Tag Archives: Madrid

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

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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.

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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.


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Tottenham moves closer to swoop Madrid’s Duo

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Tottenham have moved closer to sealing their double swoop for Real Madrid pair Bale and Sergio Reguilon.


A total agreement for Bale to join a year long loan was close on Wendesday night following another day of discussions.

It is understood no players will go in the opposite direction.

Left-back Reguilon is due to undergo a medical on Thursday ahead of signing a five-year deal with Tottenham, who have agreed a £27million fee with Real.

Jose Mourinho will be buoyed by the incoming duo from his former club in the Spanish capital.

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It now seems a matter of time before both deals are completed to bolster his squad for the upcoming season.

But one blow to Spurs fans is the fact that Dele Alli has sensationally been left out of the squad to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League and he could leave before the transfer window closes.


It is unlikely that the England international will be used as a sweetener in the Bale deal and Real are well stocked in the attacking midfield department.

If the 24-year-old and Spurs are willing to part company, there will be a number of clubs interested in him.

Inter Milan and PSG are both interested parties and the club would prefer to sell him abroad rather than to a Premier League rival.

Alli was substituted at half-time during Spurs’ opening day 1-0 defeat by Everton, fuelling suggestions of a rift between player and manager.

There is however a reluctance to sell him below market value, particularly with coronavirus impacting the transfer market so significantly.


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Battle for Sancho could start between Barca and Madrid next season

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Real Madrid and Barcelona could enter the race to sign Jadon Sancho if Manchester United fail to sign him this summer, according to reports.

United have reached an impasse in their negotiations with Borussia Dortmund as the German side are demanding a fee of £108million, despite the financial impact of coronavirus.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side remain hopeful they can strike a deal but Dortmund have repeatedly insisted the forward is going nowhere after the Red Devils failed to meet their August 10 deadline.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc was adamant that Sancho will play for the Bundesliga side next season.

And if 20-year-old remains in Germany for the 2020-2021 campaign, NobleSports claim Barca and Real could be ready to pounce in the following summer.

Neither of the LaLiga sides are in a position to make a bid for the England international ahead of next season with both clubs feeling the economic strain of the pandemic.

Real’s president Florentino Perez confirmed they would not be making any big signings but hinted the club would be able to compete in the transfer market once their finances have recovered.

‘The situation is really bad. It’s hard to ask the players to take a pay cut to help deal with it and then make signings,’ he told El Transistor last month.

‘That can wait. Madrid will sign the best again when the situation changes.’

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Barca are also not currently in a position to seal any big transfers and would have to sell several stars in order to raise the money Dortmund are demanding.

Sancho is currently in pre-season training with Dortmund and insisted he is happy to be back with his team-mates.

Speaking to BVB-TV on Wednesday, Sancho said: ‘I love playing with this lot. It is a special bunch.

‘We’ve got some special young players coming up. I am really happy to share the pitch with them and guide them.

‘I was once in their shoes, playing with the seniors. I am happy for them.’

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Could this be the start of Madrid’s misfortune?

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Real Madrid’s second round curse in the Champions League may have returned.

The Spanish champions have fallen before the quarter-finals for two consecutive seasons now after dominating the competition for the last decade.

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Real Madrid faced similarly disappointing European adventures in the first decade of the 21st century, falling in the last 16 in six consecutive seasons between 2004/05 and 2009/10, which remains a stain on the club’s rich continental history.

Jose Mourinho’s arrival changed that, though, as he guided them to the semi-finals three times.

Real Madrid’s conquering of Europe in 2013/14, which finally delivered La Decima, started a winning streak.

Barcelona won the following season, defeating Real Madrid’s semi-final conquerors Juventus, but Los Blancos then won the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 editions of the Champions League.

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David Silva bids farewell after Madrid’s clash


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‘Madrid shirt too heavy for him’ Legend Fabio mocks Hazard

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Eden Hazard has struggled to deal with the burden of wearing the Real Madrid shirt following his move from Chelsea, according to former Real head coach Fabio Capello.

Hazard joined the Spanish side from Chelsea on a five-year contract last summer, in a deal worth up to a reported £130m.

The Belgium international arrived having inspired Chelsea to two Premier League trophies during his time at Stamford Bridge, but has so far failed to replicate that form in Spain.

Injuries limited Hazard to just 21 appearances in all competitions this season, leading the player to personally admit the season was the worst of his career.

Those sentiments have been shared by Capello, and the Italian, who coached Real over two spells in 1996/97 and 2006/07, thinks the weight of expectations at the club has contributed to his underwhelming start.

“He hasn’t been the player he was at Chelsea and he was injured for a long time, he hasn’t adapted,” Capello told Marca.

“I’ve always thought of him as a great player but the Real shirt weighs heavily and Hazard has sunk this year. It’s clear that he’ll be better next season.”

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With Hazard struggling for form, Karim Benzema shouldered the bulk of the goal-scoring responsibilities at the Bernabeu.

The French striker enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, netting 21 league goals and firing Real to a record-extending 34th La Liga crown.

“He’s become a benchmark for Real,” Capello added when discussing Benzema’s form.

“He has taken on responsibility that he didn’t have when he played with Cristiano Ronaldo, he has a nose for goal and he’s shown it.”

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Gareth Bale hated at Real Madrid?

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Gareth Bale has come in for fierce criticism for his recent behaviour at Real Madrid – such as in the famous Marca front page that branded him ‘Disrespectful. Misguided. Ungrateful. In that order’. Here Spanish football journalist DIEGO TORRES explains just why Bale is seen as such a controversial character in Madrid, despite the success he has enjoyed in seven years at the club, and why he has had such vitriol poured upon him.

‘Madridistas’ are mavericks by nature. This demanding collective character, nonconformist to the point of hysteria, has been fostered for more than 80 years, through democracies and dictatorship.

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When Real Madrid became the flagship of a post-war Spain under Franco’s regime, the club became a sort of Ministry of Happiness for a devastated country. No club has enjoyed more institutional support in the history of sport. No other has surfed the wave of such outstanding propaganda. No other has produced fans with such a belief in their right to superiority.

‘Madridistas’ feel superior to everybody else, including their own football heroes. Gareth Bale is just another expensive link in the chain.

It’s a culture. A belief that you are entitled to feel you are a winner, regardless of the dynamics of a game in which the chances of losing are superior to those of winning a title. In the old order of the white shirt, players are not perceived as football stars but serfs of an insatiable crowd-like monster crying silverware, no matter the cost. Since Florentino Perez’s arrival in the presidency, this trend has become even more aggressive.

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The problem with Bale was the fantastical level of expectancy he was presented with. He was acquired in 2013 for €100million (then £86m), back then a record signing, even though he never was a Ballon d’Or contender.

Reality collided with illusion when, at his presentation, he was introduced to the crowd with all the pomp you would attribute to the heir of the Football God himself, Cristiano Ronaldo, the most prolific goalscorer in the club’s history.

That was Florentino’s plan. The guy from Wales had come to be the long-term replacement for Cristiano. He got a salary in accordance with that: around €10m in the first year, then more, and more, and more. Next season he will be getting more than €19m (£17m): the fourth-highest salary in football after Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano. It is maybe too much for yawning on the bench, left out of the team, unloved by Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane.

They can be capricious but, it is fair to say, ‘Madridistas’ have a sixth sense when it comes to detecting the feelings of the men who put on the white shirt. For many of them it became apparent, from the start, that if Cristiano was always under the president’s scrutiny, Bale was the president’s protege.

The difference was in the level of passion shown. While Cristiano is obviously a football nut, Bale didn’t pretend to being anything other than a frustrated golfer. Rarely as committed with the team as with scoring goals just to prove the president right, his presence on the pitch rarely provoked more than a mild response from the stands.

Many fans longing for something different loved the uniqueness of his British politeness, many succumbed to the power of his stride and the purity of his shot, as it was eloquently sold by the media. But many simply ignored him in the belief that he just did what he was paid for in the realm of the mighty Cristiano, who let’s not forget, was also himself sometimes whistled and criticised by his own insatiable supporters.

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You will never stand out by playing golf and sleeping gently during work hours in Madrid. People in this town love that kind of easygoing way of life. There is prestige in it. No matter if you are the old Bourbon king doing nothing or a football player being out of order.

Never hated, never really loved by the majority, Bale went from fleeting cult hero after his goal in the 2014 Champions League final to a sort of eccentric character in the never-ending comedy of the most thrilling club on Earth.

It’s been seven seasons since the arrival of this mysterious man. In these times of ultra-consumerism in football where everyone is disposable, and by Real Madrid standards, that is an eternity.

It’s proof that Bale has never really been perceived as a negative influence on the team. ‘Madridistas’ rarely love nor hate their players because they would rather stay in the shallow end, and loving and hating implies taking a deep plunge. They simply see the guy as one of the many who just took advantage of the privilege of being at Real Madrid.

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Guardiola hints stunner: Agüero will play against Madrid

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Pep Guardiola has given his clearest indication yet that Sergio Aguero will be ready for Manchester City’s assault on the Champions League.

Aguero is currently working overtime to prove his fitness after suffering a knee injury last month, with a return for the last 16 second leg against Real Madrid in a fortnight considered unlikely.

The Argentine is undergoing rehabilitation on his left knee three times a day and Guardiola indicated that his entire squad will be available come the game at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

‘I think against Madrid everyone will be fit apart from (Benjamin) Mendy, who is suspended,’ Guardiola said. ‘So in the training sessions everyone will be fit and we’ll go for the senior guys for this game.’

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Counting on Aguero from the bench would serve as a major boost to City, who head into the game with a one-goal lead from the Bernabeu in February.

Guardiola afforded his players two days off this week before they ramp up preparation for Madrid and could see his team become only the fifth in Premier League history to score 100 goals in a season on Sunday.

They end the campaign against depleted, and already relegated, Norwich City.

City – who currently have 97 goals – have twice reached the landmark before, during a record-breaking title romp three years ago and under Manuel Pellegrini in 2014. Liverpool also hit a ton that year, while Chelsea scored 103 a decade ago.

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Reaching the milestone will be scant consolation for City after surrendering their crown but could act as a send-off for David Silva, who is due to play his final league fixture.

‘It’s nice to score goals, the way a team can show, but it’s not been enough (this year),’ Guardiola added. ‘A lot of goals but we are 18 points behind Liverpool. Every game there (has to be) a target, desire to win the game and scoring 100 goals is one of the reasons why.

‘And also to see if the players are ready. The way they play against Norwich and the way they train. I will be paying attention for how they play before Madrid. Every day will be an exam for me to see if they are ready to play this game.

‘Against Arsenal we were not ready (for Madrid). Watford was a little bit better but still we need to improve.’

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PSG eyes Madrid’s Vinicius

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Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly plotting an audacious move for Real Madrid starlet Vinicius Junior, hoping his friendship with Neymar could help tempt him to join them.

Neymar is looking more and more likely to stay at the Parc des Princes with the global pandemic making huge transfer fees highly unlikely during the window.

And PSG are looking to give him and Kylian Mbappe a new attacking partner this summer.

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Sport claim Vinicius has emerged as a top target with Edinson Cavani set to leave on a free and Angel Di Maria also moving closer to the exit door.

Vinicius, who officially joined Real Madrid from Flamengo in 2018 for £42m, has four years remaining on his current deal with a massive release clause of £630m.

He is close with Neymar and PSG believe that the presence of his fellow Brazilian could help entice him. They also believe they have enough money set aside to convince Madrid to let him go.

Vinicius has made 69 appearances for Los Blancos, contributing eight goals and 16 assists. He finally made his senior Brazil debut in September with a late cameo against Peru.

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Napoli sets bid for Madrid’s Jovic

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Napoli are reportedly interested in signing Luka Jovic from Real Madrid on a permanent basis.

The striker joined Los Blancos from Eintracht Frankfurt for 70 million euros last summer but hasn’t lived up to expectations this season.

According to reports in Italy, Napoli have met with the player’s agent, Fali Ramadani, and relayed their desire to bring his client to Serie A.

Napoli would be interested in either a loan or permanent move for Jovic, but any transfer fee would be low because of the financial restrictions on clubs this summer.

Real Madrid are listening to offers for the 22-year-old this summer, with Hertha Berlin also linked with a move for him.

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Madrid are optimistic that Mbappe will not renew PSG’s contract

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Real Madrid are reportedly hopeful of landing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe next summer.

The World Cup winner has been frequently linked with a move to the Bernabeu with Real boss Zinedine Zidane a long-term admirer of the striker.

Real are optimistic that Mbappe will not sign a new deal at the French champions, according to Marca.

The prolific forward’s current contract at the club expires in the summer of 2022, meaning that if he does not put pen to paper on new terms he could depart the club for free that year.

Real are therefore reportedly hopeful that they can snap him up at a potentially cheaper price in the summer transfer window in 2021 with the risk PSG face of losing him for nothing the following year.

Mbappe, who made the switch to PSG for £166million in 2017, has notched 90 goals in 120 matches in the French capital.

The 21-year-old said last summer that he is open to ‘a new project’ away from the Parc des Princes.

Zidane has previously said that he is aware it is Mbappe’s ‘dream’ to play for the LaLiga giants.

Real could be crowned league champions on Thursday night should they secure victory over Villarreal at home.

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Madrid squad to face Villarreal revealed, Still no James

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Zinedine Zidane has welcomed Nacho, Mariano Diaz and Luka Jovic back after they all missed Monday’s trip to Granada.

Nacho and Mariano had been injured, while Jovic was self-isolating due to coronavirus concerns, but all three are back and among the 24 players selected for Thursday’s match against Villarreal – although Zidane will have to cut that down to 23 before kick off.

James Rodriguez is still absent, though, after also being missing from the squads for the Athletic, Alaves and Granada matches.

Marcelo is the only other absentee, missing out through injury.

The complete squad list is as follows: Thibaut Courtois, Alphonse Areola, Diego Altube, Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Ferland Mendy, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Isco, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Luka Jovic, Marco Asensio, Brahim, Mariano, Vinicius and Rodrygo.

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Granada Vs Madrid starting Xi’s revealed

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The line-ups of Granada vs Real Madrid have been announced.

Granada XI: Víctor Díaz, R. Azeez, Germán Sánchez, Fede Vico, Foulquier, D. Machís, Rui Silva, Carlos Fernández, Duarte, G.Dias, Y. Herrera

Subs: Soldado, Montoro, İ. Köybaşı, Antonio Puertas, Andorinha, Aarón Escandell, Mario Rodríguez, Y. Eteki, Carlos Neva, Antoñín Cortés, Pepe Sánchez

Real Madrid XI: Ramos, Modric, Benzema, Kroos, Courtois, Casemiro, Isco, Carvajal, Varane, F Mendy, Valverde

Subs: Bale, Hazard, Areola, Vazquez, Asensio, Militao, Brahim, Vinicius, Javi Hernández, Miguel Gutiérrez, Rodrygo, Altube

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Madrid’s Outcast ‘James’ confirms his departure

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The only thing clear about James Rodriguez’s future is that it will not be at Real Madrid.

With Eden Hazard injured Zinedine Zidane could have done with the Colombia international last Sunday away at Athletic Bilbao but he understood the player when James told him he didn’t want to travel.

‘He is out because he wanted to be out,’ said Zidane. Sources close to James said he was mentally worn-down by constantly being over-looked by the Real Madrid coach and he knew, even without Hazard, he would still only get minutes if Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and even Gareth Bale had all already been explored as options. Zidane understood the frustration.

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The club’s priority is that Rodriguez finds himself a club as soon as possible. He has only featured once since LaLiga returned.

In times of the financial belt tightening, Real Madrid are likely to take what ever they can get for the 29-year-old this summer just to get him off the wage bill in the final year of his contract.

It’s true he has lost his way at Madrid but he is not the first player that that has happened to. He may still have his best years ahead of him at the right club, so Sportsmail asks the big question: which club will that be?

Manchester United
There is interest from the player in making this happen but because United got burned with Alexis Sanchez they are likely to steer clear of cast-offs from LaLiga’s big two for a while.

Bruno Fernandez is younger and better. And it seems unlikely James will end up at Old Trafford.

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Wolves
This feels more feasible. Jorge Mendes’ links to Wolves and their greater willingness to move the furniture of the team to accommodate James’ flair make this a possibility.

Madrid’s financial squeeze will see them take a reduced fee so if the Colombian can agree wages with Wolves (and he will have to come down considerably from his £7million) he could be Old Gold before the new season kicks-off.

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Atletico Madrid
He could have joined Diego Simone last summer but Atletico thrashed Real Madrid in pre-season and the idea of selling them one of their highest profile players suddenly didn’t seem like such a good idea.

He would still be open to the idea of going to the other side of the city but Atletico’s financial position is such that wages would be a problem. They have also discovered in Marcos Llorente (a player that Real Madrid did let Atletico Madrid buy off them last summer) an attacking midfielder/striker for the next decade. It seems an unlikely switch.

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Everton
It’s certainly true that Carlo Ancelotti got a decent tune out of James Rodriguez at Real Madrid and they worked well together at Bayern Munich.

He needs plenty of reinforcements and James would be a statement of intent going into the new season but the price will have to tumble enough to make them join the bidding. James would be top earner at Everton on his current money.

The only way Everton could afford him would be if they did not have to pay a transfer fee. A loan could work. International team-mate Yerry Mina would certainly help him fit in at Goodison.

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Juventus
Last season Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be tugging at the strings to see if he could get his pal to join him in Italy.

Juventus are no longer in a position to make a bold move. So this one seems doomed to disappear under the cloud of post-coronavirus shutdown football.

There has been interest from Napoli in the past too but it looks an unlikely destination this time around.

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Final score: Madrid 2-0 Alaves

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Game is over and the final score is Real Madrid 2-0 Alaves. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 La Liga
2-0
Benzema (11′ PEN)
Asensio (50′)


Match Events


0′ The match is about to start!

1′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

3′ CLOSE! Joselu hits the beam

11′ Penalty Goal! Real Madrid 1-0 Alaves (Benzema)

13′ CHANCE! Kroos’ long shot over the bar

26′ Courtois makes decent save to stop Burke

41′ Rodrygo goes down in the box but ref says no penalty!

50′ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Alaves (Asensio)

58′ CLOSE! Benzema’s shot stopped by Roberto

61′ Courtois makes brilliant save

75′ Rodrygo’s shot stopped by Roberto

84′ Isco’s long shot stopped

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Line-ups


Real Madrid XI: Modric, Benzema, Kroos, Courtois, Casemiro, Varane, Vazquez, F Mendy, Asensio, Militao, Rodrygo

Subs: Bale, Hazard, Isco, Areola, Mariano, Valverde, Brahim, Vinicius, Javi Hernández, Miguel Gutiérrez, Altube

Alaves XI: Roberto, L. Fejsa, Joselu, Laguardia, Edgar Méndez, Perez, Ximo Navarro, Ely, Camarasa, Marin, Burke

Subs: Garcia, Pina, Magallan, Pons, Rafa Navarro, Rioja, José Rodriguez, Aritz Castro, Aguirregabiria, A. Mahmoud, Sainz, Paulino.

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Bartomeu slams VAR over supporting Madrid

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has slammed the Video Assistant Referee in LaLiga, claiming it has favoured Real Madrid since football restarted.

After a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, courtesy of a Sergio Ramos penalty which was awarded in the 76th minute penalty via VAR, Zinedine Zidane’s side are now four points ahead of Barcelona with four games to go.

Referee Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez awarded a penalty for Dani Garcia’s foul on Marcelo after consulting the pitchside monitor, before failing to award a penalty when Ramos caught Garcia at the other end moments later – and it was those decisions which were the subject of Bartomeu’s frustration.

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‘I watched San Mames match until almost the end of the second half,’ Bartomeu said after Barcelona’s 4-1 victory against Villarreal on Sunday night.

‘I feel bad because we have the best league in the world and VAR after coronavirus isn’t fair. It has changed some results and always favours the same team.’

Madrid’s victory on Sunday was not the first time since the restart that Zidane’s side have been aided by the intervention of video technology.

In a 2-1 victory against Real Sociedad on June 21, Madrid were awarded a penalty via VAR and had three controversial decisions all go their way.

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Vinicius won the penalty that put them ahead after his legs tangled with Sociedad defender Diego Llorente and he had been knocked off balance as he shot, but there would have been few complaints had it not been given.

Real Sociedad thought they had equalised when Adnan Januzaj found the back of the net but Mikel Merino was adjudged to have been offside in the build up, a decision former Real Madrid and Barcelona player Bernd Schuster called ‘ridiculous’.

Then came a third controversial incident as Benzema turned in the second goal, and eventual winner, on 70 minutes. The Frenchman had controlled the ball with his shoulder before firing through a crowd of players and into the net, with Sociedad players claiming a hand had been used.

And the week before that, Valencia thought they had taken the lead against Madrid before VAR intervened for an offside call – Zidane’s side went on to win the game 3-0.

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Nevertheless, Madrid’s win on Sunday maintained their 100 per cent winning record since Spanish football restarted in the middle of last month, winning seven from seven games.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have drawn three times to hand Madrid the initiative in the title race, with pressure on manager Quique Setien amid rumoured unrest in the changing room.

One of those players seemingly frustrated by the lack of game-time is Antoine Griezmann, but the Frenchman did score an exquisite chip on Sunday night on his return to the starting XI.

However, the momentum is with Madrid, who next play Alaves at home on Friday, while Barcelona host city rivals Espanyol on Wednesday.

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James to exit Madrid this summer

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After a complicated return season with Real Madrid, James Rodriguez’s days with Los Merengues are numbered as he is set to exit at the end of the 2019/20 season.

The Colombian was a player who adored playing for Real Madrid and he has experienced all the emotions that come with wearing the shirt of one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Received by a bumper crowd when he was presented as a new signing in 2014, James took that momentum into his debut campaign and was excellent under Carlo Ancelotti’s stewardship.

He scored 13 goals in 29 matches and had the full confidence of the Italian coach, but a coaching change saw the Colombian fail to fit into Zinedine Zidane’s system over the coming years so he was sent on loan to Bayern Munich for two years.

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Yet he had every intention of returning.

He felt there were still chapters to be written in Madrid and he returned to Los Merengues in the summer of 2019, but in the knowledge that the Spanish club intended to sell him.

Zidane’s return to the coaching position at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu had put paid, it was thought, to any chances of James returning and being a starter.

However, moves to Napoli and Atletico Madrid collapsed and it quickly became apparent that he would have another season with the French coach.

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Unfortunately, his credibility with fans had dropped, especially as talk about his off-pitch behaviour and commitment began to emerge.

In 2019/20, James has only played eight matches and has suffered injuries, but when he had chances to play he didn’t make the most of them.

Real Madrid are very close to winning the domestic championship, but it’s difficult to see how the Colombian will get any more minutes.

That fact, plus the lack of fans in the stands, mean that a heartfelt goodbye to those who still support him is unlikely.

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Discussion : Has Barca loss the title race to Madrid already?

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Real Madrid go 4 points clear at top of La Liga with 5 rounds remained. Is La Liga race over?

Feel free to discuss!


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Officially : Inter signs Madrid’s Hakimi potentially

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Inter have officially signed full-back Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid in a deal that could rise to €45m.

A statement on Inter’s official website reads: “Achraf Hakimi is offically an Inter player.

“The Moroccan, who was born in 1998, has joined the Nerazzurri on a permanent basis from Real Madrid and has signed a contract which will last until 30 June 2025”

Hakimi will earn a reported €5m in each of those five years.

The 21-year-old is one of Europe’s most sought-after wide defenders after two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he scored 12 goals and provided 17 assists in 72 appearances.

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He was also part of the Madrid squad that won the Champions League – Los Blancos’ third on the trot – during the 2017-18 campaign.

Although being born in the Spanish capital, Hakimi is a full Morocco international with already 28 caps under his belt.

Coming in at a cost of €40m plus €5m in bonuses, he becomes the most expensive defender in Inter’s history.

Hakimi primarily plays on the right-hand side but is more than capable of filling in on the opposite flank.

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Hakimi to inter Deal Done


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Madrid stays comfortably on top after Espanyol 1-nil win

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Casemiro grabbed the only goal in Real Madrid’s latest thoroughly deserved win at Espanyol to open up a gap at the top of LaLiga.

Zinedine Zidane’s men led the league by virtue of their superior head-to-head record going into the weekend and were boosted by Celta’s late equaliser against Barca on Saturday.

Madrid made sure not to pass up the opportunity to build a gap at the summit as Casemiro scored following a wonderful Karim Benzema assist in an entertaining if ultimately narrow away victory.

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Match Events


10′ Ramos’s header flies into the stand

13′ Marcelo’s shot blocked by Espinosa

20′ Courtois parries Espinosa’s header

25′ CLOSE! Wu Lei’s shot over the bar

30′ Diego Lopez denies Ramos’s header

36′ SAVE! Diego Lopez denies Benzema’s shot

45′ GOAL! Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid (Casemiro)

GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!! CASEMIRO PUTS MADRID AHEAD!!!!!! 1-0!!! Madrid take the lead as the Brazilian scores with an outstretched left boot, poking his effort past Diego Lopez. Benzema is the architect with a fine backheel through the legs of Espinosa. Casemiro gambles and gets there ahead of Cabrera and the Espanyol keeper to score.

49′ Courtois parries Wu Lei’s shot

51′ SAVE! Diego Lopez denies Benzema’s effort

57′ Subs! Melendo replaces Wu Lei

63′ Subs! Vinicius & Rodrygo in,Isco & Hazard out

82′ Rodrygo’s shot blocked!

Line-ups


Espanyol XI: Diego Lopez, Espinosa, Dídac , Cabrera, Wu Lei, D.López, Raúl de Tomás, Darder, Adri Embarba, Roca, Víctor Gomez

Subs: Victor Sanchez, Javi Lopez, Naldo, Oier, Calleri, Vargas, Campuzano, Pol Lozano, Pedrosa, Calero, Melendo, Melamed

Real Madrid XI: Ramos, Benzema, Kroos, Marcelo, Hazard, Courtois, Casemiro, Isco, Carvajal, Varane, Valverde

Subs: Bale, James, Areola, Mariano, Asensio, Militao, Brahim, Vinicius, Javi Hernández, Miguel Gutiérrez, Rodrygo, Altube.

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Madrid stays top as scoreline advances to 2:0 to Mallorca

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Game is over and the final score is Real Madrid 2-0 Mallorca. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 La Liga
2-0
Vinicius (19′)
Ramos (56′)


Match Events


7′ CHANCE! Benzema’s shot denied

Benzema brings down the ball on his chest and fires his shot towards goal, but Reina is in the right place to push it away. Madrid keep hold of the ball and some space opens up for Bale outside the box. He curls his effort towards goal, but the goalkeeper dives across to save that one as well.

19′ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Mallorca (Vinicius)

Vinicius runs onto Modric’s pass, and it looks like Bale got in his way at first, but he reaches it. He gets his head up and keeps his cool as he fires his shot over Reina into the back of the net. 1-0 Madrid!

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23′ OFF THE CROSSBAR! Vinicius nearly scores

It’s a brilliant chance for Madrid as Benzema slides the ball into the box for Vinicius. He gets his head up and spots Reina off his line so decides to chip the goalkeeper, but his effort bounces off the top of the crossbar.

46′ Yellow Card! Modric booked

Modric catches Febas in the face with his elbow and receives a yellow card which means he’ll miss Madrid’s next game.

56′ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Mallorca (Ramos)

Madrid win a free-kick just outside the box after Raillo’s handball and the captain steps up to take it. He only takes a short run-up but he gets his effort up and over the wall and Reina has no chance as he finds the top-left corner.

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Line-ups
Real Madrid XI: Ramos, Modric, Benzema, Bale, Hazard, Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, F Mendy, Valverde, Vinicius

Subs: Kroos, Marcelo, James, Isco, Areola, Mariano, Asensio, Militao, Brahim, Javi Hernández, Rodrygo, Altube

Mallorca XI: Manolo Reina, Budimir, J. Lago, Dani Rodríguez, Raillo, A. Sedlar, Febas, M. Valjent, Pozo, I. Mohammed, T. Kubo

Subs: Salibur, Salva Sevilla, P. Chavarría, Xisco Campos, A. Trajkovski, Abdón Prats, Josep Señé, Miquel Parera, Joan Sastre, J. Hernández, Fran Gámez, L. Romero.

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Momentum back at Madrid as Barcelona becomes title chasers

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Real Madrid and Barcelona may be neck-and-neck on points at the top of La Liga but the pendulum has swung back in Madrid’s favour.

Kind fixtures allowed Spain’s top two to ease into the resumption of Europe’s closest title race but a testing few days has delivered a more accurate gauge of form and fitness.

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Barca stumbled at Sevilla on Friday night, a goalless draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan coming between impressive Madrid victories, 3-0 at home to Valencia and then 2-1 away at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

A despondent Gerard Pique said Madrid might even prove uncatchable, an assessment many believed to have been more of a jibe at referees than a compliment to his rivals.

“It’s just frustration,” said Barcelona coach Quique Setien. “I am still optimistic.”

Madrid had certainly benefited from Rodrigo Moreno’s goal for Valencia being ruled out the night before and would see three tight decisions go their way against Real Sociedad too.

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But they were able to use a superior head-to-head record to return to the top of La Liga because Barcelona handed them an opportunity, which they took.

Setien’s side became laboured against Sevilla and, in truth, never really made them feel uncomfortable. Neither team created enough to deserve to win the game and with Lionel Messi quiet in his third 90 minutes in nine days, Barca lacked ideas and inspiration.

“We will keep going and will try to maintain that hope because we are convinced we can still win the league,” said Setien on Monday.

Of the tight battle with Madrid, he added: “Everything that can be said about us applies to them too. They can’t make any mistakes either. We have seen many leagues decided on the last day before.”

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On Tuesday, Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao, who are undefeated since the restart, before travelling to Celta Vigo next weekend for a match that looked simpler before Celta trounced Alaves 6-0 on Sunday.

Then Barca have Atletico Madrid at home and Villarreal away, two resurgent teams, both in the hunt for the top four, before a kinder finish kicks in.

Yet they cannot afford to give Real Madrid a lead to cling onto, meaning Setien needs to find solutions despite the lack of time for training.

Antoine Griezmann has looked lost, the Frenchman giving way to Martin Braithwaite against Sevilla, in what appeared to be Setien’s favoured line-up.

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Frenkie de Jong is expected to miss most of the upcoming difficult period with a calf injury.

RAMOS, CASEMIRO OUT

But Madrid have problems too after Sergio Ramos went off with an injured left knee against Real Sociedad while Casemiro will be suspended against Mallorca on Wednesday.

Madrid should survive against Mallorca but any extended absence for Ramos will destabilise a defence that has been the foundation of the team’s success.

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“He’s the best defender in the world,” said Zinedine Zidane on Sunday.

Eden Hazard sat out Sunday’s match, perhaps rested or perhaps recovering from a knock he took to his troublesome ankle against Valencia.

This is also not the first time Madrid have appeared to snatch the momentum from Barcelona.

In March, they convincingly won the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu only to undo their efforts by losing to Betis the following week.

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They have Karim Benzema, who looks to be in the form of his life after scoring three goals in as many games, including his sensational volley against Valencia.

And they have Hazard, whose partnership with Benzema looks like the first realistic answer to the attacking void left almost two years ago by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

If Hazard can stay fit, it could prove a title-winning combination.

“We have achieved nothing yet,” said Zidane on Sunday. “We’ve had three victories but we know the title race will go until the end. We have to keep going.”

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FIXTURES (CAT)

MondayVillarreal v Sevilla (7:30PM)
Leganes v Granada (10PM)

TuesdayLevante v Atletico Madrid
Real Valladolid v Getafe (both 7:30PM)
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao (10PM)

WednesdayAlaves v Osasuna
Real Sociedad v Celta Vigo (both 7:30PM)
Real Madrid v Mallorca (10PM)

ThursdayEibar v Valencia (7:30PM)
Real Betis v Espanyol (10PM)

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MADRID 2-1 SOCIEDAD, RAMOS OFF INJURED

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Karim Benzema added to Sergio Ramos’ penalty as Real Madrid beat Real Sociedad 2-1 on Sunday to move top of LaLiga.

Match Reports

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Real Madrid climbed above Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as second-half goals from Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema clinched a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. 

Barca’s goalless draw with Sevilla on Friday handed Zinedine Zidane’s men the chance to leapfrog their rivals at the summit – and they duly seized the opportunity with a hard-fought triumph on the road. 

Ramos put Madrid in front from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half, while Benzema added a second less than two minutes after Adnan Januzaj had a goal controversially ruled out for Sociedad. 

Match Events

2′ CLOSE! Vinicius’ shot wide out

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An early chance for Madrid, with Valverde making a run down the right and cutting a low cross back towards Vinicius, who is unable to keep his effort down.

21′ Yellow Card! Casemiro booked

Now it’s Casemiro who goes into the book, having been cautioned for leading into Merino with his arm.

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27′ Marcelo goes down in the box but ref says no penalty!

A first real venture forward from Marcelo, who manages to get into Sociedad’s area. However, he is unable to get any power on his effort, tumbling off balance under pressure from a defender before he can make a true connection.

33′ CHANCE! Benzema’s shot denied

A first chance for Benzema to get a shot off, and he duly tests Remiro. The ball was worked into him in the area and, after a neat turn, he hammered a low shot goalwards which Sociedad’s goalkeeper did well to parry away.

50′ Penalty Goal! Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid (Ramos)

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The VAR check finds no reason to overturn the referee’s decision, and it’s a cool finish from Madrid’s captain, who slots into the bottom-right corner, sending Remiro the wrong way. Madrid lead 1-0.

60′ Ramos subbed off after getting injured

After giving the visitors the lead, Ramos is forced off due to that injury. He has been replaced by Militao.

68′ Foul early, Januzaj’s goal disallowed

Sociedad think they have levelled, with Januzaj having drilled in a brilliant strike from range, with his effort dipping into the bottom-right corner beyond Courtois’ reach. However, the referee has ruled out the goal, seemingly because Merino – who was close to the line but not directly involved in the action – was in an offside position.

70′ GOAL! Real Sociedad 0-2 Real Madrid (Benzema)

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The frustration is doubled for Sociedad, as the visitors race up the other end and score a second. Valverde lifted a cross into Benzema, who after bringing it down with his shoulder – though there will be a VAR check for handball – hammers in a finish.

83′ GOAL! Real Sociedad 1-2 Real Madrid (Merino)

The pressure finally tells, with Merino thumping in a venomous finish from the left side of the area as the home side pull themselves back into it to set up a grand stand finish.

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Don’t panic!, Madrid won’t win all their games either

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Quique Setien is remaining optimistic over Barcelona’s title chances in LaLiga Santander.

The Blaugrana’s draw at Sevilla on Friday night opens the door for Real Madrid to take top spot later this weekend.

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Gerard Pique spoke negatively about the result after the game and its impact on Barcelona’s title push.

“It’s the frustration of the moment,” Setien said when asked about Pique’s comments.

“Especially because we played well in the first half.

“Maybe the feeling right now isn’t a positive one, but I’m sure he’ll think differently tomorrow.

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“I don’t think Real Madrid are going to win all their games either.

“The reality is that it doesn’t depend on us anymore, but this can change.

“We knew beforehand that it would be very difficult to win every game – it was practically impossible.

“It’s not that I’m satisfied with only getting a point, but it’s the lesser of two evils.”

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