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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Week 31: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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Barcelona look like they will win the league after their season defining match up against 2nd placed Atletico Madrid ended in a 2-0 win for the Catalan giants, courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. The win took Barcelona a huge 11 points clear with just 21 left on the board. Below we take a look at the best performing players this past weekend in La Liga for your fantasy team.

Formation: 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Marc ter Stegen- Barcelona

Several goalkeeprs achieved 7pts this weekend but we will give the nod to Barcelona’s Marc ter Stegen based on the fact that Barca kept out the 2nd best team in Spain Atletico Madrid and ter Stegen kept a clean sheet against a team who had scored 45 times this season. ter Stegen is 2nd in the rankings and can be bought for 10m.

Defender: Jordi Alba- Barcelona

A colossal performance from Jordi Alba at the back for Barca who isn’t afraid to also attack and cause problems for the opposition. With just five minutes left v Atletico Madrid the match was 0-0 and he assisted in Luis Suarez’s goal, a famous performance and Alba is 3rd in the fantasy rankings and can be bought for 9m.

Defender: Djene- Getafe

Getafe have been brilliant this season and could qualify for the Champions League- they are currently in 4th place and Djene put in a terrific performance in defence, keeping a clean sheet as his team beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0. Djene ‘s value is 5.5m.

Defender: Sergi Gomez- Sevilla

Sergi Gomez was part of the Sevilla side who beat Valladolid 2-0 away from home in a tricky match on paper. It took Sevilla to 5th place and just 1 point behind Getafe. Gomez earned 5pts for his troubles and he is valued at just 6.5m which looks like a bargain.

Defender: Abdoulaye Ba- Rayo Vallecano

Abdoulaye Ba has started 20 games for Vallecano and has been part of a team that has conceded a massive 54 goals this season. That is why he deserves to be included in this team of the week for performers as he kept a rare clean sheet as Vallecano beat the mighty Valencia 2-0. It was a fantastic result for the club and Ba would cost 4m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Real Betis

The ex Barcelona player Lo Celso earned a huge 8pts at the weekend as Real Betis beat Villarreal 2-1. But it was an even more memorable weekend for Lo Celso who grabbed both of Betis’ goals. Lo Celso can be snapped up for 6m.

Midfielder: Sergi Darder- Espanyol

Sergi Darder is 10th in the midfielder rankings for fantasy la liga and he secured 8pts at the weekend as he opened up the scoring for Espanyol who went onto win their game 2-1. Darder is valued at 6.5m and has played 25 times this season.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

This was a massive game for Embarba who assisted in both of Rayo Vallecano’s goals as they beat Valencia 2-0 given the team a massive boost of staying up. Embarba will need a few repeat performances if his side are to stay in La Liga and would cost just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Roque- Sevilla

Roque has struggled this season and started just 15 times being used as a substitute on a few occasions. However he earned 6pts as Sevilla kept a clean sheet in a highly intense game. Roque is valued at 3m.

Striker: Karim Benzema- Real Madrid

With most of the goals being scored by midfielders and defenders in La Liga this past weekend Karim Benzema was far and away the best performing striker in La Liga. The Real Madrid forward earned 8pts as he scored both of his sides goals in their 2-1 win over Eibar. Benzema would cost 10m.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo

Aspas has been here before as one of the best performers in La Liga and has done it again. He earned 7pts as Celta Vigo won 3-1 and he scored 2 of the goals to give his side a much needed 3pts. Aspas can be bought for 8.5m.

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Our La Liga fantasy football picks for this weekend

La Liga

After this week’s midweek fixtures, La Liga returns at the weekend with a full schedule of games. All 20 of Spain’s top-tier teams are in action on Saturday and Sunday.

As always, we’ve taken a look at the fixtures from a La Liga fantasy football viewpoint to help you with your picks for the weekend.

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

Goalkeeper – Norberto Neto (Valencia) – 7.0 million

Valencia travel to play lowly Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening. It’s a good chance for a clean sheet for the away side. Neto has 7 points this season. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Week 27: Best 11 Fantasy Players in La Liga

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Week 27 of Span’s La Liga season didn’t see much movement at the top as all of the top 4 sides won their respective games. Only Atletico Madrid have a chance of catching Barcelona now and they are still 7 points adrift of Lionel Messi and co. Below we take a look at the players that performed the best over the weekend.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Asenjo

Villarreal’s 2-0 win over Levante away from home at the weekend was huge as it lifted the team out of the relegation zone. Asenjo made some critical saves and kept a clean sheet to get into this team. He is ranked as the 9th best keeper this season in la liga fantasy even though his team are 17th which says a lot about his overall value to the team and perhaps he is a snip to keep up his form at 7m.

Defender: Victor Ruiz

Ruiz has not performed so well this season but was part of a Villarreal team that needed to win at the weekend and held firm to keep a clean sheet and earn 5pts. He is valued at 7m.

Defender: Santiago Arias

Santiago Arias makes our cut again as he was part of an Atletico Madrid side who claimed a clean sheet at home against Leganes. Arias has been one of the best defenders in La Liga this season and is currently ranked in 3rd place, his value is 8.5m

Defender: Aissa Mandi

Mandi has been solid for Real Betis at the back for the past few seasons and the youngster who used to play for Reims was part of  a defence that kept  a clean sheet against Celta Vigo to earn 5pts in La Liga fantasy he is currently just outside the top 10 standings.

Defender: Juan Torres

Torres led the line for Atletico once again and remains an integral part of the squad. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak has become very reliant on him as his team once again kept  a clean sheet to put the pressure on Barcelona. Torres is just 5m if you want to add him to your squad and earned another 5pts at the weekend.

Midfielder: Luka Modric

The Real Madrid and world player of the year shot into life v Rayo Valladolid and his team needed him as they romped home 4-1. Modric got on the score sheet to earn himself 4pts and his confidence took a major boost. He is valued at 8m.

Midfielder: Sarabia

There is no better midfielder in Spain than Sarabia who heads our La Liga midfielder fantasy points and he added another 4pts as he scored for Sevilla in their fantastic 5-2 win over Real Sociedad to keep the club in the hunt for a European finish. He is valued at 7m which looks like a bargain and is a massive 14pts ahead of 2nd place.

Midfielder: Daniel Parejo

The Valencia stalwart sits in 2nd place in the fantasy La Liga standings and earned 4pts at the weekend with his club as they beat Girona in a classic 3-2 match. He is valued at 8.5m.

Midfielder: Santiago Carzola

Carzola assisted the vital goal which helped his club Villarreal to a win and climbed out of the danger zone also. Carzola is 8th in the standings and valued at just 5.5m which looks like a good buy.

Striker: Wissam Ben Yedder

We don’t have to look further than Ben Yedder for our striker of the week after the forward scored a magical hat trick against Real Sociedad in the clubs 5-2 win and earned a massive 14pts in the process. He is ranked 3rd in La Liga fantasy striker and just 3pts behind Luis Suarez. Ben Yedder’s value is 7m.

Striker: Karim Benzema

The Real Madrid forward needed a game like this after a bad couple of weeks for his side. Madrid beat Vallecano 4-1 and Benzema looked back to his best scoring 2 goals and then assisting for Modric to score the 4th and final goal. He is valued at 10m and earned 10pts.

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

Real Madrid v Girona

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.

Barcelona’s incentive to end Real Madrid’s season

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There was a 50 percent chance of it happening, and once Valencia and Real Betis had been drawn out of the Copa del Rey hat, it meant that, yes, we were going to see a two-legged El Clasico semi-final.

Moreover, the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu precedes a league match between the two teams at the same venue just 72 hours later.

It’s the first time in Barcelona’s history that they will have played two consecutive games at the Bernabeu, and given their recent record there, the Blaugrana will be entirely confident of continuing their run of victories. Continue reading

Nothing between the La Liga chasing pack

With just one game remaining ahead of the La Liga winter break, the race to catch Barcelona remains incredibly tight.

Pablo Machin’s Sevilla are in second place, three points behind the Catalans, with Atletico Madrid in third, on goal difference.

Santiago Solari’s Real Madrid, who have improved since his arrival, are up to fourth -three points behind Atletico.

Continue reading

Benzema enjoying life under Solari

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The confirmation of Santiago Solari as the permanent boss of Real Madrid has dominated La Liga news in the last two weeks.

Solari has impressed in the brief time he’s been in charge, winning four out of four games in all competitions, stabilising the club following a tumultuous start to the season, under former boss Julen Lopetegui.

The biggest story of his time at the helm has been the form of Karim Benzema, who has rediscovered his goal scoring touch.

Continue reading

Ballon Bore – How the awards have become a laughing stock

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There once was a time when the Ballon d’Or awards really seemed to mean something.

Being the best in the world in the eyes of your peers was a gong worth winning and most of the time there was no real argument as to who the eventual winner was.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have monopolised the award, however, we’ve seen ridiculous tactical voting and even an unprecedented extension of the voting period in order to allow the Portuguese to win it during the year in which he was well behind the Argentinian at the original cut off point.

The situation has only been made worse with a splintering of the award in the recent past.

Now we have FIFA’s ‘The Best’ as a rival to France Football’s Ballon d’Or, as well as the UEFA Player of the Year.

We’ve seen people crowned as the best in their respective position who’ve then not made the team of the year (Thibaut Courtois), and Mo Salah winning the best goal of the year in the Puskas Award when it was abundantly clear that his strike was nowhere close to the best effort.

Though it was probably a knee-jerk reaction at the time, Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo’s agent, saying that only Real Madrid players win the award, when FIFA’s The Best was given to Luka Modric rather than his client, was telling.

With the greatest of respect, including Karim Benzema on the list of 30 players for this season’s Ballon d’Or is utterly farcical.

The Frenchman has struggled to put the ball in the back of the net for the best part of a year now, and after an initial burst of goals at the start of this campaign, is back to the poor form of 2017/18.

There is literally no reason for him to be on the list other than the fact that he plays for Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi is unlikely to win it this year, after missing out on both the UEFA Team of the Year and FIFA’s The Best, however, out of every candidate, with the possible exceptions of Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann, the Argentinian deserves it.

Griezmann has already been vocal in saying that the best player has to come from the best team, insinuating that a French World Cup winner has to win. As he’s also won the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup, there’s a school of thought that would agree with him.

Equally, a third successive Champions League trophy for Real Madrid gives Ronaldo a shout.

However, the Ballon d’Or is an individual award, and no one player has done more than Messi to rightfully stake a claim.

Goals, assists, key passes, completed passes… the No.10 reigns supreme.

Frankly, if the governing bodies can’t or won’t give the award to the players who deserve it the most, what’s the real point of making such a song and dance about them in the first place?!

All it’s doing is alienating the public further and treating them with contempt.

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