Levante vs Real Madrid Preview: How To Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Real Madrid will hope to return to winning ways in La Liga when they travel to Levante on Saturday evening. 

Zinedine Zidane’s side were held to a surprising 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu last time out, but still sit top of the table, just ahead of fierce rivals Barcelona.

Marcelo

When these sides met earlier in the season, Los Blancos’ eventual 3-2 victory was far from straight forward – with Real made to work hard for the three points. But the hosts have been struggling of late, losing four of their previous five league games.

Real will be distracted by the prospect of playing Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League, but should recognise what’s at stake here and they were unlikely to underestimate their opponents.

Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 22nd February​
What Time Is Kick Off? ​20:00 (GMT)
Where Is It Played? ​The Estadi Ciutat de València
TV Channel/Live Stream? ​LaLiga TV
Referee? Alejandro José Hernández Hernández

Team News

Levante’s injury problems continue, and they will again be unable to call upon the services of Rober Pier, Cheick Doukoure, Nemanja Radoja, Gonzalo Melere and Hernani. 

Midfielder Ruben Rochina​ is also a doubt with a muscular complaint.


As for Real, Gareth Bale and Luka Jovic are both doubts for Saturday. The pair were absent during Wednesday’s training session after suffering from a stomach bug.

Long-term absentees Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio continue their respective recoveries, but

Eden Hazard could start ahead of the clash with City, while Isco, Luka Modric and Ferland Mendy will also be in contention after being benched last weekend.


Predicted Lineups

Levante: ​Fernandez; Miramon, Postigo, Vezo, Clerc; Bardhi, Vukcevic, Campana, Morales; Marti, Mayoral
Real Madrid: ​Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Modric; Hazard, Benzema, Isco

Head to Head Record

As previously mentioned, these two sides played out a highly entertaining fixture back in September.

Real were cruising early on, taking a 3-0 lead thanks to Karim Benzema‘s brace, before two second half goals from Levante set up a nervy finale.

Karim Benzema

That game was not the first instance of Real struggling to get past Levante, with recent encounters between the two closely contested. Both sides picked up respective 2-1 wins on the road last season, and Real also dropped points the season before in a 2-2 draw.


Recent Form

​Real Madrid’s La Liga form of late has been excellent. They are unbeaten​ since October, and have won five of their previous six fixtures – only to drop two points last week against Celta Vigo. They also boast the best away record in the division. 

They were, however, beaten 4-3 at home in their Copa del Rey quarter final against Real Sociedad earlier in February, proving their defence is not as watertight as they would like.


Levante were beaten last time out, losing 2-1 to Villarreal. In fact, they have lost five of their previous six in the league, with their only three points coming in a 2-0 victory over struggling Leganes. 

Here’s each side’s last five results across all competitions:

Levante ​Real Madrid
​Villarreal 2-1 Levante (15/02) Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo (16/02)
Levante 2-0 Leganes (08/02) ​Osasuna 1-4 Real Madrid (09/02)
​Barcelona 2-1 Levante (02/02) Real Madrid 3-4 Real Sociedad (06/02)
​Osasuna 2-0 Levante (24/01) Real Madrid 1-0 Atlético Madrid (01/02)
​Sevilla 3-1 Levante (21/01) ​Zaragoza 0-4 Real Madrid (29/01)

Prediction

Zidane may well have one eye on his side’s ​Champions League fixture next week, yet he will also know Barcelona are breathing down their necks in La Liga.

The Catalan giants have struggled for consistency in their quest to retain their title, but dropped points from Real here would allow them back into the title race.

Sergio Ramos

Levante’s form of late has been rather woeful, and a visit from La Liga’s top side will prove a difficult fixture for them to overturn their poor run. 

Even with a rotated side, Real should have no issues winning this one.

Prediction: Levante 1-3 Real Madrid


Let’

José Mourinho Has Managed 6 Different Clubs in Champions League Knockout Ties – His Record in Full

José Mourinho became only the fourth manager in Champions League history to take charge of 150 games when he led a Tottenham Hotspur side against RB Leipzig on Wednesday night.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti are the only other coaches to reach that milestone in the Champions League, with only Ancelotti (84) winning more of those first 150 games than Mourinho (81).

Mourinho has also now drawn level with Ancelotti in terms of the most clubs managed in the Champions League knockout stages. Spurs, who lost to RB Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 tie this week, are now Mourinho’s sixth different side.

Looking back through his personal Champions League knockout history, here’s how Mourinho has fared with each of his clubs over the last 16 years…


Porto

Jose Dos Santos Mourinho,Nuno Valente

Off the back of winning the UEFA Cup in 2002/03, the 2003/04 season was Mourinho’s very first managing in the Champions League, and he won the whole thing.

His first knockout tie was against Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. Porto prevailed 3-2 on aggregate after dramatically sealing progress with a late Costinha goal at Old Trafford that sent Mourinho infamously running down the touchline.

Given that this was his only Champions League season with Porto, Mourinho’s knockout record was flawless, with other aggregate victories over Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna, before then also beating Monaco 3- 0 in the final.

​Season ​Tie Round​
​2003/04 ​Porto 3-2 Manchester United (agg) ​Last 16
​2003/04 ​Porto 4-2 Lyon (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2003/04 ​Porto 1-0 Deportivo La Coruna (agg) ​Semi Final
​2003/04 Porto 3-0 Monaco​ ​Final

Chelsea

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho took Chelsea to the semi-finals in his first season there in 2004/05, falling to the Luis Garcia ‘ghost goal’ against Liverpool in a 1-0 aggregate defeat. Prior to that, Chelsea had beaten Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the last 16 and last eight respectively.

The following season, Barcelona took revenge on Mourinho’s Chelsea at the last 16 stage en route to lifting the trophy themselves. In 2006/07, it was another semi-final defeat to Liverpool, having earlier seen off Porto and Valencia in the previous rounds.

Season​ Tie​ Round​
​2004/05 ​Chelsea 5-4 Barcelona (agg) ​Last 16
​2004/05 ​Chelsea 6-5 Bayern Munich (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2004/05 ​Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool (agg) ​Semi Final
​2005/06 ​Chelsea 2-3 Barcelona (agg) ​Last 16
​2006/07 ​Chelsea 3-2 Porto (agg) ​Last 16
​2006/07 ​Chelsea 3-2 Valencia (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2006/07 ​Chelsea 1-1(p) Liverpool (agg) ​Semi Final

Inter

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho’s next job took him to Italy and Inter, where he experienced a last 16 Champions League exit to Manchester United in 2008/09. But the following season he won it for the second time in his career, and as part of a historic treble with Serie A and Coppa Italia titles.

Along the way to glory he beat former employers Porto and Barcelona, as well as getting the better of former boss Louis van Gaal against Bayern Munich in the final.

Season Tie​ Round​
​2008/09 ​Inter 0-2 Manchester United (agg) ​Last 16
​2009/10 ​Inter 3-1 Chelsea (agg) ​Last 16
​2009/10 ​Inter 2-0 CSKA Moscow (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2009/10 ​Inter 3-2 Barcelona (agg) ​Semi Final
​2009/10 Inter 2-0 Bayern Munich​ ​Final

Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho

After the club had been knocked out at the last 16 stage six times in a row prior to his arrival, Mourinho consistently took Real Madrid to the last four every season he was at the Bernabéu, but crucially never further after falling at the penultimate hurdle three years in a row.

Each time, the semi-final defeat was against a different opponent, yet it perhaps stung no more than when it was Barcelona, later dubbed one of the greatest teams ever. Mourinho then fell foul of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, both of whom went on to lose their respective finals.

​Season Tie​ Round
​2010/11 ​Real Madrid 4-1 Lyon (agg) ​Last 16
​2010/11 Real Madrid 5-0 Tottenham (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2010/11 ​Real Madrid 1-3 Barcelona (agg) ​Semi Final
​2011/12 Real Madrid 5-2 CSKA Moscow​ (agg) ​Last 16
​2011/12 ​Real Madrid 8-2 APOEL (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2011/12 Real Madrid 3-3(p) Bayern Munich (agg)​ ​Semi Final
​2012/13 ​Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester United (agg) ​Last 16
​2012/13 ​Real Madrid 5-3 Galatasaray (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2012/13 ​Real Madrid 3-4 Borussia Dortmund (agg) ​Semi Final

Chelsea (again)

Jose Mourinho

Returning to Chelsea for a second spell, 2013/14 was a fifth consecutive season with a third different club where Mourinho reached at least the semi-finals. This time he was outfoxed by Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid, who won 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the second leg.

A year later, Mourinho won his first Premier League trophy since 2006, but his Champions League streak was ended when Chelsea were knocked out at the last 16 stage by Paris Saint-Germain in a dramatic tie that was decided on away goals in extra-time at Stamford Bridge.

Season Tie​ Round​
​2013/14 Chelsea 3-1 Galatasaray (agg)​ ​Last 16
​2013/14 ​Chelsea (a)3-3 Paris Saint-Germain (agg) ​Quarter Final
​2013/14 ​Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid (agg) ​Semi Final
​2014/15 ​Chelsea 3-3(aet) Paris Saint-Germain (agg) ​Last 16

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho got Manchester United back into the Champions League by winning the Europa League in 2016/17, which had been his first season in Europe’s secondary club competition since lifting the trophy under its former UEFA Cup guise with Porto back in 2003.

United got to the knockout stages, as is the norm for Mourinho, but a dismal last 16 tie against Sevilla saw the Red Devils lose 2-1 at Old Trafford in the second leg. Fans fumed that it was only after going 2-0 down that the team showed any sort of impetus.

​Season Tie​ Round
2017/18​ ​Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla (agg) Last 16​

Tottenham Hotspur

Jose Mourinho

Qualification for the 2019/20 Champions League knockout phase wasn’t all Mourinho’s doing after inheriting a Tottenham team from Mauricio Pochettino with only two group games to play, but they are now the sixth club he has managed at this stage of the competition.

However, to go any further Spurs must overturn a first leg defeat against RB Leipzig.

​Season

Tie​

Round​

2019/20​ Tottenham 0-1 RB Leipzig​ (first leg) Last 16​

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

Chelsea & Everton Consider Approach for Top Real Madrid Scout – Liverpool Links Dismissed

​Chelsea and Everton have both been tipped to make an approach for highly rated Real Madrid scout Juni Calafat, while there are conflicting reports about Liverpool’s interest in the Spaniard.

Since joining the club back in 2015, Calafat has built up a stunning reputation as one of the finest scouts around. He is credited with the discoveries of youngsters like Federico Valverde, Martin ØdegaardÉder Militão, Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior, which has completely restructured Real’s approach to transfers.


According to ​The Telegraph, both ​Chelsea and ​Everton are interested in trying to lure Calafat away from the Santiago Bernabéu, while the same report also credits ​Liverpool with an interest.

Calafat is seen as a man who is capable of identifying future stars with terrifying ease. The reason ​Real are so infatuated with him is they believe he can find players who will soon be worth €200m and sign them for a fraction of the price.

All three of Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool and eager to incorporate more young players in their squad, so bringing in someone with Calafat’s talents certainly sounds like a good idea.

Jurgen Klopp

However, whether Liverpool are actually interested in the scout is debatable. While The Telegraph claim they are part of the three-way tug of war to sign Calafat, the ​Liverpool Echo insist that the Reds do not believe they need him.

Liverpool are already ecstatic with their recruitment department, and they do not feel as though Calafat is an upgrade on any of the staff on their scouting team.

The Reds are said to have ‘stressed’ that there is no truth to the report linking them with Calafat, with sporting director Michael Edwards believed to be against unsettling his team with a high-profile addition.

Florentino Perez,Reinier Jesus Carvalho

Calafat’s latest accomplishment was ensuring Real won the race for Reinier Jesus, who was also wanted by ​Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and ​Barcelona.

Both Chelsea and Everton are seemingly eager to bring in someone with Calafat’s talents, but whether he would want to leave Real – who are happy to give him plenty of power – is an entirely different matter.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Paul Pogba Latest – Real Madrid Prepare Low Ball Offer to Man Utd But Mino Raiola Backs Down

Real Madrid are said to value Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba at as little as £50m as they weigh up a summer approach for the 2018 World Cup winner, who became the most expensive player in the world when he moved to Old Trafford for nearly double that in 2016.

After remaining with United last summer when no serious bids materialised, Pogba’s future has been the subject of increasing uncertainty again during his lengthy injury absences this season.

Paul Pogba

The 26-year-old is entering the final stages of his United contract and the Daily Mail report that ​Real value Pogba at no more than £50m. That is largely because his deal is due to expire in 2021. However, it ignores the 12-month extension clause United are yet to trigger.

The Mail describe an ‘acceptance’ from both the club and player’s camp that a summer transfer is in the best interest for all parties. United maintained last summer that Pogba was and is not for sale, but there is a belief that a £150m offer could have sparked negotiations.

It is extremely unlikely that they will be hammered down to £50m and ESPN have reported that while Pogba is expecting to leave Old Trafford in the coming months, United will refuse to accept a lowball figure and are firmly sticking to their £150m valuation.

Such a figure, however, is unlikely at best to be achieved for a player who has barely featured this season. Pogba currently has no timeframe for his return from injury but is set to feature for France at Euro 2020 – and is expected to leave afterwards unless United convince him otherwise with their summer plans.

90min has learned that United will be prepared to sell for in the region of what they paid for Pogba in 2016 if all other options are exhausted.

[embedded content]

Meanwhile, Pogba’s older brother Mathias has been stirring the pot on Spanish television, telling El Chiringuito in no uncertain terms: “Everyone knows that Paul wants to leave Manchester United, he wants to play Champions League football and win titles.”

A lot of what happens will come down to agent Mino Raiola. His escalating war of words with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about who ‘owns’ Pogba looked to have pushed the player further towards the Old Trafford door, but Raiola has somewhat surprisingly climbed down.

He has insisted he wants to ‘reach out’ to Solskjaer, who looked unimpressed when responding to the agent’s tweets posted minutes before United kicked off against ​Chelsea on Monday night, and has stressed Pogba’s commitment to the club, while also refusing to rule out a new contract.

“I will reach out to Ole because nothing serious is going on. I certainly did not intend to have any disrespect to the club or towards him,” Raiola told Sky Sports.

“Paul has great commitment to the club, there is no question about that. Paul has a contract with Manchester United and wants to get back fit as quick as possible and back into the team to be a positive factor until the end of the season,” he added.

FBL-ENG-PR-WATFORD-MAN UTD

“In this moment, there are no talks [over Pogba’s future]. He is only committed to Manchester United and he respects his contract. Everybody is worried about Pogba leaving, but I am not worried. We are open for talks after he gets back [from injury].”

Raiola also insisted he meant nothing by his recent comments about a possible return to ​Juventus, which is what sparked the current circus, claiming he was only talking loosely about a long-term future and described what he said as ‘very innocent’.

Raiola admitted there is ‘not a lot of interest’ in Pogba because ‘not a lot of clubs can afford him’.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Let’

Real Madrid’s 10 Best Footballers of All Time

Real Madrid have been blessed with some of the greatest players ever to don a pair of football boots so, as you can imagine, picking their best ever top ten was no easy task.

Los Blancos have won the European Cup a record 13 times, are one of the most decorated football clubs on the planet and were even named as FIFA’s team of the century. 

So you can only start to imagine the number of stars who have passed through the doors of the Santiago Bernabéu over the years.

It means there are a few noticeable absentees from the shortlist, so before we get underway with ‘90min’s Real Madrid’s 10 Best Players of All Time,’ time for some honourable mentions:

Iker Casillas, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Luís Figo, Emilio Butragueño, Ronaldo Názario, Kaká, Guti, David Beckham, Xabi Alonso, Fabio Cannavaro, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Peđa Mijatović, Manuel Sanchís, Ivan Zamorano, Paco Buyo, Fernando Redondo & Pirri.

Right, now with those out of the way, let’s crack on with the top 10.


Fernando Hierro

Fernando Hierro

Legendary ​Real Madrid skipper Hierro was a rock at the back for over a decade in the Spanish capital and played over 600 times for the club.

Arguably, his finest moment came in the 1998 ​Champions League final, where Hierro silenced ​Juventus’ Alessandro Del Piero for the entire game as Real ran out 1-0 winners.

Hierro would lead his side to two more European titles during his time at the Bernabéu, but perhaps more impressive were the 147 goals that he accumulated from defence – not bad going for an old-fashioned centre half.


Francisco Gento​

Francisco Gento,Ron Harris,Peter Osgood,Peter Houseman,Peter Bonetti

Gento, affectionately known as Paco, was a serial winner and the legendary number 11 became one of Real’s most decorated players. 

He featured in eight European finals, over three decades, for Los Blancos and was on the victorious side on six occasions – and is still the only player to ever win six European Cups. 

But Paco’s achievements don’t stop there. His trophy cabinet must be practically bursting as he claimed no less than 12 La Liga titles with the great 1950s and 1960s Madrid sides.


Raymond Kopa​

Kopa became the first-ever Frenchman to be crowned European champion when he played in Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Fiorentina in 1957, shortly after he received the Ballon d’Or.

The triumph over the Italians was the first of three consecutive European titles that Kopa would go on to win during his short yet successful three-year stint with Madrid.

‘Little Napoleon’, as he was christened by renowned Madrid-based publication Marca, struck up a great partnership with Ferenc Puksás in attack and scored 24 goals in 79 games from the number 10 role.


Luka Modrić

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-RAYO

Another Ballon d’Or winner, Modrić received the accolade in 2018, the same year that he completed his own hat-trick of consecutive European successes with Madrid.

The diminutive Croatian has been Real’s creative cog in midfield since 2012 and has established himself as an artisan on the world stage.

Perhaps surprising he has only one La Liga title to his name, but his four Champions League triumphs make up for it – and he will be remembered as a modern-day great in the Spanish capital.


Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Ramos has ripped up the manual when it comes to the blueprint of a stereotypical centre-half, redefining the role since moving to the Bernabéu from Sevilla in 2005.

Real’s charismatic leader has scored in every one of his 15 seasons with the club and his 90 goals for Madrid have coincided with four ​La Liga triumphs and four Champions League winners medals.

The defender is a natural-born winner and definitely wears his heart on his sleeve – perhaps demonstrated by his record of being the most carded player in Spanish history.


Raúl

Real Madrid's Raul Gonzalez celebrates a

Raúl was unquestionably the greatest goal scorer to ever don the white of Madrid, until a certain Cristiano Ronaldo came along (more about him later). 

But even so, the Spaniard is still revered as one of the greatest ever to play for Los Blancos, and his signature kissing of the finger celebration was seen on no less than 323 occasions.

A Real icon, he was an inspirational captain, a shining example to anyone who took to the field and his goalscoring feats were rewarded with six La Liga titles and three European Cups. He also holds the record number of appearances for the club, featuring a staggering 741 times. 


Hugo Sánchez​

A Mexican striker widely known as a showman, with a forward with a penchant for the spectacular, Hugo Sanchez was something else.

Sánchez’s afro was eye-catching enough but he endeared himself to the Real faithful with his acrobatic volleys and exuberant goal celebrations. The forward is one of the most prolific to ever grace the hallowed turf of the Bernabéu and bagged 208 goals in 282 matches in an era which saw him win five Spanish league titles.

Staggeringly, some view him as underrated – which is mad when you watch some of his highlight reels.


Alfredo di Stéfano 


“People argue between Pele or Maradona. Di Stéfano is the best, much more complete.” – Pele.

“The most complete footballer in the history of the game.” – Eusebio

High praise indeed. Di Stéfano truly is regarded as one of football’s greatest ever players and is the only ever recipient of the Super Ballon d’Or, which was awarded to him in 1989.

The Blonde Arrow won five consecutive European titles during the 1950s with Madrid, scoring in each, en route to earning two Ballon d’Or trophies.

He is Madrid’s joint highest ever goalscorer in El Clasico alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, notching 17 goals against ​Barcelona and in his 11 years with Los Blancos, he was an eight time La Liga winner.


Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskas

‘Pancho’ has been dubbed the best-left foot to ever play in the famous white shirt (sorry, Gareth Bale) and the Hungarian would often dazzle madrileños with his silky skills.

Incredibly he arrived in the Spanish capital at 31 years old but showed that age was simply a number as he racked up startling figures of his own – 242 goals in 262 games.

The portly striker’s extraordinary goalscoring touch helped Madrid to three European crowns and five La Liga titles. Such was his knack for finding the back of the net, FIFA posthumously named their best goal of the year award after the hot-shot Hungarian in 2017.


Cristiano Ronaldo

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-SEVILLA

Who else but Cristiano Ronaldo to rounds things off?

In spite of the true greats that have represented Real, CR7 stands head and shoulders above them all with his five Ballon d’Or wins holding him aloft.

The man is simply not human. He scored more goals than games that he played for Madrid, an astonishing 451 strikes in 438 games.

He broke every goalscoring record imaginable and although the Ronaldo v Messi dispute will rage on for eternity, there is no arguing that the Portuguese is numero one when it comes to Real Madrid.


Let’

Who’s on the Plane? Germany Euro 2020 Squad Power Rankings – February

​We’re another month close to having a football-filled summer, with Euro 2020 set to kick off in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on June 12.

A lot of eyes will be on Joachim Löw’s Germany side after they crashed and burned in their defence of the World Cup in 2018, but Die Mannschaft will have a very different look about them this time around.

Germany’s manager has already kicked out Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller from the national team, so there will be plenty of new faces for international audiences to see at Euro 2020.

Löw doesn’t have to pick his final 23-man squad just yet, but here’s who a look at would make 90min’s Germany team based off their form in February.


23. Kevin Trapp (New Entry)

Picking a final 23-man squad is a cutthroat business so as far as Germany’s third-choice goalkeeper is concerned, we’ve had to leave Bernd Leno and Alexander Nübel behind.

Trapp’s had his problems with injuries but he’s helped to turn a pretty dismal season for Eintracht Frankfurt on its head and they’re back on their way up the table.

22. Florian Neuhaus (New Entry)

Florian Neuhaus

A senior national team call-up has been well overdue for Florian Neuhaus but with all the competition that’s going to be on offer, he might be the best player who goes to Euro 2020 without actually playing any football.

Maybe next time.

21. Robin Gosens (New Entry)

‘But why’s Gosens going ahead of Nico Schulz?’

Watch Borussia Dortmund. That’s why.

20. Leroy Sané (-)

Even without any ligaments left in his knee, Sané’s still going to be one of Germany’s most important player this summer.

Leroy Sane

It’s also going to be a great chance for him to put himself on the transfer market as he looks to leave Manchester City, even though we know where he’ll be going already – don’t we, Herbert Hainer…

19. Robin Koch (-)

Even Jogi Löw knows the comedic gold that will come with Clive Tyldesley shouting ‘Koch block’ on terrestrial television so he’s going to be on the plane for sure.

18. Jonathan Tah (Down 2)

Tah’s been a Germany international for quite some time but has only picked up nine appearances for the national team, although without Hummels and Boateng he’ll be starting most games at Euro 2020.

Jonathan Tah ,

17. Marco Reus (Down 8)

Please don’t get injured. 

Please don’t get injured. 

Please don’t get injured.

16. Marcel Halstenberg (Up 1)

He’ll be Germany’s first-choice left back at Euro 2020, even though he’s played as a centre-back at RB Leipzig over the last couple of weeks.

 

15. Suat Serdar (-)

Serdar’s been a big loss for Schalke over the last couple of weeks following an ankle injury.

But he’s still been one of the most impressive midfielders in the Bundesliga this season.

 

14. Antonio Rüdiger (-)

Antonio Rüdiger

There’s every chance that Rüdiger will be Germany’s most senior centre-back at Euro 2020 as on top of Hummels and Boateng being ommited, Niklas Süle might not recover from a long-term injury he picked up in October.

13. Emre Can (Up 5)

Can swapped Juventus for Borussia Dortmund to get himself back in contention for a place in the national team.

It should work too. Jogi Löw doesn’t have too many defensive midfielders with Can’s stature, let alone anyone who can pick out the top corner of the opposition’s net from 40 yards.

12. Leon Goretzka (Up 1)

At the worst of times, Goretzka’s always been quite a useful player to have in and around the national team, but he’s been involved in five goals in the Rückrunde alone 

11. Julian Brandt (Up 1)

It’s not all gone Brandt’s way sine joining Borussia Dortmund but he’ll have a big part to play for Germany at Euro 2020.

If nothing else, it’s still just a chance for fans to see Brandt re-kindle his relationship with Kai Havertz with Die Mannschaft.

Kai Havertz,Julian Brandt

 10. Marc-André ter Stegen (Up 1)

Ter Stegen would be starting for all-but-one national side who will be at Euro 2020.

Unfortunately for him, the one that he won’t be starting for is Germany.

9. Lukas Klostermann (Down 1)

Germany have the best right back in world football playing for them.

The only problem is the best right back in world football will be playing as a defensive midfielder at Euro 2020, but Lukas Klostermann will be a welcomed addition to Jogi Löw’s starting lineup.

8. Kai Havertz (Up 2)


Form is temporary, class is permanent…we hope.

Havertz hasn’t been at his devastating best for Bayer Leverkusen this season but, at this stage, he’s unlikely to be left out of a national team squad until he retires from international duty.

7. İlkay Gündoğan (-)

Well, this is going to be Gündoğan’s last taste of European football for quite a while isn’t it…?

6. Matthias Ginter (Down 1)

Borussia Mönchengladbach have the joint best defensive record in the Bundesliga this season and a lot of that comes down to Ginter.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-MOENCHENGLADBACH-MAINZ

He didn’t even make their squad back in 2016 and Ginter was only ever on the bench when Germany won the World Cup in 2014, but he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet this summer.

5. Timo Werner (Down 1)

At this point, no one would be surprised if Jogi Löw decided to call up a 107-year-old Mario Gómez, but it should be a fairly safe bet that Werner will be leading the line for Germany.

He’s the highest-scoring Germany player across all competitions and even though he’s slowed down a fair bit since the turn of the year, he’s still been involved in 35 goals in 31 appearances this season.

4. Serge Gnabry (Up 2)

Well, Löw’s hardly going to send Karim Bellarabi to Euro 2020 is he?


Germany need to wrap Gnabry in cotton wool and bubble wrap to make sure he’s at full strength this summer.

3. Joshua Kimmich (-)

Germany’s manager has been pushing to use Kimmich in midfield for a number of years and with Klostermann finally ready to step up as a right back, he’ll get the chance to play centrally at a major tournament.

He’s had plenty of experience in midfield at Bayern Munich this season too.

2. Toni Kroos (-)

Going into Euro 2020, Kroos will be the highest scoring Germany international.

Yep, with 17 goals for Die Mannschaft, Kroos has scored more times for his country than any other active German player.

Toni Kroos

Lukas Podolski, Mesut Özil and André Schürrle have all scored more goals, but it’s safe to say neither of them will be breaking into the national team over the next few months.

1. Manuel Neuer (-)

Jogi Löw has the choice between starting a goalkeeper who is currently being out-performed by Thibaut Courtois, or someone who’s won the last seven domestic league titles.

He’s going to be picking the latter.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Who Is Reinier? All You Need to Know About Real Madrid’s Exciting New Signing

​Real Madrid have never been afraid of spending big in the transfer window, and Los Blancos have dipped into their pockets once again, this time forking out €35m for a fairly unknown youngster – Reinier.

The deal was confirmed in January and is worth a fair amount given the player’s age, with the midfielder set to be presented to the Real Madrid faithful on Tuesday.


The new boy in Madrid will certainly face stiff competition to break in to a squad made up of world-beaters, but the 18-year-old has plenty of potential and has been tipped by those in Brazil to embrace the big time.

But who really is this talented teenage sensation? Let’s take a look…


Who Is He?

Reinier Jesus Carvalho is an exciting 18-year-old midfielder who was born on 19 January 2002 – feel old yet? 

He is the son of former futsal player Mauro Brasilia – perhaps why he is so technically-gifted at such a young age – and has been on the books at some of Brazil’s biggest clubs since 2011.

FBL-BRAZIL-FLAMENGO-VASCO

​Stood at a little over six feet tall, Reinier initially joined Vasco da Gama’s academy nine years ago, before moving on to Botafogo and Fluminense, and eventually winding up at Flamengo. 

The youngster went on to make his debut for Flamengo in July last year, and his rise to stardom has been one of incredible speed. The youngster has also featured for Brazil’s youth teams, racking up 16 appearances for the Under-17s and U23s.


What Kind of Experience Does He Have?


​Put simply: very little.

As mentioned, Reinier only made his senior debut for Flamengo less than seven months ago, and subsequently made just 15 appearances for the Brazilian side. However, in that time he has scored six goals and registered two assists, as well as forging a reputation as one of the most talented youngsters in world football.

Reinier has already won the Copa Libertadores as well as the Brazilian first division title, but missed out on adding the FIFA Club World Cup to his trophy cabinet following Flamengo’s narrow defeat to ​Liverpool in the final.


What Kind of Player Is He?

Well, we don’t get liked to get carried away in football, so a lot of fans and critics have compared him to Kaka.

Yes, really. 

Gerson,Reinier

Obviously, Reinier is a very, very long way away from being even half the player that the former ​Real Madrid and ​Milan star was, but he has the technical and physical ability to match Kaka’s style. 

Reinier is big and powerful, but has a delicate grace as well as an incisiveness to his dribbling. His right foot possesses plenty of skill and trickery, with his eye for flair one of his most exciting attributes.


What Are His Chances Like of Actually Playing for Madrid?

Given Madrid have splashed a lot of money on him and tied him down to a six-year contract, you would assume he has a good chance of making the cut. 

While his path to the first team may not be completely free from obstacles, Reinier certainly has a glowing reputation in world football and, in an era where potential means everything, Zinedine Zidane will be keen to thrust him in to the limelight.​

Reinier Jesus

​However, we mustn’t throw caution to the wind. We have been here before.

Not so long ago, Vinicius Junior was the ‘next Neymar’, arriving at the Bernabeu from Flamengo with sky high expectations he was unlikely ever to fulfil in the short-term – he’s been ‘good’, but not quite ‘Neymar good’.

Patience is a virtue but, possibly even after a couple of loan spells (take inspiration from Martin Odegaard, Madrid), Reinier has all the attributes to succeed at the Spanish giants.


Let’

Iker Casillas Confirms Run for Spanish Football Federation Presidency

​Spain icon Iker Casillas has confirmed that he intends to run for presidency at the Spanish football association’s (RFEF) next election.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper is yet to officially retire from competitive action and remains on the books at Porto. However, he has not played since April 2019 after suffering a heart attack during training.


Since the incident, Casillas has worked as part of Porto’s backroom staff to prepare him for life after football, while there has been speculation for some time that he would seek to run for the RFEF presidency.

On Monday, the ex-Real Madrid stopper took to ​Twitter to confirm his candidacy.

“Yes, I will stand for presidency of the Spanish FA when elections are called,” he wrote. “Together we will put our federation at the level of the best football in the world.

I have informed the president of my Club, FC Porto, of this decision, to whom I can only express my deepest gratitude.

Iker Casillas

“We are working with the utmost respect in our candidacy. More than 23,000 voters await us in fair and transparent elections. 139 assembly members will decide.”

While he did not officially confirm his retirement, it certainly appears as though Casillas has informed Porto that he does not intend to return to football again, and he may have played his last match.

Casillas will now run against current RFEF president Luis Rubiales in the elections, but no date has been set just yet. Rubiales is eager to bring the elections forward to avoid clashing with the Olympic games in Tokyo, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Luis Rubiales

Rubiales has been in the position since May 2018, and he wasted little time making his mark as one of his first actions was to relieve Julen Lopetegui of his duties as Spain manager just days before the 2018 World Cup after it emerged he had been negotiating with ​Real Madrid.

Casillas would certainly be a popular appointment. The former Real star made 167 appearances for the Spanish national team during his career, winning the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships in both 2008 and 2012.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Zinedine Zidane Questions Recent Problems With Real Madrid’s Defence

​Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has admitted he is unsure why his side have struggled defensively in recent weeks, but insisted that left-back Marcelo is not the problem.

His side were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by Celta Vigo on Sunday, meaning they have now conceded seven goals in their last three games. Having begun the season with such a resilient defence, their recent form has come as quite a surprise.


Speaking after the game (via ​AS), Zidane admitted that he does not know why his side are struggling on that side of the ball recently, although he was quick to point out that Celta’s second goal only came about because of a sublime assist from Denis Suárez.

“It’s football, there is no explanation,” he said. “We have conceded two goals, sometimes there are mistakes and when we see the second goal, the pass is extraordinary. There is no more explanation.

“I don’t think [the team are struggling physically]. The season is also very long and we know that more complicated matches will come.

Zinedine Zidane

“Physically we are not bad, although we can improve even more. Our first five minutes were good, but they scored a goal and it cost us. We can improve in many aspects, not only physically. We will play against teams that are much better.”

Zidane was quick to avoid throwing ​Marcelo under the bus. The Brazilian replaced the impressive Ferland Mendy in the ​Real lineup but endured a challenging game at left-back, although his manager seemingly did not see it that way.

Marcelo Vieira

“I don’t think he makes us weaker defensively, because he was good at the back, but you always bring out stats,” Zidane responded. “I’m happy with everyone for how they play and when they play.

“It hurts to lose two points at home; Celta are a good team who don’t deserve to be at the bottom. But it hurts a lot to lose two points after the tremendous effort that we made. Sometimes we can argue about if it’s our fault, but Denis’ pass is fantastic.”


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Los Blancos Stumble in Title Race

Real Madrid’s lead at the top of La Liga slipped to just one point on Sunday night, as a late strike from Santi Mina cancelled out a Sergio Ramos penalty to secure an unlikely point for a struggling Celta Vigo side. 

​The home side looked unsure of themselves and off the pace from the get go, and though they dominated play, they were punished for a poor start when Iago Aspas picked out Fyodor Smolov, who kept his composure to get the better of ​Thibaut Courtois. 

Smolov

Toni Kroos would get ​Real level with a swept low finish after the break, but that came only after a stunning Courtois stop denied Joseph Adoo and ​Ramos had seen a goal chalked off for offside, in what was fast transforming into an eventful encounter. 

A Ramos penalty then gave the hosts a somewhat fortuitous lead after Ruben Blanco had clumsily taken out Eden Hazard on the edge of his six-yard box, but Real’s failure to create any further chances was punished with aplomb when substitute Santi Mina raced through to fire in an equaliser that silenced the Bernabéu. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-CELTA

Having watched Barcelona conquer Getafe a day earlier to go level on points at the top, Real could not find another goal to stretch the lead back to three, and what has so far been a self-destructive title race once again sits on the edge of a knife. 


Real Madrid

Key Talking Point

Zinedine Zidane brought Eden Hazard back into his starting XI for the first time since November, as he made up one third of a formidably experienced forward line which also featured the prolific Karim Benzema and the enigmatic Gareth Bale. 

Eden Hazard

For all their firepower, though, they were astonishingly passive for long spells, and took until the second half to get going. Smolov’s first goal for Celta summed up a first half that fell somewhere in between ‘lethargic’ and ‘abysmal’, as the back line failed to meaningfully engage Aspas or drop off enough to limit the country park of space available to the scorer. 

They improved after the break and got themselves into a winning position, but their failure to create anything of note came back to bite them as substitute Mina struck late. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-CELTA

With a massive couple of weeks coming up, the necessity of lifting their game will not be lost on Zidane’s men, whose lead at the top of La Liga looks immeasurably more fragile than it did a week ago. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Courtois (7); Carvajal (5), Varane (6), Ramos (6), Marcelo (6); Valverde (7), Casemiro (5), Kroos (5); Bale (6), Benzema (5), Hazard (6)

Subs: Vinicius (6), Modric (5), Mendy (N/A)


Star Man 

Real struggled to get themselves up for this one, and it’s a game they almost certainly would not have taken anything from had their man between the sticks not been an imposing force throughout. 



La Liga’s player of the month for January had no chance with the either goal but a world class stop prevented the second before the break, and his self-assured presence was a calming influence throughout. 


Celta Vigo

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Blanco (5); Vásquez (6), Aldoo (7), Murillo (6), Araujo (6), Olaza (6); Yokuslu (7), Bradaric (6), Rafinha (6); Aspas (8), Smolov (6)

Subs: Sisto (5), Suárez (7), Mina (7)


Looking Ahead

Real Madrid have six days to catch their breath before travelling to face Levante on Saturday, followed swiftly by a return to Champions League action against Manchester City. 

Celta, meanwhile have a potential relegation six-pointer with Leganés next weekend.


Let’