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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Can Benzema return to his best under Lopetegui?

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Karim-Benzema-1040x572The appointment of then Spain manager Juen Lopetegui as the eventual successor of legendary manager Zinedine Zidane whose sudden, unexpected exit sent shockwaves down the spine of Madrid supporters all around the world invited contrasting viewpoints from different sections. With the likes of Andre Villa-Boas, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio Pochetinho hailed as potential favourites, the appointment of a Spanish manager was greeted with suspicion especially considering the fact that none of the last 5 native managers appointed for the managerial role had managed to exceed 7 months.

Lopetegui was sacked just a day before the commencement of the world cup by the Spanish footballing federation who were bemused at the utter disrespect on show by the Galacticos who announced the appointment of Lopetegui on the eve of the world cup. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has not been known to see eye-to-eye with the federation on numerous occasions which certainly played a key role in the harsh decision by the board.

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Real Madrid- The only side with 2 World-Class Goalkeepers

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NAVAS“This club has great history and we’re writing more now, as the club has done over the years. Madrid never give up,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane may be known for his hard as nails attitude but one could distinctly feel a tinge of emotion in his voice as his beloved club earned a spot in the UCL finals for the third successive season after a hard-fought win over bitter rivals Bayern Munich.

The Frenchman’s comments drew mixed responses from the experts with a certain section of the pundits perceiving his remarks as “downright arrogant” in nature. The Los Blancos certainly had the perfect response in store with a dominating 3-1 win in the Champions League finals over cup challengers Liverpool, emerging as the only side to lift the illustrious trophy for 3 consecutive years.

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What is Keylor Navas’ future at Real Madrid?

The story goes that Thibaut Courtois slept with a poster of the Santiago Bernabeu above his bed when he was a teenager back in Belgium. This was revealed by a journalist who decided to omit this detail from a story he did about the goalkeeper on the verge of his move to Atletico Madrid, as to ensure the youngster didn’t become a target.

This detail goes some way to explaining why Courtois looked so elated to be revealed as a Real Madrid player on Thursday, even kissing the new badge on his chest as he was presented to the club’s fans. It’s the move that the Belgian shot-stopper had pined for and went some way to ensuring happened.

Keylor Navas

But what does this move mean for Keylor Navas, the goalkeeper who has won four Champions League titles in five years with Real Madrid? The Costa Rican is considered one of the best in the game and yet the Spanish giants have sought to replace him every single summer since he signed after the 2014 World Cup.

David De Gea came within a dodgy fax machine of making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu back in the summer of 2015, with the Manchester United a target for Real Madrid ever since. But even when it came apparent that de Gea was unavailable, Real Madrid still did all they could to undermine Navas, eventually moving for Courtois, with some questioning whether the Belgian is even an upgrade on the current number one at the Santiago Bernabeu.

So what does the future now hold for Navas? Courtois says that he will not take his starting position for granted, but it’s hard to envisage that Real Madrid have spent £35 million on the Belgian not to put him in the lineup. So will Navas stay in the Spanish capital and fight for his place or would it be wise for him to move on and find a new club?

On the basis of Navas’ comments, it seems highly unlikely that he will be looking to do the latter. “Tell everyone loud and clear, I have as much enthusiasm for leaving Madrid as I do for dying,” he said after news of Courtois’ move to Real Madrid surfaced, all but skewering all speculation linking him with an exit from the European champions.

Courtois also seems wary of the challenge he will face in keeping Navas out of the team “When I arrived at Chelsea I had to replace [Petr] Cech and there was the same question,” he said. “I’ve still got a good relationship with him today. We goalkeepers are a separate group within the squad and I’m going to do all I can to make sure we all get on well.”

As many see it, Navas is simply too good to be sat on the bench, regardless of whether or not that is the bench at the Santiago Bernabeu. But the Costa Rican might be too proud to accept defeat and move on. Why should he?

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Should Real Madrid sell Keylor Navas and sign Thibaut Courtois?

courtoisReports are emerging that Real Madrid have made a breakthrough in their efforts to bring in a new goalkeeper this summer, with French media outlet RMC claiming that a deal has been struck with Premier League side Chelsea for the capture of their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The 6ft 6in goalkeeper is said to be on his way to the Bernabeu for around £31m, but that deal would throw a spanner into the works regarding to future of incumbent custodian Keylor Navas at Los Blancos. Navas joined Real back in 2014 from Levante and has gone on to make 94 appearances, but Courtois’ potential arrival could bring an end to a tenure at the Spanish giants that didn’t seem in too much doubt.

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Top EPL Goalkeepers in 2017/18 – David de Gea (Man Utd)

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2017/18 has arguably been a somewhat confusing season to be a Man Utd fan (or, indeed, a neutral looking at Man Utd from the outside). Second placed finishes in both the Premier League and FA Cup were reminiscent of the 1994/95 season, when they lost out to Blackburn and Everton respectively. At that time, though, the club were just getting going with a period of domination in the English game not seen since, and a spell of glory which reigned for 20 years or so. This time, however, they are a club still recovering from the departure of their most successful manager ever, Sir Alex Ferguson. With that said, incumbent boss Jose Mourinho has emulated Sir Alex’s achievement 24 years ago, and yet the supporters are divided over whether or not they want the Portuguese to remain in the Old Trafford hotseat moving forward.

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