Real Madrid Opens Midfielder For Sale

Kovacic signed for Real Madrid from Inter Milan in 2015 on a six-year deal, joining up with his Croatian compatriot and “idol” Luka Modric at the Bernabeu.

However, Kovacic has struggled to command a regular starting role in Zinedine Zidane’s squad, making 19 starts in La Liga last season and completing a full 90 minutes on just nine occasions.

Standard Sport understands that Champions League holders Madrid are considering selling Kovacic, with the 23-year-old midfielder currently being offered to clubs around Europe.

Spurs have been made aware that Kovacic is available, but his contract demands could prove to be a stumbling block given Spurs’ rigid wage structure compared to their Premier League title rivals.

Any potential sale of Kovacic would hand Madrid valuable funds as they explore the possibility of making a world-record move for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe, who is also wanted by Arsenal.

 

 

Ronaldo Stands Out With His Performance Over Real-Madrid

No longer the flying winger of old, Cristiano Ronaldo showed his transformation to deadly centre-forward has been completed to perfection as he netted a superb hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 3-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

The Portuguese forward, who also scored a treble in the quarterfinal against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu, and five goals across that tie, is revelling in the central striker’s role he has adopted this season.

He was picked alongside Karim Benzema up front in Tuesday’s first-leg clash and produced a performance that marked him out as arguably the world’s best number nine, despite being a recent convert to the position.

While the 32-year-old’s critics point out he has lost some of his pace and the dribbling ability that allowed him to terrorise fullbacks in the past, the forward proved again that he remains as deadly as ever inside the area.

Tuesday’s treble took his tally for Real Madrid to 399 goals in 389 games, although the forward claims he scored another in 2010 that was officially awarded to defender Pepe.

“I am very happy for the goals and for reaching 400 goals with Real Madrid,” said Ronaldo, including the disputed effort.

“We have to congratulate the whole team, we were tremendous. It fell to me to score the goals. We played well from start to finish and the goals came naturally.”

As well as a positional switch, Ronaldo has had to deal this season with being rotated by French coach Zinedine Zidane, who has dropped the Portuguese for some of the team’s away trips to keep him fresh for the big occasions.

This has paid dividends with Ronaldo netting eight times in his last three Champions League games and overtaking Alfredo di Stefano as the all-time top scorer in European Cup semi-finals with 13.

“He has the instinct for goals, he’s unique,” said Zidane. “Sometimes he needs to rest and he knows that because he’s intelligent.”

Barring a miracle comeback by Atletico in the second leg Ronaldo will spearhead his team in the final in Cardiff on June 3, with the Portuguese looking in perfect shape to add a fourth Champions League medal to his collection.

Bayern Munich Faces Destiny With Marid

Bayern Munich face a familiar problem as they travel to old European foes Real Madrid on Tuesday needing to make history to keep faint hopes of Champions League glory alive.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second­-half double in Munich last week made him the first man to reach a century of European goals, but more importantly handed Madrid a vital 2-­1 first leg lead.

The 11­time European champions have never failed to progress after winning the first leg away from home in the Champions League.

“It won’t be easy, we’re the underdogs, but we’ll have a chance to win in Madrid,” insisted Bayern captain Philipp Lahm after Saturday’s 0-­0 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Recent history, though, would say otherwise.

Should Bayern fail to pull off a fight-back, it will be the fourth successive season they have been eliminated by Spanish opposition.

When Pep Guardiola was hired as Bayern boss in 2013, he was expected by the Bavarians’ demanding hierarchy to build on Jupp Heynckes’s treble and create a Bayern dynasty of the like that saw them win three consecutive European Cups between 1974-­1976.

Heynckes’s Bayern thrashed a worn down Barcelona left behind by Guardiola a year earlier 7­-0 on aggregate on their way to winning the Champions League.

However, the Germans have only known defeat in four visits to Spain since without even scoring a goal.

Guardiola was humiliated on his three returns to Spain as Bayern boss in three semifinal, first legs on the way to elimination against Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti was named as Guardiola’s replacement specifically for his European nous having won the Champions League a record three times as a coach.

Yet, the Italian hasn’t been able to find a solution for Bayern’s Spanish travel sickness as they also lost 1-­0 to Atletico on their most recent visit back in September.

Bayern’s struggles tell a broader tale, though, as Spanish sides have won their last 11 European ties against German opponents in the past three seasons.

With Ancelotti’s men needing to score at least twice to have any chance of progressing, it is just as well top scorer Robert Lewandowski looks set to shake off a shoulder injury to start at the Bernabeu.

The Pole, who has scored 38 goals in 40 games this season, missed the first leg and the stalemate against 10­-man Leverkusen in which Bayern missed a host of chances.

“The chances we missed were fatal,” fumed Thomas Mueller, whilst former Bayern star Lothar Matthaeus said Lewandowski is simply “irreplaceable.”

Lewandowski has haunted Madrid in the past, scoring four times in a famous semifinal, first leg rout for Borussia Dortmund on their way to the Champions League final in 2013.

And if Bayern need more encouragement, Ancelotti has shown he can dramatically turn around historic streaks in the past.

Before the 2013/14 season Madrid had won just once in 25 visits to Germany.

However, after smashing Schalke 6­-0 in Gelsenkirchen, they went on to eliminate both Dortmund and Bayern on their way to winning the competition.

A similar turnaround in Bayern’s fortunes would be sweet revenge for Ancelotti on his first return to the Santiago Bernabeu since being sacked by trigger happy Real president Florentino Perez in 2015.

 

 

Source: Super Sport

Tottenham Hotspur Threatens Premier League leaders Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur can inflict another psychological blow on Premier League leaders Chelsea by beating them in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal tie at Wembley, striker Harry Kane has said.

Chelsea, who were 10 points clear of second-placed Tottenham in March, have lost two of their last four league games, including Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Manchester United, to reduce their lead to four points with six league games remaining.

“It could be a big thing psychologically,” Kane told British media.

“Of course it’s a different competition so it’s hard to say, but it’s a big game for us … If we win next week it might put a bit more doubt in their minds regarding the Premier League.”

Kane said Tottenham had had a superb season, but urged his teammates not to take their foot off the pedal.

“If you look at the table, 71 points with six games left is incredible. We’ve got to make sure we finish strongly – it isn’t over yet,” Kane said.

Tottenham’s last FA Cup win over Chelsea came in 1982 but they beat the leaders 2-0 when the two sides met in the league at White Hart Lane in January.

Madrid’s Struggling Defense Keeps Lewandowski Till Champions League Semifinals

Real Madrid’s struggling defense will probably have to keep Bayern Munich’s deadly striker Robert Lewandowski at bay in the Bernabeu to reach the Champions League semifinals.

Real will be defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the quarterfinal, which the Polish hitman missed with the shoulder injury that also kept him out of the German side’s 0-0 draw at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

However, Lewandowski trained on Sunday and is poised to return as Bayern look for goals on Tuesday against a Real side that have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 games.

“I’m fine. I’m very pleased I was able to take part in training today. Everything’s OK,” said the Pole, who is Bayern’s top scorer with 38 goals in 40 games in all competitions.

Javi Martinez is banned after his first-leg red card, while Bayern may also be without the injured Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, who both missed the Leverkusen clash.

“Of the three (injured), Lewandowski has the better chance of being fit to play,” said Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“It will be very difficult in Madrid but we still have confidence. We still have an opportunity and we’ll do our best.”

Lewandowski has seven Champions League goals, level with Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and only behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (11) and Paris St Germain’s Edinson Cavani (8).

He is also joint top of the Bundesliga scoring charts with Aubameyang on 26 goals this season.

Lewandowski joined Bayern from Dortmund in 2014, a few months after Real Madrid knocked the Bavarians out of the Champions League at the semifinal stage.

Bayern were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate three years ago but Madrid’s defence is weaker now than it was then.

Pepe broke two ribs in this month’s Madrid derby with Atletico and misses the Bayern game along with French centre-back Raphael Varane, who still has a hamstring problem.

That leaves Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez as the pairing at the heart of the defence for Real, who are also without forward Gareth Bale due to his calf injury.

Madrid last kept a clean sheet against minnows Alaves on 2 April, and have not looked solid at the back all season.

They beat Sporting Gijon 3-2 on Saturday but conceded two sloppy goals, needing a 90th-minute winner from Isco to help them keep title rivals Barcelona at arm’s length.

“They had two chances and scored two goals,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said after the game. “(The players) all lost concentration, we weren’t switched on for the free-kick (that led to Sporting’s second goal).”

The Madrid side could pay a high price for any similar slip-ups against Bayern, particularly with Lewandowski lurking.

 

 

 

Source: Super Sport

Big Match Feature: Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are frequent opponents in the later stages of the UEFA Champions League, with 2016/17 marking their 11th such knockout tie in the European Cup.

This first leg is the 23rd match between the two sides, making it the most played fixture in UEFA club competition.

Both teams performed impressively in reaching the quarter-finals, Bayern dismantling Arsenal FC over two legs and Madrid – bidding to become the first side to retain the trophy in the UEFA Champions League era – proving too strong for Napoli.

his is the clubs’ third meeting in six seasons, each having won one of those ties. Overall, the teams have played in ten previous knockout contests – all in the European Cup – with five wins apiece.

Most recently, Madrid – then coached by current Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti – were 5-0 aggregate victors in the 2013/14 semi-finals, en route to lifting the trophy for a tenth time.

Karim Benzema (19) got the only goal of the first leg in Spain against Josep Guardiola’s Bayern, before Sergio Ramos (16, 20) and Cristiano Ronaldo (34, 90) scored twice apiece in Munich to inflict what remains Bayern’s heaviest European home defeat.

 

 

Source: Super sport

 

Ronaldo Nicknamed ‘cry baby’

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was nicknamed “cry baby” by his childhood teammates due to the temper tantrums he threw when the team lost or if he did not receive the ball,

Ricardo Santos played alongside the four-times world player of the year for amateur team CF Andorinha in Madeira, where Ronaldo’s father worked as a kit man.

“Cry-baby, yes, because Ronaldo already loved to win like he loves today and when he lost and when other kids didn’t pass the ball to him he used to cry,” Santos told Reuters.

Ronaldo’s desire to win has propelled him to four domestic league titles and three Champions League trophies during his stellar career with Manchester United and Real.

The 32-year-old, who is the Champions League’s all-time record goal scorer, captained the Portugal team who won last year’s European Championship in France.

 

Source: Supersport

Real Marid to Make a Move For Eden Harzard

Real Madrid intend to make a summer move for Eden Hazard as they seek the latest galáctico at the Santiago Bernabéu. They are also considering a bid for his Chelsea and Belgium team-mate Thibaut Courtois and believe the goalkeeper would be open to the move even though he has publicly stated he does not see himself leaving London.

The Spanish club have prepared a strategy they hope can force through a deal for Hazard and contact has been made with his camp. Madrid do not consider the large number of star players, including the “BBC” of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, to be an impediment to his inclusion in the team.