Zinedine Zidane’s biggest season is coming up at Real Madrid

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They say never go back, but in the case of Zinedine Zidane that is what he did at Real Madrid. Walking away after the 2018 Champions League final win over Liverpool, Madrid went into meltdown. Not only did Zidane leave but so did Cristiano Ronaldo and president Florentino Perez went through two managers before Zidane waltzed his way back into the Bernabeu 10 months after leaving.

Truth is though results have not improved since he took over from the beleaguered and unfortunate Santiago Solari. Zidane holds just a 50% win rate compared to a near 70% from his first spell. One wonders if the appointment of Zidane should have been delayed until the end of the season, because at the moment everything looks so deflated even with Zidane in charge.

Real Madrid’s latest defeat came at the hands of Real Sociedad in a 3-1 loss, though to be fair Madrid have never travelled well up to Basque Country. And it does feel that players have switched onto holiday mode and the league still has one more game to go. Real will finish 3rd whatever happens and that guarantees Champions League football for next season, and next season is what it’s really all about for the club.

There will be huge change at the club in the summer and this is when Zidane will be making some sweeping changes to the club. Gareth Bale is almost certain to leave the club. The Welshman still boasts superb quality and would be a fantastic addition to any club in the world, but he needs change, a refresher course so to speak and Madrid still know that he is worth at least 70 million euros to buyers. Toni Kroos seems to have let the season pass him by and could leave also.

But one wonders if Zidane is really ready to shake the apple tree up. Is it time for Sergio Ramos and Marcelo to depart, staple players of the team in the 2010s, but one has to question if their hunger and desire is really there at the club anymore. If they can convince Zidane that it is then maybe they will stay. Karim Benzema who has actually had a decent personal season with the club may have played his last only because of the players that could be coming in.

Madrid have been linked to the likes of Eden Hazard, Neymar and even Kylian Mbappe. It will be interesting to see who the club bring in, but for sure they will have to sell first and at least 6 first team players will be playing their last games for the club next weekend.

For Zidane his 2nd term at Madrid really starts at the end of this season and it could be a career defining one. This will be the season targeted as the comeback one, Barcelon beware.

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

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.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos is spinning out of control

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Sergio Ramos has always been a volatile player but he has also been such a figure head at the club and unquestionably one of the great defenders in world football as he has led Real Madrid to trophy after trophy, but lately it feels as if the player has lost the plot.

His latest problems started last week in the Champions League when Real Madrid the defending champions who have of course won the trophy for the past 3 seasons were playing Ajax away. Real won the game 2-1 but Ramos noticed something- that was he was one yellow card from suspension. If Real were to go through to the quarter finals which looks like it will now happen then he could have risked missing one of those games. However if Ramos was to be booked in this game against Ajax he would only miss the 2nd leg in Spain of which Real were winning 2-1. Ramos ended the game getting booked.

Conspiracies can start and end there as after the game Ramos appeared to say that he did indeed get booked intentionally to miss the next game. Of course UEFA have now opened up an investigation and if they find the player guilty then he could miss 2 or even 3 games in the competition.

Ramos admitted it and then changed his mind on Twitter, certainly the Real Madrid hierarchy had had a word with him. What is confusing is why did he admit it? And by doing so it showed a lot of disrespect to the opponent.

That aside at the weekend Ramos was in the news again. This time Real Madrid needing all of the points against Girona at home took the lead in the game only to end up losing the match 2-1 in what was seen as a big shock. The defeat could well effectively end the teams chances of catching Barcelona in La Liga, they are now 9 points behind their great rival and to make matters worse Atletico Madrid are in between them.

But this game isn’t over until it is over and Ramos put the icing on his week by getting sent off after receiving two yellow cards. So Madrid will be without him for their next game against away to Levante.

What is shocking is that the sending off at the weekend was Ramos’ 25th in his career and he is 32, with possibly another 2-3 seasons left at Madrid. Can he reach 30? For the club though this is another loss of a player that they need in defence. For Ramos the story continues and so does his consistency.

Euro Fantasy League Podcast – #27 – Asif Norat on Man Utd

EuroFantasyPodCover700x300Jamie welcomes Asif Norat along for the Premier League section of the show before later being joined by Dave for Serie A & La Liga.

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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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Sergio Ramos is Real Madrid’s penalty king

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Sergio Ramos has emerged as a surprise goal scoring replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo, with four La Liga goals already this season.

Whilst Ramos is not expected to get anywhere near Ronaldo’s goal tally over the course of a season, he has established himself as the Portuguese international’s replacement penalty taker at the club.

Defender Ramos, successfully took the club’s first penalty in the post-Ronaldo era, in their European Super Cup final defeat to Atletico Madrid in August.

From there onwards, he has taken four penalties in La Liga, against Girona, Leganes, Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo – all games that Real have gone on to win.

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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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La Liga Weekend Picks – Round 12

parteyWith a full card of action scheduled in La Liga this coming weekend, let’s take a look at which players are worth consideration for inclusion in your fantasy teams over the next few days. With some nice fixtures coming up such as Sevilla doing battle with Espanyol, Celta Vigo hosting Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid hosting Athletic Bilbao (on Saturday) there will be plenty to keep you entertained between Friday and Sunday, so without further ado we will adopt a 4-3-3 formation this week and get cracking!

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La Liga Best XI – Week 11

ponsThis past weekend saw a couple of cracking games in La Liga, with Real Betis and Celta Vigo fighting out a thrilling 3-3 draw while Barcelona earned a hard-fought victory at Rayo Vallecano, triumphing 3-2. That win means the Catalans retain their three point lead over local rivals Espanyol at the top of La Liga, while Vallecano are four points adrift from safety, sitting second bottom. With that in mind, let us now take a look at which 11 players performed the respective roles the best in La Liga this weekend.

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