Bale Silence Critics With Sizzling Goal Victory Win On Sunday

Gareth Bale believes he can still win over the Real Madrid faithful after silencing his critics with a sensational solo goal to seal a vital 3-1 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Bale had been jeered by his own fans in Madrid’s 3-0 Champions League win over APOEL Nicosia in midweek for an underwhelming start to the season, particularly in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence due to a five-game ban.

The Welshman failed to find the net as Real dropped points at home to Valencia and Levante to allow Barcelona to open up a four-point lead at the top of La Liga.

But Bale helped Madrid get back to winning ways in impressive style by ending Sociedad’s own 100 percent start to the season.

“It’s normal, it happens in football,” Bale told Spanish TV station Movistar of the criticism that has come his way.

“For me obviously I just have to try to keep my head down and keep working hard. That’s all I can do.

“I can’t control what goes on, I can only control how hard I work on the pitch.

“You go through ups and downs in your career, but it is how you bounce back.”

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane believes Bale’s strike can be a turning point in his season.

Bale used his electric pace to burst past Kevin Rodrigues before dinking the ball over the advancing Geronimo Rulli.

“He needed to score a goal and in this manner. After a run of 60 meters, technically he finished it very well,” said Zidane.

However, the Frenchman insisted the man, who joined Madrid for a then world record fee in 2013, can still do much more to impress.

“I am happy for him, but for me, he is still not at his best. Little-by-little we are going to discover the best of Gareth.

“Today he played great, but I know he can do much more. We need to be patient.”

Despite his struggles of late, Bale has always shone at Anoeta as he added to his impressive record of six goals in five games in San Sebastian.

“It’s great to always score, but the most important thing was to get the three points for the team, get back on track and get back to winning ways,” added Bale.

The victory lifted Real up to fourth and ensured they remain just four points adrift of Barca, who had temporarily extended their lead to seven with victory at Getafe on Saturday.

“Today the most important thing was to win because when you look at the table and see Madrid so low down it is strange,” said Zidane.

“Now we are back on form, but we need to continue because we have another game on Wednesday.”

Real Madrid Still Remains Champion League Favourites

Real Madrid’s confidence in creating more Champions League history that while others have spent hundreds of millions trying to catch up, the back-to-back European champions were happy to cash in.

Real made a profit of over 75 million euros ($90 million) in the transfer market thanks to the departures of Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez and Danilo.

Yet they remain very much the side to beat as the Champions League returns on Tuesday having ended a near three-decade-long wait for a team to retain the trophy.

“We are the champions so everyone faces us with extra motivation,” warned former Real striker Emilio Butragueno, now the club’s director of institutional relations.

Madrid coped with that challenge admirably last season, dismissing Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus in the latter stages.

Their quest to become the first side since Bayern in the mid-seventies to win three in a row starts with a more modest test in the form of APOEL Nicosia at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Tougher tasks lie in wait in the form of Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur in Group H.

Dortmund even beat Madrid to top spot in the group stage last season. But Real have mastered the art of saving their best for when the competition really gets going for the contenders in the knockout stages in the new year.

“We have a stupendous squad but this is a competition that takes you to the limit in all aspects,” added Butragueno.

“You can have a big squad with all the resources, but when the moment of truth arrives you need to not have injuries, for your players to be in optimum form and have luck. There are so many factors.”

– Strength in depth –
Real’s strength in depth was used intelligently by coach Zinedine Zidane to win the club’s first La Liga and European Cup double for 59 years last season.

It is also why one of the richest clubs in the world didn’t feel the need to go wild in a hyper-inflated transfer market following Neymar’s world record 222 million-euro move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Instead, Real continued their policy of snapping up the best young talent in Spain in Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos to add to the likes of Isco and Marco Asensio.

Despite a slow start to their campaign in La Liga, Zidane already seems to be playing the long game this season.

The Frenchman rested a host of first-team regulars including Luka Modric, Isco and Gareth Bale on their return from international duty for a disappointing 1-1 draw against Levante on Saturday.

“I am not going to revolutionise what I want to do with this team due to one bad game,” Zidane insisted afterwards.

Real will be bolstered for the visit of the Cypriot champions in midweek by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The World Player of the Year’s absence due to a five-game domestic ban for pushing a referee has exposed the one flaw in Real’s squad in a lack of back-up to Karim Benzema.

Having not replaced Morata, Bale was forced to act as an auxiliary striker against Levante after Benzema went off injured.

Yet even an enforced rest for Ronaldo could ultimately work in Real’s favour come to the end of the campaign.

The Portuguese scored 10 goals from the quarter-finals on last season as Zidane’s rotation policy left him far fresher and freer of injuries than in previous years.

With a fit Ronaldo comes to the knockout stages, Real will remain the team to beat as the rest of Europe tries to end their hegemony.

 

‘Ronaldo ‘Delighted’ To Be Staying At Madrid’

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during extra-time of the Club World Cup football final match between Kashima Antlers of Japan and Real Madrid of Spain at Yokohama International Stadium in Yokohama on December 18, 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo, hounded by allegations of tax evasion in Spain, is “delighted” to be staying at Real Madrid, according to club president Florentino Perez, who called claims that the Portuguese striker might leave the country exaggerated.

“As he said a little while back, he’s delighted to be here. No one is better placed than him to say that,” Perez told Cadena Ser radio.

Ronaldo strongly denied having evaded 14.7 million euros ($17.5 million) in tax on his image rights when he appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on July 31.

Prosecutors accuse the Real Madrid star of evading tax via a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands and another in Ireland, known for low corporate tax rates.

In addition, they say Ronaldo only declared 11.5 million euros of Spanish-related income from 2011 to 2014, while what he really earned during that time was close to 43 million euros.

They also accuse him of “voluntarily” refusing to include 28.4 million euros in income linked to the sale of his image rights for the 2015 to 2020 period to a Spanish company.

The four-time World Player of the Year, 32, has been heavily critical of the probe into him, leading to rumours that he might seek to quit Spain.

“I don’t know what happened this summer,” Perez said. “A Bola (newspaper) published a story, on what a teammate might have said (about Ronaldo leaving)… In the end, there was nothing.

“As there was not much to talk about this summer, they exaggerated,” Perez said, conceding however that “Cristiano was angry about this tax problem, having been summoned, that’s not nice for anyone.”

Perez added that there was nothing in the case against Ronaldo “that would constitute a crime”.

“He’s hidden nothing and if there’s no hiding, there’s no crime,” he said.

“It’s possible there’s a different interpretation (between Ronaldo’s advisers and tax authorities) and he’s cool and collected on this issue.”

 

Source: The Guardian

 

Neymar, Real Madrid Have Verbal Agreement For Next Season – Report

The Brazillian Striker Neymar Jr and Real Madrid have a verbal agreement for the upcoming seasons, according to Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda.

Apparently, Los Blancos would’ve talked to Neymar’s father to explore the possibility of signing the Brazilian attacker over the next few years. If that report is accurate, the player would be willing to make such a move.

Either way, Neymar is playing his first games after signing for PSG for €222 million and right now Los Blancos would need a huge budget to sign the star away from the French club. Many things would need to change for Madrid to sign Neymar, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from the Spanish capital.

This doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario, so Neymar should be expected to play at least three or four seasons in the French league before thinking about a move elsewhere, especially because he would have to force his way out of the club.

 

Zidane Lead Nominees For FIFA Coach Prize

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane heads the list of 12 nominees for the FIFA men’s coach of the year award announced on Thursday.

Other candidates include Antonio Conte, who led Chelsea to the English title, Manchester United’s Europa League-winning coach Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus.

Zidane has enjoyed a glorious year in charge of Madrid as they successfully defended the European Cup — the first team to do so in the Champions League era.

Real also won La Liga, the first time they had been champions of Spain and Europe in the same year since 1958.

He has won seven trophies since succeeding Rafael Benitez as coach of Madrid in January last year, including the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup this month.

The prize — one of a new set of awards organized by FIFA following their split with Ballon d’Or organizers France Football magazine — will be handed over in London on October 23.

The shortlist for FIFA’s coach of the year prize

Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus/ITA), Carlo Ancelotti (Bayern Munich/GER), Antonio Conte (Chelsea/ENG), Luis Enrique (Barcelone/ESP), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City/ENG), Leonardo Jardim (Monaco/FRA), Joachim Loew (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Manchester United/ENG), Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Tite (Brazil), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid/ESP)

Ronaldo Ban From 5 Matches For Indicipline

Cristiano Ronaldo was hit with a five-match ban by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) on Monday for pushing the referee after being sent off in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Spanish Super Cup, first leg win over Barcelona.

The World Player of the Year received an automatic one-match ban for his dismissal on Sunday and an extra four games for his reaction towards referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.

Ronaldo was also fined 3,805 euros ($4,500) and has 10 days to appeal the ban.

Should any appeal fail, Ronaldo will miss Wednesday’s Super Cup, second leg and Madrid’s first four La Liga games of the season against Deportivo la Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

However, Ronaldo will be free to feature when Madrid start their defence of the Champions League on September 12 or 13.

Madrid had already signalled their intent to appeal Ronaldo’s second yellow card shown for diving eight minutes from time when he went down inside the area under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

“Ronaldo’s sending-off annoys me because even if it is not a penalty, the card is harsh,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after the game.

“We will see if we can do something so that he is available on Wednesday.”

Setup Timeout Error: Setup took longer than 30 seconds to complete.
Ronaldo was only on the field for 24 minutes after he was introduced as a second-half substitute and fired into the top corner 10 minutes from time to give Madrid a 2-1 lead.
He received his first yellow card for removing his shirt in celebration before being shown the 10th red card of his career two minutes later.

“Once shown the red card, said player (Ronaldo) pushed me lightly as a sign of his disapproval,” De Burgos Bengoetxea wrote in his referee’s report.

According to the RFEF’s rules, such offences are met with a suspension of anything between four and 12 games, but previous cases also resulted in four-game bans.

Despite Madrid’s claims Ronaldo had reacted in the heat of the moment, the RFEF judged the push was an “unjustified and disproportionate reaction”.

Rolando To Soon Reunite With Manchester United

The next European cup fixtures with the two tough team that has one thing “Cristiano Rolando”. Real Madrid and Manchester United meet to battle for the cup. Cristiano Ronaldo could feature against his former club Manchester United in Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup after being included in Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane’s squad for the trip to Skopje, Macedonia.

Ronaldo’s summer has been overshadowed by accusations of tax evasion in Spain, which led to him being appearing in court last week, and speculation over his future.

According to a report from Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, Ronaldo told the court he “would like to return to England” due to his tax troubles in Spain.

The World Player of the Year only returned to training with his Real teammates on Saturday as he was handed an extended summer break after playing for Portugal at the Confederations Cup and is still not expected to start.

However, as is common for showpiece occasions, Zidane has decided to take his entire 24-man squad to Macedonia.

Manchester United Defeat Real Madrid With Super Penalty

Manchester United defeated Real Madrid in an ugly penalty shootout on Sunday with seven players failing to convert from the spot after their International Champions Cup match ended 1-1 in Northern California.

United, who won the shootout 2-1, took the lead just before halftime when Anthony Martial slalomed into the box past three defenders to set up Jesse Lingard from close range.

Both sides made a raft of changes at the break, which upset the rhythm of the game. The sweltering conditions were also a factor as players struggled to get the tempo back up, while the 65 109 fans eagerly awaited the next goal.

It came in the 69th minute after Victor Lindelof took Real’s Theo Hernandez down in the box and Brazilian Casemiro scored from the penalty spot.

Casemiro would get another chance from the spot in the shootout but hit the crossbar with Real’s fifth kick to leave United the winners.

The first four penalty takers all missed, prompting incredulous laughter from a crowd denied much of a game in the second half. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Daley Blind found the net for United while Luis Miguel Quezada was the only Real Madrid shooter to score.

Jose Mourinho was pleased to get the win but emphasised it was nothing more than a training exercise. His only real concern from the game was midfielder Ander Herrera limping off just minutes after coming on as a substitute in the second half.

“I also always say to the players, no risk in friendlies,” said Mourinho. “If you feel something, or if you feel something is coming, get out, because the result is not important.”

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was encouraged by what he saw from his team in their first pre-season match.

“It was our first game and we did quite well against a team that has had four or five games under their belts. I think that’s a positive,” Zidane told reporters.

“We hope we continue to find our form fast and that’s what we’re working on.”

The two sides are to meet again in the Uefa Super Cup on August 8 in Macedonia, which will be a much more competitive affair.

European champions Madrid next play Manchester City while United face Barcelona on

Ronaldo Brace Madrid For La-Liga Title

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace to help Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Sevilla, keeping his side as favourites to clinch La Liga ahead of Barcelona.

There were some berry moments for Zinedine Zidane’s side, particularly after Stevan Jovetic halved the deficit from 2-0 to 2-1 at the start of the second half, but Real Madrid’s quality shone through in the end.

Nacho Fernandez scored the opener in controversial circumstances, taking an early free kick as Sevilla prepared their wall. The referee allowed the goal to stand despite the protestations of the visitors, with Ronaldo doubling Real’s advantage before the break.

Goals from Ronaldo and Toni Kroos after Jovetic’s strike secured the points for the hosts, meaning they can leapfrog Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday night. The title is within their grasp.

TALKING POINT – Should Nacho Fernandez’s opener have stood?

Sevilla didn’t even know what was going on when Nacho netted the opening goal of the game, taking an early free kick while the visitors still sorted out their wall. The defender appeared to talk to the referee before striking the set piece, but should he have been allowed to do that? Should the goal have been allowed to stand? Was Nacho simply being inventive?

MAN OF THE MATCH – Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid needed their big players to turn up this evening with the league title on the line, and that’s what their biggest player did, with Ronaldo taking this game by the scruff of the neck. The Portuguese have turned into the complete number nine over the past few months, with this another demonstration of his credentials as a truly exceptional striker. The transformation from number seven to number nine is complete.

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid – Navas 8, Danilo 7, Ramos 6, Varane 6, Nacho 7, Kroos 7, Kovacic 7, James 6, Asensio 6, Morata 5, Ronaldo 8. Subs – Modric 5, Casemiro 5, Vazquez 5.

Sevilla – Rico 7, Mercado 6, Pareja 6, Carrico 5, Lenglet 5, Kranevitter 6, N’Zonzi 5, Vitolo 6, Vazquez 6, Correa 7, Jovetic 8. Subs – Ben Yedder 5, Montoya 6, Gonzalez 5.

KEY EVENTS

10’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla. Real Madrid has the lead and Sevilla didn’t even know what was going on! Nacho took the free kick early as the visitors were setting up their wall, with the referee allowing the goal to stand.

22’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla: It’s a second for Real Madrid! They flew forward on the counter attack through Asensio, with James’ shot inside the box falling to Ronaldo, who applied the finishing touch from close range.

35’ JOVETIC OFF THE CROSSBAR! That would have been an exceptional goal, attempting to chip Navas from the edge of the box, but Jovetic sees his effort come bouncing off the bar.

49’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla: There’s the goal to get Sevilla back into this game! Vitolo and N’Zonzi exchange passes to set up Jovetic, who does brilliantly to curl home a low finish from the edge of the box. Great finish.

78’ GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Sevilla: What an astonishing finish! That is incredible! Kroos fed Ronaldo, who found the back of the net with a stunning strike off the underside of the crossbar. The power that was hit with… wow!

84’ GOAL! Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla: And that will be that. Real Madrid has scored a fourth and they will claim three points from this. Nacho got down the outside and fed Kroos, who made no mistake in finding the far corner with a classy finish.

KEY STATS

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 400th and 401st goal for Real Madrid in all competitions (391 appearances).

Nacho Fernandez scored his first direct free-kick goal with his very first attempt for Real Madrid.

Ronaldo equalled Jimmy Greaves as the all-time top-scorer in the top five European leagues (366).

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