more goals than second top scorer Karim Benzema of Real Madrid.

Messi, who also finished as top marksman for a fourth consecutive season, eclipsed the benchmark he previously shared with the late Telmo Zarra.

But he said he would have rather have won the league.

“Individual prizes and objectives are secondary. It’s an important achievement to win it seven times, but I would have liked it to have been accompanied by the La Liga title,” Messi said.


Barca’s captain had made headlines on Thursday following his angry post-match interview after the 2-1 loss to Osasuna, blasting the team as weak and inconsistent.

He also appeared to criticise the running of the club.

But he was in a happier mood after the dominant performance against Alaves.

He said the team felt more confident ahead of next month’s UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg game with Napoli, which they host with the score tied at 1-1.


“Today we saw something else. It was a difficult game due to the situation we were in and the kick-off time and heat.

“But the team responded with a different attitude and showed great commitment,” Messi added.

“We took a long hard look at ourselves from the inside, which is what we needed to do. We have not had a good season in terms of performances or results, but today we took a step forward.

“It’s an important step for what’s coming next.”


La Liga ends; Real Madrid remains – Zidane says


Zinedine Zidane said Saturday that his players will not be given any holiday after La Liga ends this weekend as Real Madrid turn their attention to their crunch Champions League tie with Manchester City.

Madrid have won La Liga with a game to spare and could rest players for Sunday’s final game away to relegation battlers Leganes.

“They are not going to have two weeks off,” said Zidane in a press conference on Saturday. “We have a game tomorrow and then we are not on vacation. Let’s get some rest, but then our minds will be on City.


But Zidane insists there will be no let-up from Monday as Madrid attempt to overturn a 2-1 home defeat to City in the second leg of the last 16 encounter.

“The season is not over. We’re going to have a few days off but everyone will be focused on what is a crucial match.”

Madrid sit seven points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after securing only their third league title in 12 years.


Their success comes after a 10-match winning run since the restart, with the team finding their best form after the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The title should never be under-estimated, especially this one. It has been difficult and we have fought to the end,” Zidane said.

Madrid’s line-up and focus could be crucial to La Liga’s survival race given Leganes are fighting Celta Vigo to avoid the drop. Leganes are a point behind Celta, who play away at bottom club Espanyol.

“We can’t play it differently,” said Zidane. “One match is left, we must respect that. It is the last game and we have to respect everyone else. We will play it to try to do well.”


Barca’s style fit Joao Félix better – Joao Mario says.

Joao Mario, Joao Félix’s compatriot who plays for Lokomotiv Moscow, publically complained that Atlético Madrid’s style doesn’t allow for the young Portuguese’s talent to be seen in full. “He’d suit another one better, like Barca’s”.

Joao Félix received the public applause of Paulo Assunçao. The ex-Atlético player assured that he had been absolutely right to choose Atletico Madrid after leaving Benfica. His compatriot, Joao Mario, however, didn’t agree at all. He made it clear in declarations to ‘Record’.

“Benfica, who play 80% of the game in an organised attack, for Atlético, and even more with the pressure of the price they paid for him, it is not easy in terms of adaptation. Being in a Barcelona team, for example, although of course, the pressure could be greater, is the style of play that could be more adapted to him”, the Lokomotiv player assured.

In fact, he didn’t even recommend Atlético for himself if he had to choose between the big teams in Europe: “I think Barcelona would be where I’d fit in best, I really like that style of play”.

“Atletico is one of those teams that, seen from the outside, is very well worked out, as if it were an Italian team playing in Spain,” the Portuguese midfielder concluded.


For Charity: Iker Casillas propose match between Barcelona, Real Madrid legends.

The game between Real Madrid and Barcelona was arguably at it’s peak during the 2000s and early 2010s. So many legends of the game featured.

For Barcelona, you had the likes of Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho and Xavi.

They would go toe-to-toe with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham and Iker Casillas.

It really was an intense rivalry featuring a host of the best players of all-time.

Unfortunately, those days are now gone. Now Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real Madrid, the rivalry doesn’t seem to be as intense as it used to be.

But how would you like to see all of the legends named above to to do battle against each other one more time?

There’s a chance that may happen after Iker Casillas proposed the idea on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

It all started when La Liga posted a compilation video of Xavi during his time at Barcelona.

That led to tweets from both Iniesta and Puyol, with both gushing about how good it was to play alongside the midfielder.

And that’s when Casillas got involved. The Real Madrid great reminisced about playing against the Barca stars before proposing the legends match.

“It’s funny but I played against you guys several times, and of course with you,” Casillas tweeted in response to Puyol’s post.

“There was a bit of everything… but what the hell!

“When this nightmare is over, we should get all the legends from years ago together for a vintage Clasico.

“A fundraiser for people in need.”


Luis Suarez Pissed Over Claims Barcelona Players Frown At Wage Cut.

Luis Suarez defended Barcelona players and said they were the first who wanted to reach an agreement over a pay cut.
Barcelona players agreed to a 70 per cent pay cut earlier this week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement confirming the move on Monday, Barcelona star Lionel Messi took aim at senior figures at the club for putting players under pressure over something they always knew they would do.

Suarez said players were hurt by reports they were unwilling to accept a salary reduction.

“A lot of hurtful things have been said about the squad’s salary cuts,” the forward told Sport 890 on Thursday.

“People have said that the players didn’t want to accept them, then it was said that players from other areas of the club had reached an agreement, when the reality is that we were waiting to try and find the best solution for the club.”

Suarez added:

“It hurts when people say things like that because we were always the first people that wanted to reach an agreement, as we know what the club’s situation is.

“No player in the squad refused a wage cut. A mutual agreement was reached between the players and the club. The captains spoke to the president and nobody refused it.”

That stance backs up Messi’s earlier statement which stressed the players were quick to agree to the salary cuts, despite reports on the contrary.

“Much has been written and said about the Barcelona team in regards to the salaries of the players during this state of emergency,” the statement read.

“We want to clarify that our will has always been to take a cut in the salary we receive, because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first ones to help the club when asked.

“Therefore, it does not surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under pressure to do something we always knew we would do.

“The agreement has been delayed for a few days because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers during these difficult times.

“Apart from the reduction of 70 per cent from our salary, we will also make contributions so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts.

“We do not want to say goodbye without sending an affectionate greeting and a lot of strength to all those having a hard time in these very difficult times, as well as to all those who patiently await the end of this crisis in their homes.

“Very soon we are going to get out of this and we will all do it together.”


Manchester United set transfer fee limit in Ñíguez pursuit.

Manchester United have decided that they will pay no more than €80m to land Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez this summer, according to a report gathered by NobleSport

The Spaniard’s contract talks with Atlético are believed to have hit a wall, with Saúl holding out for more money, and that has given United encouragement that they will be able to get a deal over the line.

Saúl does come with a €150m (£132m) release clause, but AS claim that United would only be prepared to spend €80m (£70m) to sign the 25-year-old.

In fact, it is said that United wouldn’t come anywhere close to the €150m mark, and that sounds like a problem with this deal.

Atlético don’t actually need to sell Saúl. He is under contract until 2026, so to see Diego Simeone’s side accept close to half his release clause because of one bump in negotiations would be a real shock.

Saúl is still one of Simeone’s favourite players, having started in all but one game this season. However, the basis for these transfer rumours is that Saúl might be unhappy with his inability to hold down a spot in central midfield.

Simeone has deployed him as a wide midfielder and even as a full-back on a number of occasions this season, with just 18 of his 37 appearances coming in his preferred central role. It is said that United would be willing to keep him in midfield permanently.

The Red Devils believe Saúl would be the perfect replacement for Paul Pogba, whose priority is still to land a move to Real Madrid once the summer transfer window opens.

The belief is that Saúl would fit seamlessly into both the United squad and the Premier League, and the fact that he is only 25 means that he could be a core part of the team for years to come.

However, Atlético don’t like to sell their players without a fight, so to see them give up and let Saúl go for around €80m would come as a huge surprise.


Bale, Ramsey link with surprise move to Everton.

Alex Iwobi’s Everton are being linked with a surprise move for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Following their shock appointment of legendary Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Merseyside club are looking to take the next step towards finally achieving their long-term goals.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri sees Ancelotti as the perfect manager to steer the club back to glory, but there is an acceptance that the playing squad needs improving if they are to compete for the title.

The belief is that Everton need six or seven top-class players to get where they want to be, and a source has confirmed to 90min that club officials have discussed trying to lure both Bale and Ramsey to Goodison Park.

The logic behind this ambitious plot is that both players are thought to be unsettled at their current clubs.

Madrid are ready to offload Bale this summer as they don’t want to pay his huge £350,000-a-week wages, and it is understood that Los Blancos would even let Bale leave on loan with no up-front cost if a club offered to pay the majority of the Welshman’s salary.

For Ramsey, he has grown frustrated with life at the Allianz Stadium, having started just nine Serie A games during his debut season in Turin.

He is not keen on spending another season on the bench and he is aware that Juventus have informed representatives they would be open to letting him go if the right offer arrived.

The midfielder earns a similar wage to Bale, so covering both would be a huge challenge for Everton, but the Toffees accept that they will have to spend big if they want to keep the club moving in the right direction.

Moshiri believes the core of the current squad is excellent and capable of mounting a real push towards the top of the table, but only if they can add some more star quality.

Landing both Bale and Ramsey would be an enormous challenge, but they are the kind of moves which Everton want to make to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City for the league title.


Benzema blast Oliver Giroud. [Really Messy]

Olivier Giroud been likened to “go-karting” in comparison to “F1” Karim Benzema in an astonishing outburst from the Real Madrid striker.

Benzema has not played for France since before the Euro 2016 tournament, and has even suggested he would be willing to change his allegiance to Algeria, if permitted. Thus, he has been unable to add to his 27 goals in 81 appearances for the country.

In the meantime, Giroud has taken advantage of Benzema’s absence and is France’s third-highest goalscorer, having scored 39 goals in 93 games – a record that has nonetheless failed to impress Benzema.

“You shouldn’t confuse F1 and go karting and that’s me being kind,” Benzema said on a live Instagram video with YouTuber Mohamed Henni. “On to the next topic. I’m not talking about him [Giroud] anymore. I just know that I’m F1.

“He has his career, he does what he wants and scores the goals that he wants to score. He’s in his corner and I’m in mine; I’m not thinking about him. If we’re talking about playing style, his suits France well.

“It’s good because there are fast players like (Kylian) Mbappe and (Antoine) Griezmann who play out wide or feed off the centre-forward. When Giroud is up front, he’s a handful for defences, which gives the other two plenty of space to show what they can do.

“He occupies defenders and it works. It might not be brilliant to watch and you won’t say, ‘Wow, that was incredible.’ Does everyone like that style of play? I don’t know, but it suits France well.”


Zidane speak on who to blame after Real Betis trash Madrid.

After working so hard to pick up a 2-0 win over Barcelona, Real Madrid undid all their hard work by falling to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Real Betis on Sunday.

Betis, who came into the game in 14th in the table, took the lead through Sidnei late in the first half, but a Karim Benzema penalty saw the two sides head into the break level. However, a late Cristian Tello goal saw Betis pick up all three points and handed Barcelona the lead in the title race.

It was a frustrating evening for Zinedine Zidane, and speaking after the game (via the club’s official website), he made his feelings known.

On What Went Wrong

“It was a poor game for us from beginning to end. It’s a pity because we had a chance to put in a good performance but we didn’t.

“It was hard for us, we gave the ball away a lot and I have no explanation. I’m the person responsible. We are going to analyse what happened, but today we can’t be happy with our performance.

“This is the problem. It cost us. The players have tried, but nothing good has come out of it today and in the end, I’m to blame. I have to analyse the match to see what has happened to us. After this game we have to look ahead because what we did until now wasn’t so bad. We have 11 matches left and we are going to fight for the title until the end.”

On Taking the Blame

“I’m going to defend my players and if I have to tell them something, I’ll tell them. We didn’t have enough of the ball, which is not usually the case for us, and that was our biggest problem.

“When we don’t do what we talked about, I’m responsible. I’m not going to explain to you exactly what happened, but we can say that today was our worst game of the season.”

On Real’s Title Hopes

“We’ll keep fighting because there are solutions. We’ve had a good season and there are good and bad elements, we just need to correct the latter. We can come through this. We have to analyse the game and move on to the next one”.

On Recent Defensive Struggles

“We didn’t show enough energy to really trouble the opposition. It’s not just defensively, we conceded two goals but that wasn’t the problem today. I’m more frustrated by how we used the ball, we really struggled.”


Madrid’s Vinicius JR breaks Messi’s record

Vinicius Jr.’s opening goal against Barcelona meant the 19-year-old became the youngest scorer in the fixture in the 21st century, beating Lionel Messi’s previous record by 26 days.

Mariano Diaz added the second goal in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 win as Real regained the lead at the top of La Liga with 12 games of the season remaining.

Barcelona really should have gone iin at the half-time break ahead after a lackluster opening 45 minutes from Real, with Thibault Courtois producing two smart saves to deny Arthur and Messi.

There was a drastic improvement from the host after the interval and this time it was the turn of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to steal the show, twice denying Isco with two brilliant stops.

But there was only so long the German stopper could single-handedly keep Real at bay and even then it took a slice of good fortune for Vinicius to break the deadlock, his shot deflecting off Gerard Pique and wrong-footing the keeper.

Vinicius Jr. celebrates scoring the opening goal against Barcelona.
With Barcelona chasing the game and stretched at the back, Diaz stole in behind the defense an bobbled a shot over Ter Stegen from a tight angle to seal the win.

Pique and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, teammates and center back partners for the Spanish national team, have infamously had several verbal spats over the years and that animosity was sparked once again after the final whistle.

“In the first half we controlled the game and they were one of the worst Madrid teams I have ever seen,” Pique lamented following the defeat. “We leave here disgusted and bruised but we’re not sunk, because we could have got a good result here.”

To which Ramos responded: “I would sign right now to win every Clasico with this scoreline playing a first half as badly as he says.

“They are three very important points because Clasicos are different and it was very important they didn’t go five points ahead.”

Such was the disparity between Barcelona’s first and second-half performances, a headline in newspaper Sport read: “A two-faced Barcelona succumbs at the Bernabeu and loses the lead.”

Gerard Pique clashes with Vinicius Jr. during El Clasico.
“Barcelona was much superior in the first part but succumbed in the second and was dwarfed by a Madrid which played its cards very well and annulled Messi, who lacked allies in attack.”

Rival newspaper Diario AS quoted somebody from the Barcelona camp as saying the “dressing room is ‘feeling like s**t, resigned and dejected’ for having resurrected Real Madrid and to hand them half a Liga.”

The defeat also increases the pressure on Barcelona boss Quique Setien, who has endured a difficult start to his tenure as manager.

Not only has he squandered the lead at the top of La Liga, his team was also eliminated in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals and was second best for the majority of the first-leg 1-1 draw against Napoli in the Champions League.

Though Real Madrid may not be the same thrilling force going forward as they were in Zidane’s first spell in charge, the Frenchman has turned the team into a more solid defensive unit.

This is the first time in 45 years that Barcelona has failed to score against Real in a league season and Los Blancos have now kept clean sheets in six of its eight matches against the top six this term, scoring 12 goals and recording 20 points from a possible 24.

As the Spanish press often put it, “Hay Liga” — “We have a title race!”


Gabriel Jesus tells Real Madrid ‘Story’ After UCL 1st Leg Defeat

Gabriel Jesus is ready to play anywhere to help Manchester City win trophies after his role in the Champions League victory over Real Madrid.

The Brazil striker started as a left winger in the 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernebeu as Pep Guardiola made a surprise team selection in the first leg.

Jesus scored the equaliser but also worked hard to double-up as support for Benjamin Mendy at left-back and the 22-year-old was delighted with how the tactics worked out.

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“I enjoy the work,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I have to run back to help my team-mates, I am young, I have the power and energy to do it.

“I enjoy the position a lot because I can go back and help the full-backs. I am very comfortable there but we have a lot of quality players.

“We are very proud of the performance but we know they have a lot of quality, a lot of amazing players. They are a big club and now there will be another game, the second leg.”

“The challenge is coming and it’s the biggest of the season. We know Real can go to the Etihad and beat us,” he said.

“Sunday is important. It’s been a big week because we played Leicester away, a team with a lot of quality, and went seven points in front of them.

“So we’ve had two very good games – and now it’s a final. It’s important to win the first title of the season.”


Griezmann save Barcelona with 1-1 draw against Napoli in first leg

Antoine Griezmann rescued a 1-1 draw for Barcelona at Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Frenchman Griezmann struck just before the hour mark for Barca in Naples after Dries Mertens had put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute with his 121st Napoli goal, equalling the club all-time top scorer Marek Hamsik.

Barcelona ended the game with 10 men after Arturo Vidal was sent off with two minutes to go after picking up two yellow cards, following an angry clash with Napoli defender Mario Rui.

Lionel Messi failed to score on his first appearance at the Stadio San Paolo where Napoli legend Diego Maradona reigned supreme three decades ago.

The 32-year-old Messi scored four goals at the weekend in Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Eibar that put the Spaniards back the top of La Liga, but could not add to his 114 Champions League goals.

The clash was the first between the two teams and also a Champions League debut for Barcelona coach Quique Setien and Napoli’s Gennaro Gattuso, who both took over after the group stage.

Messi fired over on nine minutes after combining well with Frenkie de Jong but Gattuso’s side piled the pressure on the Catalans.

Their pressing paid off on the half-hour mark, with Piotr Zielinski breaking free down the right before finding Mertens, who curled a magnificent finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

He equalled Hamsik’s record and is now six goals clear of Maradona, but was forced off in the second half after a Sergio Busquets tackle for which the Spaniard will be suspended for the second leg.

Barcelona did not waste much time in getting on level terms, as Messi and Busquets combined to send Semedo into the box in the 57th minute.

The Portuguese full-back crossed low for Griezmann to power home right-footed.

Ter Stegen denied Lorenzo Insigne with Jose Callejon also missing a chance for a second, as did Messi with eight minutes to go.

Vidal was sent off after a sliding tackle on Rui before appearing to headbutt the Napoli defender.

The Chilean will also miss the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 18.


Real madrid unsure if Hazard need surgery

Real Madrid are meeting with numerous medical professionals for advice on how to proceed with winger Eden Hazard’s latest injury,

The Belgian missed 83 days of action after fracturing his right fibula, but he managed just two games before aggravating the injury, and it has now been suggested that his season could be over after suffering the same issue again.

As noted by Marca, Real are eager to ensure that Hazard does not suffer another relapse when he eventually returns, so they are regularly speaking with doctors to determine whether or not to operate on the winger.

One of those who will be asked for advice is Dr James Calder, who operated on Hazard when he suffered a similar injury during his time with Chelsea back in 2017.

At the moment, it is believed that the option to send Hazard for surgery is winning. Specialists have suggested that Hazard’s fibula needs to be examined directly to determine whether there is something wrong with it, given this is his third injury in three years.

Several meetings will be held this week, with Hazard invited to attend and give his opinion, and Real are eager to make a decision which will benefit everyone in the long run.

Understandably, Hazard wants to be fit in time to feature at Euro 2020 with Belgium, and club officials are bearing that in mind. Fortunately, it is thought that he will be ready for this summer regardless of which route his recovery takes.

However, he will not be available for Real for several months, meaning his frustrating debut season in Madrid could have come to an abrupt end.

Hazard has managed just 15 appearances for Real this season, registering just one goal and five assists in all competitions, which is certainly not what Los Blancos expected when they parted with an initial €100m to sign him last summer.

In his place, Zinedine Zidane can still call upon the likes of Vinícius Júnior, Lucas Vázquez and Gareth Bale as they look to topple Barcelona and lift another La Liga title.


Real Madrid Set To Announce New Signing From Serie A

Real Madrid is set to announce the signing of a midfielder as they set the stage to unveil Reinier Jesus Carvalho a player they signed from Flamengo in the Brazilian Serie A.

The midfielder is one of the best talents in Brazil and Real Madrid captured his signature but have to wait till he is 18 years old before the deal becomes official

Reinier Jesus is expected to play the remainder of the season with Real Madrid Castilla under the guidance of Raul Gonzalez.

He would be closely examined by first-team manager Zinedine Zidane who will determine his future at the club, he could be promoted to the first team as back up or loan out to another club for regular playing time.


Pep Guardiola may be sacked if Man City loses to Real Madrid

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he could be sacked if he fails to beat Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Guardiola has won five major trophies in three seasons at the Etihad, but a failure to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League has been the big disappointment of his reign. Guardiola’s side trail Liverpool at the top of the Premier League by a mammoth 22 points this season with their campaign now set to be judged on how they fare in Europe.

“I want to win the Champions League. I dream (of it) and I will enjoy preparing for the games against Madrid,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “If we don’t beat them, OK, come the chairman or the sport director and say, ‘It’s not good enough, we want the Champions League, I’m going to sack you.’ I don’t know (if this would happen). It has happened many times and could maybe happen.”

Guardiola has a contract at the Etihad until the end of next season. After four years at Barcelona and three in charge of Bayern Munich, he is expected to fulfil his deal and enter a fifth season at one club for the first time in his managerial career. But the Catalan coach also hit back at the suggestion that the success or failure of a season should only be measured in trophies.

“We give a bad, bad message for the new generation, for our kids, to just count the winner, the trophies to win,” added Guardiola. “You say the season is a disaster but if you win the Champions League it will be exceptional. Why? It is difficult to win it. If you don’t, we can say in more than 100 years of history (there) were 100 failure seasons for Manchester City. That is not true.”


5-0: Barca defeats leganes after Valencia lose ..

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona hammered Leganes 5-0 on Thursday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and deliver a much-needed boost for new coach Quique Setien.

Messi’s double, as well as goals from Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo rounded off an emphatic win at Camp Nou, where Barca successfully bounced back from Saturday’s surprise La Liga loss away at Valencia.

“We did a lot of things well but I am not completely happy because we also lost control of the game in the latter stages of the first half,” said Setien.

Defeat at Mestalla allowed Real Madrid to pull three points clear at the top of the league and put early pressure on Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach earlier this month.

His appointment will be judged on performances in the league and Champions League this season but Barca have a rich recent history in the Copa del Rey, which they have won in four of the last five years.

They will be in Friday’s draw for the last eight where, despite a number of upsets, they join a familiar-looking field.

Real Madrid, Valencia, Real Sociedad, Granada, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao are already through, with Sevilla to face Mirandes later on Thursday.

A home tie in the last 16 against La Liga’s bottom club always looked a kind route back to winning ways for Setien’s side, whose next four league fixtures now include Levante, Getafe and Eibar, all at home, as well as a trip to Real Betis.

Victories in those games would give Setien momentum but performances will be important too given his arrival was as much about changing Barcelona’s style as their results.

After a ponderous display against Valencia, they outclassed Leganes, who pressed high from the start, despite early indications suggesting this Barcelona team might struggle more against opponents that sit deep.

Before the game, the Catalans’ club director Guillermo Amor ruled out buying another striker before the end of the January transfer window on Friday, meaning Griezmann is likely to step into the role of the injured Luis Suarez down the middle.

“There may be a risk of injuries but I have confidence in the players I have,” said Setien. “It wasn’t to be and that’s fine with me. We have to think about what we have and we are happy because in a few weeks we will have Dembele back too.”

Griezmann made his case by opening the scoring after four minutes as Nelson Semedo cut back for the Frenchman to control and poke home his 13th goal of the season.

Another Griezmann strike was ruled out shortly after, only for Lenglet to head in Messi’s corner at the near post to put Barcelona two up after 27 minutes.

Messi made it three after springing in behind just before the hour and then Arthur Melo, on for Griezmann, added another, banging in after both Ansu Fati and Messi had been denied.

Leganes were finished but Messi had one more goal left in him as he latched onto Ivan Rakitic’s pass and rounded Pichu Cuellar, before finishing for his 19th of the season and third under a relieved Setien.


Rodrigo resume training after move to Barcelona failed ..

Barca gave up on the signing of Rodrigo Moreno on Tuesday night and, coincidently or not, he reappeared on Wednesday. The striker, who had missed the previous session and wasn’t in the Valencia squad for the cup, trained with the squad in Paterna.

Rodrigo is trying to get back to normal after a frantic week. Once more, the Valencia striker had his bags practically packed before his exit to another team was thwarted. It happened with Real Madrid, with Atlético Madrid, and this time with Barcelona.

Barca ruled out his signing on Tuesday night after a very hard negotiation with Valencia. Valencia wanted 60 million for him, demands that Barcelona weren’t prepared to meet.

With the deal in full swing, Rodrigo was absent from training that day and was left out of the squad for the Copa del Rey last 16 match against Cultural Leonesa.

‘AS’ explains that the player was precisely in Barcelona to undergo a routine medical check-up at Dr. Cugat’s practice alongside Cillessen, Manu Vallejo, Guedes and Piccini. This would have been the reason he missed training, although his absence further fuelled the rumours.

However, after the breakdown in negotiations, Rodrigo reappeared at training in Paterna on Wednesday. He did so alongside Daniel Wass and Ezequiel Garay, the other players not called up for the squad.

‘Marca’ indicates that Rodrigo was in Paterna for 3 hours, after they left training in a car at around 1pm. Amidst the questions of the media sources present, absolute silent.


Barca makes €80m move for Suarez’s replacement ..

Barcelona are desperately in need of a replacement for injured striker, Luis Suarez; and have made an €80 million for Monaco’s striker.

Foot Mercato reports that Barcelona have made an official bid for the French striker, Wissam Ben Yedder, as they look for a back up for their injured Uruguayan.

Suarez has been ruled out for four months following his knee surgery after the Spanish Super Cup loss to Atletico Madrid. The club have been struggling ever since as they lack the goal threat provided by a proper no. 9.

This has forced the Catalan side to look for an immediate solution with many big names linked with the club.

Reports now claim that this desperation has led to the bid of €80 million ( £67 million) lodged for Ben Yedder.

The 29-year-old has been in great form this season, scoring 15 goals in 23 matches, and the report claims that Barca are planning to bring the Frenchman as a short-term replacement to fix the attacking issues.

Wissam Ben Yedder

The Striker had only recently joined Monaco for a fee of €40 million (£33 million) from Sevilla, and as such the French side are demanding double the transfer fee as they are aware of Barca’s desperation.

Daily Mail claims that Blaugrana are impressed by the player’s La Liga days with Sevilla and his current form with Monaco has convinced them to make an official bid. The report claims that Blaugrana officials have met with Monaco representatives and Ben Yedder’s agent, however, the Ligue 1 side are reluctant of parting ways with their star player this month.


No club is taking Aubameyang – Mikel Arteta

Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, has dismissed speculation claiming that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has agreed to join Barcelona.

Earlier this week, reports in Spain claimed that Aubameyang has already told Barca that he would be willing to join them.

The 30-year-old will have just one year left on his contract at the end of the season.

But Arteta is adamant that Aubameyang is happy at Arsenal and the striker is not looking to leave.

Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta

“As far as I know, I think a week ago, we were discussing that he said he was so happy, that he didn’t agree with the things that were being written in the media, that he has his future here.

“I’m so happy with that so that’s where I’m standing at the moment,” Arteta said during his Friday press conference.


Copa Del Rey: Barcelona struggle to win Ibiza

… Griezmann avoids total ridicule


The third-tier team from the Spanish island, known around the world for its lively nightlife, stunned the visiting side with an early goal from forward Javi Perez.

Ibiza looked to have doubled its lead soon after but Barcelona had referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes to thank for ruling it out.

The visiting side, which struggled to a 1-0 win over 10-man Granada in Quique Setien’s first game in charge on Sunday, was then left thanking the woodwork as Ibiza once again went close to extending its advantage.

Griezmann eventually silenced the 6,445-capacity Estadio Municipal de Can Misses — expanded from its usual 4,500 just for this game — with a goal in the 72nd minute, before sealing victory in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

“Griezmann avoids total ridicule,” wrote Diario AS of the labored victory. “A disastrous Barcelona takes advantage of the lack of VAR to eliminate in stoppage time an Ibiza team that stripped the blaugrana.”

Barcelona, winner of the Copa del Rey in four of the last five seasons, was without the rested Lionel Messi but still boasted a strong team featuring Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Ivan Rakitic.

Newspaper Sport was also damning in its criticism of Setien’s side, writing: “Griezmann saves Barca from a KO in the last minute. Ibiza dominated a club that didn’t find its game and had to resort again to individualities.”

The Barcelona boss was also critical of his team, telling reporters: “I didn’t like the team in the first half, but I understand the difficulties you encounter in matches such as this.

“Due to the artificial grass and against an intense and very aggressive team, which shut up very well.”

Setien met a familiar face in Pablo Alfaroin the opposition dugout, a former Barcelona player and teammate for three years at Racing Santander.

Antoinne Griezmann & Ibiza’s Goally

This may have been Ibiza’s first ever appearance in the Copa del Rey, but expect to see more of the island team in future.

The club is funded by wealthy president Amadeo Salvo, who has overseen two promotions in three seasons since the club reformed from UD Ibiza-Eivissa in 2015.