Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bale’s Strike Seals Victory for Los Blancos

Real Madrid moved up to fourth in La Liga as they ran out 1-0 winners over Huesca on Sunday afternoon.

After a scrappy few minutes in the opening, it took a piece of technical brilliance to open the scoring. Gareth Bale found some space in the Huesca box and stroked home a wonderful volley from Alvaro Odriozola’s cross to net his fourth league goal of the season.

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Both sides seemed to struggle with the conditions and chances were hard to come by during the rest of the first half. Thibaut Courtois had to be at his best to keep his side ahead with a top save midway through the half and, not to be outdone, Aleksandar Jovanovic made an equally decent save to deny Bale a second goal of the afternoon.

Huesca started the second half on the front foot, but they were unable to convert a host of golden opportunities in front of the goal. Madrid responded with a few chances of their own, but Jovanovic stood tall in the Huesca goal to ensure that the hosts remained in contention.

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The Real Madrid defence were forced to hold firm during the closing stages and were almost caught out right at the death, when Courtois tipped a speculative long range free-kick on to the bar.

Here is a breakdown of the afternoon’s events.


​REAL MADRID

Key Talking Point

Considering how poor the conditions were, this was never going to be an easy afternoon for ​Real Madrid and they had to ride their luck to come away with all three points. Huesca looked particularly lively in the second half and, if they were more lethal in front of goal, Santiago Solari’s side could have been facing another embarrassing away defeat.

Sociedad Deportiva Huesca v Real Madrid - La Liga

Once again there was something severely lacking from Real Madrid’s play. The transition from defence to attack was often too ponderous and, with the exception of Bale, their front line was far too predictable. Huesca seemed to find it relatively easy to deal with the likes of Karim Benzema, who looked completely uninterested for the whole 90 minutes.

The win moves them back up to fourth in La Liga, but they still remain five points off Barcelona who are sitting pretty at the top of the league.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Courtois (7); Odriozola (7), Ramos (7), Varane (6), Carvajal (6); Modric (6), Llorente (6), Ceballos (6); Bale (8), Vazquez (6), Benzema (5). 

Substitutes: Valverde (6), Isco (6), Asensio (5).


Star Man – Gareth Bale

The nature of the game meant that it was always going to take either a moment of magic or a moment of madness to separate the two sides.

​Bale was able to produce the former early on in the match and he was Madrid’s most threatening attacking outlet all afternoon. He was also very unlucky not to have come away with at least a brace for his efforts.

The Welsh winger is yet to really hit top gear this season, but Real Madrid supporters will be hoping that this performance will help to change all that.



Worst Player – Karim Benzema

​Benzema may be one of the most divisive strikers of the 21st century. For all of his positive attributes, the simple fact of the matter is that he doesn’t score enough goals – at least for a striker who is leading the line for a team as established as Real Madrid.

He had little to no effect on the match this time around and it was a surprise to see him stay on the field after appearing to struggle so much at the top end of the pitch.


Looking Ahead

Real Madrid have already secured their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, but they will be looking to top their group when they host CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

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Paris Saint-Germain Prepare to Rival Real Madrid for Eden Hazard as Ligue 1 Giants Plot Summer Bid

​Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly preparing to go head-to-head with Real Madrid in the pursuit of signing Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard this summer.

The tenacious forward has been hotly tipped to leave Stamford Bridge in 2019 after spending six years at the club. At the age of 27, Hazard is now arguably in his prime, and is apparently keen to take on a new challenge while he’s at the top of his game. The Belgium international has made 223 appearances for Chelsea to date, scoring 76 goals.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea FC - Premier League

According to the Mirror, PSG could rival Los Blancos’ move for ​Hazard this summer, as they look to bring in another dazzling talent to their side. The Belgium international has reportedly been in contract talks with the ​Blues for some time, but has been reluctant to put pen to paper on a new deal reportedly worth a staggering £300k-per-week.

With PSG’s mega-spending having seen them face a ​fresh Financial Fair Play investigation, it does seem unlikely that the club will shell out another enormous sum of money for a new big money player. Furthermore, Hazard has previously stated his ambition to play for ​Real Madrid, and it would be an odd move to return to Ligue 1, where he previously starred for Lille.


Chelsea fans will undoubtably be concerned with the prospect of losing their star player, who has helped his side win two Premier League titles during his time at the club. However, the club arguably need to invest money in a number of areas across the squad – particularly attack and defence – and could use the Hazard windfall to bolster their ranks.

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In other news, ​Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has claimed that his side beat the ‘best team in Europe’ on Saturday evening, as the Blues pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City. The former Napoli boss said that his side were lucky not to concede early on, but also that their performance throughout deserved the result.

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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Huesca in La Liga on Sunday

Real Madrid have flattered to deceive so far this season and, despite winning eight of their last ten, currently reside fifth in La Liga. 

However, Sunday’s assignment is an opportunity for Los Blancos to get back on track, as a win against bottom of the league Huesca could see them climb as high as third depending on results elsewhere around the country.

Manager Santiago Solari was able to rest much of his star-studded squad for Thursday’s Copa del Rey tie, fielding a team largely made up of periphery players. The Argentine will have an almost fully fit squad to select from for this weekend’s tie with Toni Kroos and Casemiro likely to be the only first-team absentees.

Here’s a look at how Los Blancos could line up on Sunday.

3. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – After missing the opening two games of the season, Courtois has not missed a minute of football in La Liga since. But the Belgian has been far from his best in Madrid colours thus far, keeping only four league clean sheets. 

Dani Carvajal (RB) – The 26-year-old has endured a season blighted by injury so far, meaning he has featured only seven times in La Liga this term. It is no secret that Carvajal is an integral part of this Real Madrid side, as the Spaniard is yet to lose a game in any competition this season where he has played the full 90 minutes.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Ramos is yet to miss a minute in La Liga this year and has continued his impressive habit of scoring goals from the back. The Spaniard has already notched four times in the league this season, making him the club’s third top scorer behind Benzema and Bale.

Raphael Varane (CB) – The World Cup winner suffered a torrid display against Eibar a fortnight ago but appeared to recover quickly as he submitted an assured performance last time out against Valencia. The 25-year-old has already procured 16 trophies with Real Madrid and will be desperate to bolster his cabinet’s stock further this season.

Marcelo (LB) – Marcelo is another defender who has suffered with injury woes this season and has appeared just eight times in the league for Solari’s side. Lamentably, in seven of those eight appearances, the Brazilian has seen his team concede at least once. As a result, both Marcelo and his fellow defensive allies will be desperate to register a clean sheet on Sunday against a side who have scored just four times at home.

2. Midfielders

Luka Modric (CM) – Should the Croat feature in Sunday’s game, it’ll be his first appearance since picking up the coveted Ballon D’or trophy earlier this week. Despite appearing in all 14 league games this term, Modric has picked up only two assists which is far too low of a return for one of the game’s most creative players.

Dani Ceballos (CM) – The 22-year-old is regularly utilised from the bench however in the absence of Toni Kroos and Casemiro, Ceballos has grasped his chance and is fortunate enough to learn from and play alongside the best in the business.

Marcos Llorente (CM) – Llorente is slightly further down the pecking order than his midfield colleague Ceballos, however the Spaniard has also been granted his chance in light of Madrid’s current shallowness in midfield. He played the full 90 minutes of their crucial win over Valencia and will be hopeful of more game time this weekend.

1. Forwards

Gareth Bale (RW) – The Cardiff-born phenomenon was faced with the ominous task of replacing one Cristiano Ronaldo this season, since the Portuguese winger fled the shores of Spain last Summer. Bale has performed well so far, scoring six times in all competitions. However, the former Tottenham man has not scored now for ten league games and will be keen to buck that trend on Sunday.

Karim Benzema (ST) – Benzema has also helped to fill the Ronaldo-shaped void in Madrid’s attack this season, with the Frenchman contributing nine goals and five assists in all competitions so far.

Lucas Vazquez (LW) – The tricky winger opened his La Liga account for the season in last weekend’s win over Valencia and will be hoping to forge some goal scoring form now having scored just once in 12 league appearances this term.

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River President Admits Negotiations Will Continue With Real Madrid Over Exequiel Palacios

​The president of River Plate, Rodolfo D’Onofrio, has admitted the club “can’t cut” the career of Exequiel Palacios amid his proposed transfer to Real Madrid.

Palacios, 20, is set to play at Los Blancos’ home this weekend, as the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu following crowd troubles in Argentina ahead of the proposed date of the second leg in November.

Boca Juniors v River Plate - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

It could be the first of many games that Palacios plays in the Spanish capital, with his current club president at River Plate stating that talks between the two parties are set to continue following the final.

Speaking to ​MARCA, he said: “We are not currently talking about Palacios but about 20 days ago [Madrid director Emilio] Butragueno spoke to Enzo Francescoli about the player, but with a view to continuing negotiations later.

“The economic differences between Real Madrid and River are very large. It’s very difficult to retain a player, but history tells us that the player sees a future opportunity and we can’t cut his career.

“The club can’t be closed and must open themselves up to negotiation. That a player from River goes to Madrid is also prestigious for River.”

The midfielder has been courted by the ​La Liga for some time such is his talent, as Rodolfo D’Onofrio paid tribute to the Argentine midfielder ahead of his expected move to ​Real Madrid.

He added: “He’s at a great level, but I think it would be good to play for one more year in Argentina. However, that is not my decision. We will negotiate, Madrid know that.

“He is very young but he is very serious, and seems older than he is. A very complete player. If they really love him, the move would be ideal for both the player and Real Madrid.”

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Real Madrid Submit 23-Man Squad to Feature in Club World Cup

​Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari has confirmed his squad for this year’s Club World Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates this month.

Los Blancos’ domestic campaign hasn’t been a smooth ride since the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer. The club have suffered numerous embarrassing results and sacked Julen Lopetegui before the end of October, bringing in Solari to replace him.

Real Madrid v Valencia CF - La Liga

The Argentinian has seen an upturn in results, guiding his side to three wins in four games, despite the obvious improvement, the side from the capital still sit in fifth, five points behind leaders Barcelona.

Solari’s squad has now been released for the Club World Cup, via ​Marca, and there are a few surprises.


Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla.

Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho Fernandez, Marcelo, Sergio Reguilon.

Midfielders: Casemiro, Marcos Llorente, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Fede Valverde.

Forwards: Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Mariano, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior.


Both Nacho and Casemiro are surprise inclusions in the squad, with both still carrying injuries. Casemiro hasn’t featured for Los Blancos since November 11th and Nacho is still suffering from an MCL injury.

Solari appears to be confident that both will be fit for the tournament though. The Argentinian has also opted against bringing defender Jesus Vallejo, despite the youngster being in need of minutes for his development.

Gremio v Real Madrid: Final - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017

Real will be looking to clinch the Club World Cup four the fourth time in their history, they’ll be facing the likes of Guadalajara and Kashima Antlers at the tournament in the UAE.

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Huesca vs Real Madrid Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Real Madrid will head north-east to the ancient city of Huesca on Sunday afternoon, in La Liga’s equivalent of the David versus Goliath tale.

The visitors will look to secure their fourth win in a row in all competitions and will be expected to return to the capital with all three points, with their hosts currently residing in last place, propping up some of the country’s most gilded clubs.

RC Celta de Vigo v SD Huesca - La Liga

Check out 90min’s preview of Sunday’s game below.


How To Watch

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 9 December
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​15:15 GMT
​Where Is it Played?  ​Estadio El Alcoraz
​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​beIN La Liga

Team News

World Cup winner ​Toni Kroos in unlikely to be fit in time for this weekend’s clash, with the German publicising his ongoing knee problems on Twitter earlier this week.

Santiago Solari will also be without midfielder Casemiro who has sat out the last four games with a sprained ankle. In the absence of two of the club’s best midfielders, Spanish youngsters Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente have enjoyed a prolonged run in the starting XI alongside Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric. 

Huesca will also be without some key players for Sunday’s game with defenders Luisinho and Ruben Semedo both sidelined through injury. 


Predicted Lineups

SD Huesca ​Jovanovic; Miramon, Pulido, Etxeita, Akapo; Gomez, Musto; Gallar, Rivera, Ferreiro; Hernandez
Real Madrid  ​Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Ceballos, Llorente; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale

Head to Head Record 

Sunday’s game will be the first time in history that these two sides have met in a competitive fixture, with the reason being Huesca had never resided in the Spanish top tier until this season. On the other hand, Los Blancos have featured in the competition every single year since its inception in 1929.

The game will take place at Estadio El Alcoraz in Huesca which has a capacity of just 7,800 – quite a contrast to the 80,000+ fans Madrid are used to working in front of at home. 

SD Huesca v FC Girona - La Liga


Recent Form

​​Real Madrid’s season continues to be defined by inconsistency and Los Blancos currently reside in fifth place in La Liga. Solari’s side have won eight of their last ten in all competitions, however intertwined with this impressive run of wins were two embarrassing defeats to Barcelona and Eibar.

Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round

Coincidentally, Eibar are the only team Huesca have beaten in the league this season, doing so in the curtain-raiser back in August. However, since that opening game, Huesca have played the role of the small fish in an exceptionally large pond. They have drawn four and lost the other nine, meaning the Spanish minnows are rock bottom with just seven points.

Both sides go into this one having played in the Copa del Rey just three days prior, with the two sides registering very contrasting results.

Here’s how each team performed in their last five fixtures.

​SD Huesca Real Madrid
Huesca 0-4 Atheltic Bilbao​ (06/12) ​Real Madrid 6-1 Melilla (06/12)
​Celta Vigo 2-0 Huesca (01/12) ​Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (01/12)
​Athletic Bilbao 4-0 Huesca (28/11) ​Roma 0-2 Real Madrid (27/11)
​Huesca 2-2 Levante (24/11) ​Eibar 3-0 Real Madrid (24/11)
​Alaves 2-1 Huesca (11/11) ​Celta Vigo 2-4 Real Madrid (11/11)

Prediction

​Anything but a comfortable win for Real Madrid would send shock-waves around the footballing world. They are a team desperate to instil some consistency into this uncharacteristically shoddy campaign. An iota of encouragement for Huesca is the fact only one team has conceded more goals on the road in La Liga than Real Madrid this season. That team? Huesca. Maybe not, then.

Atletico Madrid v SD Huesca - La Liga Santander

Prediction: Huesca 0-4 Real Madrid

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Vinicius Junior Hypes Up Rodrygo as Real Madrid’s Incoming Starlet Attends Copa Thrashing

Vinícius Júnior has got Real Madrid fans excited over the prospect of seeing incoming Los Blancos signing and fellow Brazilian national Rodrygo in action next season.

Vinícius has begun to justify his own €45m transfer fee, offering a promising glimpse of exactly why he was signed from Flamengo last summer as he scored in Real’s Copa Del Rey win over Melilla on Thursday. However, his celebrations were in danger of being overshadowed by the sight of his fellow countryman Rodrygo sitting in the director’s box with club chairman Florentino Perez.

Independiente v Santos - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Madrid have agreed a deal with Santos for the exciting young winger, and although there was ​speculation his move might be brought forward to January, the 17 year old is now ​expected to join up with his new teammates in July as originally planned. 

Having provided eight goals and three assists in the Brazilian Série A last season, and one goal in the Copa Libertadores, the Spanish heavyweights have seen enough to give Rodrygo the opportunity to shine on one of world football’s biggest stages.

Vinícius, who has found opportunities with the senior team limited so far this season, was quick to praise the signing of his compatriot and get Real’s fans excited for the future.

“I’ve played with him in the national team and I’m glad he’s here,” he said after Real Madrid’s 6-1 win over Melilla, as quoted by Marca. “He’s a great player who scores goals. I’m sure he’s very happy to be here.”

Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round

Vinícius capped off a fine performance by netting in the 75th minute, as ​Real cruised to the 6-1 victory, and celebrated with a typically flamboyant south American dance move.

“In Brazil, we’re like that,” he explained, when asked about his celebration.

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5 Players Real Madrid Need to Let Go to Move on Under Santiago Solari

Real Madrid are currently suffering through one of their worst seasons in recent memory.

Their current slump, most recently seen in their 3-0 away loss to Eibar at the weekend, means that there could be a big summer of change, if the second half of the 2018/19 continues like the first half.

Something’s got to give. 

While Santiago Solari looks to be turning things around slowly, there are several big names whose first team berths are no longer assured. 

With rumours that the likes of Eden Hazard could be coming next summer, here are five stars who may not be kept around much longer at the Santiago Bernabeu.

1. Gareth Bale

Since joining Real Madrid in September 2013, for a then world record transfer fee, ​Gareth Bale has blown both hot and cold. 

Often resigned to the treatment room, Bale’s career at Real has been plagued by injury and his future in the Spanish capital is in jeopardy.

An undeniably mercurial talent, if Bale can find consistency in his game and stay fit he’ll be a certified starter. But at the moment, he clearly doesn’t have the backing of the Real Madrid faithful, as painfully summed up in ​Marca’s recent polling.

If his inconsistency holds up and if he fails to take up the mantle left by ​Cristiano Ronaldo, a move away from Real Madrid in the summer looks likely. 

2. Karim Benzema

Whatever you may think of ​Karim Benzema, his numbers don’t lie. His brace against Viktoria Plzen in Real Madrid’s Champions League outing has taken him past the 200-goal mark for the club. He’s only the seventh player to do so at Real Madrid.

Having said that, the French number nine still has his detractors and he’ll be looking at a potential summer exit unless he can pull his numbers up. He hasn’t scored 20+ goals since the 2015/16 season, when he scored 28 in 36 total appearances.

With Real Madrid still seemingly struggling for form, and Ronaldo now plying his masterful trade at ​Juventus, the 30-year-old could be sold to make room for new, younger, hungrier attacking reinforcements.

3. Keylor Navas

A mainstay between the sticks for Real Madrid since arriving from Levante in the 2015/16 season, Keylor Navas has been an outstanding goalkeeper for the club, especially when you think that he had to take over from club legend Iker Casillas.

Despite his undoubted quality and three Champions League medals, his position has been usurped by ​Thibaut Courtois, whose arrival from ​Chelsea means that Navas will either have to play for his place or make his peace with cup appearances if he wants to stay. However, a stopper of his skill and experience is wasted playing second fiddle. 

With the experienced Kiko Casilla as an understudy, plus the opportunity to promote the growth of young academy graduate Luca Zidane, maybe the time has come for Navas to finally seek pastures new. 

4. Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić is quite possibly one of the best midfielders of his generation, a world-class talent, and surely one of Croatia’s greatest all-time players. 

With a wealth of honours at club, country, and individual level – receiving the Golden Ball after leading Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2018 and Ballon d’Or – the highly-decorated playmaker shouldn’t be going anywhere, right?

Well, not necessarily. Rested at the start of this season, Modrić has mainly made substitute appearances because of the World Cup. At 33, Modrić is no spring chicken.

With a contract until 2020 that is showing no signs of being renewed, perhaps it would make sense for Real Madrid to cash in on their mini-maestro while his stock is still high. 

He hasn’t been playing to his potential of late, and if I​nter resurrect the interest they showed in him during the summer, maybe a move to ​Serie A would suit all parties.

5. Lucas Vázquez

The right-winger has struggled to nail down a regular place at Real Madrid, with only 16 starts in La Liga last season, and a further 17 substitute appearances. 

Under Zinedine Zidane, Vázquez managed nine goals and 10 assists in all competitions last season, which, for a club like Real, isn’t necessarily anything to write home about.

This season, the 27-year-old winger has yet to score in 16 appearances in all competitions, and with rising starlet Vinícius Jr. breathing down his neck, Vázquez could be forced to make way for the Brazilian. 

Coupled with the rumours of Eden Hazard and Neymarbeing linked to the club, Vázquez may have to be sold by the Spanish giants if they are to make next season a success.

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Brazilian Starlet Rules Out Possibility of Pushing Real Madrid Move Forward to January

​Santos forward Rodrygo has ruled out the possibility of bringing his agreed move to Real Madrid forward, saying that he is happy to focus on his football in Brazil until his move in July. 

The Galacticos agreed a £40m deal to sign the 17-year-old in July, but their troubles in front of goal have led many to speculate that they could push through a move to bring him to the club after his 18th birthday in January. 

Santos v Sao Paulo -Brasileirao Series A 2018

Rodrygo, however, has said that this looks unlikely, and that he is content to honour the deal the two sides reached in the summer. 

Quoted in Gazeta Esportiva (as quoted by ​Marca) he said: “It’s agreed that I’m going in July. The agreement is between Santos and ​Real Madrid, so I do not think there’s any chance of going before.

“I’m focused here. When I get there I’ll think, now I just want to stand out with Santos.”

Rodrygo finished fourth in the standings for the inaugural Kopa Trophy, with ​Kylian Mbappe eventually winning the award, after an impressive season with Santos. Upon his arrival in ​La Liga he’ll link up with Vinicius Jr who joined from Flamengo in the summer. 

Real Madrid Training and Press Conference

Real Madrid’s struggles in front of goal have been well publicised, with Julen Lopetegui losing his job as manager just months after taking over. Under new boss Santiago Solari, Los Blancos now sit 5th in the table, five points adrift of Barcelona at the top of the tree.

Rodrygo, however, refused to be drawn into concern about their poor form, saying that a slow start for Real is nothing new.

He said: “Real Madrid did not start well in the last three years and it was three times winner of the Champions League. You can not doubt Real Madrid or talk early.”

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Exequiel Palacios’ Agent Claims Real Madrid Are ‘Pushing Hard’ to Sign River Plate Midfielder

Exequiel Palacios’ agent, Renato Corsi, has claimed that Real Madrid are ‘pushing hard’ in order to sign the River Plate midfielder, while confirming that talks regarding a transfer between the two parties are set to continue. 

The 20-year-old had been expected to sign for Los Blancos following the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, however recent crowd trouble means that game is set to take place this coming weekend at the neutral venue of the Santiago Bernabeu, with Corsi hinting it could be the first of many games there for Palacios.

Boca Juniors v River Plate - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

Speaking to ​AS, Corsi said: “as a lifelong River fan and player who has spent a decade at the club, he wants the final to be played at the Monumental, in Argentina. 

“But in light of the problems the other week, he’s happy to play the game at a great stadium like the Bernabeu and in such a beautiful country as Spain. Hopefully it will all go well for him and he will end up playing for Real Madrid.”

​Real Madrid aren’t the only European side that have shown an interest in the central midfielder, with ​Barcelona and ​Inter among others monitoring Palacios, but Corsi has insisted it’s the 13-time Champions League winners that have shown the greatest interest in him. 

He added: “We’ve received phonecalls from Inter, Roma, Wolfsburg…a lot of clubs have shown an interest but the one who are really pushing hard for Palacios is Real Madrid. 

“The two clubs will sit down to talk properly after the final, there will be a few meetings regarding Palacios in Madrid over the next few days.


“With Barça, contact was made but talks didn’t advance. Zanetti called me…but the club who have shown more interest than anyone is Real Madrid…”

Let’