Ronaldo Relieved As Madrid Edge Five-Goal Malaga Thriller

Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (L) celebrates with Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Malaga CF on 25, November 2017 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first La Liga goal for over a month ensured Real Madrid closed the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to seven points by squeezing past struggling Malaga 3-2 on Saturday.

Ronaldo’s relief was clear to see when he fired home the rebound after seeing his penalty saved by Roberto 15 minutes from time.

First-half goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro had twice put the European champions in front.

However, their defensive fragilities without injured captain Sergio Ramos were also exposed as Diego Rolan and Chory Castro twice levelled for Malaga, who remain in the relegation zone.

Ronaldo’s winner does though put some pressure on Barca when they travel to Valencia for a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday (1945GMT).

The Catalans will though be buoyed by Lionel Messi ending speculation over his future by finally signing a contract extension to 2021 earlier on Saturday.

Ronaldo also played his part for Benzema’s opener after just nine minutes.

The World Player of the Year rose highest at the back post and when his header came back off the angle of post and bar, the unmarked Benzema had the simple task of nodding into an empty net.

Real looked set to shake off their league struggles so far this season in a dominant start as Dani Carvajal also forced Roberto in the Malaga goal into the first of a series of impressive stops.

However, a slack pass from Toni Kroos on the edge of his own box handed Malaga a route back into the game on 18 minutes.

Keko pounced on the German World Cup winner’s gift and his cross was calmly chested down and slotted beyond Kiko Casilla by Rolan.

Parity only lasted three minutes for the visitors, though, as Kroos made amends with a corner from which Casemiro powered home.

Benzema and Ronaldo had plenty of chances to improve their meagre goalscoring returns this season with the Frenchman first to pull a great chance beyond the far post.

Roberto then denied Ronaldo from close range before producing an even more stunning stop by leaping to his left to claw away a powerful header from the Portuguese.

Madrid’s fans had complained before kick-off at their perceived harsh treatment from referees this season, but it was the hosts who were handed a let off from the officials on the stroke of half-time.

Paul Baysse’s header looked to have levelled with the last touch of the half, but the French defender was penalised for a push on Dani Carvajal.

Malaga did level just before the hour mark thanks to some calamitous goalkeeping from Casilla as he let Castro’s drive from 25 yards slip through his grasp into the bottom corner.

Ronaldo saw another chance slip away as he failed to make any connection on Raphael Varane’s knockdown moments later.

However, his moment came when substitute Luka Modric was tripped inside the area and referee Jesus Gil Manzano awarded Real their first penalty in La Liga this season.

Ronaldo still couldn’t find a way past Roberto with his first effort, but followed up to smash home the rebound to avoid Real’s title chances suffering another severe blow.

AFP

Mascherano Warns Barcelona Against Juventus Attackers

Courtesy: marca.com

Barcelona defender, Javier Mascherano, has cautioned his teammates against Juventus pair, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, ahead of Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg tie.

Juventus will meet Barcelona for the first time since the 2015 Champions League final, when an early Ivan Rakitic strike left Massimiliano Allegri’s men with a mountain to climb before they succumbed 3­-1 in Berlin.

Barcelona will be without Sergio Busquets due to suspension, meaning Mascherano could be given a rare outing in the midfield holding role.

Neymar, as well as Rakitic and Gerard Pique, who returned to the team following a suspension against Malaga, are all one booking away from a suspension that would rule them out of the return leg.

Ike Uche Joins Malaga

UcheSpanish La Liga side, Malaga have announced the signing of Nigerian striker, Ikechukwu Uche, who was recently released by Mexican side Tigres.

His time in Mexico was dogged by injuries as he failed to establish himself in the starting line-up.

Uche is making a return to the Spanish top division just months after quitting Villarreal where he spent three seasons.

The 32-year-old joins Chory Castro, Christian Atsu, Cifu and Ricca as players who have been signed by Malaga during the recent transfer window.

Odemwingie Pleased To Remain A Potter

Meanwhile, Super Eagles forward, Osaze Odemwingie, seems to have gotten over his botched move to France on transfer deadline day.

The 34-year-old’s transfer to Ligue One side, Olympique Marseille, on Monday collapsed after Stoke City rejected a bid from the French team.

Despite the move failing to materialize, he appeared to have moved on after posting on social media that he is pleased to stay and fight for his place with the potters.

Odemwingie, who has six months left on his current deal, has featured for Stoke City just seven times in all competitions this season.

Arsenal Win 2015 Community Shield At Wembley

Arsenal-Wins-Community-ShieldArsenal on Sunday defeated Chelsea 1-0 to retain the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium.

At the end of the regulation time, Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, had a reason to celebrate against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, having failed to win in any of his previous 13 attempts.

In February 2014 the Chelsea boss called Wenger a “specialist in failure”, and then in October the Gunners boss shoved his rival during a heated touchline quarrel.

Alex Oxlade-chamberlain scored the winner with a powerful drive into the top corner with his weaker left foot.

The Gunners named goalkeeper Petr Cech in their starting line-up following his summer move across London while Theo Walcott, who has just signed a lucrative new deal, led the arsenal attack.

It is the first time that Arsenal is beating a Mourinho-led Chelsea side since 2011.

“Will Not Be A Friendly”

Before the match, Arsene Wenger said that the Community Shield against Chelsea “will not be a friendly”.

According to arsenal.com, Wenger admited that a victory in the match, which would be his first against Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, is capable of shaping his team’s confidence for the 2015/16 season.

Having enjoyed a perfect pre-season performance, Wenger hopes his side would maintain their momentum against the champions, but warned against reading too much into the result.

“We have to accept that every game is decided and judged as definite,” he said. “But you know that in real life it is not like that. The tribunal is out there and will draw conclusions from Sunday.

“But no matter, positive or negative (result), we have to continue our way and focus on ourselves.

“It’s a game that is important but it is still preparation. We want to win it and overall it can just give us that little bit more confidence before we go into the season.

“You know, it will not be a friendly as it is like that and it is good like that.”

The Gunners go into the match on a run of four successive victories at Wembley, and having scored 14 goals during pre-season.

The morale of the team would have been boosted by the duo of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott, who have both agreed contract extensions with the English giants.

The victory will be a boosted for the team, as they prepare for the commencement of a new Premiership season.

Cazorla And Walcott Sign New Arsenal Deals

WalcottSanti Cazorla and Theo Walcott have both agreed contract extensions with English giants, Arsenal FC.

Walcott, 26, is Arsenal’s longest-serving current player, making his 300th appearance for the club last season. He has scored a total of 76 goals since joining the Gunners in 2006.

Theo finished the 2014/15 season in outstanding form. The England forward netted a first-half hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion in the final Premier League match of the season, before scoring the opener in the FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa the following week.

Cazorla, 30, enjoyed another excellent year for Arsenal in 2014/15 season.

Playing in a deeper midfield role for the Gunners, he made 53 appearances in all – more than any other player.

In total, the gifted Spaniard has featured 148 times for Arsenal since his arrival from Malaga in 2012. His tally of 27 goals includes many important strikes, most notably in the 2014 FA Cup Final victory over Hull City.

An experienced international, Cazorla has won more than 70 caps for his country and was part of the squad that won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger said, “We’re delighted to have extended the contracts of Santi and Theo. Both are top quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad.

“As well as their huge contributions on the pitch, they both have a great deal of experience and are very popular off the pitch. We’re very pleased with them both signing contract extensions, as it provides our squad with further stability of quality.”

 

Culled from arsenal.com

Beckham likely to bid for Malaga ownership – Report

David Beckham is considering launching a takeover bid for Spanish outfit Malaga which would make him the owner of the Primera Liga club, according to reports.

Qatari billionaire Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani took over the club two years ago but is apparently already looking to sell up.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Beckham is aiming to buy 75 per cent of the shares in Malaga with Alexi Lalas, the LA Galaxy general manager who brought Beckham to the MLS in 2007.

Despite initially ploughing money into the club, Al-Thani recently sold star players Santi Cazorla and Jose Rondon in an attempt to fall in line with the Financial Fair Play rules.

It was not enough to escape punishment from UEFA today, though, as Malaga featured in the list of 23 clubs to have prize money withheld after falling foul of the regulations.

Malaga has been forced to float shares due to mounting debts despite featuring in this season’s Champions League.

Beckham is familiar with Spanish football after spending four seasons at Real Madrid before moving to the US to play for Los Angeles Galaxy. He has played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, and the England national team for which he holds the appearance record for an outfield player.

Beckham’s career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17.

During his time at Old Trafford, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons, clinching the La Liga championship in his final season with the club.

In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid for the Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy, signing a five-year contract with them on 1 July 2007.

While a Galaxy player, he spent two loan spells in Italy with Milan in 2009 and 2010.

On 20 November 2011, he joined an elite group of players to have won three league titles in three different countries, when Los Angeles won their third MLS Cup.

 

In international football, Beckham made his England debut on 1 September 1996, at the age of 21. He was made captain from 15 November 2000 until the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, during which he played 58 times.

He earned a much-publicized hundredth cap against France on 26 March 2008 and became the all-time outfield player appearance record holder on 28 March 2009 when he surpassed Bobby Moore’s total of 108 caps.

With 115 career appearances to date, he has stated that he does not intend to retire from international football. Having missed the 2010 World Cup through injury, Beckham has not played for England since 14 October 2009. He remains 10 caps short of the 125 caps won by goalkeeper Peter Shilton – a record number of England caps for a player of any position.

Beckham has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year and in 2004 was the world’s highest-paid footballer when taking into account salary and advertising deals.

Beckham was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches.[5] He is third in the Premier League’s all-time time assist provider chart, with 152 assists in 265 appearances.

When joining the MLS in 2007 he was given the highest player salary in the league’s history, with his playing contract with the Galaxy over the next three years being worth US$6.5m per year.