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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Barca could end Solari’s Real Madrid career

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Earlier this season, Julen Lopetegui knew definitively that his Real Madrid coaching tenure was over when Los Blancos were hammered 5-1 at the Camp Nou.

The manner of the defeat left Florentino Perez no other option, notwithstanding that the president needs no excuse to exercise his trigger finger. Continue reading

James Rodriguez to lead Real Madrid summer exodus

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James Rodriguez is set to leave La Liga this summer, with Real Madrid happy for the Colombian international to move on after an unfulfilled five years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rodriguez, 27, signed for Los Blancos ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, on the back of an outstanding performance at the World Cup two months before, however his face never seemed to fit at the club particularly under previous boss Zinedine Zidane.

Despite the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, he does not appear to be guaranteed a continued role in Bavaria either.

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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.

Is Marcelo finished at Real Madrid?

Having lost his place in the Real Madrid team in recent weeks, Sunday’s La Liga fixture against Girona was an opportunity for Marcelo to remind us all of his quality. After all, this is a guy who, for over a decade, has been among the best full backs in Europe. However, all his performance did was remind us of why he has lost his place in the first instance.

Sergio Reguilon has been a revelation for the European champions in recent weeks. The 22-year-old only made his professional debut in October, but Santiago Solari seems to have found the long term successor to Marcelo at left back. Or on the basis of recent displays, the short term successor.

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Of all the players to suffer a drop off in the post-Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo age at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marcelo’s demise has been among the most dramatic. Last season, he has widely hailed as the best full back in Europe. Now, it’s possible that his time at Real Madrid has effectively come to an end.

Against Girona on Sunday, Marcelo was largely at fault for the two goals that saw Real Madrid lose 2-1 and fall a massive nine points off the pace at the top of the Liga table. First, he gave the ball away that led to Cristhian Stuani’s equaliser from the spot. And then he allowed Portu to get away from him to squeeze home a header at the near post after a Thibaut Courtois save.

The visitors to the Santiago Bernabeu identified Marcelo as the weak link in Real Madrid’s team and they exposed that. Portu, in particular, got in behind the Brazilian left back time and time again and pushed Real Madrid back towards their own goal after a fairly passive first half performance.

Real Madrid have a series of big games quickly approaching. They have back-to-back Clasicos against Barcelona on the horizon, with the second leg of their last 16 tie against Ajax and then potentially a quarter final tie as well. If Marcelo is so vulnerable against Girona, a side fighting against relegation from La Liga this season, cam Solari really trust him against higher calibre opposition?

Marcelo will go down as a Real Madrid great, there will be a place for him in the club museum, but his time in the Spanish capital, at least as a first team pick might well be coming to an end.

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Real Madrid given La Liga head start in 2019

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Real Madrid will have a chance to lay down a 2019 marker to their La Liga rivals on Thursday night, before any other top four side has kicked a ball in 2019.

Santiago Solari’s side head to Villarreal for their first game of the calendar year, with a home game against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

The reason being that due Real’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, they have played a fixture less than their rivals this season.

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Defensive issues for Solari ahead of Valencia test

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Santiago Solari knew that life as Real Madrid manager would not be an easy ride, but following his first defeat last weekend, he now faces a huge La Liga clash against Valencia on Saturday.

The defending European champions were defeated 3-1 away at Eibar in La Liga Game Week 13, ending Solari’s honeymoon period of four unbeaten games in all competitions since taking over from Zinedine Zidane.

The Argentinian welcomed back first team stars Raphael Varane and Marcelo to his defence, following injury, but they were unable to keep Eibar out at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua.

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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.

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Solari set for Real Madrid managerial audition

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Santiago Solari has reportedly been given the chance to prove himself as the right man to lead Real Madrid out of their La Liga mess over the next few weeks.

Media reports in Spain claim that the former Argentina international has been given four matches to demonstrate his suitability for the role, by club president Florentino Perez.

Solari, who won the Champions League and and two La Liga titles as a player with Real Madrid, was announced as interim manager on Monday, following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

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Modric: Worthy of all the individual awards?

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real-madrid-010918nPortuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine legendary footballer Lionel Messi have dominated world football over the years with their supreme consistency and match-winning abilities.

However, it has all changed this season with Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric awarded the FIFA Men’s Player of 2018 award at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who were the other 2 finalists on the podium. It was all the more shocking considering the fact that Lionel Messi was not nominated amongst the Top 3 nominees for the first time since 2006. Not only this, the Croatian even went on to pip the Portuguese supremo and Liverpool’s maestro for the UEFA player of the year award on the back of an incredible season.

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