Real Madrid know all about Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international striker has been a real thorn in the side of Madrid this season. He scored against Real in the group stages of the Champions League and led Borussia Dortmund to top the group ahead of Madrid. The real damage came in the semi-final, when his four goals in the first leg effectively ended the tie.
The new French champions really mean business. They are one of the few clubs in the world of football that can compete financially with Real Madrid, thanks to the takeover by the Qatari Investment Authority a few years ago. Having won the French Ligue 1 title this season and pushed Barcelona very close in the Champions League quarter-finals, their spending shows no signs of slowing down.
When Ronaldo scored against Malaga on Wednesday night, it was his 200th goal for Real Madrid, a feat he achieved in just 197 games. Not surprisingly this makes him the quickest player to reach the total in the history of the club. It also reinforces why the Madrid fans are desperate for him to stay. That now seems more likely than ever for a number of reasons.
After his goal on Wednesday, Ronaldo pointed to the Bernabeu turf and shouted, “Yo aqui, Yo aqui,” This means I am here in Spanish and seems ti indicate his intention to stay in Madrid, rather than move as the media has been suggesting.
Real Madrid were once again reminded of the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo to the team yesterday. The 28-year old Portuguese international gave the fans at the Bernabeu something to smile about after the third Champions League semi-final exit in as many seasons.
Ronaldo put on yet another master class which he topped with two great headed goals, taking him onto 199 goals for Real Madrid from just 196 games. His goal helped Madrid to beat a very good Valladolid team by 4-3, a result which means that Barcelona can not seal the Spanish Primera Liga title with a win against Real Betis today.
The story has been doing the rounds for some time now, and it appears that officials at Real Madrid have had enough. The club director Emilio Butragueno has told any teams who are hoping to get the Portuguese superstar this summer, in no uncertain terms, that it is not going to happen.
Paris Saint-Germain are known to be eagerly awaiting news that the 28-year old is up for sale, and Manchester United are supposed to have held talks with their sponsors about financing the purchase of arguably the world’s best player. However, there is a small problem in that he is contracted to Madrid until summer 2015 and the club are only interested in extending that period, not shortening it.
The last time Real Madrid wanted a player from the English Premier League club Tottenham, they were made to work hard and spend a lot of money, but eventually got their man. That was Luka Modric and he finally proved just why he was so coveted by Madrid with a game changing performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The latest Tottenham player to become the target for Real Madrid is the Welshman Gareth Bale. The 23-year old is having his best season ever, adding goals to his previous talents on the wing, just as Cristiano Ronaldo did before. Tottenham are desperate to hold on to Bale, and will offer him a huge pay rise, but Madrid are planning to blow that out of the water, according to the Daily Mirror.
It was not too long ago that Jose Mourinho took his place on the sideline early, specifically to give the Real Madrid fans the chance to whistle and jeer him, so the players did bot have to face the bad atmosphere. His reputation among supporters of the Spanish champions was at it’s lowest ebb, with some calling for him to be sacked straight away rather than wait until the end of the season.
The match tonight between two giants of world football, Real Madrid and Manchester United, has been billed as the game the world is waiting for, among other things. For the players, coaches and everyone involved with the clubs, there is massive importance on this first leg at the Bernabeu.
For Jose Mourinho, however, it holds an extra incentive. The Portuguese manager has spoken before about how he enjoyed his time in charge of Chelsea and how he would like to return one day. He has spoken about it again in the build up to this Champions league double header, and has hinted that he would consider moving back to the Premier league in England sooner rather than later.
Gonzalo Higuain has not been scoring as many goals for Real Madrid this season, but he has had injury problems and the whole team struggled in the early part of the season. His tally of eight league goals from 16 games is still pretty respectable, and he will be hoping to get his first Champions league goal of the season tomorrow when Manchester United come to the Bernabeu.
Jose Mourinho has been asked outright by members of the Spanish media whether he will continue to be the manager of Real Madrid after the end of this season, but the Portuguese manager deftly deflected the questions, suggesting that they should ask the man who is responsible for making the decisions, Real’s president Florentino Perez.
There is a growing feeling in football circles, however, that this season will be the last for Mourinho at the Bernabeu. The Special one has lost the backing of some of the Madrid fans, despite winning back the Primera Liga title from Barcelona last season. The Catalan side have stormed into an 11 point lead over Madrid, and last season’s record breaking exploits seem a long way away.