Primera División – Footy http://www.footy.to/ Your Daily Football NEws Source Wed, 06 Jan 2021 20:37:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.16 Real Madrid ‘are coming to terms with Gareth Bale RETURNING’ at the end of the season http://www.footy.to/2021/01/06/real-madrid-are-coming-to-terms-with-gareth-bale-returning-at-the-end-of-the-season/ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/06/real-madrid-are-coming-to-terms-with-gareth-bale-returning-at-the-end-of-the-season/#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2021 20:28:11 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=31288

Real Madrid ‘are coming to terms with Gareth Bale RETURNING’ at the end of the season – forcing them to pay him another £13MILLION in wages – as his Tottenham loan falters again after his latest injury

  • Gareth Bale has only played 11 times since joining Tottenham on loan last year
  • Bale went off at half-time with a calf injury after scoring against Stoke last month
  • Real Madrid are concerned Tottenham will send him back when the season ends

Real Madrid believe Tottenham will cut their losses and send Gareth Bale back at the end of the season as the Welshman struggles to kick-start his second spell at Spurs.

Bale, 31, completed a stunning return to north London on loan in September but has struggled to maintain a consistent level of fitness.

The Wales international’s latest injury issue is a calf problem sustained in the 3-1 win over Stoke in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on December 23.

Gareth Bale hurt his calf in Tottenham’s win at Stoke – and it has caused worry at Real Madrid

Bale has struggled to make a consistent impact at Tottenham since joining on loan from Real

Bale has struggled to make a consistent impact at Tottenham since joining on loan from Real

Bale scored in that cup tie but was forced off at half-time and Sportsmail reported last week that Tottenham will be without Bale for the first few weeks of 2021.

And on Wednesday, reports in Spanish publication AS said that Real chiefs are now fearing that Bale will be sent back to the club at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, rather than Tottenham taking up the option to extend the deal for another season.

For Real, that would be particularly bad due to Bale being on a mega contract. Tottenham are currently covering a large percentage of his wages. 

His deal is worth around £13m-a-year and Madrid, more so than most clubs, are counting the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

AS add that having to pay Bale such a wage – which prices him out of a move to most teams – could dent their summer transfer plans. Furthermore, Real boss Zinedine Zidane has long been clear that he doesn’t see Bale featuring in his plans.

Next season, Bale will enter the final year of his Madrid contract and the deal will expire in the summer of 2022. 

Bale knows that he does not feature prominently in Zinedine Zidane's plans for the club

Bale knows that he does not feature prominently in Zinedine Zidane’s plans for the club

Bale has scored three times in 11 appearances since rejoining Tottenham last September

Bale has scored three times in 11 appearances since rejoining Tottenham last September

Since clinching his return to Tottenham, Bale has only played 11 times for the club despite Jose Mourinho’s side negotiating battles in the Premier League, the Carabao Cup – where they have reached the final – and a gruelling Europa League campaign.

Bale has scored three times so far this season but it now remains to be seen when he will be back on the pitch with a chance to add to that tally.

Tottenham defeated Championship side Brentford 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the Carabao Cup final and are next in action on Sunday, when they face non-League side Marine in one of the stand-out ties of the FA Cup third round. 



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Barcelona academy produced Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi but the talent is no longer there http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/barcelona-academy-produced-gerard-pique-and-lionel-messi-but-the-talent-is-no-longer-there/ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/barcelona-academy-produced-gerard-pique-and-lionel-messi-but-the-talent-is-no-longer-there/#respond Sun, 03 Jan 2021 17:45:19 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=31273

Barcelona have problems at both ends of the club at the moment and presidential candidates are doing their best to convince supporters they will address the top and the bottom of the institution’s fall from grace.

It’s true that Lionel Messi wanted to leave in the summer and that the three big signings who should be his lieutenants out on the pitch: Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Greizmann and Ousmane Dembele have all failed to step up.

But there is a less glamorous problem – the magic well has dried up, the famous La Masia youth academy is just not producing players for the first team anymore.

Ousmane Dembele is another example of a big-money signing who has not performed

Antoine Griezmann (left) and Ousmane Dembele are examples of big transfers not performing

Sergio Busquets (left) and Gerard Pique (right) had their football education in La Masia

Sergio Busquets (left) and Gerard Pique (right) had their football education in La Masia 

La Masia used to be hallowed turf but the breeding ground is simply not producing now

La Masia used to be hallowed turf but the breeding ground is simply not producing now

It’s not a recent phenomenon. Only Sergi Roberto has emerged in recent years to go on to claim anything like an established first-team berth. 

The currently injured Ansu Fati was on the way to managing it and Pedri, Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo have been three of the bright spots of the season so far, although both Araujo and Pedri were bought in as already impressive teenagers as opposed to having been scouted as kids and advanced through the age groups.

The added problem now for Barcelona is that the holes left by the absence of youth team graduates can no longer be filled by signings because there is no money. And with the old guard fading there is now more necessity than ever for replacements to emerge.

Barcelona need a new Gerard Pique and a new Sergio Busquets but with the B-team still languishing in the third tier of Spanish football where they have spent four of the last five seasons there are few contenders to take over from those club legends.

Sergi Roberto is one of few players to emerge from La Masia in recent seasons for Barcelona

Sergi Roberto is one of few players to emerge from La Masia in recent seasons for Barcelona

Barca boss Ronald Koeman no longer has the funds available to him to spend big money

Barca boss Ronald Koeman no longer has the funds available to him to spend big money 

In part, the problem has been the attitude of the board towards the B-team. Youth team players have been sold off rather than nurtured, often making way for inferior, more expensive, additions from abroad.

LA MASIA GRADUATES: 

Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carlos Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Pep Guardiola, Sergio Busquets, Mauro Icardi, Pedro, Victor Valdes, Mikel Arteta, Adama Traore, Thiago Motta, Hector Bellerin, Luis Garcia, Pepe Reina, Dani Olmo 

The attitude really showed at the end of last season when youth team coach Francisco Garcia Pimienta did a terrific job of taking the B-team to the play-offs but the team fell at the final hurdle losing the play-off for a place back in division two to Sabadell.

Fati, Araujo and midfielder Riqui Puig could all have been sent back to the B-team from the first-team squad to help them win promotion but in the end only the impressive Uruguayan centre back Araujo featured, and that was after requesting he plays his part.

Talented midfielder Puig and the brilliant Fati were not released to play and ended up as substitutes in Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich – in the case of Puig he never even came on.

Presidential favourites Joan Laporta and Victor Font have both expressed a desire to put the youth academy back at the top of the club’s priority list.

Laporta was a little nonplussed when Sportsmail asked him in an interview last week about using the Liverpool slogan ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as La Masia’s new mantra.

Talented starlets are not exposed to a high enough level of football to aid their development

Talented starlets are not exposed to a high enough level of football to aid their development

Ansu Fati was not permitted to play for the B-team in their play-off game last season

Ansu Fati was not permitted to play for the B-team in their play-off game last season

A previous Barcelona junior team: (Back row, left to right) Dani Plancheria, Jose Hinojosa, Gerard Pique, Marc Valiente, Cesc Fabregas, Roger Giribet. (Front row, left to right) Lionel Messi, Franck Songo'o, Julio de Dios Moreno, Eugenio Plazuelo, Juanjo Clausi

A previous Barcelona junior team: (Back row, left to right) Dani Plancheria, Jose Hinojosa, Gerard Pique, Marc Valiente, Cesc Fabregas, Roger Giribet. (Front row, left to right) Lionel Messi, Franck Songo’o, Julio de Dios Moreno, Eugenio Plazuelo, Juanjo Clausi

It seems to have been more a throwaway comment used on his website than the title of his blueprint for the future of football’s most famous academy. ‘I think it’s a fine sentiment,’ he said. ‘But we have our own “More than a club” slogan.’

Making sure the players don’t feel like they are walking alone will be integral to changing things however. 

Too many are allowed to drift off into the arms of foreign suitors because they see no route to the first team or because Barcelona, while spending €400m on Dembele, Coutinho and Griezmann, can’t pay the extra that would keep their younger stars or beef up the B-team with some signings to help it out of the labyrinth of third tier football.

Laporta does want La Masia to regain its former luster. ‘It’s the cornerstone of the club,’ he said. ‘We want it to have a new methodology so it can become a centre of excellence that’s a model across the world. It’s central to our focus.’

Font also wants it to be of the utmost importance. Not for nothing has one of the greatest graduates of it become the name most linked to his campaign.

For now it seems Xavi Hernandez is not committing to any one candidate or to any one job but both Font and Laporta have both accepted that Xavi will return to Barcelona in some capacity sooner or later and when he does he will want to draw from the youth system if he becomes first-team coach.

Barcelona B players such as Gerard Peque (pictured) do not have the same pathway as before

Barcelona B players such as Gerard Peque (pictured) do not have the same pathway as before

Joan Laporta wants to be Barcelona president again and revive the struggling academy

Joan Laporta wants to be Barcelona president again and revive the struggling academy

Lionel Messi cut his teeth in La Masia after Barcelona recruited him as a youngster

Lionel Messi cut his teeth in La Masia after Barcelona recruited him as a youngster 

It’s not unthinkable that he would even start as the B-team manager as both Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique did before going on to win Trebles with the first team.

When the dust settles from the January 24 election his role, if he is prepared to take one in the near future, will become clearer.

There is hope among Barcelona supporters that other former or current players close to retirement will also move into coaching and play their part. It’s something Andres Iniesta has certainly not ruled out. 

The man, Ivan Rakitic once said should have La Masia named after him, is the greatest example of what it was once so good at doing – gathering in the best young talent from the rest of Spain and ensuring they emerge as rounded, educated young footballers who feel they belong to the club.

When the Barça B team failed to win promotion last year the best players in the side felt they had to leave. Midfielder Monchu and full-back Sergio Akieme had to look elsewhere for second division football and are now at Girona and Almeria respectively.

Impressive midfielder Ilaix Moribu is not 18 until January so he could afford to be a little more patient but that patience will not last. If the B-team fails to go up this season then he too will be looking to take the next step somewhere else – and so on it goes, the pattern will be repeated every summer that the B-team spends outside of the second division. 

There is a huge quality gulf between second and third division in Spain and young players just stop improving without the step up.

Monchu (right) left the Barcelona B-team to join Girona and develop in a different way

Monchu (right) left the Barcelona B-team to join Girona and develop in a different way

Xavi is expected to take over at Barcelona at some point and will require a strong academy

Xavi is expected to take over at Barcelona at some point and will require a strong academy

Barcelona’s B-team is not alone in this struggle. Of the 21 teams that have a second side none are in the second division at the moment. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are no better off despite Raul’s best efforts at the former club.

But part of Barcelona’s ‘More than a Club’ message seems to make the failure more damning for them.

They used to say of their rivals: ‘They have the nombres (names) we have the hombres (men)’ – mocking the fact that Real Madrid had to buy players, while Barcelona built them from scratch at La Masia.

There’s lots of talk currently about how best to renovate the club’s Nou Camp stadium but La Masia desperately needs a revamp too.

The youth academy might have a flash new physical home at the out of town Joan Gamper Football City with its Johan Cruyff stadium inaugurated last year, but its soul desperately needs replenishing, if it is ever again to serve the purpose it once did.

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Before clubs splash out next month, they should remember the worst transfer windows of ALL TIME http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/before-clubs-splash-out-next-month-they-should-remember-the-worst-transfer-windows-of-all-time/ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/before-clubs-splash-out-next-month-they-should-remember-the-worst-transfer-windows-of-all-time/#respond Sun, 03 Jan 2021 17:36:09 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=31258

Every professional football club across the globe will soon be looking to sign a player or five to satisfy the fans, the manager and the board.

Sportsmail has previously covered the Premier League clubs’ worst ever signings, as well as the 20 best and worst Premier League transfers across the last decade.

Ahead of the January 2021 transfer window, we take a deep dive into the worst transfer windows of all time: from Arsene Wenger to Zinedine Zidane and everything in between.

The odd transfer misstep is understandable – but here we cover the eye-wateringly expensive to the downright shameful transfer windows. QPR, Arsenal and Real Madrid fans cover your eyes…

Queens Park Rangers, winter 2013

In January 2013 QPR pursued a doomed strategy of throwing money at underperforming and overpaid players like Park Ji-Sung, Julio Cesar and Jose Bosingwa, saddling the club with a gargantuan wage bill. 

The nadir of this policy was spending £12.5million on Chris Samba, essentially a head-it-kick-it defender. Like Sol Bamba, but with 80 per cent of his surname and 20 per cent of his composure.

QPR spent £12.5m on Chris Samba; Harry Redknapp later called him a terrible disappointment

Eyebrows were raised when he transferred from Guus Hiddink’s wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala into a relegation dogfight.

Not long after manager Harry Redknapp stated ‘you shouldn’t be paying massive wages when you’ve got a stadium that holds 18,000 people,’ Samba arrived on £100,000-a-week, excluding bonuses and add-ons.

He was hailed as an ‘unbelievable signing’ by Redknapp, who would later say: ‘He proved a terrible disappointment.’ 

After one particularly shocking performance against Fulham, where he gave away two goals, Redknapp said: ‘We gave away the most terrible goals I’ve ever seen. Scandalous goals. It was an absolute disaster.’ 

Samba ended the game to go up front as an auxiliary target man, disobeying tactical instructions. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

Miraculously, Anzhi bought him back in July that year for £12m following QPR’s demotion, a loss of just half a million, after 10 lacklustre games.

Defender Jose Bosingwa was fined two weeks' wages for refusing to sit on the bench vs Fulham

Defender Jose Bosingwa was fined two weeks’ wages for refusing to sit on the bench vs Fulham

Samba had replaced Ryan Nelsen, their skipper and who Redknapp proclaimed as his ‘best player’, who left mid-season on a free to become Toronto manager, massively destabilising the QPR defence.

Striker Loic Remy, who joined on £70,000-a-week deal, was hamstrung by injuries but finished top scorer with six goals, while defenders Tal Ben Haim and Yun Suk-Young made three appearances between them.

The jury’s out on whether the failed move to buy Peter Crouch from Stoke or Redknapp’s presumed interest in Niko Kranjcar would have made a difference.

Across the whole season, then-chairman Tony Fernandes spent a net £40m on transfers before getting relegated. Fernandes later said: ‘We screwed up with the major part.’ Too right. 

Real Madrid, summer 2019

Spanish giants Real Madrid are renowned for signing world-class superstars at premium prices with their ‘galacticos’ policy.

But last summer president Florentino Perez and manager Zinedine Zidane contrived to spend roughly £300m on six players, none of whom properly broke into the first team.

Eden Hazard, who was a superstar for Chelsea, became an overweight sicknote. Real Madrid’s most expensive signing ever at an initial £88m, potentially rising to £130m, arrived supposedly in the prime of his career aged 28 but had noticeably gained weight and has since struggled constantly with injuries.

Eden Hazard was Real Madrid's biggest signing ever at £88m but only scored one goal last year

Eden Hazard was Real Madrid’s biggest signing ever at £88m but only scored one goal last year

He only scored one goal in the entire 2019-20 campaign after 21 for Chelsea the year before, while £50m-plus striker Luka Jovic only scored twice all year after 27 for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Elsewhere the regeneration project failed to pay off, as defender Eder Militao (£45m) could not oust 34-year-old Sergio Ramos.

£50m striker Luka Jovic scored 27 for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018-19 but only two for Madrid

£50m striker Luka Jovic scored 27 for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018-19 but only two for Madrid

Young Brazilians Rodrygo and Reinier Jesus – bought for a combined total of £60m – are promising young players but made little impact on the first team.

Marcos Llorente left for city rivals Atletico and has been superb for the current LaLiga leaders, while Mateo Kovacic, Keylor Navas and Theo Hernandez also departed on permanent deals and have impressed at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan respectively. 

Their extravagant spending meant they made zero major signings in the summer 2020 window.

Arsenal, summer 2016

In summer 2015, the only arrival was veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea – which many fans regard as the beginning of the end for Wenger at Arsenal. The Frenchman did not do much better 12 months later.

He splashed £35m each on walking red card Granit Xhaka and error-prone defender Shkodran Mustafi, who has made three league appearances so far this season.

Mercurial Arsenal duo Shkodran Mustafi (left) and Granit Xhaka (right) cost a combined £70m

Mercurial Arsenal duo Shkodran Mustafi (left) and Granit Xhaka (right) cost a combined £70m

German centre-back Mustafi has only made two Premier League appearances this campaign

German centre-back Mustafi has only made two Premier League appearances this campaign

Forward Lucas Perez arrived from Deportivo for £17m, scored one league goal and was ingloriously sent back to Spain. Japanese international Takuma Asano signed for £3m, but after being refused a work permit left the club in August 2019 having never played.

They also sold Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen for just £5m; he is currently starting for European champions Bayern Munich and has scored an astounding 14 goals in 17 appearances for Germany. 

This just about pipped the January transfer window in 2013-14, when the sole arrival was 31-year-old Swede Kim Kallstrom. Despite a scan during his medical showing he had a back injury, Arsenal inexplicably signed him anyway.

Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom was signed despite a back injury showing during his medical

Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom was signed despite a back injury showing during his medical

Kallstrom didn’t make his debut until March, making only four appearances. He went on to play for Grasshoppers and Djurgardens.

Fulham, summer 2018

Fulham panic-bought so many players in 2018 that promoted sides spending beyond their means is now semi-affectionately known as ‘doing a Fulham’.

Owner Shahid Khan certainly backed Slavisa Jokanovic with transfer funds, but the Serbian manager only lasted until mid-November and his successors Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker struggled to get a tune out of the squad they inherited. 

The £25m midfielder Jean Michael Seri was not named in Fulham's 25-man squad in October

The £25m midfielder Jean Michael Seri was not named in Fulham’s 25-man squad in October

Jean Michael Seri – who reportedly turned down Barcelona – Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Aleksandar Mitrovic all joined for more than £20m each.

Mitrovic scored 11 that season but now often finds himself out of the side, and Seri was not even named in Fulham’s 25-man Premier League squad in October.

Goalkeeper Fabri was dropped after two horrendous games, and Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan and Maxime Le Marchand were part of the worst defence in the league.

Fulham goalkeeper Fabri was dropped after two poor performances and has not played since

Fulham goalkeeper Fabri was dropped after two poor performances and has not played since

After that window, the only January signings they could muster were 32-year-old journeyman Ryan Babel and loans for Havard Nordtveit (five appearances) and Lazar Markovic (45 minutes). Ouch.

Celtic, summer 1999

A manager/director of football double ticket of John Barnes and ‘King Kenny’ Dalglish had Celtic pulses racing in June 1999.

Ian Wright came with a good goalscoring pedigree but only netted three times, while Olivier Tebily scored an own goal on debut. 

John Barnes (left) and Kenny Dalglish (right) formed a high-profile 'double ticket' at Celtic

John Barnes (left) and Kenny Dalglish (right) formed a high-profile ‘double ticket’ at Celtic

The pair signed Brazilian defender Rafael Scheidt for almost £5m without ever seeing him play

The pair signed Brazilian defender Rafael Scheidt for almost £5m without ever seeing him play

The centre-back later said he wanted 2002 to be known as 'the Scheidt year.' Tragically, it was

The centre-back later said he wanted 2002 to be known as ‘the Scheidt year.’ Tragically, it was

Celtic’s Scheidt signing

  • Rafael Scheidt was signed for almost £5m despite neither John Barnes nor Kenny Dalglish ever seeing him play
  • He signed a four-and-a-half-year deal on £20,000-a-week but only played 10 games in total at the club 
  • The club only printed ‘Rafael’ on the back of his shirt, upsetting his father
  • He heavily underwhelmed at Parkhead despite winning three caps for Brazil
  • A team-mate commented: ‘The guy couldnae trap a bag of cement.’
  • He said he wanted 2003 to be known as ‘the Scheidt year.’ It was.

Eyal Berkovic, fresh from being kicked in the head by future Celtic icon John Hartson at West Ham, was signed for more than £5m but never convinced and left in 2001 for £1.5m.

The worst of the lot was Rafael Scheidt, which conveniently rhymes with ‘blight’, as in ‘he was a blight on the Celtic defence’.

Signed for nearly £5m on a four-and-a-half-year deal of £20,000-a-week despite Barnes or Dalglish having never seen him play, the ‘defender’ only managed 90 minutes in his first six months.

Moreover, the Hoops got off on the wrong foot, understandably only printing ‘Rafael’ on his shirt, upsetting his dad and doubtless Rangers fans too. 

Martin O’Neill, who shipped him off on loan after a wretched performance in a friendly match against Irish side Bray Wanderers, later opined: ‘I like footballers who are not like you. I like footballers who play well.’ 

An unfortunate team-mate commented: ‘The guy couldnae trap a bag of cement.’

The three-time Brazil international later stated he wanted 2003 to be known as ‘the Scheidt year.’ Tragically, it was. Neither Barnes nor Dalglish lasted a full year at Parkhead. 

(Dis)honourable mentions 

Tottenham, summer 2013

Who can forget Spurs spending all of the Gareth Bale money and more on Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Nacer Chadli?

Roberto Soldado (left) and Paulinho (right) were two Spurs signed using the Gareth Bale cash

Roberto Soldado (left) and Paulinho (right) were two Spurs signed using the Gareth Bale cash

Manchester United, summer 2014 

New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal promised to give youth a chance, before spending approximately the GDP of New Zealand on shiny new players.

Angel Di Maria signed for a then-British record of £59.7m but only lasted a year, while the less said about Radamel Falcao the better. 

Angel Di Maria  signed for a then-British record of £59.7m
But the Argentine winger left Old Trafford for Paris Saint-Germain at a £15m loss one season later

Angel Di Maria signed for a then-British record of £59.7m, but left Old Trafford after one year

Neither Di Maria nor Radamel Falcao (top right) made a positive impact at Manchester United

Neither Di Maria nor Radamel Falcao (top right) made a positive impact at Manchester United

Chelsea, summer 2017

After winning the league Chelsea’s Antonio Conte signed Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, Antonio Rudiger and Davide Zappacosta for a combined £185m, selling Nathan Ake (now at Manchester City) and talismanic striker Diego Costa.

The £35m midfielder Danny Drinkwater was sent off during a reserve match on December 14

The £35m midfielder Danny Drinkwater was sent off during a reserve match on December 14

Liverpool, summer 2010

Roy Hodgson began his seven-month Liverpool spell inauspiciously with a host of odd signings – maverick mohicaned midfielder Raul Meireles, Christian Poulsen, Paul Konchesky and Brad Jones. Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic looked overpriced on free transfers, and they sold Javier Mascherano to Barcelona.

Joe Cole (left), Milan Jovanovic (centre) and Danny Wilson (right) failed to impress at Liverpool

Joe Cole (left), Milan Jovanovic (centre) and Danny Wilson (right) failed to impress at Liverpool

]]> http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/before-clubs-splash-out-next-month-they-should-remember-the-worst-transfer-windows-of-all-time/feed/ 0 Zinedine Zidane defends Karim Benzema and insists French striker is ‘not tired’ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/zinedine-zidane-defends-karim-benzema-and-insists-french-striker-is-not-tired/ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/zinedine-zidane-defends-karim-benzema-and-insists-french-striker-is-not-tired/#respond Sun, 03 Jan 2021 15:17:46 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=31240

Zinedine Zidane defends Karim Benzema and insists French striker is ‘not tired’ after a frustrating performance in the win over Celta Vigo as the Real Madrid manager insists he will have to ease Eden Hazard ‘back to his best’

  • Karim Benzema failed to register a shot on target in Madrid’s win over Celta Vigo
  • Zinedine Zidane defended the striker, who has scored 12 goals so far this season
  • The manager stated that Benzema was not ‘tired’ and that he felt he played well
  • Zidane also stressed he is not going to ‘force’ Eden Hazard to return too quickly

Zinedine Zidane has defended Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema after he failed to impress during their 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday.

Benzema – who has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season – failed to register a shot on target and missed two good opportunities.

Nevertheless, Zidane felt the Frenchman ‘did well’ and insisted he was ‘not tired’ following criticism of the 33-year-old’s performance. 

Karim Benzema (above) failed to register a shot on target in Madrid’s win over Celta Vigo

‘I don’t think he’s tired,’ Zidane said after the game. ‘I think he did well and I took him off so that another player could play. We’re in a great spell. We’re doing the right things and we have to continue like this.’

Benzema, a club legend who has netted 261 times for Los Blancos – making him their fifth-highest scoring player in their history – is in his 12th season in the Spanish capital and remains key for the team after signing a new deal this year. 

Zidane also touched on the return of Eden Hazard after he came off the bench to replace Asensio with 75 minutes left on the clock.   

However, Zinedine Zidane defended the striker, who has scored 12 goals so far this season

However, Zinedine Zidane defended the striker, who has scored 12 goals so far this season

Zidane insisted that Hazard will return ‘little by little’ after suffering a string of injuries since swapping Chelsea for Los Blancos in the 2019-20 season.

On top of the three injury absences he has had to contend with this term, he was also ruled out for a chunk of November due to coronavirus.

He will hope to finally find some consistency and regular playing time following his stint of Saturday. 

However, Zidane has made it clear he will be easing the forward back into the team to prevent further injury.     

Zidane (L) brought on Eden Hazard (R) to replace Asensio with 75 minutes left on the clock

Zidane (L) brought on Eden Hazard (R) to replace Asensio with 75 minutes left on the clock

‘We are going to go little by little,’ added Zidane. ‘Little by little, you have to recover feelings.

‘We have to take it slowly and not force anything. He has to get back to his best and take it slowly. That’s all it is.’ 

Real Madrid’s comfortable win over Celta Vigo helped Los Blancos go top of the LaLiga table. 

The result lifted Real Madrid one point clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table, but Diego Simeone’s side do have three games in hand and travel to Alaves on Sunday.  



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Real Madrid have growing ‘belief’ they can sign Phil Foden from Manchester City http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/real-madrid-have-growing-belief-they-can-sign-phil-foden-from-manchester-city/ http://www.footy.to/2021/01/03/real-madrid-have-growing-belief-they-can-sign-phil-foden-from-manchester-city/#respond Sat, 02 Jan 2021 23:35:45 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=31219

Real Madrid ‘eyeing shock swoop for Manchester City star Phil Foden after being encouraged by his lack of game-time this season… and LaLiga giants could move for England youngster after keeping tabs on him for several years’

  • Phil Foden was expected to be a regular this season after David Silva’s departure
  • However the 20-year-old has barely started in the Premier League this season
  • Real Madrid have reportedly been keeping tabs on England star for several years
  • They are reportedly ‘encouraged’ by lack of playing time Foden has had at City 

Real Madrid have reportedly emerged as strong contenders to sign Manchester City starlet Phil Foden.

The LaLiga champions are monitoring the progress of the England international, who has struggled for regular game time at the Etihad this year.

The 20-year-old has started just five Premier League matches this season.

Real Madrid are reportedly keeping close tabs on Phil Foden’s progress at Manchester City

He's started five Premier League matches this season and came off bench against Newcastle

He’s started five Premier League matches this season and came off bench against Newcastle

Now the Daily Mirror have reported there is growing ‘belief’ at Real Madrid that they could take advantage and make a move for the City star.

Zinedine Zidane’s side have kept an eye on the progress of Foden for several years and are on the hunt to secure the best young talent in football.

Foden was expected to be a regular starter for Manchester City this season, after impressing at the end of last season and following the departure of club legend David Silva.

However he has spent yet more time on the substitutes’ bench, which was a particular source of angst during the Manchester derby earlier this month.

He also was left on the bench for the majority of other important league games including clashes against Liverpool and Tottenham.

On the other hand, he has become a European specialist starting the last five Champions League games – the 12th of his fledgling career.

Real Madrid's recruitment team are on the hunt for the best young talent across the world

Real Madrid’s recruitment team are on the hunt for the best young talent across the world

By comparison, he has been named among Manchester City’s chosen Premier League XI on just 17 occasions since a full debut two years ago.

Despite this Guardiola has always praised the youngster, describing him once as the ‘most talented player’ he has seen as manager.

After his Carabao Cup quarter-final goal against Arsenal, Guardiola offered some advice, he said: ‘Phil wants to beat the world, he wants to eat the world and he wants to be important.

Pep Guardiola has repeatedly praised Foden despite his decision not to start him more often

Pep Guardiola has repeatedly praised Foden despite his decision not to start him more often

‘He has an incredible energy when he has started, but in the final decision, in the final pass, he has to slow down a little bit.

‘He has to understand about changing the rhythm (of attacks), but that comes with experience. 

‘We will be incredibly patient. It is not easy for a young player to have the rise like his in this club, playing important games, and with the national team. 

‘The weird thing would be if he was 20 and he didn’t have something to improve. It is impossible. It is not a problem.’



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