Champions League: Atletico, Real Madrid Arrive For Milan Final

Champions League, Atletico, Real MadridThe city of Milan is getting ready for the final of the UEFA Champions League as arch rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid compete for the coveted trophy on Saturday evening.

Majority of the Spanish fans are expected to start arriving by air, rail and road on Saturday. Fans already arrived in Milan are hoping that they would see an exciting match.

10-time European champions, Real Madrid have arrived their Milan hotel ahead of the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player off the bus and the Portuguese should be fit to play.

The Portuguese set alarm bells ringing on Tuesday when he ended training prematurely with a knock but was fit to train again the following day.

He has scored 16 goals in the competition this season.

Zinedine Zidane’s men are without defenders Raphael Varane and Alvaro Arbeloa for the game.

Meanwhile a crowd of Atletico Madrid fans gathered outside the Hotel Melia in Milan to also welcome their team as they arrived.

Atletico players briefly waved at a group of supporters, many dressed in the team’s jerseys and waving red and white flags, before entering their hotel.

While Madrid will be missing two players, Atletico have a clean bill of health.

It is a far cry from the dishevelled state in which Diego Simeone’s team arrived at the 2014 final, when they struggled with fitness after a long season and suffered key injuries.

The teams’ face off at the San Siro stadium is a repeat of the 2014 final in Lisbon which saw Real come from behind to win 4-1 after extra-time.

Champions League: Ronaldo Injury Scare Ahead Of Final

Champions League, RonaldoReal Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he will be fit to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday after limping out of training.

Ronaldo left the pitch with a thigh problem following a clash with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

The Portuguese forward was seen showing his thigh to medical staff, receiving attention, he later described the injury as a minor scare.

“I had a small problem in the training session, a ‘sandwich’ (bocadillo) as they say in Spain. But tomorrow or the day after I will be fine,” he told reporters.

Ronaldo has not completed his last three training sessions.

Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Ronaldo sat out a full training as a precaution.

“There will be no problem with that. We had a game among ourselves on Saturday and (Ronaldo) didn’t play, but (only) as a precaution as he felt something small.

“He is preparing for the final and I think we’ll be in good shape physically,” Zidane said.

Real Madrid Stars React To Champions League Final Qualification

Real MadridIn a repeat of the 2014 Lisbon final, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet each other at the San Siro on May 28 in the 2016 Champions League final.

Real Madrid beat Manchester City 1-0 to set up the all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant.

It was a perfect night for Zinedine Zidane. He has just passed the four-month mark as Real Madrid coach and his team are now through to the Champions League final.

The Frenchman had the following to say about his team reaching the final in Milan; “I’m happy, not just for myself; it was a team effort. I’m happy for the players because what they did tonight was fantastic. We suffered because that always happens in semi-finals, but we’ve got through to the final and that is what is important for us.

“We won the game 1-0 and that shows that we had to dig in against a very strong side. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can say that City didn’t do anything in the game. I think that they did a lot. We hardly allowed them any chances because we defended well and got things right tactically.”

On his part in the success; “I’m the coach of this team. For sure, I’m doing something right. But, it’s not just me, it’s down to everyone who works alongside me. The most important ones are the players, it’s them who allow us to enjoy the football.

“I love football and when I see them doing what they do, I’m happy. I suffer a bit more as a coach than I did as a player. I feel tense during the games. We’ve got to enjoy these moments.”

Important Goal

Madrid went ahead in the first half when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

He said of the goal that has been credited as an own goal, “The most important thing was to get the goal and that the ball ended up in the net. It doesn’t matter who scores it, the only thing that matters is that it was an important goal which has sent us through to the final. We’ve now got the chance to win another Champions League title”.

Other Real Madrid stars have also spoken about the victory and their expectations from Milan.

Left back, Marcelo said; “In the Champions League there is always a lot of tension, they are tough games. In every competition we play in, we try to do the best we can. It is difficult because they are tough competitions, but we are in the Champions League final and we have a very difficult game ahead of us. We are going into the end of season strong.”

Jesé says; “Last time I wasn’t in the final and now I have the good fortune and opportunity to be there and help the team. This year we deserve to win something and I’m happy.

“All madridistas want to win the Champions League and important things and now we have the opportunity. It is the product of months of work and in the final we have to fight till the last”.

Tough Season

Veteran defender Sergio Ramos considers it a very special night coming off a very tough season.

“After such a tough season, the hard work and the team’s togetherness means that we’re able to enjoy our second final in three years. We dug in and we worked together when we had to.

“The Champions League demands great concentration levels, we performed very well defensively and we put away the chance that we had. We must now enjoy this because it’s a special moment and it takes a lot of hard work to get to a final”.

“The team and the supporters deserve it. Once again, they got fully behind us and were our 12th man. We’ve now got to enjoy this and give our all in another final, we’ve already shown that we know how to win the final.

“It was a very special night for the Real Madrid fans and we’re really keen to bring the eleventh European title back home to our supporters.”

La Liga Quality

Cristiano Ronaldo, in his analysis of the semi-final win against Manchester City, tagged it a busy game.

“The team did well, we controlled the game and had more opportunities. We could have killed the game with a second goal and 1-0 is a small result but it is sufficient. We are in the final, which was our aim. We knew we needed to score and in the first game in Manchester we deserved to. Today as well, we were the better team and it is fair that we are in the final”.

“It is a final. We are facing Atletico again and I’m happy. This shows the quality of La Liga. I am very happy to be in the final and we still have a chance in La Liga.”

Ronaldo also had good words for the coach; “Zidane is doing a fine job. He is helping us and we are happy with his work. I admire him as a coach and as a person, and I hope that he stays with us.

“We have always been with him. He is a humble person, he likes to learn and listen to the players and it is very easy in this sense.”

Real Madrid will go in search of their eleventh European Cup title, against Atlético de Madrid at the San Siro.

It will be the fourth time that this stadium plays host to a European Cup final after the previous showdowns in 1965, 1970 and 2001.

It is the second time in the history of the European Cup that two sides from the same city face each other in the final. The first of these meetings was also between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

In a repeat of the final from two years ago, in which Real Madrid lifted the Décima in Lisbon, Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to win and claim their eleventh European Cup title.

Real Madrid Beat City To Qualify For Champions League final

Champions LeagueReal Madrid Beat Manchester City 1-o to set up an all Spanish final for the second time in three seasons after a first-half own goal from Fernando was enough to secure a narrow win that barely reflected Real’s dominant display.

City had made a bright start but their early momentum was halted in its tracks as captain and centre back, Vincent Kompany, was forced off with a muscle injury after nine minutes, handing the initiative to the hosts, who quickly went on the offensive.

City looked slightly overawed as they handed territory to Real Madrid who punished them when Bale picked up Dani Carvajal’s pass and aimed a cross towards the far post that was deflected by Fernando past Joe Hart into the top corner.

The linesman’s flag prevented City falling further behind when Pepe stabbed into the net only for his effort to be ruled out for offside, while City’s only glimpse of goal in the first half came when Fernandinho’s effort clipped the post.

Madrid continued to dominate after the break, but found a second goal elusive as Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo failed to convert chances, while Bale’s header hit the crossbar.

UCL: Man City Draw Away As Wolfsburg Shock Madrid

Real MadridKevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho both scored to hand Manchester City a 2-2 first-leg draw at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

The two away goals give the English side the edge in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had his penalty saved by City goalkeeper Joe Hart as the Premier League side twice punished defensive mistakes by their hosts to get the two goals.

De Bruyne put City ahead on 38 minutes, only for Ibrahimovic to level after an embarrassing mix-up in the visitors’ defence soon after.

Adrien Rabiot then put PSG ahead just before the hour, but Fernandinho made it 2-2 on 72 minutes and ensured the French giants will be chasing the tie in next Tuesday’s second leg.

In Germany, Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold were the goal scorers as German side Wolfsburg dealt a 2-0 blow to Real Madrid’s hopes of taking the Champions League crown this season.

Playing in their first quarterfinal in the competition, Wolfsburg bullied the Spanish giant to earn a good chance of making the last four.

Ricardo Rodriguez had converted a penalty in the 18th minute after Casemiro was adjudged to have fouled Andre Schurrle inside the area.

Arnold then added the second in the 25th minute as the home side used counterattacks to devastating effect at the Volkswagen Arena.

Madrid created a number of chances to pull one back, with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo all threatening, but they were unable to beat goalkeeper Diego Benaglio for an important away goal.

An injury to Karim Benzema added to a poor night for the visitors who came into the match following a 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Spanish league “clasico”.

Ironically, Wolfsburg have been struggling in the Bundesliga.

Both sides meet again at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12 for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

Ronaldo, Jese Give Madrid Victory In Roma’s Home

Real-MadridTwo goals from Real Madrid forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jese sealed a victory for the Spanish side in a Champions League away game against AS Roma.

Ronaldo opened scoring in the 57th minute when Marcelo scooped a pass down the left wing for him, with the Madrid star taking a clever touch inside the box, confusing the backtracking Florenzi.

The shot took a deflection off the Roma captain, who had spread himself in front of Ronaldo in the desperate style.

Both teams subsequently lost several scoring chances, before substitute, Jese doubled Madrid’s goal at the 87th minute, establishing the side’s sudden dominance in the second half.

He scored after dribbling down the inside-right channel.

The away goals give Real Madrid an edge against Roma when they will play a return match in Madrid in few weeks.

Before the game, there were fears that a reported lack of closeness between Ronaldo and teammates, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale could affect team.

 

 

Real Madrid To Take Legal Action On Players’ Car Attacks

Real MadridReal Madrid has said they will take legal action against any fans found to have attacked players’ cars, including that of Wales international, Gareth Bale.

The club, in a statement on Monday, said that they would take any applicable legal action against the individuals responsible for the attack.

Real Madrid noted that one club member had been suspended pending an investigation.

The club added it had already identified the individuals responsible for what it called “aggressive and violent actions against several of our players”.

Real Madrid players Gareth Bale and Jesé Rodríguez were allegedly attacked by their own fans outside the club’s training base, following their 2-1 El Classico defeat to FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

After the team arrived back in Madrid on Sunday night, two fans repeatedly struck the cars of the two forwards as they refused to stop their cars to speak to them outside the Valdebebas training complex, according to images captured by Spanish television channel, Cuatro.

After looking threatening in the first half, in which he scored a correctly-disallowed goal, Bale was largely anonymous after the break, touching the ball just 16 times, including a shot that he dragged badly wide.

Jesé came on as a substitute in the 80th minute and was unable to help Madrid score a late equaliser.

Shortly after the fans vented their anger at Bale and Jesé, Sergio Ramos confronted the supporters asking “What’s the matter? Do you think that’s the right attitude?” The Spanish also commented that Real Madrid’s players had “left everything on the pitch”.

The defeat has left Real Madrid four points behind FC Barcelona at the top of La Liga with just ten league games left.

El Clasico: Suarez Completes Barcelona’s Attacking Options

El ClasicoWith Luis Suárez back from his ban, Barcelona Coach, Luis Enrique, can finally choose from a full pack of strikers for Saturday’s El Clasico against Real Madrid.

Leo Messi, Neymar Jr, Luis Suárez, Pedro Rodríguez, Sandro Ramírez and Munir El Haddadi are all available.

Not counting Suarez, the other five have bagged more than 80% of the team’s goals this season.

There’s plenty of focus on what Suarez’s role is going to be on Saturday, but the presence of Messi and Neymar upfront would also be giving the Madrid defence headaches – the two of them have managed more than 19 out of 28 of the team’s goals this season.

Sandro (3), Pedro (1) and Munir (1) have also scored, with the combined goals from the front men representing more than 80% of the total.

Messi and Pedro have plenty of experience against Real Madrid, whilst Neymar made his El Clasico debut last season with a goal at the Camp Nou.

For Luis Suárez, Sandro and Munir, Saturday would be their first appearance in the El Clasico.

Luis Enrique, confirmed that Suarez would indeed get some time on the pitch against Real Madrid in the match better known as “El Clasico.”

“(Suarez) will have some minutes for sure, how many I cannot say,” Enrique told his pregame news conference on Friday (via ESPN). “It is a big thing for him, to join up finally with the team, and get some minutes.”

Premier League: Dzeko Expresses Cautious Optimism Ahead Of Arsenal Test

Premier LeagueManchester City’s defence of their English Premier League title is firmly in the back of striker, Edin Dzeko’s mind.

The new Bosnia-Herzegovina captain, who scored a sublime solo goal for his country in their 3-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, has continued his impressive start to the 2014/15 season.

As well as discussing his new role as national team skipper, the 28-year old has also been weighing up chances of winning a third Barclay’s Premier League title in four seasons, with City’s trip to Arsenal just days away.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Dzeko declared, “It will be difficult, but I’m an optimist.

As with every season, there are several teams that will battle for the title of champions in England.

This season Chelsea might be the most serious challenger, but we mustn’t ignore Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, or United, who will certainly be much stronger than last year.

After all, everyone has gotten stronger, and everyone wants to be first.”

Edin’s role in City landing a second title in three years last season can hardly be overestimated, given his five goals in the last four games of the league run-in.

The striker penned a new deal which will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until at least 2018, following a season which he described as one of his best-ever.

The past season was one of the best in my career, and in the end we reached the title of champions of England, the second in the past three seasons,” the 28-year old said.

We succeeded in winning the Capital One Cup and I am really happy how everything played out in the past season, both for the club and for myself.

As far as the contract, in general I had no dilemma around an extension.

I am happy at City, the manager believes in me, which is certainly important, and I give my all on the pitch and altogether it means quite a lot to me, because Manchester is a club with great ambitions and I easily decided to stay put.”

Edin succeeded Emir Spahic as national team captain in the summer, following Bosnia’s unfortunate group stage exit from the World Cup in Brazil.

On the captaincy, Edin said: “I would be lying when I say that it isn’t the dream of every player, including me.

I will give my all to replace Spahic in an adequate manner. I am aware that with the captain’s armband comes greater responsibility, and I will work hard to prove in the best way that I didn’t become captain by accident.

I believe I can fulfil all expectations, both of the manager and of fans, my teammates, the media, and my own. I wouldn’t be here today if I doubted myself.

Together with the Belgians, we are the favorites, but Israel should not be forgotten and certainly not underestimated, as they are known to be very unpleasant on their home field, nor Wales, who in their ranks have players like Bale and Ramsey.

We were at the World Cup, we saw what it means, and it is great experience for us that will help us in the future.

Our goal is France, and it should be taken seriously.”

Ronaldo’s Brace Helps Real Madrid To Win UEFA Super Cup

UEFA Super CupWorld footballer of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, scored twice as Real Madrid claimed the UEFA Super Cup with a 2-0 victory over La Liga rivals, Sevilla, at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The European Champion were hot favourites to claim the first silverware of the European season and were always too strong for the Europa League winners.

Ronaldo, who started alongside new recruits James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, tapped in a cross from Cardiff-born Gareth Bale to give Real the lead.

It was 2-0 to Real early in the second period when Karim Benzema played in Ronaldo on the left of the box and he drilled a powerful shot beyond Beto, which the goalkeeper got both hands to but could not keep out.

Real boss, Carlo Ancelotti, paraded his wealth of playing talent, with major summer signings; Rodriguez and Kroos, joining Bale and Ronaldo in a team captained by goalkeeper, Iker Casillas.

James and Kroos both had their moments, with the electric speed of the Colombia international’s passing a regular highlight, while Bale’s former Spurs colleague, Luka Modric worked tirelessly in midfield.

Although the Spanish domestic season does not start for almost another fortnight, Real already look in good form, suggesting they would not only challenge for another European crown but also seriously threaten Atletico Madrid’s reign as La Liga champions.

Real Madrid Start Tour With Screamer From Bale

Gareth Bale RMReal Madrid started the 2014/15 season with a draw against Inter Milan at the University of Berkeley’s California Memorial Stadium.

The first half belonged to the Whites, who demonstrated the hallmarks that made them champions of Europe: a possession game and suffocating pressure to recover the ball in front of a crowd that were right behind Ancelotti’s team.

The match took a turn very early, on 10 minutes, although the first goal could have come even earlier. A cross from Carvajal from the right and a headed shot from Bale hit the crossbar. It was a warning of what was to come.

The Welshman controlled the ball in the midfield, went forward with it stuck to his foot and surprised Handanovic with an unstoppable missile from 30 metres. There was little the Italian team’s goalkeeper could do against the surprising effect that the Welshman achieved with his strike.

Bale was showing that he is starting the season in exceptional form and came close to bagging a brace after half an hour’s play. His long-distance free kick was deflected for a corner by Handanovic. It was the last dangerous play of the first half, in which the Whites showed great solidity on the field and their opponents barely threatened their goal.

At half time Ancelotti decided to bring on Jesús and Marcos Llorente for Diego López and Bale, who was the most outstanding player in the first half. The match took a turn for the worse in the 68th minute when the referee gave a penalty for a Sobrino push on Vidic, who was about to shoot following a cross from Jonathan from the right. Icardi converted it to equalise the game.

The match opened up. It was end-to-end stuff. Jesús showed off his reflexes with an impressive double save in the 78th minute, stopping shots from Juan Jesús and Andreolli, but six minutes later it was the Whites’ turn and Omar forced Carrizo to make a great save with a shot from in front of the box. The time was up and the penalty shoot-out was won by the Italian side.

Benzema To Miss Real’s Champions League Match Against Schalke

Karim benzemaReal Madrid will be without Karim Benzema for Tuesday’s Champions League game at home to Schalke 04 but he should be fit for Sunday’s La Liga “Clasico” against Barcelona, Coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday (March 17).

France forward, Benzema took a knock to the thigh in a collision with team mate Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday’s 1-0 La Liga win at Malaga and had to be replaced by Angel Di Maria in the 32nd minute.

“He (Karim Benzema) is doing well this year. Not only because he is scoring. He had a knock. We will wait to see if tomorrow he recovers. We are lucky to have the possibility, if he cannot play, to play another good player,” Ancelotti told a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s last 16, second leg, when Real will start with a 6-1 advantage from the first leg in Gelsenkirchen.

Ancelotti said he would be resting some of his regulars at the Bernabeu on Tuesday (March 18) and Alvaro Morata and Jese would start up front alongside competition top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale each scored twice in the first leg victory in Germany and Real are virtually assured of their place in the draw for the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition, which takes place on Friday.

With the ticket almost booked, Real look to focus on Sunday’s (March 23) league match against Barcelona.

Ancelotti said it was important to play a good match against the Germans to prepare for Barca’s visit.

“The best way to prepare Sunday’s game (against Barcelona) is to play a good match (against Schalke). It would give us confidence,” he said.

Ancelotti’s side are still alive in all three competitions they are contesting and have a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga ahead of third-placed Barca’s visit to the Bernabeu.

After the good results in the last months, Ancelotti was asked if Real Madrid’s squad was the best he has ever had.

“This squad has a bit of everything. It has experience, it has youth, it has quality, it has personality. Perhaps it’s the most complete squad,” the Italian coach said.

A league win for Real would put them seven points clear of their arch rivals with nine games left and deal a huge blow to Barca’s chances of a fifth domestic league title in six years.

In form young striker, Jese Rodriguez said that they had to focus on their Champions League match to gain confidence ahead their league clash.

“It is a match that we must to play well and try to win. What we have in our minds is to win alongside our crowd so we can be well before the weekend’s league match,” he said.

The King’s Cup final in Valencia on April 16 is also between Spain’s big two, a repeat of the 2011 showpiece which Real won 1-0.