Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon believes the blame for the club’s poor start to the season lies with Florentino Perez rather than the recently sacked Julen Lopetegui.
The 52-year-old was recently shown the exit door at the Santiago Bernabeu following a dismal start to the 2018/19 campaign, losing six of his 14 games in charge, with his last result, a 5-1 defeat against Barcelona, seeing the Spaniard relieved of his duties.
While Lopetegui failed to convince during his time in the Spanish capital, former club president Calderon cites the decision to sell the club’s record goalsc
By: Reuters | Madrid |
Published: October 25, 2018 5:35:53 pm
Local media reports suggest that any sort of negative result away to their great rivals could spell the end for the 52-year-old at the Bernabeu. (Reuters Photo)
For the first time since 2007 club football’s arguably the biggest game will not feature either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo yet Sunday’s Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid will be as feisty as ever with plenty riding on it.
Real coach Julen Lopetegui has come in for fierce criticism this season, having presided over a run of five games without a win – the team going eight hours and one minute without scoring – before Tuesday’s unconvincing 2-1 triumph over Viktoria Plzen that saw the team whistled off the pitch by their own fans.
Local media reports suggest that any sort of negative result away to their great rivals could spell the end for the 52-year-old at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. (Source: AP)
Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday revealed that he left his former club Real Madrid because its president Florentino Perez saw him as a ‘business deal’ and the Portuguese felt that he was just a means of making money and was not wanted by the Spanish giants.
In an interview to France Football, Ronaldo slammed Perez and said, “He only ever looked at me as a business relationship. I know it. What he told me never came from the heart.”
Even though the three-time successive winners of Champions League had claimed that the Portugal captain’s transfer to Juventus is ‘at the will and the request of the player,’ Ronaldo said that he could feel it inside the club that he was no longer ‘indispensable’ to them. “I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start. In the first four or five years there, I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards. The president looked at me through eyes that didn’t want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean.”
Old habits die hard for Silvio Berlusconi. It is more than a year since he sold Milan, and barely a month since he completed a takeover of Monza in Serie C, but still he presumes to address his former club’s manager with tactical advice. “I don’t like [Gennaro] Gattuso’s team, because they only play with one centre-forward,” lamented Berlusconi recently. “Milan should always have two.”
It seems unlikely these words swung Gattuso’s thinking. This can hardly have been the first time he heard such a suggestion from a man with whom he remains in occasional contact. Berlusconi’s preference for two up top has been reiterated countless times down the years, though his knowledge of Milan’s playing staff appears to be similarly unchanging. In another interview on the same theme, he also proposed starting Kaká behind the attack.
Gattuso did not seek to lure the Brazilian back out of retirement for Milan’s game against Sampdoria on Sunday, but he did opt for a 4-4-2 for the first time this season. Suso was pushed back and Diego Laxalt brought forward to operate as wingers. Patrick Cutrone joined Gonzalo Higuaín in attack.
Supporters had been crying out for this combination. With a goal against Real Betis on Thursday, Cutrone raised his strike rate to four goals in eight appearances – all of them off the bench. Why not give this homegrown talent a chance to play from the beginning?
The obvious answer was that he and Higuaín were too similar, each doing their best work in and around the penalty box. In this era of false nines, could a team really get away with fielding two authentic ones?
Apparently, they could. Both got their names on the scoresheet in a back-and-forth game at the San Siro, Cutrone opening the scoring and Higuaín netting the equaliser after Sampdoria had responded with goals from Riccardo Saponara and Fabio Quagliarella. Milan went on to win 3-2, Suso scoring the winner.
Monday’s Gazzetta dello Sport tallied up the total time Cutrone and Higuaín had spent on the pitch together this season, finding a combined strike-rate better than one goal every 40 minutes. “Projecting that through an entire game, that means starting 2-0 up,” announced the optimistic analysis.
Putting aside any trivial quibbles about sample size, we can at least observe that this partnership has shown promise. Far from treading on each other’s toes, Cutrone and Higuaín seem to have quite a natural rapport, seeking one another out in possession. The latter’s goal was set up by a sharp one-two between them.
Cutrone was only returning a favour. Higuaín had provided the assist on his winner against Roma back in August, dissecting the Giallorossi’s defence with a well-timed through-ball. It is tempting to wonder whether their shared experience as No9s might help each recognise the spaces the other would want to attack, and where they would want the ball played.
Whether or not Milan are better for playing in the 4-4-2 that accommodates them is another question entirely. Sampdoria dominated possession and their manager, Marco Giampaolo, argued that the game had been won only by acts of individual brilliance. Suso’s winner was a trademark solo effort, struck across goal from 20 yards.
Pour one out for Julen Lopetegui, who has had just about the worst possible year a soccer manager can have. Real Madrid fired Lopetegui this afternoon, one day after an embarrassing 5-1 ass-kicking by Messi-less Barcelona, thus ending a nightmare of a year.
As of just four months ago, the poor dude had the Spanish national team rolling into the world cup on tremendous form. Spain had never lost under Lopetegui’s guidance, going 14-6-0 with a +48 goal difference during his two years in charge. But then, just one day before the world cup started in Russia, Lopetegui was unceremoniously and inexplicably shit-canned by the Spanish federation in a bizarre display of frat-boy “alpha” posturing because the federation president was mad Lopetegui committed the mortal sin of, uh, not telling the federation soon enough that he was going to take another job after the world cup. Predictably, Spain completely collapsed once the tournament started, found themselves unable to pass the ball forward, and crashed out in the round of 16 against a Russia team that was definitely not doping.
But still, even without Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid are the biggest and best soccer club in the world. Every manager dreams of reaching a pinnacle like that, even if said pinnacle club is also a hilarious snake pit whose three-time Champions League winning coach called it quits because he didn’t want to deal with the bullshit. Lopetegui made it through exactly 14 games before getting the axe. His team’s only victory in the last month came against something called Viktoria Plzen, and Madrid have been outscored 9-3 in three games this season against their archrivals, Atlét
By: Reuters |
Published: October 28, 2018 8:20:40 am
Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal with Federico Bernardeschi and teammates. (REUTERS)
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, the first a penalty and the second a booming long-range shot, to give Juventus a 2-1 win at Empoli in Serie A on Saturday after their lowly opponents took a shock first-half lead. Promoted Empoli, with one win all season and 18th in the 20-team table, stunned the visitors with a Francesco Caputo goal — the first time Juve had trailed at halftime this season. But the champions turned the match around after the break as Ronaldo took his league tally to seven a
Juventus came back from a goal down to defeat Empoli 2-1 in their latest Serie A fixture, attaining their ninth win in ten league matches so far this season.
Unbeaten across all competitions, Juventus may have expected an easy result against lowly Empoli, but they struggled to get a grip on the game throughout the 90 minutes. In the end, a brace for Cristiano Ronaldo was what separated the two sides. Juventus manager, Massimo Allegri, was quick to complement the club’s record signing after the match.
Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, Allegri said: “The second goal of Ronaldo? A product of an extraordinary player.
“I hope that they show kids the goal so they try and imitate it.