Real Madrid’s Got Eye On European Cup And La-Liga Finals

Real Madrid, still crowing from reaching a third Champions League final in four years, will turn their focus to winning their first La Liga title since 2012 when they play Sevilla in their final home game of the season on Sunday.

Real’s Champions League triumphs in 2014 and 2016 have distracted from rivals Barcelona’s creeping domination in the domestic league, with the Catalans winning five of the last seven titles.

Even Atletico Madrid, who Zinedine Zidane’s side saw off for the fourth consecutive year on the European stage on Wednesday with a 4-2 aggregate victory, have won the title more recently than Real.

In a nail-biting end to the campaign, Real and Barcelona are locked on 84 points at the top of the table. While Barca have a superior head-to-head record, Real have a game in hand, facing Celta Vigo next week before their final fixture against Malaga.

Seven points out of a maximum nine will be enough to end Real’s five-year run without winning the domestic title.

“Now we have to go for the league title, we really want to win it, and then we’ll have time to think about the final in Cardiff,” said Cristiano Ronaldo.

Even though they have a record 32 Liga crowns and 11 European Cups, Real have often struggled to combine their domestic and European campaigns. They last achieved the double in 1958.

Fourth-placed Sevilla looks like Real’s most difficult opponents in the three remaining games, though Jorge Sampaoli’s team are far from the swashbuckling side that ended Real’s 40-game unbeaten run in January.

Sevilla has won just three of their last 12 games, stumbling towards fourth place and the final Champions League berth. Sampaoli is expected to leave the club in the summer to take up the vacant Argentina job.

Champions Barcelona, meanwhile, makes the long journey to the Canary Islands to face a Las Palmas side also struggling for form, having lost seven of their last 10 games, and who the Catalans thrashed 5-0 back in January.

Barca’s hopes of a third successive title depend on Real Madrid slipping up, but forward Neymar said his side were only focusing on their games.

“We can’t be thinking about Madrid, we can only think about ourselves,” the Brazilian said in an interview with BeIN Sports.

“If we do what we have to, I think we can become champions. If we don’t give everything then we won’t win our games.”

Real Madrid Through To Champions League Final

Defending champion Real Madrid withstood an early onslaught by Atletico Madrid to reach a third Champions League final in four years despite a 2-1 loss to its city rival today.

Atletico, which trailed 3-0 after the first leg, scored twice in the first 16 minutes at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to move within a goal of sending the semifinal second leg into extra time. But Francisco “Isco” Alarcon netted a crucial away goal for Real Madrid before halftime to secure a 4-2 victory on aggregate and a spot in the final against Juventus on June 3 in Cardiff.

Madrid will try to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the competition’s new format was created in 1992. Madrid will be the first team to have a chance to defend its title since Manchester United made it to consecutive finals in 2008-09.

Atletico ends its Champions League campaign without a shot at the title and with its fourth straight elimination to its powerful Spanish rival. Madrid defeated Atletico in the final last year and in 2014 and also eliminated the crosstown opponent in the quarterfinals in 2015.

 

 

Source: The Nation

Cristiano Ronaldo Omitted From Deportivo Trip

Zinedine Zidane maintained his rotation policy despite defeat by Barcelona on Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo has been left out of the Real Madrid squad for Wednesday’s trip to Deportivo la Coruna.

It is the third consecutive La Liga away game Ronaldo has not been included in the Real squad.

However, the European champions have recorded victories at Leganes and Sporting Gijon without the World Player of the Year.

Gareth Bale and captain Sergio Ramos are unavailable through injury and suspension respectively.

Meanwhile, midfielder Toni Kroos is also rested.

Raphael Varane returns from nearly a month out with a hamstring problem to ease the blow of Ramos’s absence at the heart of the defence.

Madrid and Barca are locked on 75 points each at the top of La Liga.

However, Real still have matters in their own hands as they have a game in hand on their title rivals.

Bale Back On Top With Madrid’s Squad For Classico

Gareth Bale was included in Real Madrid’s 20-man squad for Sunday’s potential La Liga decider against Barcelona.

However, Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was evasive on whether the Welshman would be fit to start after missing Madrid’s last two games.

Bale has been sidelined by an inflammation of the muscles around where he suffered ligament damage in his right ankle that kept him out for three months earlier in the season.

“He will be with us tomorrow,” said Zidane.

“You will see tomorrow what team we are going to start with.”

Madrid is in a commanding position as they look to seal a first La Liga title in five years.

Zidane’s men hold a three-point lead and also have a game in hand over Barcelona, but he insisted Madrid don’t feel like favourites, even with 85 000 at the Santiago Bernabeu behind them.

“We are not favourites. Maybe people looking from the outside can think that one team is more favourites than others.

“But we know we are playing a great team and we will prepare well.”

Madrid is also in higher spirits as they overcame Bayern Munich in a Champions League classic 4-2 on Tuesday to progress to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Barca’s Champions League hopes were ended as Juventus held on to their 3-0 first leg lead to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

“If we think that we will be mistaken,” added Zidane on whether Barca’s confidence will have been shaken.

“They are a team that has shown what they can do throughout the season and won’t feel the pressure of playing at the Bernabeu.”

 

Source: SuperSport

Champions League Draw: Real Madrid Vs Atletico Madrid, Monaco Vs Juventus

The all-Madrid semi is a repeat of last year’s final, which Real won on penalties, and the final three years ago which Real also won in extra-time.

After beating Bayern Munich 6-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, thanks in part to controversial refereeing decisions and a hat-trick from Ronaldo in the second leg, Zinedine Zidane’s men were paired with their neighbors, who knocked out Leicester City.

It is the fourth season in a row in which the sides from the Spanish capital have met in the knockout rounds of the competition, with Real getting the better of them each time.

The first leg will be played at the Bernabeu, while the return tie will mark the last time the Vicente Calderon will host a Madrid derby before Atleti moves into their new stadium next season.

Juventus, who last won the Champions League in 1996, defeated Monaco in the last eight of the 2014-15 competition en route to their final defeat at the hands of Barcelona.

 

Source: Goal.com

Real Dumps Bayern Out Of Europe

Real Madrid produces a night of spectacle as they dumped German giants Bayern Munich out of the presitious UEFA Champions League in the quarter final.

Cristiano Ronaldo plundered a hat-trick as Real Madrid saw off 10-man Bayern Munich 4-2 after extra-time at the Bernabeu to secure the holders’ place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Needing at least two goals to progress, Bayern had led when Robert Lewandowski confidently drilled in a penalty.

Robert Lewandowski, who missed the first leg with a shoulder problem, put Bayern ahead on the night from the penalty spot to level the tie on aggregate following Real’s 2-1 win in Munich, where Ronaldo had scored twice.

Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal’s harsh 84th-minute dismissal was the first pivotal moment of a thrilling game, and Ronaldo was clearly standing in an offside position to score Madrid’s second in extra time.

Madrid struggled to find rhythm at a nervy Bernabeu before Ronaldo headed in Casemiro’s precise cross.

Bayern responded just 36 seconds later as Sergio Ramos’ own goal forced extra time, but then crumbled after Ronaldo fired in Madrid’s second.

There was also some debate about Ronaldo’s hat-trick goal four minutes later, with the Portugal forward possibly offside again when he knocked the ball in following a fine run from Marcelo.

Substitute Marco Asensio added a fourth on the break in the 112th minute to complete a 6-3 aggregate win for the Spanish league leaders as former Real boss Carlo Ancelotti endured a miserable return to the Bernabeu.

Pellegrini Confirms Yaya Toure To Miss Real Madrid Clash

Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that Yaya Toure will miss the clubs first leg UEFA Champions League clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday evening.

The Citizens host the first leg ahead of the reverse fixture at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu next week.

Toure, 32, sat out training on Monday, having picked up an injury during Saturday’s 4-0 win over Stoke City.

Manuel Pellegrini has since confirmed that the Ivorian is likely to miss the clubs trip to Southampton as well.

“Yaya is going to be out, I think. He has not recovered from the muscle injury,” said Pellegrini.

“I don’t think he will be fit for Sunday (at Southampton), we will see how he improves during the week.”

As a result, Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho are likely to play alongside each other in midfield as City aim to reach their first ever Champions League final.

Moreover, Kelechi Iheanacho will be gunning for place on the bench following his brace at the weekend. The Nigerian youngster has already expressed his desire to play against the 10 time Champions League winners.

City Avoid Guardiola To Meet Madrid, As Bayern Draw Atletico,

Manchester City were on Friday drawn to face Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League while Atlético Madrid will face Bayern Munich.

Semi-final debutants, Manchester City would be looking to demystify 27-time semi-finalists and ten-time winners – Real Madrid.

Atlético are unbeaten in their last five home matches against German clubs, winning four of the games and drawing only one.

Bayern had their first loss in Spain in the semi-finals in each of the last two seasons, going down 1-0 at Real Madrid in 2013/14 (0-5 aggregate) and 3-0 at Barcelona last year (3-5 aggregate). The German club have won only two of their last 12 trips to Spain, losing eight.

UCL: Ronaldo Pulls Madrid Through As City Beats PSG To Semis

Cristiano Ronaldo once again proved to be Real Madrid’s main man, after his hat-trick saw the La Liga giants defeat Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate, to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Spanish club were well beaten in Germany a week ago and needed a big performance at the Santiago Bernabeu, to avoid a shock exit.

Ronaldo’s quick-fire brace in the first half levelled the tie on aggregate, before he scored a magnificent free-kick to settle it.

In the other game played on Tuesday night, Kevin De Bruyne struck the only goal, as Manchester City beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 at the Etihad, to qualify 3-2 on aggregate.

It will be the Premier League side’s first appearance in the last four of the competition.

Ronaldo Scores Late To See Off Barcelona In Elclasico

Cristiano Ronaldo scored late as 10-man Real Madrid stunned Barcelona at the Camp Nou to win El Clasico on Saturday.

Gerard Pique had given Barca the lead before Karim Benzema answered for Real, and soon after Sergio Ramos was sent off Ronaldo found the winner.

Barcelona had a glorious chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when Neymar fed an open Luis Suarez, but the Uruguayan could not get his feet right and the ball fell wide of the goal.

Real Madrid responded as Gareth Bale raced into the box from the wing and tried to square for a teammate but the play was picked out for a sliding Gerard Pique.

But the hosts had more opportunities in the first half, as Andres Iniesta had a powerful shot blocked in front soon after.

As Barca kept up the pressure, Real defender Dani Carvajal was booked for stopping an attack and Lionel Messi’s free kick flew over the bar.

Ivan Rakitic then forced a save from Keylor Navas before Neymar shot well high after a series of fine passes with Messi.

The first major talking point came in the 24th minute when Sergio Ramos collided with Lionel Messi at the top of the box, but referee Alejandro Hernandez waved away Barcelona’s penalty shouts.

Ramos had already been booked for a foul in the buildup to Suarez’s opening chance, but Hernandez ruled he got the slightest of touches on the ball as Messi took him on.

Real then had some chances of their own as Cristiano Ronaldo got off a soft shot and Bale fired a shot high.
Advertisement

And the visitors were on the ascendancy after Suarez received a yellow card after his hand flailed in the face of Pepe.

Ronaldo sent a free kick over the bar from 30 yards on the half-hour mark, and before the break Benzema found himself alone in the centre of the box, but he could not bring the ball down after the pass to him took a high bounce.

As the second half began, Ramos was again fortunate to escape a second yellow card for a foul on Suarez.

Barcelona regained their form and Navas made a spectacular save to deny Messi’s chip in the 55th minute, but the breakthrough came moments later.

Following a Rakitic corner, Pique broke free of Pepe’s marking to head in Barcelona’s opening goal.

But Real Madrid were back level seven minutes later as Toni Kroos’ pass from the wing took a deflection that lofted it high in the air, and Benzema scored with an acrobatic high kick.

And Zinedine Zidane thought his team had taken the lead from Gareth Bale’s header in the 79th minute, but the goal was harshly ruled out as the referee adjudged he had pushed Jordi Alba while leaping for the ball.

Ramos was sent off in the 84th minute for going into the back of Suarez, giving Barcelona the hope they could find a winner.

But Ronaldo silenced the Camp Nou crowd a scant minute later after he controlled Bale’s lofted cross, allowed Alves to pass him by and finished through Claudio Bravo’s legs.

First Defeat For Zidane Comes In Madrid Derby

Zinedine Zidane suffered his first defeat since taking charge of Real Madrid as Antoine Griezmann’s solitary strike kept Atletico Madrid’s faint La Liga title hopes alive with a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Griezmann finished off a lovely team move eight minutes into the second half as Atletico became the first visiting team ever to win at the Bernabeu three seasons in a row.

Diego Simeone’s men move to within five points of leaders Barcelona while Real’s chances of landing just a second title in eight years now look completely gone as they now trail Atletico by four points in third.

Barca can restore their eight-point lead at the top when they face Sevilla on Sunday.

“Once again the fans of Atletico Madrid can feel immensely proud of their players,” said Simeone.

The final whistle was greeted by howls of discontent from the Real fans with chants for president Florentino Perez to resign.

“The league is over,” said Zidane.

“You can’t be happy with a defeat, with what happened and how we played.”