Real Madrid Knock Out Liverpool To Reach Champions League Semi-Finals

Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota shoots wide during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool were left to rue a host of missed chances as Real Madrid held out for a 0-0 draw at Anfield to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League 3-1 on aggregate.

Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum were guilty of wasting glorious opportunities to get Jurgen Klopp’s men back into the tie as they failed to replicate a remarkable recovery from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate at the semi-final stage two years ago.

 

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (R) takes a shot during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Madrid were far from their best, but did not need to be to set up a semi-final clash with Chelsea as Los Blancos extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 games.

Klopp admitted before the game that his players had to create their own atmosphere without the cauldron of noise that has accompanied famous European nights at Anfield in the past.

Despite the empty stands due to coronavirus restrictions, Liverpool flew out of the traps and should have halved their deficit within two minutes.

Sadio Mane knocked Ozan Kabak’s long ball perfectly into the path of Salah, but Liverpool’s one consistent performer in the final third this season fired straight at Thibaut Courtois.

Klopp surprisingly repeated his decision from the first leg to leave Thiago Alcantara on the bench with James Milner this time taking the place of the Spanish international in midfield.

 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) vies with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) and Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Milner made his presence felt within a minute with a late lunge on Karim Benzema and nearly inflicted a different type of damage on Madrid 10 minutes in when his long range effort forced Courtois into another fine save.

Real’s fine run has propelled them back into contention to defend their La Liga title and claim a 14th crown as European champions.

However, Zinedine Zidane warned after Saturday’s 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona that his players were at their “physical limit” and the visitors looked jaded as they were happy to sit on their first leg lead.

The closest Madrid came to scoring was when Kabak inadvertently deflected a Benzema cross off the outside of his own post with Alisson Becker wrong-footed.

 

Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Chances continued to come and go for Liverpool as Salah snatched at another effort that flew high and wide.

Wijnaldum scored twice in the famous fightback against Barcelona in 2019.

However, the Dutch international was not as clinical against another Spanish giant as he blasted the best chance of the first-half over from close range.

Klopp went for it on the hour mark as Milner and Kabak made way for the introduction of Thiago and Diogo Jota.

Yet, even without three of their first-choice back four, Madrid were comfortable defending deep as Firmino, Salah and Jota all had efforts blocked behind in quick succession.

Vinicius Junior’s double in the first leg proved to be the difference between the sides, but the Brazilian fluffed his one big chance to grab an away goal as Alisson smothered at his feet midway through the second-half.

 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo reacts at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Benzema also should have done better when he mistimed a free header 10 minutes from time.

But a blistering first 45 minutes in the Spanish capital last week proved to be enough for Zidane to win a 14th of his 15 Champions League knockout ties in two spells as Madrid boss.

 

 

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) and Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane gesture at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

Real Madrid Bus Attacked Ahead Of Liverpool Match

Real Madrid bus attacked en route to Anfield.

 

 

A window on the Real Madrid team bus was smashed ahead of the Spanish giants’ Champions League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.

“We condemn unequivocally the actions that led to Real Madrid’s team bus being damaged during its arrival to Anfield this evening. It is totally unacceptable and shameful behaviour of a few individuals,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“We sincerely apologise to our visitors for any distress caused. We will work together with Merseyside Police to establish the facts and identify those responsible.”

The match is being held behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Three years ago several windows were smashed on the Manchester City team bus by thrown cans and bottles ahead of a Champions League quarter-final, first leg.

Madrid hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg in the Spanish capital last week.

Ramos Tests Positive For COVID-19 Ahead Of Liverpool Clash

 

In this file photo taken on October 23, 2018 Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos reacts during the UEFA Champions League group G football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Viktoria Plzen at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid..
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 Captain of Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos, has tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of their UCL quarter-final clash against Liverpool slated for Wednesday night at Anfield.

Ramos was left out of the first leg tie against Klopp’s men due to a calf problem but the Spanish giants made light work of their English opponents to register a 3-1 victory at home.

The last season’s Spanish champions made this known in an official statement that reads .

“Real Madrid CF announces that our player Sergio Ramos has given a positive result in the last COVID-19 test that has been carried out”

The 35-year-old is expected to self-isolate for 10 days in accordance with Covid-19 quarantine protocols which means he will miss upcoming matches against Liverpool, Getafe, and Cadiz.

Ramos’ last appearance for Real Madrid was against Atlanta n the second leg of their last-16 Champions on March 16th.

 

Perez Re-elected Unopposed As Real Madrid President

In this file photo taken on October 24, 2020 Real Madrid president Florentino Perez attends the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. 
LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Florentino Perez has been re-elected unopposed as president of Real Madrid for a sixth term, the Spanish champions announced on Tuesday.

The 74-year-old was the only name in the running since the window for potential candidates to apply opened at the start of the month.

A club statement said: “A single candidate was validated by the electoral committee….and D. Florentino Perez Rodriguez is proclaimed president”.

Perez, the head of major construction group ACS, has already twice been re-elected unopposed, in 2013 and 2017.

He was the man behind Madrid’s star-studded ‘Galacticos’ era in his first spell in charge of the club between 2000-2006.

His latest mandate will see him at the helm until 2025.

Real Madrid face Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Anfield on Wednesday, leading 3-1 from the first leg as they go in search of a 14th European crown.

-AFP

Real Madrid Outwit Barcelona In Clasico, Go Top Of La Laiga

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (L) celebrates after scoring next to Real Madrid's Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez during the "El Clasico" Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on April 10, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (L) celebrates after scoring next to Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez during the “El Clasico” Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on April 10, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Real Madrid climbed to the top of La Liga on Saturday after Karim Benzema’s flicked finish helped them claim a thrilling 2-1 victory over Barcelona in a wild Clasico at Valdebebas. 

Benzema’s superb piece of skill and a deflected Toni Kroos free-kick put Madrid in charge and while Oscar Mingueza pulled one back for Barca, they fell to defeat in what could be Lionel Messi’s final appearance in this fixture.

Victory means Real Madrid go level on points with Atletico, with the top three now separated by a single point.

Atletico, without the injured Luis Suarez, face Real Betis on Sunday.

With Atletico stumbling and both Barca and Real Madrid hitting their stride, this game looked set to define, if not the title, then who would become favourites to be crowned champions in May.

The result was a riveting contest at a rain-soaked Alfredo di Stefano stadium – certainly one of the most exciting Clasicos in years – that saw both teams squander numerous chances, several efforts come back off the woodwork and Casemiro sent off in extra time.

With the last play of the game, Barcelona substitute Ilaix Moriba rattled Real Madrid’s crossbar.

Casemiro’s red card had also given Messi a free-kick and the chance for a dramatic equaliser but instead the Argentinian made it seven games now without a goal against Real Madrid, with many wondering if his 45th Clasico will be his last.

Messi might yet turn the tide in the eight games still remaining but there is no doubt Madrid are in the groove after backing up beating Liverpool 3-1 on Tuesday with another crucial victory.

They can finish the job in the Champions League at Anfield next week.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) challenges Real Madrid's Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez during the "El Clasico" Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on April 10, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) challenges Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez during the “El Clasico” Spanish League football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on April 10, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

A breathless first half began with chances for both sides as Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s sloppy clearance almost gave Benzema a clear run at goal before Messi slipped in Jordi Alba but the cross was intercepted by Thibaut Courtois.

Real Madrid’s opener came after a superb counter-attack from Barcelona, Messi going down too easily on the edge of the area, with Madrid pouring forward on the break.

Fede Valverde powered through midfield and fed wide to Lucas Vazquez, whose cross was expertly flicked inside the near post by Benzema.

The goal shook Barca, who were unable to restrain the speed of Madrid and particularly Vinicius Junior on the break.

Vinicius was brought down by Ronald Araujo on the edge of the area and Kroos’ free-kick cannoned off the back off Sergino Dest and in, evading the efforts of Alba to head away on the line.

Valverde and Messi both struck the post before half-time, Valverde after another scintillating Madrid counter-attack and Messi from a corner, with Courtois beaten.

Barca coach Ronald Koeman brought Antoine Griezmann on for Dest but as the rain poured down, Madrid poured forward. Kroos and Benzema both could have scored a third and they were punished for failing to capitalise.

Griezmann jumped over Alba’s cross and as the ball skidded through, Mingueza did well to shin it into the net.

Araujo deflected Vinicius’ cross onto his own post and Alba was denied by Courtois. Again, Madrid tore away, again they missed the chance, Vinicius running onto Luka Modric’s pass but opting not to shoot, allowing Araujo to clear.

With 20 minutes left, Zinedine Zidane took off Benzema, Vinicius and Kroos.

Referee Gil Manzano had to replace his equipment because of the rain. Messi changed his shirt for a dry one.

Barcelona wantd a late penalty when Ferland Mendy clipped Martin Braithwaite with his arm but the appeal was optimistic.

Casemiro was sent off in the 90th minute for a late challenge on Mingueza, that gave Messi a free-kick on the edge of the area but Courtois saved.

With Ter Stegen up and almost the last kick of the game, Ilaix rattled the crossbar. Madrid survived.

 

AFP

Champions League: Vinicius Brace Puts Real Madrid On Top Against Liverpool

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates with Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (R) and Real Madrid's Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (C) celebrates with Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (R) and Real Madrid’s Spanish forward Lucas Vazquez after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Vinicius Junior scored twice as Real Madrid made Liverpool pay for more defensive errors on Tuesday, a 3-1 victory putting them in sight of the Champions League semi-finals.

Vinicius and Marco Asensio both profited in the first half after darting behind Liverpool’s makeshift back-line before a simple move from a throw-in gave Vinicius a simple finish in the second.

Mohamed Salah’s strike shortly after the interval briefly made it a contest at Valdebebas, with an away goal certainly a significant consolation for Liverpool to take into the second leg at Anfield next week.

But without fans and with a miserable recent record at home, Jurgen Klopp will know his side have it all to do to avoid his team’s season becoming solely about scraping into the Premier League’s top four.

Except for two spells after half-time and at the finish, when their opponents were holding on to what they had, Liverpool were overpowered by Real Madrid, whose only disappointment might be missing out on a clearer margin ahead of the return in eight days’ time.

Liverpool's English defender Nathaniel Phillips challenges Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Liverpool’s English defender Nathaniel Phillips challenges Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Before then, they go up against Barcelona on Saturday and this result, their fifth consecutive victory, should be another huge boost to morale going into what will be a crucial fixture in La Liga’s title race.

Madrid were without Sergio Ramos, who throughout was bellowing at his team from the stands, while Raphael Varane testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning meant both sides were fielding patched-up back fours.

The last time these two clubs met, Ramos dislocated Salah’s shoulder and Madrid went on to win their 13th European Cup but Klopp insisted there was no desire for revenge in the minds of his players.

They could have done with some extra fire because Madrid were superior in the first half, more controlled in possession and more aggressive out of it. Liverpool seemed caught between trying to match Madrid’s intensity and slowing the game down to gain a foothold.

Kroos runs the show

In the end they did neither, as the openings came early. Luka Modric wanted a penalty afer being clipped just outside the box and Trent Alexander-Arnold was beaten too easily by Ferland Mendy, whose cross was headed just wide by Vinicius.

The excellent Toni Kroos was given space at the base of midfield to dictate the tempo and it was a pair of arrowed balls forward from the German that put Madrid in charge.

The first he fired between Alexander-Arnold and Nat Phillips for the scampering Vinicius, who did brilliantly to chest the ball beyond his opponents and shoot low into the Liverpool net.

Seven minutes later, Kroos did it again, this time locating Asensio, who lifted over Alisson Becker to leave himself with an open net.

A full stadium would have sent a surge of momentum through Madrid but there was still a simmering buzz, as their substitutes were cheering louder and the players pressed quicker and passed harder.

Real Madrid's Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) celebrates with Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021.  GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior (R) celebrates with Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas in the outskirts of Madrid on April 6, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Liverpool were holding on for half-time but the raging Klopp could not wait, hauling off Naby Keita with three minutes left and sending on Thiago Alcantara in his place.

The break briefly had an effect, Liverpool pulling a goal back five minutes after as Georginio Wijnaldum tore forward and Diogo Jota’s shot deflected kindly into the path of Salah, who poked in off the crossbar.

For a while, the game was in the balance. Kroos shot over and Sadio Mane almost finished off a break down the left. Asensio should have finished for Madrid but opted to pass and it was blocked.

Yet another Madrid chance was not far away, as Liverpool failed to react to a throw-in down the right and Modric was allowed to drift inside, teeing up Vinicius to sidefoot in a second.

Liverpool pushed for another away goal in the final minutes but Madrid were not troubled. It was Spanish cheers that could be heard when the whistle blew.

 

AFP

Bayern Draw PSG, Real Face Liverpool In Champions League Quarter Finals

In this handout picture taken and made available on March 19, 2021, by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the quarter-final teams are displayed on the screen before the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals draw at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon. Valentin FLAURAUD / UEFA / AFP

 

Holders Bayern Munich will face last year’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League, while Friday’s draw for the last eight also threw up a clash between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The draw also pitted Premier League leaders Manchester City against Borussia Dortmund, with Chelsea set to play Porto in the other tie.

Bayern defeated PSG 1-0 behind closed doors in Lisbon last August to win their sixth European Cup and remain the team to beat in Europe, having won 18 and drawn one of their 19 games in the Champions League since the beginning of last season.

The first leg is set to be played in Germany on April 6 or 7, with the return in Paris a week later.


Draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, made on Friday:

Quarter-Finals

Manchester City (ENG) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Porto (POR) v Chelsea (ENG)

Bayern Munich (GER) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Real Madrid (ESP) v Liverpool (ENG)

First legs April 6/7, second legs April 13/14


Meanwhile, the meeting of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Real is another re-run of a recent final, with the Spaniards beating the Reds 3-1 in Kyiv in 2018 to win the last of their record 13 titles to date.

Liverpool bounced back from that to lift the trophy for the sixth time in Madrid in 2019.

Klopp’s side are due to be away from home in the first leg, but it remains to be seen where that match will be played.

Atletico Madrid’s home leg against Chelsea in the last 16 ended up being moved to the Romanian capital Bucharest due to restrictions imposed on travel to Spain by British authorities.

The winner between Liverpool and Real will go onto a semi-final against either Chelsea or Porto, throwing up the possibility of an all-English last-four tie.

Liverpool beat Chelsea in the semi-finals in 2005 and again in 2007.

Unbeaten in 13 games since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as coach in late January, Chelsea will be expected to get the better of Portuguese champions Porto, who ousted Juventus in the last 16.

However, that tie could also be relocated given travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and Portugal which prompted both legs of last month’s Europa League clash between Arsenal and Benfica to be played at neutral venues, in Italy and Greece.

Meanwhile, City will be strong favourites against Dortmund, with the winner of that tie going through to a semi-final showdown with either Bayern or PSG.

Travel restrictions between the UK and Germany could also have an impact on City’s tie against Erling Braut Haaland’s Dortmund.

Both legs of City’s last-16 tie against Borussia Moenchengladbach were played in Budapest, as were both legs of Liverpool’s tie against RB Leipzig in the last round.

This season’s semi-finals are due to be played in late April and early May, with the final scheduled for May 29 in Istanbul.

AFP

La Liga: Benzema To The Rescue Again As Madrid Beat Elche

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Elche at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, northeast of Madrid, on March 13, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Elche at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, northeast of Madrid, on March 13, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Karim Benzema saved Real Madrid for the second week running on Saturday, his two goals dragging his team to a 2-1 win over struggling Elche in La Liga. 

After Benzema’s late equaliser salvaged a draw against Atletico Madrid last weekend, the Frenchman came up trumps again, a brilliant shot flying in off the post in the 91st minute to snatch a crucial home victory at Valdebebas.

Real Madrid move five points behind Atletico in La Liga although Diego Simeone’s team can restore their advantage to eight by beating Getafe later on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Lewandowski Equals Goal Milestone As Bayern Power Past Bremen

Barcelona, who are six points back, face bottom club Huesca on Monday.

Benzema recovered from injury just in time to play Atletico and his three goals since have earned his team four points in seven days, while also denying Atletico a crucial win.

After heading in the equaliser against Elche, Benzema delivered a special winner, catching the ball in the air with a superb shot that found the far corner.

“It was a beautiful goal and it won us three points, so I’m happier than ever,” he said.

Sergio Ramos returned from a knee injury to make his first appearance since January, although the defender came off shortly after an hour, meaning his availability for Tuesday’s Champions League game at home to Atalanta is perhaps not guaranteed.

Eden Hazard, who has also been out since January, came off the bench in the second half and could play in midweek, when Madrid will start with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Toni Kroos and Luka Modric were rested, perhaps with that game in mind, but both were needed by Zidane before the end.

And a change in system to three at the back was not an obvious success as Zidane’s team struggled to break down an Elche side that sit 17th.

“Against teams that sit back, it’s always difficult,” said Zidane. “We had to find a solution and in the end we found a gap.”

Madrid were the better team in the first half but there was hardly a chance to show for it, the only real opening falling to Benzema at the back post as Fede Valverde released Vinicius Junior down the right but his cross bounced awkwardly for Benzema, who shot wide.

Both sides wanted penalties early in the second half, with Elche’s Ivan Marcone fortunate to be awarded a free-kick when he looked more culpable in a tangle with Ramos.

Then Ramos escaped punishment for a challenge on Guido Carrillo.

Shortly after, Elche took the lead. Ramos shielded his eyes as if struggling with the sun and the corner found Dani Calvo, who climbed above Raphael Varane to head in off the crossbar.

Ramos, Isco and Fede Valverde made way for Modric, Kroos and Rodrygo, and 10 minutes later Madrid were level. Modric collected a short corner and swung a cross into the back post, where Benzema nodded in.

There were 17 minutes left to find a winner but it came in injury-time. Benzema scooped the ball up to Rodrygo on the edge of the area. He cushioned it back to the striker, who caught the ball in the air with a brilliant shot that flew in off the far post.

 

AFP

20-Year-Old Nigerian-Born Marvin Park Gets First Real Madrid Start

Getafe’s Spanish defender Marc Cucurella (L) challenges Real Madrid’s midfielder Marvin Park during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Getafe CF at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on February 9, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Real Madrid’s Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park – who is of Nigerian origin – was on Tuesday handed his first senior start for the club as the Los Blancos defeated Getafe 2-0 in a Spanish La Liga match.

Coach Zinedine Zidane named the 20-year-old born to a Nigerian father and a South Korean mother in the lineup as the multiple European champions moved within five points of league leaders, Atletico Madrid.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Marvin Park (@marvinnpark)

 

The fleet-footed right-winger had before now impressed for the team’s youth sides and did not disappoint in his first start for the club.

He made his debut for the Spanish giants in their 2020/21 league opener against Real Sociedad, coming on as a 70th-minute substitute.

READ ALSO: Djokovic Passes Tiafoe Test, Serena Sublime At Australian Open

“An attacking-minded midfielder who is a danger when he joins the attack, his ability in one-on-one situations also makes him a threat,” Real Madrid wrote about the youngster who joined them in 2016 after a spell with English side, Tranmere Rovers.

“He took his first steps in the game in his native Balearic Islands and possesses a very direct style, which fully exploits his pace and power. He also has a fine ability with both feet.”

The midfielder caught the former French legend’s eyes in a friendly against Getafe in September 2020.

READ ALSO: Osaka Powers Past Garcia Into Australian Open Third Round

He was, however, away from the first team before making a return to the senior side for last weekend’s game against Huesca. The youngster had replaced Ferland Mendy, playing in the right-wing in his second senior match for the Madrid-based club.

Marvin played a key role in the club’s UEFA Youth League, bagging two assists in the semi-finals and one more in the final last season.

Spanish Super Cup: Bilbao Shock Real Madrid, Face Barca In Final 

Athletic Bilbao’s players celebrate after winning the Spanish Super Cup semi final football match against Real Madrid at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga on January 14, 2021.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Real Madrid suffered a shock defeat in the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday as Athletic Bilbao pulled off a 2-1 victory in Malaga to reach Sunday’s final against Barcelona.

Raul Garcia scored twice in the first half, the second a penalty, and while Karim Benzema pulled one back for the defending champions, Bilbao held on to complete a statement win under their new coach Marcelino Garcia Toral.

Bilbao were beaten 3-2 by Barca in La Liga only last week, with Lionel Messi scoring twice at San Mames, yet they will get another shot at Ronald Koeman’s side this weekend, with a trophy up for grabs in Seville.

“We are 90 minutes from winning a title,” said Marcelino. “It would be amazing, and even better to do it beating Real Madrid and Barcelona.”

READ ALSO: Salah, Mane Also Guilty Of Diving, Clattenburg Slams Klopp

Real coach Zinedine Zidane was defiant in defeat.

“It is not a failure,” he said. “You can’t win every game.”

Messi is touch and go to be fit for the final, after missing Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out victory over Real Sociedad with a muscle problem, although even without their captain, Barcelona will be strong favourites.

Bilbao, though, should take huge confidence from an excellent performance at La Rosaleda in what was only their second game under Marcelino, who replaced the sacked Gaizka Garitano earlier this month.

They were also up against a Madrid team that had been unbeaten since December 1, even if a chaotic weekend caused by the heavy snowstorm in Spain might have had lasting effects on players’ minds and bodies.

 

Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish forward Raul Garcia (3R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring during the Spanish Super Cup semi final football match between Real Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga on January 14, 2021.
JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Zidane insisted he was not making excuses on Saturday when he criticised the state of the snow-dusted pitch following the goalless draw at Osasuna.

Cancelled flights meant Madrid’s players were unable to leave Pamplona until Monday, forced to fly straight to Malaga without returning home.

But even Zidane admitted on Wednesday that four days preparation was enough and there was little to suggest concern from his line-up given it was his full-strength team, the same core of players that has driven their resurgence since October.

– ‘Start was difficult’ –
“Our start to the game was difficult,” said Zidane afterwards.

“The first half was not good. They had two chances and scored two goals. In the second part we changed the picture, we improved and created chances.”

 

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane talks to the media after the Spanish Super Cup semi final football match between Real Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga on January 14, 2021. JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

 

Raul Garcia was sent off after 13 minutes when Real Madrid beat Bilbao in the league last month but this time he had two goals in the first half, each coming after a mistake by Lucas Vazquez.

First, Vazquez gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Raul Garcia to finish past Courtois and then Madrid’s full-back dragged Inigo Martinez down at the back post after letting him sneak in behind him.

Raul Garcia drove the penalty into the top corner and Bilbao might have been three up had Iker Muniain finished off a flowing move by heading in, instead of wide of the post.

Madrid were better after the interval, with Marco Asensio lively. He hit the post from an Eden Hazard pull-back and then the crossbar with a swerving shot from distance.

The pressure told when Fede Valderde’s cross was nodded back for Benzema to tap in, leaving Madrid with just over 10 minutes to find an equaliser.

Benzema thought he had it but the flag was up for offside before Sergio Ramos headed wide and Vinicius Junior curled over in a frantic late surge that Bilbao survived.

AFP

Zidane Self-Isolating After COVID-19 Contact

Zidane Downplays Reported Madrid's Move For Pogba
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane attends the Spanish League football match between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid at the Vallecas Stadium in the Madrid district of Puente de Vallecas on April 28, 2019. Benjamin CREMEL / AFP

 

Zinedine Zidane tested negative for Covid-19 Thursday morning but is self-isolating as a precaution after contact with someone who is confirmed to have the virus, a source at Real Madrid told AFP.

The Frenchman is now awaiting a result from the more accurate PCR test with the hopes of overseeing Real’s game at Osasuna on Saturday.

 

AFP

Real Madrid Star Benzema To Face Trial Over Sex Tape Case

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema leaves the pitch at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) quarter-final football match Real Madrid CF against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 06, 2020. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
FIle photo: Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema leaves the pitch at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) quarter-final football match Real Madrid CF against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 06, 2020.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is to face trial for complicity in an attempt to blackmail in a case linked to a sex tape featuring his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, French prosecutors said Thursday.

Benzema, 33, made 81 international appearances but has not been selected for his country since the affair came to light in 2015.

He is accused of involvement in a plot to extort money from Valbuena by threatening to make the video public.

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Four other men will also stand trial.

Benzema argues that a police officer used dishonest methods to draw him into the affair.

Valbuena, who was selected 52 times for France and now plays for Greek club Olympiakos, received a call from a blackmailer who threatened to release the video, and contacted the police.

Benzema has scored 261 goals for Real since joining the Spanish giants in 2009 and has been a key part of the team that has won the Champions League six times since then.

He and Valbuena were international teammates at the time of the affair and were in the France squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

But neither player was selected by coach Didier Deschamps for the Euro 2016 finals on home soil in which France were beaten in the final by Portugal.

They were also left in the cold when France won the 2018 World Cup in Russia with younger players, led by Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, forming the France attack.

Benzema’s lawyer Sylvain Cormier said he was not surprised the matter was going to trial, but said the decision was “as absurd as it was predictable”.

AFP