Real Madrid’s clear out begins

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The news that Sergio Ramos has personally requested a transfer from Real Madrid should sound the alarm bells.

With a plethora of staff already being made available by the club, losing their talismanic captain just a year after Cristiano Ronaldo is a sure sign that Los Blancos are still on the way down.

Zinedine Zidane knew when he returned to the helm at the Santiago Bernabeu that this wouldn’t be an overnight job, but even he must’ve been surprised at just how far behind Barcelona his side have fallen. Continue reading

Keylor Navas set for Real Madrid exit

Keylor Navas

A multitude of reports in the Spanish press on Monday stated that Real Madrid had informed long-serving goalkeeper Keylor Navas that his time at the club was up. The 32-year-old’s final game at the club is set to be against Real Betis on Sunday, in an opportunity for him to say his goodbyes to the fans after five years in the Spanish capital.

The Costa Rican appeared certain to leave the European champions last summer whenever their €40m deal for Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea was completed. However, the Costa Rican number one stuck it out in the Spanish capital and continually referenced his contract at the club and even stating ‘he would rather die’ than leave the Bernabeu. Continue reading

Real Madrid to choose Keylor Navas or Thibaut Courtois

Keylor Navas

Real Madrid appear almost certain to sell one of their two star goalkeepers this summer. It was widely speculated last year that Keylor Navas was certain to leave the European champions whenever their €40m deal for Thibaut Courtois was completed.

However, the Costa Rican number one stuck it out in the Spanish capital and continually referenced his contract at the club and even stating ‘he would rather die’ than leave the Bernabeu. The dramatic statement certainly conveyed his point – this was a player who could only see a career going one way after leaving Madrid, down.

Navas was selected for the first two La Liga games of the campaign under Julen Lopetegui but not used in the league thereafter, when Courtois assumed the number one role. He featured just twice in five months under Santiago Solari, Lopetegui’s successor and it appeared his future at the club appeared to be short.

Yet just as a series of other established Madrid players – most notably Marcelo and Isco – Zinedine Zidane’s return to the club seemed to be a turning point. Navas has been selected as started in five La Liga matches across April and made a series of fine saves in each. Now, the future of both him and Courtois appears unclear.

“I would understand if a goalkeeper asked me to leave for the next season, it could happen,” Zidane said of the subject, as cited by El Espanol. “I said recently that I had the best three, both are there and there is another young man who has a very good future. Keylor and Thibaut are very good, I must choose just one of course and that is a complicated thing for me when I have to choose what is better for the team.”

Courtois appears to be the better all-round goalkeeper, and alongside the time and money the club invested into his signing a year ago, it would appear logical that he would be the number one going forwards. Yet Navas won three Champions League titles for the club and has proven not only very loyal but hugely important. He keeps producing the big moments and appears to have the lasting trust of Zidane.

Both are far too good to be the number two at any clubs. Could Paris Saint-Germain swoop for one of the shot-stoppers? Or may Manchester United look to replace David De Gea? Navas and Courtois would appear to be excellent alternatives who may be available.

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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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Zidane open to Courtios exit this summer

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With attention turning to next season, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has made it very clear that he expects to challenge for the La Liga title in 2019-20.

The Frenchman has been widely reported to be keen on bringing in a number of new faces to inject some life into his ageing side in the coming months.

However, despite club president Florentino Perez confirming he would be backing Zidane in the transfer market, he will have to make some space in his squad with some high profile departures – with goal keeper Thibaut Courtois the latest name to be linked with an exit.

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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

Goalkeeper crisis at Real Madrid ahead of Sevilla clash

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Real Madrid are facing an injury crisis between the sticks as they prepare to host Sevilla tomorrow night, with both of their first choice La Liga net minders potentially sidelined through injury.

Santiago Solari’s side will be desperate to beat Los Rojiblancos, with Pablo Machin’s currently in third, and Real in fourth, separated only by goal difference.

However, the hosts have been hit with a succession of injuries in their squad, and fourth choice goal keeper Luca Zidane could be in line to step in for only his second ever senior appearance.

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Courtois no replacement for Navas based on recent form at Real Madrid

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All eyes are on Real Madrid who have imploded since the beginning of the season. Strange for a club who of course are current European champions and have won that competition for the past 3 years. This was another season that was supposed to go smoothly but it hasn’t been that way at all.

For no other reason than to bring in another star, Real Madrid president sanctioned the deal to bring Thibaut Courtois to the club from Chelsea in the summer. It was no secret that Madrid had been after the former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper for the past couple of seasons. Chelsea understandably would not budge, which financially ended up working in Madrid’s favour as they got him for a cut price deal. Make no mistake Courtois is a top 10 goalkeeper in the world. However his start to the season where he has played 7 of the first 9 games has not suggested so.

This past weekend Real Madrid lost again in the league, this time at home to Levante and Courtois looked to blame for at least one of the goals. Whilst it is easy to point the finger at Courtois, one needs to be reminded that he has been one of the best and most consistent goal keepers of the past few years. He will get better at the club and grow stronger because the reality is that the whole team are not performing as they should and he is just one cog in the machine. But the attention has been focused on the keeper and boos could be heard from the infamous difficult fans towards him.

Of course they have a soft spot for Keylar Navas the man behind the sticks who led Madrid to so many European titles. To be fair Navas has done very little wrong at the club and his only wrongdoing seems to be that he is five years older than Courtois. One senses that there could be a rift between the two goalkeepers, where Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has opted to drop Navas from the league games but play him in the Champions League.

This is a massive week for Real Madrid who should beat Viktoria Plzen at home in the Champions League, but it is a result they need to win after losing in Russia last time out. And then following that is the Barcelona match away from home. Which goalkeeper will be ruling the roost then? And you have to wonder if Courtois felt happier in the confines of Stamford Bridge rather than Santiago Bernabeu, where the circus seems to be just beginning.

Casemiro- The Next Makelele

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14962557423749The Santiago Bernabeu wore a festive look with the club supporters in a state of excitement. It seemed as if Christmas had come early. There was every reason to believe so with their beloved team Real Madrid all set to battle it out against fierce rivals Barcelona at home, trailing the latter by just 3 points. A win at home had every chance of generating the momentum necessary for a league challenge.

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique had opted to rest Argentine superstar Lionel Messi who had been a major threat in previous fixtures scoring goals and assists with great splendour which was nothing short of music to the ears. At the same time, Spanish manager Rafa Benitez had fielded a lineup consisting of some of the most attacking minded midfielders in the business like Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos.

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Dani Ceballos’s Coming of Age Season

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992139-01-02There was an unnatural sense of excitement in the air as journalists whispered furiously amongst themselves at the end of an emphatic 3-1 win for Spain against Italy in the semifinals of the UEFA European U-21 Championship conducted in 2017. While the hero of the night undoubtedly was Atletico midfielder Saul who smashed a hat-trick under pressure, there was another youngster who had caught the eye with his spectacular performance, bewitching the audience with his tricks and mesmerising gameplay.

It was none other than 20-year-old Real Betis midfielder Dani Ceballos who made heads turn with his patience, vision and a perfectly weighted assist for Saul’s opener despite the presence of established players like Gerard Deulofeu, Héctor Bellerín. Italian midfielder Roberto Gagliardini lost his mind completely when nutmegged by Ceballos, going to the extent of knocking him to the ground in a desperate attempt to salvage some pride earning him a red card.

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