Zinedine Zidane will hope that his Real Madrid stars return back from international duty for their respective countries at Euro 2016 and the Copa America fit and raring to go ahead of the new La Liga season. Many players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, showed the football world just how good they are with performances and goals which lit the tournament up, with Ronaldo and Pepe reporting back to the Bernabeau with yet another winner’s medal following Portugal’s victory against France at the Stade de France.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet start to Euro 2016, but reminded everyone how clinical he can be with two crucial strikes against Hungary to fire Portugal into the last-16. His Welsh counterpart, Gareth Bale has been smashing in a goal a game so far to keep the pressure on Ronaldo. It could be a case of which team goes deeper into the competition, as to which player has the best chance to claim the golden boot.
It was almost the perfect La Liga weekend for Carlo Ancelotti and his Real Madrid team. With Los Blancos playing on Saturday, the opportunity was there to put pressure on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as the two league leaders were not in action until Sunday.
Ancelotti’s men certainly did their bit against bottom club Real Betis. Ronaldo took just 12 minutes to open the scoring and it never looked like anything other than a comfortable win. Gareth Bale put concerns over his form firmly behind him with a good performance capped by a fantastic free-kick goal.
I think it is fair to say that Real Madrid fans are still sitting on the fence over the new manager Carlo Ancelotti. Although there were some hardcore Mourinho fans, most people connected with the club were glad to see the back of the Portuguese manager, and were really looking forward to the new era under the Italian.
The problem has been, however, that there has not been a very noticeable change from last season. The results have been better, but they have come with no small amount of luck. The performances have been good at times but inconsistent. Having said that, a win tomorrow in the Nou Camp will see Madrid draw level on points with current La Liga leaders Barcelona, and the Ancelotti era will have really started.
There are media reports suggesting that Real Madrid are preparing to sell the French international striker Karim Benzema, and it could happen as soon as January if the below par front man does not start to buck his ideas up quickly. It seems like the Premier League in England could be his destination, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all keen on his services.
The club are so keen to be rid of misfiring Benzema that they are willing to take a loss on him, according to The Mirror. He cost Madrid 35 million euros when he was signed from the French Ligue 1 club Lyon in the summer of 2009, but the story is that he would they would release him for only £17 million, which is not much more than 20 million euros.
It is hard to believe that lightning can strike twice in the space of a week, but Real Madrid are certainly glad that it has. If it was not for Cristiano Ronaldo and his two winning goals in the last gasps of Madrid’s last two La Liga games, then the club would find itself in real crisis, and a massive nine points behind fierce rivals Barcelona after just eight games.
There are only two Real Madrid players who will not travel to face Levant in La Liga this weekend, but they are two massive players Gareth Bale and Xabi Alonso. However, with Bale not joining up with his Wales international team mates, Ancelotti expects him to be fit and ready for the first game after the break. Alonso will be close to his comeback then, so barring any more injuries, Madrid will have a full squad again for the first time in a long time.
Hopefully it was just a precautionary measure on the part of Real Madrid and it’s medical staff, but when the player you have just paid around 100 million euros for has to drop out of the team with an injury problem, it is a serious concern. Gareth Bale did not seem to be suffering any problem during the warm up yesterday, but apparently he felt a twinge in his leg and so was removed from the starting line up to face Getafe.
The manager of Real Madrid may have been somewhat tongue in cheek when he spoke about the anger of his counterpart at Tottenham Hotspur, but Carlo Ancelotti did show Andre Villas-Boas the courtesy of not speaking about the ongoing case of Gareth Bale.
“I will not talk about Bale, because he(AVB) got angry, and I hate a coach that is angry,” said Ancelotti.
“I said nithing in particular, but I would rather not talk about it.”
There are a number of new developments in the ongoing attempt by Real Madrid to sign the Welsh international from Tottenham Hotspur. There are reports in the English media that the 24-year old was angered by the words of his manager Andre Villas-Boas, who criticised Madrid and said the player was not for sale.
Apparently, Bale had threatened to stay away from club training today, to make his frustration and determination to move to La Liga and the Santiago Bernabeu clear. They threatened to fine him, we hear, and the outcome was that he did turn up today, but an hour later than all his team mates.