Zidane not worried about Bale’s performance

The Wales international was forced out of Tuesday’s training session because of an ankle complaint, but his coach played down its severity.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists that he is not worried about Gareth Bale’s fitness after the Wales star picked up a knock in training.

Bale was seen departing Madrid’s session at Soldier Field on Tuesday with obvious discomfort in his right ankle.

The 28-year-old missed long spells of last season with calf and ankle problems and the latest worry prompted concern among supporters on social media, with the UEFA Super Cup clash with Manchester United just a week away.

However, Zidane is confident that Bale has been showing encouraging signs both in terms of fitness and form during pre-season.

“He looks good to me, little by little,” he told a news conference ahead of Madrid’s clash with an MLS All-Star team on Wednesday. “He’s had a long injury.

“The pre-season has been very good since the beginning. I’m not worried about his performance, because the whole team has had good moments and not as good moments.”

Ancelotti hails Record-breaker Ronaldo

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo after the forward set a Champions League record in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over FC Copenhagen.

Ronaldo became the first player to score nine goals in the group stage of the competition with the second as Real eased to victory in Denmark.

The Portugal international missed the opportunity to make it 10 when he had a penalty saved by Copenhagen goalkeeper, Johan Wiland, but Ronaldo, a popular figure with fans who bet on football, had already written his name into Champions League folklore.

Ronaldo has eclipsed the efforts of HernanCrespo, ZlatanIbrahimovic, FilippoInzaghi and Ruud van Nistelrooy, who all managed eight group-stage goals, and Ancelotti considers him to be the perfect player.

“I think that Inzaghi will not be happy because he has lost this record. He has gone ahead of a very strong player,” Ancelotti said.

“Inzaghi was very strong in the area and Ibrahimovic is powerful and has a fantastic ability to score and assist.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a complete forward who can score goals in every way possible. He’s a bit angry about the penalty, but he scored an important goal and played very well.”

The former AC Milan and Chelsea boss was pleased with the way his side rounded off a near-perfect first phase of the tournament. Real won five of their six matches, only dropping points in a 2-2 draw away at Juventus.

“I’m happy because we had a good group stage and scored lots of goals,” Ancelotti added. “(Luka) Modric is doing well and Xabi Alonso gives us balance defensively and in attack. All of the players did well, had a good attitude and controlled the play.”

Football betting fans will now turn their attentions towards Monday’s last-16 draw, which could pit Real against Manchester City, who displayed their credentials with a come-from-behind victory over holders Bayern Munich.

Ronaldo back to bolster Real title charge

Cristiano Ronaldo has made it clear he is fully fit and looking to resume what he believes could be his best-ever start to a season. The forward missed Real’s comfortable wins against Galatasaray and Real Valladolid with a hamstring injury, which didn’t stop Madrid going into both games as firm favourites with Betfair, but it did briefly put Ronaldo’s incredible run of form on hold.

 

The Portuguese international has already racked up 35 goals in just 25 appearances in all competitions this season, taking his 2013 total to 67 goals for club and country before his injury, in what has been an outstanding year for undeniably the best player in the world at the moment.

 

While Madrid didn’t struggle without Ronaldo, beating Galatasaray 4-1 and then Valladolid 4-0, having the striker back in action will be a huge boost to a Real side that sit just three points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, who are currently leading the race with Betfair to win the title.

 

Ronaldo, who is a huge favourite with Betfair.com to finish as La Liga’s leading scorer this season, has admitted he is ready to get back to action, revealing he feels this could well be the best year of his career.

 

“I’ve no injury. I’ve been fine for a couple of days now. We decided not to push it in the last game but I’ll be available for the next game for certain.”

 

“I’m in good form right now, this might be my best start to a season, but I think that in recent years I’ve always been at a very high level,” said Ronaldo.

 

Already way ahead of his rival Lionel Messi in terms of goalscoring this season, Ronaldo could well single-handily win this year’s La Liga title for Real. As long as the 28-year old can avoid any serious injury between now and the end of the season, Real will feel as though they have this year’s La Liga title in their hands.

Mourinho: “We’re going to make a comeback!”

According to Spanish newspaper AS, Jose Mourinho talked with Florentino Perez about turning things around after the 3-2 loss to Malaga.

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Mourinho met Perez before departing for Portugal for the Christmas break, signaling a change in Mou’s demeanor.

“If I felt that like the players didn’t want to win, I would leave, I am too honest to continue a losing battle. I would be the first one to say so, but the players want to win. I’ve told them that they can go home with a clear conscience, they did as well as they could.” – said The Special One for the press, after the match against Malaga.

“The press cannot be blamed for the fact we are 16 points behind Barcelona or for the fact we have lost seven games (in all competitions). We have to take a look at ourselves.” – said The Special One for the press, after the match against Malaga.

Mourinho has “tightened up” the player’s Christmas holiday as they are all supposed to come back in Madrid on the 30th December in hopes of solving their issues and turning the season around.

Villas-Boas thinks Real Madrid wants to sign Modric

As The Guardian reported yesterday, Villas-Boas, the Portuguese coach, who is negotiating a move to Tottenham bench, has known that the Spurs could sell Luka Modric to Real Madrid. As noted by English newspaper, the coach, who is also upset because president Daniel Levy is “talking with other ten coaches”, would have said “no” to the transfer of the Croatian footballer, 26 years old, as a condition for his signing. Meanwhile, Levy, who needs incomes because his team did not classify for the Champions League, would prefer sell the player to Real Madrid (both clubs have a good relationship after the transfer of Van der Vaart). The other options are Chelsea and Man. United.

Real Madrid has in mind the option of Modric, star of the Premiership since joining Tottenham in 2008 from Dinamo Zagreb for 20 million euros, if Silva transfer operation fails. But the Spanish midfielder remains as the major target of the white team. David Silva would be the star signing of the summer. Besides Tottenham would sell Modric for about 40 million euros. The same price Real Madrid is willing to pay to sign Silva.

Modric tried to leave Tottenham last summer. Then, Chelsea (coached by Villas-Boas) submitted a bid of 27 million euros and the answer was “no”. His contract ends in 2016 (signed the renewal in 2010) and is fully affected by the salary policy that Tottenham will impose shortly (top earnings: 4.2 million euros a year). He has played well against Spain and Italy at Euro 2012 and before that and knowing the news about the possible transfer to Real Madrid he said: “Real Madrid is the best club in the world”.

Jose Mourinho has said several times that Modric is a great player. The Portuguese coach commented during Euro 2012 that the player can play as a playmaker and as a midfielder (could play alongside Xabi Alonso). Luka is an elite player in European football, with quality and goal skills who is not 27 years old yet.

The commitment of the player is to leave Tottenham, where he thinks he has already completed a cycle after four seasons. Luka wants to change and enjoy other challenges. His salary will not be low. The Croatian manages more offers, so he would not sign for less than 5 million euros per year.


Maicon would reduce his salary to sign for Real Madrid

On June 13, last Wednesday, was the first rapprochement between Maicon and Real Madrid. Ernesto Bronzetti who is mediating in the transfer operation, called by phone to Maicon’s agents to stop any negotiations with other clubs (because the player has decided to leave Inter Milan and there are several options on the table) until Real Madrid was asked about its interest to sign the Brazilian player. The next step was a meeting in Porto Alegre. There, Maicon and his representatives set the base to develop at negotiating strategy.

At the meeting, the player, who earns 5 million euros net at Inter Milan (the player has a year of contract remaining), agreed to charge a little less to move to Real Madrid and sign a two years contract with one more depending on the number of matches he is going to play in the second season, or lower his salary drastically, to 3 million euros net and sign for four years. On the other hand, the agents believe Inter would sell Maicon for about 8 million euros. Moratti, the president of the Italian team, would save 10 million of the salary and would take 8 (total; 18 million euros) A good operation for Inter because is rumored that the team is struggling to meet the financial fair play that UEFA imposes.

Therefore, Maicon has been offered to Real Madrid, which still thinks about him as a possibility. But it’s been two years since white team tried to sign him for 35 million euros and although there is no a better right-back in the market, Real Madrid staff thinks that there is an option in the youth squad: Carvajal.


Juventus cancels friendly against Real Madrid in Las Vegas

According to The Washington Post, Juventus announced the cancellation of its North American tour, so the friendly match Real Madrid was going to play against the Italian squad on August 5 has been cancelled. This friendly was as part of the ‘World Football Challenge’, a competition that aims to promote football in the U.S.A.. Real Madrid won the tournament last year.

Despite the cancellation, it is expected that the tournament organizer is able to find another rival for Real Madrid in order to play a friendly match on the same date and in the same place (Las Vegas). The other Italian club matches on North American soil were a friendly against DC United in Washington and other match against Paris Saint-Germain in Montreal.

Link: Real Madrid Pre-season 2012-2013


Euro Cup Matchday Two Open Thread: Cristiano, Özil and More Madridistas Kick Off Their Tournament

Portugal's men (photo via UEFA.com)

After yesterday’s matches, it’s time for Real Madrid players to begin their tournament. Coach José Mourinho will be in the stadium supporting his German and Portuguese players on the field. All of them are expected to start: Pepe and Coentrao will be key in the defensive line of Portugal and Khedira will try to stop Cristiano Ronaldo. Mesut Özil will also have the chance to shine in another international tournament.

You can comment both this match and the previous one (Denmark-Netherlands) in this very post. Managing Madrid will recap how the madridistas performed in this game.

Madridistas in the UEFA Euro 2012: Coentrao and Khedira Shine in Germany’s Win

L'VIV, UKRAINE - JUNE 09: Fabio Coentrao of Portugal crosses the ball past Jerome Boateng of Germany during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Germany and Portugal at Arena Lviv on June 9, 2012 in L'viv, Ukraine.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

That headline describes pretty well how the game was. Germany managed to beat Portugal (with Jose Mourinho and his son in the stands) thanks to a late Mario Gómez goal, but the Mannschaft wasn’t as great as expected. It is true that Portugal showed big improvements since the last few friendly matches, but the German team clearly has more potential at reach. The Dutch team lost its game against Denmark, and that might be why Portugal and Germany were so respectful with each other’s chances.

Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Mesut Özil impacted the game. The Portuguese star played well at the end but was mostly invisible through the 90 minutes. Özil wasn’t key neither, probably because Thomas Müller and Lukas Podolski weren’t able to get through Portugal’s defenders. Coentrao was arguably Portugal’s best player alongside Manchester United’s Nani, and Sami Khedira was the reason why Cristiano Ronaldo performed so poorly.

Pepe, on his part, was brilliant as well. He even had a chance to score in the first half but the ball went off the post. With Bruno Alves’ help, he stopped Mario Gómez’s aerial game until the very end. Gómez was very lucky to get the ball in his late goal because Khedira’s cross was deflected by one of Portugal’s midfielders and that prevented Pepe and Alves from clearing the danger.

The Portuguese team probably played better than Germany. They didn’t enjoy as much possession, but had a lot of good scoring opportunities in the second half with Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, and Varela. Mourinho and his son were caught by the cameras complaining after Oporto’s player missed what was Portugal’s best chance to tie the game up.

Fábio Coentrao hasn’t performed this well with Real Madrid. If he’s at this level, Real Madrid has the world’s two greatest left backs on its roster. The Portuguese defender needs to shake up from his poor season at Real Madrid (and so does Marcelo) and be ready for next season. After Denmark’s win, Portugal will need to win Bendtner’s team in order to have a chance to get the ticket to the Quarterfinals. Paulo Bento’s team is capable of doing that, and if Cristiano Ronaldo finds his groove, Portugal can be very dangerous.