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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.



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.


Manchester United ‘eyes’ Raphael Varane.


The same goes for Mings, who has been central to Aston Villa’s improvement this season, as well as the towering 21-year-old Carmo at Braga.

Manchester United have added Raphael Varane, Tyrone Mings and David Carmo to the shortlist of centre back options they are monitoring ahead of the summer transfer window.

Pau Torres, Dayot Upamecano, Jules Kounde are among their other existing targets for the position.

United are keen on landing a new centre back this year to act as a long-term partner for club captain Harry Maguire. Victor Lindelof has struggled to prove himself of the quality necessary to be a regular starter and Eric Bailly is once more battling fitness problems.

90min first revealed back in November that United see a central defender as one of their priorities in 2021.


The Old Trafford club had admired Torres at Villarreal since last summer and he is at the top of the list.

There is also a feeling his time there could be coming to an end after becoming a regular international for Spain and a release clause just under £60m hasn’t put suitors off.


Upamecano was also near the top of the list at one stage, although it was rumoured that United were starting to cool their interest when Bayern Munich began pursuing the player. Bayern have since entered positive early talks with the Frenchman’s representatives.

NoRM has also previously reported that United have been closely watching Kounde at Sevilla for many months, as well as Brighton’s Ben White and Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu, as they thoroughly weigh up and assess plenty of possible options to make the best decision.

Even as a shorter term solution, United would be interested in Sergio Ramos should the 34-year-old leave Real Madrid this summer.


However, getting burnt in pursuit of the Spaniard in the past means they would only make a serious approach if that interest was genuinely reciprocated.

The rest of the Premier League ‘Big Six’ have taken a similar view on Ramos, who is most likely to join PSG.

Varane has been heavily linked with United for years, but fresh doubts over the Frenchman’s future at Real Madrid has led ESPN to report that he also now one of the players Old Trafford officials are considering.

The same goes for Mings, who has been central to Aston Villa’s improvement this season, as well as the towering 21-year-old Carmo at Braga.


Varane has less than 18 months left on his current contract at Real Madrid and a sale in 2021 is the only way Los Blancos could command a reasonable transfer fee for the World Cup winner, who could potentially leave the Bernabeu as a free agent in 2022 if he refuses to sign a new deal.

The 27-year-old will have spent ten full seasons at Real by the end of the current campaign, having joined from Lens as a teenager in 2011, and it has been reported in Spain there is a belief at the club he wants to move on and test himself elsewhere.



Reguilon reveal who helped him settle at spurs.


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

Following an impressive season on loan at Sevilla, Reguilon arrived from Real Madrid for a fee in the region of £27m and has quickly established himself as one of the best left backs in the Premier League with a series of impressive performances.

Speaking to 90min’s Ben Haines as part of Spurs TV’s N17 Live, the 24-year-old credited Hojbjerg as a big part of the reason he was able to hit the ground running so seamlessly.


He said the Dane, who had signed from Southampton just a month earlier, was the first player to reach out to him after he arrived in north London.

Hojbjerg has earned high praise | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

He did so via a WhatsApp message that went into a surprising amount of detail, and left Reguilon taken aback.

He said ahead of Tottenham’s clash with West Brom: “One thing that nobody knows is that Pierre, as soon as I arrived, he sent me a long WhatsApp message welcoming me to the team.


“He said ‘Hi, welcome to Tottenham. I’m Pierre-Emile Hobjerg. I hope you do well. We need you to do your work for the team.’

“I was surprised, because it was a big message!” he said, gesturing with his fingers to stress that it was, in fact, a big message.

“He went into detail about the team-mates, about the coach, all of it. I was like ‘OK!’

“When you arrive in a new city and a new country, it’s important to have people and players who help you, and Pierre is one of them.”


Hojbjerg’s arrival initially raised an eyebrow after his unsavoury end to life on the south coast, but like Reguilon, he has proven himself well worthy.

He is yet to miss a minute in the Premier League, and has been as consistent and meticulous on the pitch as he is over WhatsApp.



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.



Alaba open to reject Real Madrid move for sudden EPL club.


Barca presidential candidate Joan Laporta, and the agent believes that Camp Nou could be an ideal landing spot for Alaba.

Bayern Munich centre-back David Alaba is understood to no longer be certain to join Real Madrid in the summer, with a Premier League move back on the cards.

Reports coming out of Spain in January suggested that Real had already agreed a deal with Alaba, who will be out of contract at Bayern at the end of the season, although there has been some questions asked about that story ever since.


The biggest quash of the rumour comes from Sport Bild (via AS), who state that talks with Real are nowhere near as advanced as has been suggested in Spain and Alaba is waiting for offers from the Premier League before making his final decision.

As revealed exclusively by 90min in November 2020, Alaba is now open to the idea of moving to England, having previously rejected the chance to test himself in the Premier League.

Alaba’s agent, Pini Zahavi, is said to be waiting for offers from English sides, which he believes will be far more lucrative than the terms on offer at the Santiago Bernabeu, and it’s Chelsea who are named as the main contenders for his signature.


Zahavi is known to have close ties with Chelsea, who were previously said to be ‘confident’ that they could force their way to the front of the queue for Alaba’s signature with a blockbuster offer. It was Frank Lampard leading the charge, but interest in Alaba has remained under new boss Thomas Tuchel.

David Alaba’s move to Real Madrid is not done | Lars Baron/Getty Images

Alaba has also attracted interest from Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, although there have been several reports suggesting none of that trio will actually make a move for the 28-year-old.

One side who could try and spoil the party is Barcelona, who are keen to reinforce defensively in the summer.

Just like with Chelsea, Zahavi is close with Barca presidential candidate Joan Laporta, and the agent believes that Camp Nou could be an ideal landing spot for Alaba.


However, if Real might not have the financial muscle to land Alaba, it’s hard to see how Barcelona have any chance.

Ronald Koeman’s side are facing debts of close to €1bn and would likely struggle to find a way to offer out a new £200,000-a-week contract.



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.


Real Madrid now leads the Clasico history


Over recent years, Barcelona have equaled and even surpassed Real Madrid in number of victories in Clásicos across all competitions but find themselves behind.

The first Clásico of the 2020/21 LaLiga between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou went the way of the visitors in a very entertaining affair. It was the 245th match that the two Spanish giants had played against each other, with both teams fighting for the top spot of the domestic tournament.

In their previous meeting Los Blancos beat the Catalan side back in March, in a season that ended up with Real Madrid winning the championship.


The Clásicos: the head to head
As well as the 254 competitive games, Barça and Madrid have met another 34 times in friendlies and other exhibition matches.

Their overall head-to-head record has been extremely tight. Real’s latest win bputs them one ahead of Barça with 97 wins vs 96.

Games played: 182

Madrid wins: 74

Barça wins: 72

Draws: 36

Games played: 36

Madrid wins: 12

Barça wins: 16

Draws: 8

Games played: 8

Madrid wins: 3

Barça wins: 2

Draws: 3

Games played: 20

Madrid wins: 8

Barça wins: 6

Draws: 6

Games played: 245

Madrid wins: 97

Barça wins: 96

Draws: 52

The Guardiola era, a ‘Real’ boost for Barça
Madrid had a notable advantage over Barcelona at the beginning of the 2000s, but the arrival of Pep Guardiola to the Barcelona bench turned the situation around.

In La Liga, Barça have won 13 of the Clasicos played since Guardiola’s appointment, drawing four and losing four. They also won the 2010-11 Champions League semi-final, (0-2 at Santiago Bernabéu, 1-1 at Camp Nou).

Barcelona, Real Madrid… and the trophies
The debate over which is the most decorated club in Spanish football continues and will probably remain in the conversation for a long time.

Real Madrid have a total of 119 trophy wins over their history in all competitions (includes regional, national, continental and global), while Barcelona have gathered 129 titles.

Los Merengues dominate in main competitions, with 34 Spanish leagues and 11 European Cups; Barcelona have a higher number of total trophies.

  • Real Madrid (23): 18 Championships of Madrid and 5 Mancomunado Trophies.
  • Barcelona (33): 23 Catalonian Championships and 10 Catalonian Cups (8 Cups and 2 Super Cups).
  • Real Madrid (65): 34 leagues, 19 Cups, 11 Spanish Super Cups, 1 League Cup and 1 Copa Eva Duarte.
  • Barcelona (74): 26 leagues, 30 Cups, 12 Spanish Super Cups, 2 League Cups and 1 Copa Eva Duarte.
  • Real Madrid (21): 13 European Cups (6 European Cups and 7 Champions Leagues), 2 UEFA Cups (forerunner of the Europa League), 4 European Super Cups and 2 Latin Cups.
  • Barcelona (19): 5 European Cups (1 European Cup and 4 Champions Leagues), 4 Cup Winners’ Cups, 5 European Super Cups, 3 Fairs Cups (forerunner of the UEFA Cup), and 2 Latin Cups (which laid the ground for the European Cup).
  • Real Madrid (10): 4 Club World Cups, 1 Ibero-American Cup, 3 Intercontinental Cups and 2 Small World Cups.
  • Barcelona (3): 3 Club World Cups.


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.


Barcelona is more Popular in USA than Real Madrid


Ahead of the first Clasico of the 2020/21 season on Saturday, Barcelona have taken a victory in one of the off pitch proxy battles with it proven that the Blaugrana are more popular than Real Madrid in the United States of America.

Whilst the country itself has somewhat bigger priorities at the present moment in terms of who will take possession of the White House in 2021, the popularity of European football in America is on the rise.

As part of a study conducted in 2016, Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing found that the most well supported teams in the USA were Barcelona and Real Madrid, in that order.

Four years on, the study has been readdressed and extended with the main European leagues being taken into account, with the Premier League, LaLiga Santander and Bundesliga being the biggest of the selection.


The number of searches on google and the digital footprint left on each club’s respective Facebook posts helped build the data.

As such, the first conclusion that 60 percent of the most supported teams in the USA come from the Premier League, although none of them were at the very top.

Barcelona and Real Madrid occupied the top two positions, although it was the Catalan giants who once again took the crown.

With regards to the American clubs in the list, the highest rank they achieved was 12th which belonged to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

As a general overview, the Premier League is the most watched league in America, with LaLiga Santander being the second.

Although, beyond the two behemoth clubs in Spain, there is little interest in the action which takes place below them. The same metrics are shown with regards to the French Ligue 1, where only Paris Saint-Germain are really watched by members of the US population.


Both teams needs the win; ‘Blockbuster El Classico Will be tough’


The Clasico is always billed as a blockbuster. It’s usually a thriller, occasionally a horror story for one of the two sides. But this Saturday, with 99,000 empty seats, it will feel more like a silent movie, and a very strange one at that.

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Rarely have both clubs come into the fixture in so much turmoil. Madrid are in pieces on the pitch after two of their worst performances under Zinedine Zidane. And Barcelona are in bits off it with boardroom dramas a constant in the Catalan capital.

Madrid are suffering off the pitch too, in as much as they share Barcelona’s financial concerns. And not everything is perfect on the field for Barca who slipped up last weekend away to Getafe, making it the first day in which both of the big two had lost without scoring since 2000.

It was in May of the 1999-2000 season that Barca lost 2-0 to Rayo Vallecano while Real Madrid were beaten 1-0 by Alaves. The Clasicos that season ended 3-0 to Real Madrid and 2-2. Deportivo won the league.

There is a feeling that ‘someone else’ could win the league this season too if Madrid continue to stumble and Barcelona buckle under the weight of boardroom upheaval.

After losing 3-2 to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, Madrid media speculated over who would have been jeered the most had the defeat taken place in a full Santiago Bernabeu.

‘Heading for Europa League’ read one sarcastic headline. In this group that is maybe not beyond the realms of possibility for Real Madrid.

One columnist accused Zidane of picking the team by just throwing oranges in the air and seeing where they land. He is currently not helped by injuries to Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard who were meant to make a difference at the end of a summer marked by the absence of signings for the first time in 20 years, but there has been a ‘lucky dip’ element to his XIs with wild switches from two wingers in a 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 with no wingers.

On Wednesday night he benched Vinicius and Benzema even though Madrid were missing their captain at the other end of the pitch.

Much was made of the chaos that always ensues when Sergio Ramos is missing and it’s true that Madrid have lost to Manchester City and Ajax, Juventus and PSG without him but he was there in the first half at the weekend and it was his mistake which led to Cadiz’s goal, so this is not just about one important player missing.


Barcelona’s problems on the pitch seem far smaller. What to do with Griezmann is currently Koeman’s biggest headache. How Madrid would love to have the Frenchman in their team. Barcelona’s cast of a thousand forwards (Messi, Ansu Fati, Dembele, Pedri, Francisco Trincao) might lack a centre-forward but it beats Madrid’s depleted troupe hands down right now.

That’s the most striking thing about this Madrid team – there is nothing to excite and nothing to rely on. At this juncture the £163m (180m euros) on Hazard and Luka Jovic looks to have been money badly spent.

The young Brazilians Vinicius and Rodrigo Goes are not progressing sufficiently under Zinedine Zidane and with Marco Asensio unable to make a consistent impact on games, it’s a Madrid team that no longer frightens opposition defences.

While things are currently not as bad on the pitch for Barcelona, off it the club continues to stumble from one drama to the next. There is a projected £271m (300m euros) shortfall in revenue this season that can only be tackled by big cuts in the wage bill.

The tactic of persuading players to, in effect, receive the same amount of money but over a longer period has worked with Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet who have all extended contracts, but not, so far, with others.

Meanwhile, a petition to force a referendum on whether the board should be able to see out their term of office until March 2021, one that needed 16,500 names, gathered over 20,000.

Only the problems of how to stage the referendum during a pandemic can now delay the president being dumped before December with elections in January.


Madrid are not showing the same overt signs of chaos but they are also bracing themselves for a huge drop in revenue.

The big two in Spain make more money from football tourism and full stadiums than, arguably, any club in Europe and nothing like a Clasico behind closed doors will remind them of what they are currently missing out on.

Never before has the fixture taken place without fans – every groan from the technical area will be heard. Koeman knows only about playing against Madrid. He was victorious six times with three draws and five defeats during his career.

Zinedine Zidane has never lost at the Nou Camp as a coach with two wins and three draws to date. His position will be under greater scrutiny than ever if he slips us this time.

A gentle campaign around Real Madrid Castilla coach Raul being his replacement-in-waiting has already started to pick up speed. It will find another gear on Saturday if Real Madrid lose the weirdest of Clasicos.


‘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.”


Final score: Levante 0-2 Madrid


Real Madrid climbed to the top of the LaLiga with a 2-0 win at Levante on Sunday afternoon.

2020/2021 La Liga
Vinicius (16′)
Benzema (90’+5′)


Vinicius put Real Madrid ahead after 16 minutes when Levante failed to clear a corner and left the Brazilian in space just inside the area. So often criticised for his finishing he curled a well-struck shot beyond Aitor Fernandez.

He was Madrid’s brightest player in the first half and when he raced clear of Levante’s high defensive line he flashed the centre across the six-yard box and Benzema, who had sprinted to arrive, couldn’t stretch to finish.

Levante were by no means out of it and Nicola Vukcevic headed on to the crossbar. The home side – playing in Villarreal’s Ceramic Stadium because their own redeveloped stadium will not be ready until the end of the month – finished strongly but Madrid deserved their half-time lead.

Madrid were wasteful at the restart with Benzema hitting the post and Vinicius missing two chances. The 20-year-old could and should have had a hat-trick. With those chances missed Levante grew in confidence and when Enis Bardhi shot through a crowd of players Courtois was at full length and it was the right foot that diverted the ball wide.


Ramos headed Real Madrid in front from Luka Modric’s free-kick but the flag was up. Replays appeared to show Ramos had stepped back from his offside position before the free-kick was taken. The replays also showed Ramos had pushed the defender in the back. The goal should have been ruled out for the push but not for the handball. The goal was ruled out, but for the apparently non-existent offside.

Courtois saved Madrid again with two more saves from Bardhi. The second was routine from the midfielder’s disappointing shot but the first was brave and alert, getting down to block the one-on-one chance. It was worthy of the three points.

Benzema raced clear to score the second with the last touch of the game. Levante did not deserve to lose by more than the solitary goal but Benzema’s first goal of the season doubled the lead.

Madrid go into the international break top of the table. ‘I’m glad to have scored but then I missed a chance in the second half which I should not have missed,’ said Vinicius. ‘I know I have to improve but I’m working hard.’


Match Events
0′ The match is about to start!

4′ Yellow Card! Casemiro booked

7′ CLOSE! Marti’s shot wide out

16′ GOAL! Levante 0-1 Real Madrid (Vinicius)

31′ Post! Vukcevic nearly score

44′ Miramon fire his shot into the sky

52′ CHANCE! Vinicius almost score second goal

59′ Bardhi’s powerful shot stopped by Courtois

63′ Morales hits the side-nets

68′ Disallowed! Ramos scores but the goal is offside


78′ Courtois makes a decent save

88′ Subs! Ødegaard & Isco subbed on

95′ GOAL! Levante 0-2 Real Madrid (Benzema)


Levante XI: Fernandez, Postigo, Miramon, Campana, Vukcevic, Clerc, Marti, Vezo, Morales, M. Malsa, Bardhi

Subs: Duarte, Coke, Tono, Radoja, Melero, Koke, Son, Dani Cárdenas, Rober, Jorge de Frutos, Dani Gómez

Real Madrid XI: Ramos, Modric, Benzema, Courtois, Casemiro, Nacho, Varane, F Mendy, Asensio, Valverde, Vinicius

Subs: Marcelo, Isco, Vazquez, Jovic, M. Ødegaard, A. Lunin, Víctor Chust, Rodrygo, Altube.


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.


Champions of Social Media ‘Real Madrid’


Real Madrid’s success in 2019/20 was reflected on their social media accounts as they managed an average of 38,687 interactions per post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Los Blancos surpassed Juventus, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, who were crowned champions in three of the five major European leagues.

On July 16, the day Real Madrid mathematically won LaLiga Santander, they shared 216 posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, generating more than 16 million interactions and an average of 74,192 per post.

The following day this record was broken, with 180 posts generating more than 16.6 million interactions, increasing the average above 92,000 interactions per post, according to data from Blinkfire Analytics.

Their Instagram account, on which they registered 929,169 interactions per post between August 1, 2019 and July 21, 2020, is the one that stands out with 91.1m followers.


‘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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Real Madrid offers £90M plus Isco or Kroos for Dybala


Real Madrid are set to table a sensational £90million player-plus-cash deal for Juventus superstar Paulo Dybala, according to reports.

After the LaLiga giants’ early Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City, Florentino Perez has set his sights on securing Dybala and believes him to be an integral part in helping the club lift the coveted trophy again.

It has even been suggested that Real would be willing to include either Toni Kroos or Isco to bump up the overall value of the package.

Sport Mediaset are reporting that the ambitious proposal is expected imminently.


Juventus are believed to be keen to keep hold of Dybala, however, following their own continental heartbreak.

The club are currently undergoing a period of transition Turin legend Andrea Pirlo replaced after Maurizio Sarri and are hopeful of retaining their key assets for the new man at the helm.

But the uncertainty surrounding the future of talisman Cristiano Ronaldo may force Juventus’ hand.

The 35-year-old was clearly disappointed by his team’s knockout to Lyon, and speculation has mounted over a potential switch to Paris Saint-Germain.

The Italian title holders would never offload Dybala in the event Ronaldo was to leave this summer.


They may reportedly reconsider their stance should the Portuguese icon remain in Turin though, particularly due to his hefty wage salary.

And the prospect of Kroos or Isco making the move to Italy may entice the Old Lady into brokering a deal.

Real are said to value the experienced German midfielder at no less than £45m, with Isco’s price tag standing at around £54m.

Dybala has been locked in talks with Juventus over a new contract. His 11 goals and six assists this season saw him named as Serie A’s ‘MVP’ of the campaign, and the 26-year-old is expected to extend until 2025.

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