Dubious Spanish Report Makes Claim That Liverpool Are Set to Bid £100m for Real Madrid Star

​An outrageous report from Spain has contended that Liverpool are set to reinvest their fortune acquired from the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in an audacious swoop for Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale. 

Real have endured a torrid La Liga campaign thus far, and the Welsh forward is believed to be eyeing a move back to the Premier League in the near future.

As reported by (ahem) Don Balón, Liverpool will jump ahead of Manchester United and Spurs in the race to sign the former Premier League ace, as ​Real president Florentino Perez looks to form a new attacking trident and sell off the decorated ‘BBC’.

Jurgen Klopp, however, has made no mention of Bale as a potential target, nor has the Welshman made any indication of a desire to join the Reds.

Real Madrid pulled off a dramatic, last minute against Leganes in their midweek Copa Del Rey quarter-final clash. Marco Asensio’s late goal gave the visitor’s a crucial 1-0 first leg lead, as they look to improve on a dire first half of the 2017/18 campaign. Sitting 19 points off league leaders Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane’s side have all but lost any chance of retaining their title.

The last-gasp win led to some drama on the touchlines, as the ​Leganes kitman earned himself an eight-match ban after launching a foul-mouth tirade at the officials, for what he perceived to be a pro-Real bias. Leganes have never won a major cup competition, and their chances of winning the Copa Del Rey this season are remote after losing the home leg to Los Blancos.


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Liverpool will hope to build upon the momentum gathered from last weekend’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester City – which saw the Reds end the league leader’s hopes of finishing the season unbeaten. The Reds travel to relegation candidates Swansea City this weekend, where they will hope to blow away the strugglers with their potent style of attacking football.

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Real Madrid vs Deportivo de La Coruña Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but things aren’t going too well at the Santiago Bernabéu. The Spanish champions are now technically closer to relegation than they are to Barcelona in the current La Liga standings, with a 19-point gap separating the fierce rivals.

After his team lost 1-0 to Villareal last Sunday, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos ​told BeIN Sports that the team’s main priority is to now focus on qualifying for the Champions League next year.

On top of all that, rumours continue to swirl that talisman ​Cristiano Ronaldo is in the midst of packing his bags, which is just another problem Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane can chuck on his ever-growing pile. 

One factor the Frenchman can take solace in is that the visitors to the Spanish capital on Sunday, Deportivo de La Coruña, aren’t faring too well this season either. Depor are currently 18th in the league and have recorded only one victory in their past seven games – a 1-0 win against Leganes back in mid-December.

Can the Galician’s visit to Santiago Bernabéu offer Zidane some much-needed respite? Here are some points to consider ahead of Sunday’s clash…


Classic Encounters

RC Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

The last time the two teams met made for an eventful encounter, with Madrid picking up a 3-0 win back in August – the first game of the 2017/18 campaign. 

Gareth Bale scored Los Blanco’s first goal of the season for the third campaign in a row on the day, with Casemiro and Kroos bagging a goal a piece as well.

However, jubilation was ceased to a halt when Sergio Ramos earned himself a red card in extra time, which perhaps proved a harbinger for Madrid’s subsequent La Liga downfall.

Another meeting between the two that was definitely one for the goal fest enthusiast – or Real Madrid fan, really – would be when Madrid dished out an 2-8 drubbing back in September 2014. The Madrid goal scorers on the day consisted of Ronaldo, with a hat-trick, Bale and Javier Hernández with a brace respectively, and James Rodríguez with a trademark peach from outside the area.


Key Battle

Gareth Bale vs Lucas Pérez

Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid - La Liga

Madrid have failed to find the back of the net in four of their last eight games, suffering from their usual reliable goal scorer, Ronaldo, enduring a dip in form. The Portuguese striker has found the back of the net just four times in the league this season.

With that in mind, Los Blanco’s famously goal-hungry home fans will be demanding that second-in-command goal threat, Gareth Bale, gets on the score sheet. Zidane left Ronaldo, Bale and Karim Benzema out of the Real Madrid squad for Thursday’s 1-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final win against Leganes. 

This should mean the Welshman will be well and rested, although he is still finding his feet since being sidelined through injury for most of the season.

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Premier League fans will be familiar with Lucas Pérez, who currently plays up top for Deportivo

The 29-year-old Arsenal man, who is currently out on loan, scored only one goal in 11 league appearances for the Gunners last year, but the Spanish striker has clocked four goals and one assist for Deportivo in La Liga – on par with Ronaldo goal-wise. 

While those stats may not strike fear into the hearts of Real Madrid fans, if their team continues to fail to find the back of the net, perhaps the one goal from the Depor forward could clinch a momentous win for the team from the north of Spain, despite Deportivo having won just one of their last 32 La Liga games at the Bernabéu.


Team News

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All being well, skipper Sergio Ramos should make his return to the starting line-up after being ruled out for a few weeks due to a calf problem. Should he still be injured, fellow Spaniard Nacho Hernandez will be expected to deputise.

With Zidane choosing to rest the BBC during the 1-0 midweek Copa Del Rey win against Leganes, and Karim Benzema reportedly set to return after a hamstring injury, it’s looking like the star-studded front line could be back in full force.

Deportivo manager Cristobal Parralo has no fresh injury concerns heading into the fixture. However, he will be without midfielders Fede Cartabia (long-term injury) and Federico Valverde (ineligible to play due to being on loan from Real).


Prediction

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In all seriousness, while Real Madrid are currently enduring a well-documented rough patch – well, it would have been tough to out-perform last year’s trophy-laden season – it is to be expected that they’ll get that dastardly monkey off their back any match now.

Although Los Blancos lost to Villareal last weekend, it wasn’t for want of trying. Madrid had 28 attempts at goal on the day, more than any other team in La Liga has in a single game this season. 

This reassuring factor, paired with the fact that Depor are floundering at 18th place in the table and have picked up just one win in their last 10 games, means that this could provide a promising opportunity for Zidane’s men to get themselves a vital victory. However, should they fail to win, there will no doubt be sightings of the dreaded white handkerchiefs fluttering at the Bernabéu.

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Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Deportivo

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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Deportivo de La Coruña on Sunday

After the 1-0 loss to Villareal last weekend, Real Madrid are now technically closer to relegation than they are to Barcelona in the current league standings. 

On top of that, rumours continue to swirl that talisman Cristiano Ronaldo wants to pack his bags, which is just another problem to chuck on Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane’s ever-growing pile. 

Los Blancos will take solace in the fact that Deportivo are currently 18th in the league and have only recorded one victory in their past seven games – a 1-0 win against Leganes back in mid-December. 

Although, Madrid themselves only walked away with a 1-0 win against the exact same opponents in a Copa Del Rey quarter-final clash on Thursday.

Goalkeeper

  • Navas

    Navas1

​The Costa Rican shot stopper continues to be the man behind the sticks for Madrid despite the club’s candid hunt for another goalkeeper.

Defence

  • Carvajal

    Carvajal2

  • Varane

    Varane5

  • S. Ramos

    S. Ramos4

  • Marcelo

    Marcelo12

All being well, Sergio Ramos should make his return to the starting lineup after being out for a few weeks due to a calf problem. Should he still be injured, fellow Spaniard Nacho Hernandez will be expected to deputise.

He should be joined by​ the ever-dependable Raphaël Varane at centre back and flanked by   Marcelo and Dani Carvajal.

Midfield

  • Modric

    Modric10

  • Casemiro

    Casemiro14

  • Kroos

    Kroos8

Although Madrid will be looking to their formidable frontline to make an impact on the day, the engine room will need to be performing at its brilliant best to provide service for the oft-deadly trio.

It’s to be expected that Zidane will opt for his reliable midfield triumvirate of Luka Modrić, Casemiro and Toni Kroos to provide a dose of sturdiness and spark that Real will require on the day.

Forwards

  • Bale

    Bale11

  • Benzema

    Benzema9

  • Ronaldo

    Ronaldo7

With Zidane choosing to rest the ‘BBC’ during the 1-0 midweek clash against Leganes, and Karim Benzema reportedly set to return after a hamstring injury, it’s looking like the star-studded front line could be back in full force. 

If the French striker is looking doubtful, then it’s expected that Marco Asensio could make an appearance, following him clinching the winner on Thursday.

With just 10 goals in the La Liga between them this season – a shockingly low return when you consider that Barcelona’s Luis Saurez has 13 – the attacking force will be hoping this game will give them the chance to boost those numbers.

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Dubious Spanish Report Claims Real Madrid Met With Mo Salah’s Agent to Discuss Move From Liverpool

​Mo Salah’s agent might have been at the Santiago Bernabeu, might have met with Florentino Perez, and might have discussed the Liverpool star joining ​Real Madrid, according to speculative reports from Spain.

​Don Balon quotes Spanish journalist Edu Aguirre as saying that Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa had a meeting at Real Madrid. Aguirre was clear about the fact that he was not saying Salah would sign for Los Blancos, though.

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A ​​similar rumour was reported by renowned Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio last week, but there has been no apparent progress towards any deal for the African player of the year. Furthermore, ​Salah tweeted a response insisting that the rumours were false and that he would not be passing further comment.

Nonetheless, never let the complete lack of any substance to a story get in the way of a good transfer rumour. And indeed, never let it get in the way of a social media meltdown! 

Twitter, do your thing:

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(You may also be interested in ​Jurgen Klopp Comments on Potential January Arrivals & Sturridge’s Liverpool Future)

The Don Balon article also quotes another journalist, Diego Plaza, as saying that Salah would be unlikely to go for less than £70m. Salah joined ​Liverpool from Roma last summer for a reported £36.9 million. 

However, given the Egyptian’s blistering form, the fact that he has several years left on his contract, and the recent sale of Philippe Coutinho, it is unlikely that he would leave Anfield for anything less than a nine-figure fee.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League

Bear in mind that even the journalist who broke the story has no idea who Salah’s agent met at the Bernabeu, or for what purpose. He might have been there for transfer talks with Perez, but it’s equally possible that he was there for a cup of tea with Cristiano Ronaldo. I wouldn’t panic yet, Liverpool fans.

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FanView: There Is One Simple Reason Cristiano Ronaldo Will Not Return to Man Utd

​Manchester United have been heavily linked with re-signing Cristiano Ronaldo again this week. The most recent gossip originated from Spanish network La Sexta, claiming Mourinho had given the ‘green light’ for the club to make it happen.

It sounds magical. A ‘homecoming’ of for someone who made his name at Old Trafford and who will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. The fact he is talked about in such a way while he is still playing is a testament to just what the Portuguese superstar has achieved.

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In 2013, Ronaldo’s rumoured return was viable. He was 28-years-old, on top of his game, and would go on to do incredible things in the four seasons that followed. He very well could have been at Old Trafford during that time, but the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson put an end to it.

In 2017, it is not viable. Ronaldo will turn 33 in just two weeks’ time; his determination to be the highest paid player in the world will cost a fortune (even if United can afford it) and isn’t worth it; he’s finally started to go downhill after a miserable season in front of goal in La Liga; then there’s the issue of having to negotiate with Real Madrid.

Besides the money and negotiating, there is also one blindingly obvious clue that pours cold water on a Ronaldo ‘homecoming’. That concerns United’s imminent capture of Alexis Sanchez.

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Not only would the Chilean fill the same role in the team as Ronaldo, he is widely believed to have been offered the club’s famous number seven shirt. A shirt number may seem like an insignificant detail, but in this instance it is quite the opposite.

He may not have wanted it when he first arrived as a skinny 18-year-old from Portugal, but Ronaldo and the number seven are now synonymous. ‘CR7’ has built his entire personal brand around it. United could not and absolutely would not make an offer for him to return to Old Trafford, only to turn around and say, ‘oh, sorry, we just gave your shirt to someone else.’

If there was any truth to the rumours that United do want Ronaldo back, Sanchez would not be getting the number seven shirt, he’d have been told to choose another. It’s that simple.

Real Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga

For those who would argue that ‘Ronaldo wore number 9 in his first season at Real Madrid’. So what. He did so because Real living legend Raul was still at the club. Ronaldo was only 24 years of age and a one-time Ballon d’Or winner at that stage of his career. There was no he way he could have taken the shirt off a Bernabeu icon.

It is different now because Ronaldo is the icon. For that reason alone, you cannot ask him back and at the same time deny him something so sacred.

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Spanish Report Claims Fatigue & Pressure Could See Zinedine Zidane Quit Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is under increasing pressure at the Bernabeu after a disastrous defence of the Spanish title Los Blancos won last season, with suggestions the Frenchman could walk away from the club by the end of the campaign.

Real have only won two of their last seven La Liga games, even losing twice in successive home fixtures. It means they are 19 points behind fierce rivals Barcelona, while their biggest challenge is to stay in the top four amid pressure from Villarreal and Sevilla.

But it is not simply that Zidane, who delivered two Champions League titles in his first 18 months in charge, could be sacked by demanding president Florentino Perez for a sub-par season.

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According to Marca, there is a belief at Real that the former three-time FIFA World Player of the Year and 1998 Ballon d’Or winner is increasingly likely to quit of his own accord.

The Spanish report notes that Zidane has already achieved everything he can hope to since taking over, while also suggesting that the 45-year-old is ‘struggling to cope’ as a result of fatigue and having to deal with having the lofty expectations on his shoulders.

It is reminiscent of Luis Enrique walking away from Barcelona at the end of last season.

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Marca claims Germany coach Joachim Low and ​Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early favourites for the potentially vacant Bernabeu hot-seat.

Speaking after a narrow 1-0 win over Leganes in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, Zidane expressed hope that the positive result may now act as a catalyst for the coming weeks.

“We’ve got a long way to go. We need to get our confidence back, score goals and stop conceding,” he explained (via RealMadrid.com).

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“We cannot sit here and say we played well but we got an important result for the tie and that is positive. There are moments when the going gets tough, but we need to have a little patience and know that together we can move forward.

“This win could well be a turning point for us and we may well go on to get three or four positive results.”

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Reports Claim Jose Mourinho Has Advised Real Madrid’s President to Appoint Mauricio Pochettino

​Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has purportedly recommended Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, as a replacement for Zinedine Zidane.

​​The Frenchman is under increasing pressure at the Bernabeu, after Madrid’s progressively worsening form has seen them fall 19 points behind rivals Barcelona in the league, and reports have claimed Real’s hierarchy will dismiss the 45 year old at the end of the season.

In light of this, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, via ​Sport Witness, Perez has reportedly spoken to his former employee Mourinho in regards to a replacement, with the 54-year-old offering up Pochettino as Madrid’s best option.

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The former Madrid manager has previously lauded the Spurs manager for the job he has done in north London, with the Argentinian nurturing an inexperienced team to second in the Premier League last year, four places above Mourinho’s United side.

While such news will no doubt be a cause for concern for Tottenham’s supporters, and indeed players, Pochettino’s contract extension signed last year will provide some comfort. 

The 45-year-old tactician (three months senior to Madrid’s current manager) is signed up with Spurs until 2021, providing the Tottenham hierarchy with the upper hand, if any negotiations were to take place.

However, the Argentinian was admittedly coy when speaking to Spanish radio station ​Onda Cero last week, declaring: “I’m happy where I am just now.


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“Football will take me where I want to go. Jorge Griffa, who is like a father to me, once told me to not think too much, enjoy the present, be professional and responsible, and football will take you where you want.”

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Real Reportedly Draw Up Plans to Replace ‘BBC’ With New Fearsome Attacking Trio

​Real Madrid are reportedly drawing up plans to replace their famous ‘BBC’ attacking front three with a new fearsome trio.

​Marca has alleged that Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale could soon be on the way out of Santiago Bernabeu as club president Florentino Perez eyes a new Galactico triumvirate to lead his side to glory.

World-record signing and former ​Barcelona superstar Neymar, who plays for Paris-Saint Germain, tops Florentino’s wishlist.

And the Brazil international, who has been tipped to join Real in the future, would be joined in the capital by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

Ronaldo’s, Benzema’s and Bale’s days appear numbered due to a variety of reasons that haven’t helped to alleviate the pressure on Real to defend their titles already this term.

The veteran Portugal attacker has been linked with a Los Blancos departure over concerns that talks about a new deal are not going to play, while Benzema and Bale have been the subject of criticism from Real’s fanbase for the level of performance in recent times.

(You may also be interested in ​Cristiano Ronaldo Linked With Chinese Club Tianjin Quanjin as European Options Run Dry)

Of course, issues would arise if Real have their heart set of Neymar, Hazard and Lewandowski with none of their current clubs likely to roll over and let the reigning ​La Liga champions poach them.

Neymar would not come cheap after he only moved to Paris six months ago and, backed by wealthy Qatari owners, PSG have no concerns over selling their star man.

​Chelsea, meanwhile, are close to securing Hazard’s immediate future after the Belgian flier admitted he was on the cusp of penning a contract extension to remain at Stamford Bridge.

Real had been tipped to land the Belgium international last summer but reports of their interest cooled for an unknown reason.

Lewandowski is also the jewel in ​Bayern’s crown of attacking talent and, at 30 years of age, would not really provide value for money for ​Real at this stage of his career.

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​Tottenham hotshot Harry Kane and ​Inter captain Mauro Icardi are seen as potential Lewandowski replacements if Real decide not to pursue the Poland international but would also command high transfer fees.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Linked With Chinese Club Tianjin Quanjian as European Options Run Dry

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly attracting interest from the Chinese Super League as his future at the Bernabeu grows increasingly uncertain.

In has been heavily rumoured in recent weeks that Ronaldo is seeking a new contract from Real to return him to the status of highest paid player in the world as both Lionel Messi and Neymar have overtaken the Portuguese in that respect since his last extension.

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But it has equally been speculated that ​Real are unwilling to meet his demands. Ronaldo is contracted to the club to 2021 as it is, while his recent form and Los Blancos‘ disappointing ​La Liga campaign mean it isn’t the time to be rewarding him with a bumper new contract.

For the first time in his career, Ronaldo, soon to turn 33 years of age, doesn’t hold the power.

He has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and ​Manchester United, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner doesn’t offer any real value to the European giants. Step forward, China.

According to expert transfer journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian are keeping tabs on the situation and could make Ronaldo an offer.

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It would, however, require some shuffling on their part as Tianjin already have four foreign players and only three are permitted to play at any one time under Chinese Super League rules.

Brazil’s Alexandre Pato, Belgium’s Axel Witsel and France’s Anthony Modeste are the star overseas names, while Tianjin also signed South Korea international Kwon Kyung-won in 2017.

The ‘+ 1’ rule which permitted clubs to use a player from another Asian country in addition to their capped foreigners was scrapped at the end of 2016, meaning Kwon is part of the quota.

You may also be interested in ‘UEFA Report Reveals Huge % of Recent Club Takeovers Involved Chinese Investors’

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Inter Milan Join Liverpool in the Fight to Sign Real Madrid Star Dani Ceballos

Inter Milan have reportedly entered the battle to sign Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, rivaling Liverpool for his signature.

Ceballos joined Los Blancos in the summer from Real Betis for a fee of around €18m on a six-year deal. But the Spaniard has played just 15 times for the Spanish side this season, scoring two goals. Just six of those appearances came in the ​La Liga, getting only two starts in those games.

​Liverpool are reportedly chasing the Real Madrid midfielder after they began talks with his representatives in December. But the Reds look set to have competition for the player, with Inter Milan apparently looking at Ceballos.

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According to Tuttosport via Team Talk, ​Inter Milan are ready to battle Liverpool for the Real Madrid star. The Spanish U21 international is seen as an alternative option, in case they fail in their attempt to sign ​Barcelona star Rafinha. 

Cellabos reportedly wants more minutes on the pitch and is apparently looking for a move to get more first-team action. The Spaniard has a 500m buy-out clause in his contract, but ​Real Madrid could allow the 21-year-old to leave for about £25m.

Inter Milan are currently third in ​Serie A, nine points behind league leaders ​Napoli. They have been struggling for form in recent games, with no wins in their last five league games. The Italian side’s last league win came at the beginning of December, with a 5-0 win over Chievo.

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Inter Milan will be looking to put pressure on the teams above them when they play Roma at home in their next league game this weekend.

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