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Posts of category  "Real Madrid"

Real Madrid climbed within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona on Sunday when they defeated Real Sociedad 3-1 at Anoeta Stadium, where Borja Mayoral scored his first goal for the club in an impressive display.

Mayoral broke the deadlock to put Los Merengues ahead before Kevin Rodrigues pulled Sociedad level and then scored an own goal, with Gareth Bale adding a third just past the hour mark.

Despite the win and encouraging play from the youngsters, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane still has his work cut out for him as his side recover from recent home draws against Valencia and Levante.

After recent results, Real were fully aware they might need to bide their time before they could expect the desired outcome at the Anoeta, although 19 minutes was all it took to get their breakthrough.

Captain Sergio Ramos found himself in the Sociedad box with his back to the goal, and he steadied the ball to tee up an onrushing Mayoral, who poked him from close range to score his first La Liga goal in a time when it was greatly needed.

Having scored just twice during his season-long loan at Wolfsburg last term, Mayoral was given a vote of confidence by Zidane in starting on Sunday, and ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan hinted the act was almost instantly repaid:

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Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has agreed a new deal with the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The 25-year-old Spain international has played 165 times for the Bernabeu club since signing from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.

Carvajal has won the Champions League three times, La Liga once and the Copa del Rey once with the Spanish side.

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The Welsh winger said being whistled at by fans “happens in football” as he preferred to focus on his performances

Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale labelled the whistles he has received from his own fans as normal after returning to goalscoring form.

Bale has been booed and whistled at by Madrid fans unhappy with the Wales international’s performances this season.

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Sergio Ramos (L) alongside the 2017 Champions League trophy won by Real Madrid (Photo credit OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid has announced record revenues for 2016/17. It was a year that saw the team winning La Liga, the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the European Super Cup.

Full details will be available at the start of October when the financial results are submitted to the club’s membership for approval but the club has already released highlights.

Based on a current exchange rate of 1.19 euros to the dollar Real’s revenues cleared the $800M mark for the first time – an increase of nearly 9% on the previous year.

Real recorded a net profit of $25M against $36M the year before. The team also continued the trend of not carrying any net debt – rather the net position is an asset. For the 2016/17 the overall net debt position was -$12M versus -$15.6M the year previous.

Although full financial details are not yet available, there is the 2016/17 budget that was approved a year ago and that can be used as a performance benchmark.

Revenues are $51M higher than budget while pre-tax profit missed the budget by $28M (budget $59.6M; actual $31.3M). Expenses blew through the budget and within the Real Madrid press release, there is a partial explanation.

“On a financial plane, the titles have been reflected in increased revenues, but also in higher expenses; particularly relating to bonuses paid to sporting personnel, resulting in reduced liquidity.”

Essentially, Real Madrid made a lot more money because it was successful and in turn spent a lot more money because it was successful. The club estimates that the additional costs of winning amounted to – yes you have guessed correctly – $50M.

Transfer activity in 2016/17 was limited for a team with a reputation for spending big. The club expended $44.6M in transfer fees while recouping just $35.7M. After accounting for profit on player sales and the amortization charge for incoming transfers the overall impact is small.

The meeting of Real Madrid members in October will be asked to approve a revenue budget of $821M and a net profit of $57.8M for the 2017/18 season before any profit on player sales.

With the departures of Alvaro Morata to Chelsea, Danilo to Chelsea and substantial loan fee for James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich already guaranteed it will allow the club to spend big in the January 2018 transfer window, improve some players’ contracts or simply pocket the profit.

Alvaro Morata (blue) cost Chelsea an initial fee of $88M when he was signed from Real Madrid (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Stats, Records, and Marks

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Real Madrid have already dropped four points this LaLiga season and one of the concerns with their play has been the number of chances that have been missed, while Karim Benzema’s injury is yet another problem.

All of this has led some to wonder if it was wise to let Alvaro Morata and Mariano leave in the summer and Zinedine Zidane addressed the issue on Tuesday, explaining that he too would have liked to have another striker in his squad, but that it wasn’t possible.

“It’s true that when you look at the players you had, like [Alvaro] Morata and Mariano, and when you see that now you only have [Borja] Mayoral that you might think we lack a No.9,” he said in the pre-match press conference for Wednesday’s clash with Apoel Nicosia.

“That might be the case, but it wasn’t possible [to bring in another].

“I would have liked Morata to stay, but he wanted to play more and to leave.

“It wasn’t possible to sign another player, but I really believe in Mayoral, as he is hungry.

“We also have Karim [Benzema] and Gareth [Bale].

“We will get by with all of the players that we have.”

As for Zidane’s willingness to rotate, he insisted that he would continue to do so, even if a rotated side dropped points to Levante last weekend.

“With this squad, we can do a lot of things,” he said.

“I am interested in my players and what goes on externally will not change what I want to do.”

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Real Madrid have named four club captains for the 2017/2018 season.

Ahead of their Champions League opener against Cyprus club APOEL on Wednesday, the La Liga holders announced the players to lead them in this campaign.

Sergio Ramos is officially Real Madrid captain, but was named alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Marcelo in a photo with president Florentino Perez.

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Real Madrid star Gareth Bale said he knows he must keep evolving as a player, with the Wales international having played predominantly as a central striker under Zinedine Zidane so far this season.

Bale had been a left-back when starting his career at Southampton but was moved to the left wing at Tottenham and has played primarily on the right wing in a 4-3-3 shape since joining Madrid four years ago.

However, Zidane has mostly opted for a 4-4-2 formation in recent months, particularly since Isco has earned a key playmaking presence in the team. Bale has struggled to find a place in the current system, looking uncomfortable as a centre forward and missing a number of chances when he came off the bench to replace injured No. 9 Karim Benzema in Saturday’s 1-1 La Liga draw at home to Levante.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 28-year-old said that throughout his career he had changed his approach, and suggested there was more prestige to playing in attack.

“I’m a different player, of course I am,” Bale said. “I’ve had to change. When you’re a young player who arrives on the scene and starts doing well, people figure you out. You have to find other ways to get past the opposition.

“It’s been a long and eventful journey from coming in as a left-back to pretty much playing out on the right wing or at least up front. It’s been a big transition. It feels like I got on the football ladder and kept climbing.”

Bale’s place in the pecking order has also become less certain lately, especially since the emergence of Marco Asensio in attack, but he said he is benefiting from the rotation policy under Zidane.

“Everyone that has come in has done really well,” Bale said. “The manager has brought in [the rotation] and we have all bought into it. Sometimes you reach the end of the season and you are feeling the effects of playing 50 games, [so] having those few matches off does make a massive difference. It showed last season when we won [both] La Liga and the Champions League for the first time in so many years.”

After being heavily linked with Manchester United last summer, Bale said he was not tempted to follow in the footsteps of Neymar, who left Barcelona — where he was considered to be in Lionel Messi’s shadow — to become the main man at Paris Saint-Germain.

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Terry Gibson believes there has been a lack of contrition from Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo after he pushed a referee

Terry Gibson has accused Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo of a lack of contrition over his red card against Barcelona and consequent five-match ban.

The forward was dismissed near the end of Real’s 3-1 Spanish Super Cup win at the Nou Camp on August 13 for diving when he appeared to have been fouled in the penalty area by Samuel Umtiti.

Ronaldo reacted by pushing referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea in the back and was banned for four games – the minimum punishment for such an offence – as a result.

With a further match added on for the red card itself, the Portugal striker has one more domestic fixture to sit out against Real Sociedad on Sunday

In his absence, the European champions have dropped four points in their opening three games as they have drawn at home to both Valencia and Levante.

A month on from Ronaldo’s ordering off, Real are still upset at his punishment but Gibson, speaking on the La Liga Weekly podcast, insisted they should be demonstrating remorse instead.

Ronaldo was sent off at the Nou Camp and reacted by pushing referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea in the back
Ronaldo was sent off at the Nou Camp and reacted by pushing referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea in the back

He said: “It’s irritating me slightly that yes, the second yellow card was wrong, they could have appealed that and they would probably have won that appeal.

“They’re banging on about unfair referees but no one from Real Madrid’s mentioned that he pushed the referee.

“No one’s apologised. Ronaldo hasn’t apologised and Real Madrid still haven’t apologised.”

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It feels like yesterday that Real Madrid were obsessed with “La Decima,” their relentless quest to become the first club to move into double figures in terms of European Cups. Yet after three triumphs in the past four years, they have 12 to their name, five clear of their nearest challengers, Milan, and seven clear of archrivals Barcelona.

A haul of 12 European Cups suggests that Real Madrid have triumphed consistently over the history of the competition, but that’s not entirely true. It has essentially been about three periods of dominance.

Their first seven all came between 1956 and 1966, including a legendary run of five in a row. There was subsequently a 32-year gap until they triumphed three times between 1998 and 2002 before the Galacticos experiment backfired and they needed to wait until 2014 before lifting their favourite trophy again and winning again in 2016 and 2017.

The peculiar thing about Real Madrid’s recent run of success, however, is that it has been achieved in a manner no one expected. For much of the 21st century, Real Madrid have been utterly obsessed with superstars, focusing upon signing the world’s biggest names for the sake of it and largely at the expense of team shape. Now, Real Madrid have moved in a different direction.

This is, increasingly, an “anti-Galactico” side in three different ways.

Harmony

Let’s not pretend this is a team of plucky journeymen or a squad dominated heavily by youth products. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale commanded world-record fees upon their arrivals in 2009 and 2013, respectively, and it’s difficult to find a key player who didn’t cost tens of millions. Nevertheless, the club’s outlandish spending has been less noticeable. Although Real used to concentrate on signing The Next Big Thing and then worked out who to include in a desperate fire sale, the consistency of the starting XI in recent years has been hugely impressive.

No fewer than eight players have featured in the European Cup final triumphs of 2014, 2016 and 2017: defenders Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, midfielders Luka Modric and Isco, and the front three of Bale, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Indeed, but for injury, the starting XI in the 2016 and 2017 finals might have been identical. It’s also arguable that Real Madrid haven’t truly made a big-name signing since the summer of 2014, when they splashed out on Toni Kroos, their wonderful deep playmaker, plus the underwhelming James Rodriguez and goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

Consequently, Real Madrid are harmonious like never before. The forward trio work as a cohesive unit. The underappreciated Benzema works tirelessly to create space for Ronaldo’s drifts infield from an inside-left position. Bale cuts in to link with Benzema from the right and boasts a fine relationship with the overlapping Carvajal.

In midfield, Real weave passing patterns like never before. Kroos and Modric are among the most reliable distributors of the ball in Europe, with the former spreading play methodically and the latter galloping forward into attack. In defence, Ramos and Raphael Varane have been playing together — on and off, as Pepe was often a regular before his move to Turkey this year — for six seasons now. Ramos also has a fine relationship with Marcelo to his left. Incredibly, they’ve been teammates for 11 years.

Zidane and Casemiro

Real Madrid’s rise into an all-conquering side owes much to the status of Casemiro, the solid, reliable and disciplined holding midfielder who allows his more illustrious teammates more attacking freedom.

Real’s problems in defensive midfield can be traced back to the previous Florentino Perez era, when he sold the legendary defensive midfielder Claude Makelele and refused to bring in a replacement in a time when Real had just signed yet another creative player in David Beckham. Perez said Makelele “wasn’t a header of the ball, and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres,” while Zinedine Zidane, then Real’s star man, responded with the famous line: “Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”

Perez didn’t like defensive midfielders then, and he didn’t like defensive midfielders two years ago, either. Rafael Benitez wanted to play Casemiro, but Perez insisted he played without a functional defensive midfielder. This had disastrous consequences when Benitez felt compelled to use a Modric-Kroos double-pivot against Barcelona in November 2015 and found his side thrashed 4-0 at the Bernabeu by a Barcelona side without Lionel Messi. Interference from Perez around this issue essentially resulted in Benitez’s departure after just half a season.

Upon Zidane’s appointment, however, Casemiro became a regular, and Real improved dramatically. There’s little question that his use in midfield makes Real weaker in terms of individuals — initially, James Rodriguez and Isco made way — but it clearly improved them in terms of shape and discipline. Casemiro sits deep, protects the defence and allows Modric and Kroos to play higher up the pitch. He is also increasingly showing his attacking potential and scoring crucial goals, but his evolution into a regular says much about Real Madrid in 2017. They’re willing to sacrifice star players so they can be a more solid team.

Zidane, too, deserves a huge share of credit for his performance since he took charge 18 months ago. In his playing days, Zidane was very much a Galactico,but as a manager he’s a calm, reserved and almost boring coach who believes both in the talent of individuals and the importance of a team. Much like his coaching mentor Carlo Ancelotti, he’s a perfect manager for Real.

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Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are going for a third successive title.

Everything you need to know ahead of the start of Madrid’s defence

REAL MADRID kick off their Champions League title defence at home against Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia.

The Spanish giants are aiming for a third successive title and a 12th title overall.

Cristiano Ronaldo returns for Real following his domestic suspension.

Cristiano Ronaldo returns for Real following his domestic suspension.

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