Zidane begins second coming with Real this Weekend

Zinedine Zidane takes charge of his first game since making an astonishing return to Real Madrid on Saturday against Celta Vigo which is set to be a de facto audition for next season for many of the team’s underperforming players.

Having sacked Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari for a series of embarrassing results, Real have decided to turn again to the former midfield great who won an unprecedented three Champions League titles in a row before resigning last May.

But Zidane made it clear in his presentation that sweeping changes must be made for his second coming to be a success, meaning many in his squad will be playing for their futures against Celta and in the other 10 remaining league games.

With Real out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey and sitting third in La Liga, 12 points behind leaders Barcelona, the only purpose for the remainder of the season is for Zidane to assess which players he wants to keep as he plots the team’s comeback in the next campaign.

Veteran defender Marcelo and Wales forward Gareth Bale are the most high profile names whose futures look uncertain under Zidane, while Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio and Toni Kroos all have points to prove to their returning coach. Bet Now

One player who could benefit from Zidane’s comeback is Isco, who was outcast from the team by Solari, repeatedly left out of the Argentine’s squad for games even when the team was suffering from an injury crisis, as they will be against Celta. Continue reading “Zidane begins second coming with Real this Weekend”

Atletico offers Morata fresh start after finding his feet

Alvaro Morata has made a habit of looking lost and aggrieved during five years wandering Europe’s biggest clubs but in Atletico Madrid he may finally have found one to call home.

Three goals in two games and another couple ruled out by VAR mean Morata looks a player revived since his January loan move from Chelsea.

He started well there too, before confidence shrivelled to the point where faith from fans and coaches turned to frustration, and a belief he was contributing to his own decline.

Yet there is reason to suspect the early surge at Atletico may be longer-lasting, with a return to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday offering a reminder of how one of the game’s most enigmatic talents is, aged 26, still to deliver on his potential.

“Alvaro has fantastic assets that suit our game,” said Diego Simeone last month. “Hopefully he can continue the way he has started.” Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

Strong in the air, hardly sluggish, good with his feet and, at his best, decisive in front of goal, Morata has still struggled to convince an impressive list of managers he is a striker to rely on. Continue reading “Atletico offers Morata fresh start after finding his feet”

Barcelona eye double victory over Real Madrid in title race

After knocking Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey, Barcelona now have the opportunity to send their rivals packing in the title race too.

Barca’s 3-0 victory on Wednesday means Barca will return to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday with a spring in their step, even if Madrid were the better side and had the better opportunities until the chaotic final 30 minutes, when a Luis Suarez double and Raphael Varane own goal gave victory to the Catalans.

“They had more chances in the first half, it’s true,” said Gerard Pique. “But in the second we knew how to get at them. They left more space and in 10 to 15 minutes we scored three goals.”

A repeat this weekend in La Liga would leave Santiago Solari’s side 12 points adrift of Barcelona, who would effectively have an extra point’s advantage given their superior head-to-head record. That would be a gargantuan gap to make up with 12 games left.

Atletico Madrid are closer, seven points back, and they still have to play Barca in April, albeit at the Camp Nou, where they have not won in 18 visits. But there is no doubt bumping Real out of the chase would be a major step for the Catalans. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

They should feel confident if recent form between the two sides is any guide. The Copa del Rey win was Barcelona’s fourth in six games at the Bernabeu and in each of those they have scored three or more. This season alone, their aggregate total against Real reads 9-2. Continue reading “Barcelona eye double victory over Real Madrid in title race”

Suarez shine as Barcelona sink Madrid in CopaDelRey

Luis Suarez scored twice on Wednesday as Barcelona inflicted another defeat on Real Madrid to move within touching distance of winning a record fifth consecutive Copa del Rey.

Madrid were the better side for at least half of a wild Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu but three goals conceded in 28 chaotic, second-half minutes sent Barca through to the final with a 3-0 victory, 4-1 on aggregate.

Suarez would have had a hat-trick had Raphael Varane not beaten him on the line to Ousmane Dembele’s cross, Varane’s own-goal coming between the Uruguayan’s smart finish and a mischeivously chipped penalty. He now has 11 goals in 13 games against Madrid.

“We have other players apart from Leo Messi that can score goals,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. “Luis’ numbers are incredible, historic for Barca. We know he is always there.”

By then, Barca were coasting and after thrashing Madrid 5-1 at the Camp Nou in October, they will return for Saturday’s La Liga game boasting an accumulative score of 9-2 from the clubs’ three meetings this season. Bet Now on NaijaBet

But this was not the humiliation of four months ago and if the result can be put to one side, Santiago Solari might take heart from the handful of golden opportunities his team wasted before their opponents began their spree. Continue reading “Suarez shine as Barcelona sink Madrid in CopaDelRey”

Hazard has the talent to succeed at Real Madrid – Mourinho

Belgian international Eden Hazard has the talent and personality to succeed at Real Madrid if he chooses to leave Chelsea for the La Liga giants, his former manager Jose Mourinho has said.

Hazard, who will become a free agent in June 2020, said last year it was his dream to play for 13-times European champions Real, and British media have since reported that talks with Chelsea over a contract extension have been put on hold.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said last month that Hazard was free to leave the Premier League club if the 28-year-old had his heart set on a move. Various betting options are available on site for today’s games on NaijaBet

“Does he have the talent to play for Real Madrid? He does,” former Real boss Mourinho, who managed Hazard at Chelsea from 2013 to 2015, said.

“Does he have the personality to put on a ‘super-heavy’ shirt and play in front of the fans at the Bernabeu? Yes, he has the personality. Continue reading “Hazard has the talent to succeed at Real Madrid – Mourinho”

Barcelona extends contract of coach Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona have extended coach Ernesto Valverde’s contract by another year until the end of the 2019-20 season with an option for one more year, the La Liga champions said on Friday.

“FC Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde, the first team coach, have reached an agreement to extend the contract between the two parties for another season (2019/20) with the option for one more (2020/21),” the club said in a statement on their website.

The announcement is a huge vote of confidence in Valverde, whose future with the club looked uncertain after he said last December that he did not know what he would be doing the following year.

Valverde, 55, succeeded Luis Enrique as coach in 2017, earning the job after sustained success with Athletic Bilbao. Place bet on Live Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

He guided Barca to a La Liga and Copa del Rey double in his debut campaign and almost led them to an unbeaten season in the league, losing only their penultimate game to Levante. Continue reading “Barcelona extends contract of coach Ernesto Valverde”

Courtois ready as Real eyes Madrid derby victory

Thibaut Courtois left Chelsea on bad terms last summer and he expects to feel the anger from Atletico Madrid too when he faces them in the white of Real Madrid on Saturday.

Courtois developed into one of the world’s finest goalkeepers during three years on loan at Atletico but he will be up against his former club, and Chelsea teammate Alvaro Morata, in what could prove a pivotal city derby this weekend.

Real arrive on the back of four La Liga wins on the bounce and will jump above their opponents with a win at the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico have fallen six points adrift of Barcelona and are attempting to stay in touch.

For Courtois, a reunion with Diego Simeone’s side is not new – he faced them twice for Chelsea in the Champions League last season and again at the Santiago Bernabeu in September – but this will be his first experience in front of the Atletico fans, in the colours of Real Madrid.

“It happens in football, it’s a derby and a derby here in Madrid is always heated,” Courtois said. Start forecasting your weekend games NaijaBet

“They’ll whistle and shout, everything you would expect, it’s part of football. I will always respect them. Now I’m playing for the other side.” Continue reading “Courtois ready as Real eyes Madrid derby victory”

Benzema fired Madrid into Copa del Rey semi-Final

Karim Benzema fired Real Madrid into the semifinals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday by scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Girona.

Benzema was on target in the first leg too, a 4-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu last week, and he continued his brilliant burst of form with another pair at Montilivi.

Pedro Porro pulled one back for Girona but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Marcos Llorente drove in for a 7-3 win on aggregate.

Madrid join Barcelona, Real Betis and Valencia in the draw for the last four on Friday.

Barca, who are chasing a record fifth cup success in a row, will be the ones to avoid but Santiago Solari’s team are gaining momentum, having won six out of their last seven games, with the resumption of the Champions League just around the corner. Start forecasting your weekend games Now

Benzema has been key to that run, the Frenchman scoring five goals now in three matches and even casting doubt on Gareth Bale’s place in the side. Continue reading “Benzema fired Madrid into Copa del Rey semi-Final”

Spanish giant Real, Barca replace United as top earning clubs

Real Madrid and Barcelona were the highest earning clubs in European football last season, knocking Manchester United off top spot, according to the latest Deloitte ‘Football Money League’ published on Thursday.

Deloitte based their survey of the top 20 earning clubs in Europe on the annual financial statements of the company or group running each club, or other direct sources, covering the 2017/18 season.

Real returned to top spot for the first time since 2014/15 with revenues of €750.9 million. Their revenue increased by more than €75 million year-on-year as they secured their third successive Champions League title.

Deloitte said the rise was “primarily due to the commercial growth of €54.8million including an uplift in sponsorship, merchandising and exploitation of increasingly lucrative pre-season fixtures.”

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte said: “Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017/18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles. Place bet on LIVE Matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

“This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever,” he added. Continue reading “Spanish giant Real, Barca replace United as top earning clubs”

Messi set another record as Barcelona extend Laliga lead

Lionel Messi scored his 400th La Liga goal on Sunday, a total his coach Ernesto Valverde called “monstrous”, as Barcelona terrorised Eibar to reclaim their five-point cushion at the top of the table.

Messi drove the ball into the bottom corner after being teed up by Luis Suarez, who added two goals to his own tally either side of the Argentinian marking another historic record at the Camp Nou.

“It’s monstrous,” said Valverde, after the 3-0 victory. “It’s easy to say but you have to score them one after the other, it’s a long-term job.

“His numbers are stratospheric, incredible. He is from another galaxy.”

Victory saw Valverde’s side restore their advantage over Atletico Madrid, who had briefly cut the gap to two points after beating Levante earlier in the day.

“There is a lot of time left,” Valverde said. “It is a good cushion but nothing is done yet.”

Real Madrid won too, beating Real Betis, to ensure Spain’s big three all prevailed in the same round for only the fourth time this season. Real remain 10 points adrift of Barcelona. Continue reading “Messi set another record as Barcelona extend Laliga lead”

Messi should try something new or come to Italy – Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged long-time rival Lionel Messi to be more like him and push his limits by challenging himself in another league than Spain.

“I’d like him to come to Italy one day. I hope he accepts the challenge like me, but if he’s happy there then I respect that,” Ronaldo told the Italian press on Monday.

The two strikers have been rivals for the past decade winning five Ballon d’Or trophies each before their domination was broken by World Cup runner-up Luka Modric last week.

Asked if he missed the 31-year-old Argentinian, who has spent his entire senior career at Barcelona, Ronaldo replied: “No, maybe it’s him who misses me …

“I’ve played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and for my national team, while he’s still in Spain.

“Maybe he needs me more… For me, life is a challenge, I like it and I like to make people happy. Bet Now 

“He’s a fantastic player and a good guy, but I don’t miss anything here. This is my new life and I’m happy.

“I left my comfort zone and took on this challenge here in Turin, everything has gone well, I’ve proven I’m still an incredible player,” said Ronaldo. Continue reading “Messi should try something new or come to Italy – Ronaldo”

Sevilla sit on top of La Liga after narrow win over Real Valladolid

Sevilla moved back to the top of La Liga on Sunday as they capitalised on the stuttering form of their rivals by beating Real Valladolid 1-0.

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona all failed to win on Saturday as Real were shocked 3-0 by Eibar before Atletico and Barca played out a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.

The way was open for Sevilla to take advantage and they made no mistake, Andre Silva continuing his excellent form this season by heading in the winner at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

“Nobody expected us to be in this position of course,” coach Pablo Machin said. “But we are going to fight. We deserve to have all these points and that is why we are first.”

Hosts Sevilla certainly rode their luck, twice needing VAR to deny Real Valladolid an equaliser, with the first cancellation particularly fortunate. Enes Unal’s strike was ruled out as the offside Toni Villa was deemed to be obstructing the goalkeeper’s view. Various Betting Options are available on NaijaBet for today’s games

The victory puts Sevilla one point above Barcelona at the summit, two clear of Atletico and six ahead of Real, who are languishing in sixth. Continue reading “Sevilla sit on top of La Liga after narrow win over Real Valladolid”

Solari set to become Real Madrid permanent manager

Santiago Solari will become Real Madrid’s permanent coach until the end of the season, according to papers filed with the Spanish football association, the sports channel ESPN reported on Monday.

The 42-year-old Argentine has led the team to four wins in four games since replacing Julen Lopetegui at the helm of the European champions two weeks ago.

Spanish rules prevent an interim coach from staying in charge for longer than 15 days, which expire on Monday, without being appointed on a permanent basis.

The Spanish Football Association (RFEF) said that Madrid had filed papers to hire Solari on that basis.

With victories over Melilla in the Copa del Rey, Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, and Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo in La Liga, Solari has enjoyed the best start of any manager in the club’s history. Place bet on Live matches 24/7

Lopetegui was sacked after a run of form that saw Madrid sink to ninth in the table, but after Sunday’s 4-2 win at Celta, the capital club are sixth, four points behind leaders Barcelona.

Messi might make UCL returns against Inter Milan

Lionel Messi could make an earlier return than expected against Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday but Barcelona has hardly missed him.

Four wins out of four, including a stroll past Inter Milan and a hammering of Real Madrid so severe it cost their coach his job, mean Messi reunites with a team enjoying its strongest run of the season, ironically without its star striker.

Barca will certainly be delighted, relieved even, when his recovery is complete. The club has named Messi in their squad for the match at the San Siro, even if he is yet to be given the medical all-clear.

It could be his involvement is either as a substitute or even delayed until Sunday, when Barca host Real Betis in La Liga.

Perhaps it will depend on how much Barca need him and, in that respect, Messi’s absence has been less pronounced than many predicted 15 days ago when he tumbled and broke his right arm against Sevilla. Champions League latest odds are available on site

Circumstances have helped. After Inter, came Real, who were in a mess, Cultural Leonesa, who play in Spain’s third tier, and Rayo Vallecano, who are 19th in the table. But wins, in any form, cannot be overlooked. Real’s against Real Valladolid on Saturday was their first in six league games. Continue reading “Messi might make UCL returns against Inter Milan”

Neymar might end up in prison over Barca move – Spanish magistrate

A Spanish magistrate leading an investigation into alleged irregularities in Neymar’s move to Barcelona in 2013 said on Wednesday the Brazilian superstar could face up to six years in prison.

“The term imposed, in principle, could be between four and six years,” said a decree issued by judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

Neymar, his parents, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell are all awaiting trial over alleged corruption concerning Neymar’s move to the Spanish La Liga giants in 2013.

The Brazilian international forward is now with Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Ligue 1.

The case, which follows a complaint by DIS, a Brazilian group which part-owned the rights to Neymar, surrounds allegations of “corruption” and “fraud” in the player’s move to Barcelona. Bet Now

Neymar moved to the Spanish La Liga giants in May 2013 for a reported fee of 57.1m euros. Although no financial details of the deal were revealed by either Barcelona or his Brazilian club FC Santos, Neymar’s parents were said to have received receive 40m euros and FC Santos 17.1m. Continue reading “Neymar might end up in prison over Barca move – Spanish magistrate”

Ramos says players are in the dark about the future of Lopetegui

Sergio Ramos insists Real Madrid’s players have been told nothing about a change of coach after their 5-1 defeat to Barcelona on Sunday left Julen Lopetegui on the brink of the sack.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Madrid were ripped apart at Camp Nou and familiar failings in defence were exposed again.

Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal scored either side of Suarez’s treble while a Marcelo goal briefly threatened a comeback early in the second half.

The European champions have now managed only one victory from their last six matches and reports in the Spanish press on Sunday night indicated Lopetegui could be removed as soon as Monday, with Antonio Conte ready to take charge.

“We have to wait, they have not told us anything,” Ramos said after the match. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“These are decisions not made by us so we have to keep a cool head, look at ourselves and try to change things to get better results.

“We will see what happens in the coming hours and tomorrow but the players are always with the coach to the death.” Continue reading “Ramos says players are in the dark about the future of Lopetegui”

Messi injury will give Dembele chance to prove their worth at Barca

Barcelona’s lowest ebbs are invariably followed by questions about Lionel Messi but the issue of over-reliance may become clearer over the coming weeks.

The sight of Messi on the ground, grasping his right arm, during Barca’s win over Sevilla on Saturday prompted reactions inside Camp Nou normally reserved for the conceding of goals.

Hands behind heads, fingers over mouths, the concern became real shortly after the final whistle when the club confirmed Messi had fractured his radial bone.

His absence leaves Barca vulnerable when they need him most, for a run of fixtures that includes Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Clasico against Real Madrid on Sunday, before a return match against Inter in Italy at the start of next month.

If he takes longer than expected to recover, he could miss tricky games against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid in La Liga too. Place bet on LIVE EVENTS 24/7 on NaijaBet

Barcelona has grown used to accusations of dependence, not least when results have taken a turn for the worse.

When Ernesto Valverde left Messi on the bench for the 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao last month, the argument was given added weight by him coming on and making the assist for their equaliser.

“This is Barcelona,” Messi afterwards. “We have a strong team and we have enough not to have to depend on one player.” Continue reading “Messi injury will give Dembele chance to prove their worth at Barca”

Barcelona and Real hopes for revival as Clasico looms

Real Madrid and Barcelona cannot avoid heading into next week’s Clasico under pressure but each has two games to lift the mood at least, ahead of the pivotal clash at the Camp Nou.

Eight games into La Liga and both Julen Lopetegui and Ernesto Valverde are feeling the heat, forced to defend poor runs that have seen their teams manage a combined total of two wins from their last 10 games.

Madrid’s slump feels the more entrenched, given they are without a goal in 360 minutes, discounting injury time, and three of their last four matches have ended in defeat.

While Barca can point to their riveting win at Wembley over Tottenham, and then a point gained in Valencia, Madrid have endured successive setbacks away to CSKA Moscow and Alaves.

They have two home games to clear the fog, and winnable ones too, against Levante in La Liga on Saturday before Viktoria Plzen visit on Tuesday in the Champions League. Bet Now on NaijaBet

A pair of victories, and just as importantly, some goals, would earn Lopetegui much-needed breathing space. Continue reading “Barcelona and Real hopes for revival as Clasico looms”

Messi would struggle to shine at Man United – Scholes

Paul Scholes says even Lionel Messi would struggle to shine in the current Manchester United team and that the struggling club are being laughed at by their rivals.

The former United and England midfielder has been a frequent and vocal critic of his old club, who are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League – five points adrift of any other member of the “Big Six”.

They had to watch Manchester City win last season’s title in record-breaking fashion and Pep Guardiola’s men are flying high at the top once more, alongside Liverpool and manager Jose Mourinho’s former club Chelsea.

“That shouldn’t make any difference but it does,” Scholes said. “United now feels like Liverpool from years ago, like we’re making all the same mistakes as they did. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“We were watching Liverpool and City from afar and smirking as they changed managers and players every year, never getting anything right. It feels like we have turned into a Liverpool or a Man City.

“I feel like people at Liverpool and Man City are looking at us and laughing like we did at them many years ago.” Continue reading “Messi would struggle to shine at Man United – Scholes”

Vidal unhappy with lack of playing time at Barca

Barcelona’s Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal says he is not happy because of his lack of playing time at his new club.

Vidal joined from Bayern Munich this summer but has had just two starts for the Catalans – and been substituted both times.

“How can I be happy if I don’t play, and me of all people?” Vidal told reporters after joining up with his national team, on Tuesday.

“I am somebody who has always fought, been at the best teams in the world, won everything and who wants to continue winning at Barcelona,” Vidal said. Place bet on tonight’s games on NaijaBet

Coach Ernesto Valverde has opted to start young Brazilian midfielder Arthur in the team in recent matches, with Vidal not playing at all in Barca’s 1-1 draw at Valencia in La Liga on Sunday and appearing for just three minutes against Tottenham in the Champions League last week.

“I am fine physically and happy. In the past few games I have been a bit annoyed but that is how it is, we will keep battling. There are a lot of important games ahead and we will see,” Vidal was quoted as saying.

Ballon d’Or nominees: Bale, De Bruyne in first 10 list

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale and Manchester City’s Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were among the first 10 nominees for the Ballon d’Or award announced on Monday.

Bale, who scored two goals in Real’s triumph in the final of the Champions League against Liverpool, joins his club teammate Karim Benzema among the first wave of 30 nominees for the year’s best player.

De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semifinals.

The winner of the prestigious award organised by France Football magazine will be announced on December 3. Naija and Bet

Having lost out in the Fifa best player of the year award to Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or that were being unveiled in stages throughout Monday.

The Juventus forward, currently facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d’Or five times and is the current holder of the award. Continue reading “Ballon d’Or nominees: Bale, De Bruyne in first 10 list”

Leganes thump Barcelona, Sevilla sinks Real Madrid

Barcelona conceded twice in 68 seconds and Real Madrid was three down at halftime as La Liga’s two title favourites were each stunned by surprise defeats on Wednesday night.

Barca’s 2-1 loss to relegation fighters Leganes was the greater shock but Madrid’s beating was more emphatic, blown away 3-0 by Sevilla after a torrid 39 minutes at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

For both, it was their first defeat of the season and for both, defensive fragility was the key factor, which will be a major concern with the second round of Champions League games to come next week.

By the end, Atletico Madrid, who had cruised to victory over Huesca on Tuesday and play Real on Saturday, were the biggest winners. After a stuttering start, Diego Simeone’s side will jump above Real with a win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Sevilla can be a formidable opponent on their own patch but few expected Leganes to inflict what was only Barcelona’s second league defeat in 17 months. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet

“We are in a very difficult moment that was unexpected,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. Continue reading “Leganes thump Barcelona, Sevilla sinks Real Madrid”

Simeone will love to coach Inter later says agent

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone will “sooner or later” become coach of Serie A giants Inter Milan, his sister and agent claimed on Sunday.

“I think it’s only a matter of time. He loves the club, the atmosphere and living in Milan. Inter is a side he would really love to coach,” Natalia Simeone said in quotes in the Italian press.

Former Argentina international Simeone spent two years as a player with Inter, whom he joined from Atletico Madrid in 1997, winning a Serie A title and the Uefa Cup.

He then went on to play for four years with another Italian club, Lazio, before returning to Atletico Madrid. Place bet on LIVE matches 24/7

“Diego said it too, sooner or later, he’ll end up at Inter,” said Natalia.

“Inter is a team that he would like to coach so much, but he has remained very close to Lazio, too.” Continue reading “Simeone will love to coach Inter later says agent”

Video assistant referee (VAR) disrupts flow of game – Suarez

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has criticised the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) in Spain this season, saying it disrupted the natural flow of games and that he would prefer to see the use of goal-line technology instead.

Suarez scored a goal in Barca’s 8-2 win over Huesca on Sunday which was initially ruled out for offside but later awarded after the referee consulted VAR, leaving the Uruguayan unconvinced by the system.

“VAR stifles celebrations,” Suarez said in an interview on Wednesday.

“Defenders are now asking for something the whole time. I would prefer to just have goal-line technology. With VAR, the game can lose naturalness,” he added.

“Perhaps a play starts with an involuntary handball, you counter-attack and score, then they review the play and rule it out.” Continue reading “Video assistant referee (VAR) disrupts flow of game – Suarez”

Unity will be a vital key for Real to forget Ronaldo

When Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid in July it was the end of an era at the Santiago Bernabeu as the European champions said goodbye to their all-time top goalscorer and best player.

But although Julen Lopetegui’s side failed to sign a replacement, they have started the season flying with three wins from three games.

Joint top of the table with arch-rivals Barcelona, both boasting 100 percent records, it has been a seamless transition into the post-Ronaldo period at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real thrashed Leganes 4-1 at home on Saturday, taking their tally to 10 goals in three games in the Spanish top-flight. Place bet on Live matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

Although a relatively easy start to the season has helped, Real have started playing with joy and it looks as if pressure has been lifted off the team’s shoulders.

“The truth is that now Madrid are playing with 11 and not 10 plus one, like in the last nine years,” wrote Spanish newspaper.

“Now if a player receives a bad pass they try to encourage the teammate who made the error. Before it was different, Cristiano Ronaldo was understandably demanding, but everything is a lot friendlier now.” Continue reading “Unity will be a vital key for Real to forget Ronaldo”