Zidane pushing for Real Madrid summer clear out

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Zinedine Zidane will push ahead with plans for a squad overhaul this summer, as he pledges to challenge Barcelona for the La Liga title in 2019-20.

The Frenchman has been clear in his desire to make changes at the club he led to three Champions League title between 2014 and 2017, and that means moving on some big names from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Club President Florentino Perez will fund certain transfer targets, but Zidane will have to clear out players to fund extra moves.

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Week 33: Best Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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It was a weekend that saw the top 5 clubs in Spain win and Barcelona edging nearer to the league title once more and their 4th championship in five years. In the big match to help progress a top 4 position Getafe and Sevilla, 4th v 5th and it was Getafe who won the game 3-0 and the club moved into 4th place. Indeed another contender for a top 4 placed emerged in Valencia as Sevilla dropped down to 6th place.

But which players were the best performing of the past weekend, and who has earned you the most points in your team- look at these players and perhaps if you don’t have them, get them quick, as the season draws ever closer.

Formation: 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: David Soria- Getafe

In truth there were a few goalkeepers that earned 7 points at the weekend including Jan Oblak for Atletico Madrid. But David Soria of Getafe gets the nod given that his side won 3-0 and kept a clean sheet in such a big game as playing Sevilla, it could be a turning point in his career and for the club this season. Soria is 6m and is currently the 3rd best ranked keeper in La Liga Fantasy.

Defender: Diego Godin- Atletico Madrid

All of Atletico Madrid’s back four put in a super shift as the club conquered over Eibar 1-0 away from home. This was Godin’s 4th clean sheet in the last five games, and his tactical awareness and tackles was pivotal to keeping another clean sheet. He is valued at 9m and is currently ranked as the best defender in La Liga- this performance simply underlined that.

Defender: Ignasi Miquel- Getafe

Miquel has started just 2 games for Getafe this season but was drafted into the team because of injuries and considering his lack of first team football put in a memorable display in the heart of a defence that stopped Sevilla from scoring. His value is 2.5m.

Defender: Gimenez- Atletico Madrid

We often talk about the more recognisable players of this brilliant Atletico Madrid defence, but Gimenez has put in his great displays too and did so well alongside Godin. He earned 5 points as Atletico beat tricky Eibar away from home 1-0 and his value to buy is 6m.

Defender: Raphael Varane- Real Madrid

Varane has not had a great season with Madrid but the hope is with Zinedine Zidane back with the team that will change. Varane has just 32 points this season but 5 were earned at the weekend as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0. Varane is valued at 8.5m.

Midfielder: Thomas Lemar- Atletico Madrid

Thomas Lemar not only scored the goal that won Atletico Madrid the match against Eibar but he put in a brave performance and looked very dangerous on the ball to earn 6 points this past weekend. Lemar has played 18 times and looks good value at 6m.

Midfielder: Sofiane Boufal- Celta Vigo

Sofiane Boufal has earned just 25 points this season and 20% of those points came in just one weekend as his club Celta Vigo rose to victory over Girona. Boufal was excellent as he assisted in the first goal and scored the 2nd, in a 2-1 win. However he dropped points for a yellow card. Boufal can be bought for 6.5m.

Midfielder: Marc Roca- Espanyol

Marc Roca seldom earns point but he got 4 at the weekend as Espanyol drew 2-2 against Levante away from home. Roca got his clubs 2nd goal which put them in the lead and played one of his best matches of the season. Roca is just 5m to buy.

Midfielder: Gareth Bale- Real Madrid

Earning 4 points was enough to get Gareth Bale into the team of the week. But the Real Madrid play maker had a good, solid and determined game. This culminated in the Welshman setting up Karim Benzema for the clubs 3rd goal at the end of the game. Bale has started 19 games this season and is valued at 11m.

Striker: Karim Benzema- Real Madrid

Karim Benzema has been in our team of the week quite a few times this season and he was simply sensational at the weekend, where he earned a massive 14 points after scoring a hat trick. Real Madrid beat Atlethic Bilbao 3-0 and Benzema got all of his goals in the 2nd half of play. He is valued at 10m and is ranked in fantasy La Liga as the 2nd best striker in the league.

Striker: Jorge Molina- Getafe

Jorge Molina and Getafe were playing perhaps the biggest and most important game of their season so far as Getafe played Sevilla a direct top 4 rival for Champions League qualification. Molina scored a penalty and a great goal in a match that ended 3-0. He has 9 goals this season and his value is rated at 6m. He is ranked 8th in Fantasy La Liga standings.

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Real Madrid must sell before they can buy

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Real Madrid are hopeful of radically overhauling their squad this summer, but much depends upon the sale of several star players. Media outlets always go into overdrive when it comes to talking about transfers in and out of the club, but this summer looks set to be even busier than usual.

Los Blancos currently sit a whopping 13 points off the summit of La Liga and suffered traumatic exits in both the Champions League and Copa del Rey. They are going to finish the season trophyless, and even worse they are going to finish it with two months of fixtures which, by all intents and purposes, are meaningless. Continue reading

Is Eden Hazard the right man for Real Madrid?

Anyone who watched Chelsea’s comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday evening surely drew one conclusion – Eden Hazard really wants a move to Real Madrid this summer. The Belgian has been the subject of much speculation linking him with a switch to the Spanish capital and against the Hammers at Stamford Bridge, he was in sparkling form.

Zinedine Zidane was surely watching. So certain are some outlets that Hazard will join Real Madrid at the end of the season they have even reported the exact fee, with Chelsea said to be demanding £100 for their prize asset. With just one year left on Hazard’s contract, that would appear to be market value.

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Do Real Madrid need Hazard, though? Zidane will lead an overhaul of the tired and creaking squad at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, with outgoings expected along with incomings. Real Madrid never really replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and Hazard is seen by many as the natural successor to the Portuguese forward.

It’s certainly true that Hazard as the strength of personality to handle the pressure that comes with being a ‘Galactico.’ He has been building up to this moment his entire career and so it’s unsurprising that the Belgian has ramped up his performances for Chelsea just as speculation has come to a head.

But what about his positional use to Real Madrid? Hazard, by trade, plays on the left wing. That is, arguably, where Real Madrid are best equipped for the future, with Vinicius Junior the youthful face of the club after a breakthrough season. Zidane also has Marco Asensio in that position. So where would Hazard fit in?

Could he play on the right side? That’s Gareth Bale’s position right now, but the Welshman could be sold to make way for Hazard, so there could be a gap to fill there. But that would require Hazard to adapt his natural game. Are Real Madrid really going to pay £100 million for the Belgian only to turn him into a different player?

Zidane could feasibly use Hazard through the middle, behind Karim Benzema as the central striker. The Belgian has played there before in his career, but not always to great effect. So while Hazard might be destined to pitch up at Real Madrid this summer, it’s not yet clear where he will actually fit in.

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Will Zidane axe Bale at Real Madrid next season?

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Was Gareth Bale’s fate sealed at Real Madrid when Zinedine Zidane made a stunning return back to the club a few weeks ago? Well that is open to debate but when we think of Bale and Zidane’s relationship we think of immediately what happened after the Champions League final last year.

Even though Madrid had just beaten Liverpool to win their 3rd straight Champions League title and their 4th in 5 years, Zidane was being coy and Bale was being irritable. It felt that change was imminent- and it was. Gone was Ronaldo to Juventus and Zidane quit the club, and Bale stayed.

In the following season it was painfully evident that Madrid had lost too much quality and Bale was not able to carry the club, even though he has scored 14 goals this season. The famously difficult Madrid fans have really vented their anger and frustration at Bale, easily one of their best players in the last decade and even Ronaldo would get booed at times.

But fan negativity has been hard on Bale who knows that his quality would be appreciated much differently at another club. Zidane has made it clear that he sees no problem with Bale, but given that there is still two months of the season to go this is what the Frenchman is going to say.

Madrid need change at the club that is evident and whilst Bale is good enough to play for many more years, the fact that he has already been at the Bernabeu for 6 seasons and is 29, he is sellable. Zidane will understand that money will be available for his side, but that selling Bale could bring in anything between 80-100m extra which is going to give the club’s spending that much more power.

It is not that Bale isn’t good enough, the real issue lies with the fact that Zidane who is ever trying to refresh his sides will simply want new blood, and if Bale is sold in the summer which does look expected he should leave a hero and one of the very best players to have played for Madrid in the last 10 years.

As far as which club would Bale join, the offers should be plenty and of course there will be a temptation for him to come back to the Premier League. A return to Tottenham should not be ruled out and it would be an emotional one for the Welshman- a new stadium for Tottenham together with Bale’s return would be magic.

Otherwise such is the quality of Bale that he could play in any major league and with his fitness at a great level he has at least four years at the very top.

Fantasy La Liga picks for this weekend’s Spanish league action

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Spain’s La Liga returns to action this weekend after the final international break of the season.

Starting with Girona v Athletic Bilbao on Friday night, all 20 teams are in action over a 48-hour period.

We’ve had a look at who we think the smartest fantasy La Liga picks are for the upcoming fixtures.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy La Liga team this weekend.

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Does Zinedine Zidane’s return signal the end for Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Within minutes of the full time whistling after last season’s Champions League final, with Real Madrid’s players still celebrating on the pitch at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Gareth Bale threw fresh doubt on his future in the Spanish capital. His remarks were the clearest sign yet that the Welshman could be set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

Of course, as we know, Bale ultimately stayed at Real Madrid. His relationship with Zinedine Zidane had broken down, but the Frenchman resigned from his position before the Welsh winger could plot a route out for himself. With Cristiano Ronaldo also leaving for Juventus, this was seen as a fresh start for Bale.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale look dejected after the first goal of Sevilla team during their soccer match in Seville

The 29-year-old has failed to make the most of this opportunity, though. Under both Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, Bale failed to make himself a first team pick. He has become a scapegoat for the notoriously tough to please Santiago Bernabeu faithful, involved in a number of incidents which have made negative headlines in the Spanish capital.

And now Zidane is back. Indeed, the Frenchman made a shock return to Real Madrid on Monday, taking over from Solari following a week in which their entire season fell apart, dropping out of the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Liga title race and the Champions League all in the space of six days.

With Zidane back at the helm, an overhaul is now expected in the summer. Players like Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have all been linked with a move to Real Madrid as the capital club look to move into a new generation, but many are also expected to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are weighed down by a number of ageing stars on big money. Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, among others, may well be club legends, but the time has come for them to be moved on. Bale might be another who is moved on.

A parting of ways might be best for both parties at this point. There is now such a circus around Bale that it’s difficult to envisage how he will ever turn things around. The Welshman’s options have never been narrower, with Manchester United no longer so keen and Chelsea recently handed a transfer ban, but staying at Real Madrid might not be open to him either.

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Zidane’s Real Madrid return could offer reprieve for Isco

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The return to La Liga side Real Madrid of Zinedine Zidane could spell a return to first team action for midfielder Isco, after previous boss Santiago Solari froze out the Spanish international this season.

The former Malaga player has not started a La Liga game since Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui in back in October 2018, and the club announced earlier this week that they would be opening disciplinary proceedings against him, after he missed a team meeting.

However, with Zidane coming back to the club he left nine months ago, he could look to bring the 26 year-old back in from the cold.

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Is Zidane the right choice for Real Madrid?

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No one could’ve predicted a scenario that saw Zinedine Zidane take over the Real Madrid hotseat just 10 months after he left it, but that’s precisely what’s happened in the aftermath of Los Blancos sacking their second coach this season, Santiago Solari.

The reasons could be many and though he’s not short of a euro or two, financial considerations will surely have played a huge part.

A promise from Florentino Perez that certain players will arrive or that Zidane will have a war chest of cash to go out and buy the very best is likely to be another. Continue reading

Real Madrid all but surrender late title bid with shock defeat to Girona

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Last Sunday morning, the Santiago Bernabeu bore witness to what may well have been the end of Real Madrid’s thin hopes of a late La Liga title challenge.

The Spanish giants and current Champions League holders stumbled to a 2-1 defeat to bottom-half side Girona in front of their disillusioned fans.

Girona are enjoying only their third season in the top flight of Spanish football having been promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2016.

Let’s take a look at the fantasy football heroes and zeroes after this surprise win for the Catalonian club.