Real Madrid win Supercopa de Espana! (RMA 5-1 BAR AGG)

Even without Cristiano, Real Madrid  easily completed a Supercopa de Espana triumph over Barcelona.

A ruthless first-half performance ended any hope of a Barcelona comeback in the Supercopa de Espana, the Catalans falling to a 2-0 second-leg defeat to lose 5-1 on aggregate against Madrid.

Marco Asensio wasted no time as he spectacularly fired the home side in front after four minutes on Wednesday, with Madrid dominating a team still adapting to life after Neymar.

Barca found goal-scoring opportunities hard to come by and Karim Benzema outwitted Samuel Umtiti to double Madrid’s lead on the night shortly before half-time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The headlines after the first leg were dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic cameo, which culminated in a five-match ban following his petulant shove on the referee, but this was a thoroughly professional job from the European champions.

Barcelona improved after the interval – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both hit the woodwork – but their Neymar-less future remains a concerning work in progress for new boss Ernesto Valverde, as the club continue their pursuit of a suitable and – on this evidence – much-needed replacement. Those efforts may take on greater urgency after Suarez appeared to hobble through the closing stages.

With Ronaldo suspended and Gareth Bale and Isco on the bench, Lucas Vazquez and Asensio were selected to flank Benzema in attack, and the latter picked up where he left off at the end of Sunday’s first leg.

Having hammered home Madrid’s third from the edge of the box at Camp Nou, it took Asensio just four minutes to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen from even further out in Madrid, firing in a wonderful 25-yard strike that left the German goalkeeper flat-footed.

While Madrid’s tweaked attacking trident made a flying start, the missing ‘N’ in Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ forward line was glaringly obvious after 10 minutes.

Valverde opted for a new-look 3-5-2 formation and Suarez perhaps forgot he was shorn of an attacking comrade when he squared for nobody in the box.

Keen to match the efforts of his colleague on the opposite flank, Vazquez curled a shot against the inside of the left-hand post shortly after the half-hour mark, as Barca struggled to create chances for Suarez and Messi.

Madrid netted their deserved second seven minutes from the break.

Benzema’s quick-thinking exposed Umtiti’s laboured defending and the striker latched on to a Marcelo ball into the box to smash home from close range.

Keylor Navas – making his 100th Madrid appearance – did not have a save to make in the first half, but he showed good reactions to get down and intercept a Suarez cutback early in the second.

Barca were showing signs of life and Messi saw an effort crash off the underside of the crossbar before Suarez went close with two headers – the second bouncing off the foot of the post after Navas had parried a fierce Messi drive.

But Madrid were comfortable with their four-goal aggregate advantage, and Barca’s mini-recovery proved fruitless on a night when they were outplayed by their fiercest rivals for the most part.

Supercopa de España: Barcelona 1 – 3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid destroyed Barcelona 3-1 in the Supercopa de España first leg thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Asensio’s wondergoals.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning winner before being sent off for a dive in Real Madrid’s Supercopa de Espana first-leg win over Barca.

The Portugal star came off the bench to blast home the third goal of the visitors’ 3-1 win at Camp Nou but earned a second yellow card for going to ground in the penalty area two minutes later, having earlier been booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.

Zinedine Zidane’s side took the lead early in the second half through an own goal from Gerard Pique but Barca levelled thanks to Lionel Messi’s penalty, which was won in controversial fashion by Luis Suarez.

Ronaldo put Madrid back ahead with a spectacular strike but was dismissed within two minutes of that goal and risked further punishment when he pushed the referee in the back before departing the field.

Barca pushed for a second equaliser late on but were undone by Marco Asensio’s brilliant strike on the break, meaning they have it all to do at the Santiago Bernabeu next Wednesday in the first Supercopa tie between these sides since 2012.

Barca had the upper hand in the early exchanges, with Suarez testing Keylor Navas from just inside the area and Dani Carvajal was perhaps fortunate to escape being penalised for handball when blocking Gerard Deulofeu’s cross.

Neither side looked prepared to commit to the attack in a rather tepid first half and Gareth Bale saw the clearest chance saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen from inside the penalty area following Isco’s jinking run.

Pique – who scored the winner when these teams met in the International Champions Cup last month – had been booked for attempting to punch the ball towards goal following a corner in the first half and it was another moment of ignominy for the centre-back that gave Madrid the lead five minutes after the break.

Marcelo ran onto Isco’s pass down the left and sent a low cross into box, and Pique steered the ball into his own net on the slide as he attempted to clear it for a corner.

Barca suddenly looked unsteady at the back and it took a brilliant sliding block from Jordi Alba to prevent Carvajal from making it 2-0 after some brilliant work from Karim Benzema.

Valverde introduced Denis Suarez from the bench and the move almost paid off immediately, the midfielder’s corner headed goalwards by Luis Suarez only for Navas to make a fine one-handed save.

Ronaldo, on in place of Benzema, had a shot blocked behind by Pique and the assistant referee’s raised flag denied him when he did find the net following Casemiro’s throughball.

The 32-year-old took full advantage of his next chance, though, playing a one-two with Isco to set up a counter-attack before cutting inside Pique and firing into the top-right corner from 20 yards.

Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt and then stunningly dismissed after being adjudged to have gone to ground too easily in the area under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

But the incident could not prevent Madrid seizing control of the tie, Asensio rifling home an unstoppable third from the edge of the area to get watching president Florentino Perez onto his feet.

UEFA Super Cup champions!

Casemiro and Isco gave Real Madrid a 2-1 UEFA Super Cup win over Manchester United.

Real Madrid claimed the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday.

Goals from Casemiro and Isco secured a fully-deserved triumph for the Champions League holders, who have now won the trophy three times since 2014.

Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit on his competitive debut, but the Europa League winners looked well short of matching Madrid for much of the encounter in a hot and humid Philip II Arena, where drinks breaks were required.

United beat Madrid on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the International Champions Cup last month, but they were second best for the majority against Zinedine Zidane’s side, for whom Gareth Bale started and Cristiano Ronaldo made a late cameo appearance as a substitute.

Jose Mourinho handed first competitive starts to Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, but it looked unlikely that he would celebrate a win over his old club from the moment Casemiro broke the deadlock after 24 minutes.

Isco’s superb second put Madrid in control in the second half and, although Lukaku gave United some hope of a comeback, Zidane’s side held firm to win their sixth trophy since the Frenchman took charge last January.

United looked the more settled in the early exchanges, but it was Madrid who came closest to breaking the deadlock, with Bale – heavily linked with the Red Devils of late –  prodding a volley over from six yards before Casemiro rattled the crossbar from a Toni Kroos corner.

Madrid were slowly taking control of proceedings and they made the most of their superiority – and a debatable offside decision – after 24 minutes.

Dani Carvajal, given far too much space 30 yards from goal, clipped a fine pass into Casemiro’s path and the Brazilian steered a fine first-time finish into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards out, although replays showed he had strayed just beyond the United defence too early.

David de Gea saved well from a low Karim Benzema effort, as Madrid looked content to sit back and hit United on the break towards the end of the half, with Mourinho’s men unable to fashion any service for Lukaku aside from a deep cross that he headed straight at Keylor Navas.

Mourinho introduced Marcus Rashford for Jesse Lingard at half-time, but Madrid threatened a second more or less from kick-off, with De Gea making a terrific one-handed save to keep out Kroos’ rasping effort from 20 yards.

But De Gea was helpless against Isco after 52 minutes, the Spain international playing a simple one-two with Bale that carved the United defence in two before slotting the ball beneath the goalkeeper and into the net.

United responded immediately with their best chance of the match, Paul Pogba’s header bringing a fine reaction save out of Navas before Lukaku, who was offside, blasted over the crossbar on the rebound with the goal gaping.

Bale hit a shot off the underside of the bar as Madrid pushed confidently forward, but Lukaku grabbed a lifeline for United when he tapped home after Navas parried Matic’s shot straight into his path.

Navas made a brilliant stop to deny Rashford one-on-one before De Gea made a stunning save to keep out Marco Asensio’s effort, but Madrid held firm in seven minutes of stoppage time to claim the trophy and lay down a marker to the continent.

ICC: Real Madrid 2 – 3 Barcelona

Barcelona claimed the International Champions Cup after prevailing 2-3 in a thrilling El Clasico encounter against their bitter rivals Real Madrid.

The US version of the pre-season tournament went to Barca thanks to Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique on Saturday amid the growing uncertainty over Neymar’s future at Camp Nou.

It was far from a friendly clash at Hard Rock Stadium as Barca and LaLiga-Champions League titleholders Madrid went head-to-head on American soil, the former storming out the blocks.

Goals from Rakitic and Messi put Barca 2-0 up inside seven minutes but Mateo Kovacic reduced the deficit shortly after and Marco Asensio equalised nine minutes before half-time.

Gerard Pique restored Barca’s lead in the 50th minute as Barca beat Manchester City to the ICC trophy, while Madrid ended the tournament without a victory.

Sergio Ramos took to the field for the first time during pre-season as Zinedine Zidane named his strongest XI minus the absent Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric headlining the side.

Barca also fielded a strong line-up, Ernesto Valverde including Paris Saint-Germain target Neymar, Messi, Luis Suarez, Iniesta and Pique.

There was an early scare as Neymar hobbled off the field in the second minute with an apparent ankle injury but he made his way back onto the pitch as Barca broke the deadlock.

Messi dribbled into the box, cut past Modric and curled the ball past Keylor Navas, albeit with some help from a deflection.

It got better for Barca four minutes later when Rakitic drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Neymar used the outside of his boot to flick the ball to Suarez, who dummied it through to Rakitic and the Croatian finished powerfully to leave Madrid stunned.

Out of sorts early, Madrid managed to halt Barcelona’s momentum against the run of play after Kovacic arrowed a fierce shot past Jasper Cillessen in the 15th minute.

Neymar almost got in on the action following Suarez’s run out wide but the Brazil international’s shot went just wide of the post after his dizzying control to beat Raphael Varane.

Madrid continued to live dangerously as Messi weaved his way into the penalty area, however Navas was quick to deny the Argentine star.

But Madrid capitalised on the counter-attack to draw level in the 36th minute after Asensio played the ball to Kovacic and received it back before finishing coolly inside the near post.

Barca reclaimed the lead five minutes into the second half as Neymar and team-mate Pique linked up.

After a winning the free-kick, Neymar whipped in a teasing delivery and an unmarked Pique lost his opponent before volleying into the net.

It should have been a fourth for Barca in the 55th minute after Neymar rounded Navas but he fired wide following some fancy work from Messi, while Suarez was denied by the Costa Rican moments later and Samuel Umtiti had his shot cleared off the line.

At the other end, Isco drove forward and tried to find the bottom corner but Cillessen used his outstretched arm to keep Barca ahead.

The wave of second-half substitutions caused a lull in the match but Isco almost brought the game back to life when he forced Cillessen into another fine save.

ICC: Manchester City 4 – 1 Real Madrid

Danilo made his Man City debut as Kevin De Bruyne led his team to a shocking 4-1 win over Real Madrid at the International Champions Cup.

Danilo, signed for a reported £26.5million earlier this month, started on the left against his former club at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

It took until the second half for City and De Bruyne to come to life on Wednesday.

De Bruyne had a hand in the first three goals – his corner eventually leading to Nicolas Otamendi’s opener before he set up Raheem Sterling and John Stones.

The win was sealed by teenage substitute Brahim Diaz, who scored a stunning late goal, which was matched by a screamer from Madrid’s Oscar.

Spain youth international Dani Ceballos made his debut for Madrid, coming off the bench.

Madrid enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, Gareth Bale shooting high and wide before Isco drew a save from Ederson.

City – set up in a 3-5-2 by manager Pep Guardiola – improved as the half wore on and only Keylor Navas denied them a lead.

Sergio Aguero put Gabriel Jesus in behind in the 23rd minute and the Brazilian’s low shot was saved by the feet of Navas.

The Costa Rica international’s next save two minutes later was even better.

Aguero was left in plenty of space in the area and his powerful effort was saved by Navas.

That sparked Madrid into action and Casemiro almost opened the scoring in the 28th minute, his header from an Isco cross hitting the post before Ederson saved from Karim Benzema.

Luka Modric and Benzema almost combined for the opener, and the latter threatened again before half-time, only to be denied by Ederson.

Dani Carvajal wasted a great chance for Madrid early in the second half after a defensive mix-up by City.

But City would go ahead in the 52nd minute via a set-piece.

Stones met De Bruyne’s corner and his header was parried by Kiko Casilla – who replaced Navas at the break – allowing Otamendi to score into an open goal.

After Ederson had smothered at the feet of Casemiro, Sterling – who came on at half-time – flashed a shot across the face of goal.

But Sterling made no mistake with his next chance, placing a finish past Casilla at the goalkeeper’s near post after again combining with De Bruyne.

De Bruyne almost made it 3-0 in stunning fashion, but Casilla palmed his 30-yard free-kick onto the post.

The Belgium international would set up the third, his pass from the right tucked away nicely by Stones in the 67th minute.

Madrid had their chances late on before City’s Diaz, 17, struck with a fine 20-yard effort into the top corner with eight minutes remaining, only for Oscar to score with a spectacular strike from 35 yards.

Real Madrid 1 – 1 Manchester United (Penalties: 1 – 2)

David de Gea showed Real Madrid what they are missing by playing the hero act for Manchester United as they won 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 International Champions Cup game on Sunday

The Spanish international, a long-time reported target of the Champions League winners, saved spot-kicks from Mateo Kovacic and Oscar before Casemiro hit the crossbar with his shoot-out kick – having scored from 12 yards in normal time – to hand United victory.

United took the lead shortly before half-time thanks to a sensational piece of play from Anthony Martial, the forward jinking away from Dani Carvajal, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez to give Jesse Lingard the simplest of finishes at the back post.

Casemiro levelled from the penalty spot after Victor Lindelof could only stop a rampaging Theo Hernandez by crashing into him before the Brazilian missed the decisive penalty in a poor shoot-out.

United remain unbeaten in the four matches they have played on their tour of the United States after holding off Madrid in searing temperatures, while the first pre-season match for Zinedine Zidane’s men ended in defeat.

The clubs will soon clash again as Madrid face United in the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje next month.

Lingard was one of two players retained from the United team that beat Manchester City 2-0 on Thursday and he had the first attempt with a shot Keylor Navas had to beat away.

In the stifling Santa Clara heat, the game was played at little more than walking pace, and Lingard bent a 20-yard effort narrowly wide after 40 minutes with Navas well beaten as both teams continued to struggle for attacking momentum at Levi’s Stadium.

But in the first minute of stoppage time, a moment of Martial magic provided the opener.

Brilliant skill from the Frenchman saw him cut inside off the left and evade three Madrid defenders before pulling back a precise low cross that Lingard tapped in from close range.

Zidane changed his entire XI at the interval while Mourinho made eight substitutions including introducing Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba, with Ander Herrera forced off through injury after just five minutes of the second half.

Madrid were handed a glorious chance to level the scores after 68 minutes when a dreadful Lindelof challenge on Hernandez resulted in a penalty.

Casemiro stepped up to smash the spot-kick past De Gea and more penalties were required to find a winner with neither side making a breakthrough after Marouane Fellaini wasted a golden chance with seven minutes to play.

Martial blazed the first kick well over the crossbar before De Gea saved from Kovacic and Kiko Casilla denied Scott McTominay.

De Gea’s save from Oscar allowed Henrikh Mkhitaryan to nudge United ahead but Madrid responded through Luismi Quezado before Lindelof hit his kick straight at Casilla and Hernandez scuffed wide.

Daley Blind converted his kick to pile the pressure on Casemiro, with the Brazilian thudding his effort against the bar to continue United’s fine run in pre-season.

Real Madrid’s pre-season preview

Real Madrid are set for a busy pre-season as a result of their double-winning 2016-17 campaign, which saw them collect both La Liga and the Champions League trophies

By defending their European crown, Zinedine Zidane’s men added the UEFA Super Cup to a schedule that already includes the Spanish Super Cup between the winners of the league and the Copa del Rey.

With four matches – and plenty of travelling – in the United States also booked, the Blancos will certainly not be short of minutes when the league campaign gets under way.

This is your complete guide to the fixtures awaiting Real Madrid during pre-season:

Date Opponent Time (local / BST) Venue
Jul 23 Manchester United 14:00 / 22:00 Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara
Jul 26 Manchester City 20:00 / 04:00 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
Jul 29 Barcelona 19:30 / 00:30 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
Aug 2 MLS All-Stars 21:00 / 02:00 Soldier Field, Chicago

Real Madrid are one of the clubs participating in the International Champions Cup and will travel to the United States for three fixtures in that competition plus one extra match.

The first game is against Manchester United in Santa Clara, California on July 23. The match against the Red Devils will be played at Levi’s Stadium, which houses 68,500 fans and is the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

Madrid will then take a quick one-hour flight down the coast to Los Angeles, where Manchester City await three days later. That game will be played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, an older, bowl-shaped venue with a capacity of 93,000. College football’s USC Trojans play there and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams are also temporary residents.

From there it is five hours by plane to Miami, Florida. At the Miami Dolphins’ 65,326-capacity Hard Rock Stadium in nearby Miami Gardens, Zidane’s men will contest the first Clasico against Barcelona played outside of Spain for 25 years. With over 70 per cent of Miami’s population speaking Spanish as a first language, expect a raucous crowd.

Once their ICC participation is over, Madrid fly three hours north to Chicago for the much anticipated MLS All-Star Game.

At Soldier Field, the 61,500-capacity home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, they will play an exhibition match against the best players in MLS, with Kaka set feature against his former club and the likes of David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco and Bastian Schweinsteiger also included in the panel.

LA LIGA

The start dates for the Spanish season are yet to be confirmed. There has been conflicting information suggesting La Liga could start on the weekend of August 12 – a week earlier than usual – due to next year’s World Cup, but that is not official and would clash with the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana.

Madrid will, of course, play in that Supercopa as defending league champions. They will face Barcelona, who won the Copa del Rey, so we will see three Clasicos between the end of July and mid-August.

The second leg of the Supercopa – which Madrid will host at the Santiago Bernabeu – will then take place on Tuesday, August 15.

Before that, though, the Champions League winners will play Europa League winners Manchester United in Macedonia in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday, August 8.

Football Celebrities

There are football stars and then there are football celebrities. These are two different types of footballers. Although sometimes football stars become football celebrities. Which is very common. The trend of footballers turning their popularity with football fans into across platform celebrity status is increasing.

Players that retire to host soccer shows are the largest portion of football celebrities. However, these players are still in football. This can be likened to players that return to the game as coaches or technical advisors. They are still in the very same field that they got their fame.

There are players that have successfully moved into the world of being celebrities or professional poker or playing professional blackjack online. How do you tell that a player has made a successful switch? That is very simple. When the player is getting endorsements from companies that have very little to do with the sport. This shows that the player is capable of attracting people from across all sectors.

Players of this nature include David Beckham and Africa’s Austin Okocha. These two ended up getting deals to be the face of products that had very little to do with soccer. The two very talented players were exceptional footballers. However, they were far from being the best soccer players during their time. Even though some people will want to disagree with this. The reason being that people mistake popularity for talent.

In his best day Beckham was nowhere as good or as instrumental to team wins as Zinedine Zidane. But clearly, David Beckham is a bigger football celebrity than the Real Madrid coach. This is despite the fact that Zidane was a far superior footballer than “Becks”. The Beckham brand managed to gather more popularity across the world than other footballing personalities. This may be due to the players to Pop singer Posh Spice.

The highest level of popularity is when a player has a real money online casino game based on them. There are very few football brands that have their online casino slots using them as themes. Even less are individual players. This is despite the larger number of real money online casino games.

Athletic Bilbao 1 – 2 Real Madrid

 

 

 

 

 

Two goals by Casemiro and Benzema help Real Madrid beat the tough Basque side on San Mames, as they stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga table to 5 points.

Athletic had won 16 and drawn three of 19 games they played home since their last defeat against Barcelona, which was a big heads up for Real Madrid before the match.
Cristiano Ronaldo exploited the home side’s high defensive line in the 25th minute, as he raced through before crossing for Karim Benzema to score his 16th goal of the season. Valverde’s team had plenty of possession without threatening Real’s goal too often, but Aduriz capitalised on a rare moment of bad defending to head his team level midway through the second half.

Luckily for Real, Casemiro answered just three minutes later, tapping in a goal from close range after being left alone at a corner to secure Los Blancos’s 13th win in 15 league meetings with the Basque side. If you’d like to find out some trustable tips, make sure to visit FootballBets.tips.

This result gives Zinedine Zidane’s team some breathing space, as players head into the international break and leaves Barca needing a good result against Valencia to keep their hopes in the title race.

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