Gareth Bale Shows Off Brilliant Quarantine Keepie-Uppies With Golf Ball (Obviously)

​Even before the coronavirus outbreak brought sport across Europe to a halt, seeing Gareth Bale on a football pitch was a relatively rare sight.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the Wales international might have lost a thing or two over the last few years at Real Madrid, but Bale has dazzled his social media fans with a ridiculously good keepie-uppies video – showing if his ability with his feet and with a golf club.

Did anyone else know Bale liked golf? 

Well, he certainly kept that quiet, didn’t he?

Gareth Bale

Juggling a golf ball, Bale switches between kicking it in the air (as well as showing off the odd trick) and even bouncing it on the end of a gold club.

As the saying goes… 

Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.


Given Bale’s infrequent appearances at Real Madrid, his followers on Instagram might have just been treated to his best performances since the Champions League final in 2018.

Although, if we’re taking Bale’s social media performances into account, it might only be his best performance in the last week.

With footballers the world over taking part in a #StayAtHomeChallenge – you’ve got to do keepie-uppies with a roll of toilet paper – Bale mixed things up by chipping a golf ball (of course he did) into one and, to his credit, he executed it to perfection.

A roll in one, you might say…

Gareth Bale

While Bale’s performances in his living room have been his biggest talking point over the last few weeks, the Wales international hasn’t done much to convince Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane on the pitch.

In 14 La Liga appearances this season, Bale’s been directly involved in just four goals and is on course to have his least productive season since the 2008/09 season, where he played almost exclusively as a left back.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Karim Benzema or Olivier Giroud: Assessing Who Should Be Considered the Better Player

​Now that we are well and truly in the midst of a football-less world the game’s professionals have had an unusual amount of time on their hands, bound to the confines of their own home. 

Many, having discovered a toilet in a cupboard they’ve never opened before, have taken to harmless challenges, like doing keepy-uppies with loo roll or finishing off the league season on FIFA. 

Karim Benzema, on the other hand, has seen this as an opportunity to vent some pent-up frustration concerning France’s current number nine, Olivier Giroud. 

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH42-ECU-FRA

The Real Madrid striker ​told fans that he cannot be compared to Giroud as the Chelsea forward is a ‘go-kart’ while he is quite clearly a ‘Formula 1 car’. 

Once the arrogance of Benzema’s claim has been fully absorbed, it begs the question: is there any truth to the Frenchman’s assessment?

​Benzema’s last game for the France national team came almost five years ago since it was alleged that he blackmailed his fellow international Mathieu Valbuena. Giroud, meanwhile, has been fulfilling every striker’s dream by leading the line and his nation to World Cup glory while Benzema watched from his sofa. 

Unquestionably this is the foundation of this seemingly unnecessary jibe but would Giroud be behind Benzema in the pecking order had he not been banished from the national team setup?

Let’s take a look at the qualities a striker needs and assess who is really the vehicle of choice for a ten-year-old’s birthday party…


Goalscoring

Karim Benzema

Benzema signed the week after Cristiano Ronaldo and largely remained in his shadow until the Portuguese went to ​Juventus in 2018. Perhaps in his absence the Frenchman has felt the need to make up for the ego that left the Madrid dressing room with CR7 but without Benzema shackled with Ronaldo’s running, he has certainly found the goalscoring touch.

Since Ronaldo’s departure a season and a half ago, only Lionel Messi has scored more La Liga goals than the 35 Benzema has racked up. ​Giroud has mustered four in the ​Premier League in the same timeframe. 

Now to end the argument there would be extremely harsh on Giroud, given the former Arsenal frontman has been afforded less than a quarter of the minutes Benzema has played. 

In terms of numbers per 90 minutes, Giroud actually comes out on top over recent seasons, marginally. The Chelsea striker has a scoring rate of 0.61 non-penalty goals per 90 compared to Benzema’s 0.54. They both take between three and four shots per game but based on expected goals, it’s Benzema who gets the better chances.

That may be due to the quality of Real Madrid compared to Arsenal and Chelsea yet this sees Benzema edge Giroud in terms of goalscoring, but it was closer than on first inspection. 


Aerial Prowess

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH64-FRA-CRO

Perhaps the only category in which Giroud would be more confident of a win is ‘Handsomeness’ but since that isn’t a necessity for a striker, he’ll have to settle for aerial prowess. 

Since 2014, there are only three players in Europe’s top five leagues who can lay claim to more headed goals than the 22 ​Giroud has scored – and all three have played at least 1000 more minutes than the imposing Frenchman. 

Benzema is no slouch in the air himself, standing at 6’1 and chipping in with 16, but Giroud‘s game is so entwined with his ability to dominate the air, he is clearly the better player with the ball above neck-height. 


Hold-up Play

Olivier Giroud

Giroud’s game revolves around his ability to hold up play, much in the same way his teammates revolve around his talismanic figure when the 33-year-old is on form. 

Despite standing at 6’4 and while we’ve established he’s good in the air, some of Giroud’s best play comes in tight spaces with the ball at his feet. There are few players in the modern game who so relish the chance to flick the ball around the corner with the outside of an outstretched boot or delicately cushion a pass to an onrushing teammate.

Benzema himself is adept with his back to goal and is often involved in the majority of Real’s attacks in some form or another but Giroud is in a different league altogether when it comes to hold-up play. 

As his former teammate ​Eden Hazard said: “Olivier’s a target man, maybe the best in the world; I think so.” Agreed. 


Creativity

Karim Benzema

In terms of pure assists, Benzema clearly comes out on top here. Over the past six seasons, the ​Madrid man has been creating a goal for his colleagues every three or four games which is almost twice as often as Giroud has managed. 

This aspect of Benzema’s game has diminished since Ronaldo’s departure​ but almost certainly because the Frenchman has been urged to focus more on finishing in the absence of Madrid’s leading marksmen. 

Giroud certainly isn’t a selfish player but due to his role primarily as a target man, many of the layoffs to teammates are in the lead up to a shot rather than a direct effort on goal. 

For years as Ronaldo’s understudy, Benzema‘s main objective was to provide for his teammate, and so has honed his creativity in this selfless role. 


Work Rate

Karim Benzema,Ruben Pena

Giroud may come across as a lumbering figure when he clatters through the gears closing down a full-back, but at 33 years of age, he may argue his energy isn’t best used by pressing from the front. 

In fact, this lack of mobility – perhaps rather than a lack of work rate – seemed to be one of the reasons Frank Lampard opted for Tammy Abraham, or if he were injured, Michy Batshuayi while Giroud was getting splinters on the bench for much of ​Chelsea’s season. 

Benzema, 32 himself, isn’t getting any younger either, but Madrid’s number nine spent his peak years doing the dirty work of a certain Portuguese superstar. His thankless task of filling in the holes left by Ronaldo cannot go forgotten which is why so many Madrid managers have kept faith in him even when he was in the midst of a goal drought. 


Overall

French forward Karim Benzema (L) is subs

As much as Benzema’s comments paint him in an unflattering light, not that his previous dealings with teammates off the pitch were any more savoury, it seems that the Real Madrid man is a better striker than Giroud. 

​However, Benzema’s laboured car analogy unfairly presents the gap in quality between the pair as a gaping chasm.

In terms of likability, there may be some truth in Benzema’s bitter metaphor. Given his extra-curricular antics and general arrogance Benzema’s character is about as appealing as watching a blur of Formula 1 cars drive in circles for two hours while Giroud, in comparison, is the equivalent of a great day at the go-kart track. 

Let’

Everton Targeting Ambitious Moves to Bring Wales Pair Back to England

Exclusive – Everton are looking to establish themselves as one of the Premier League’s elite, and they hope to get there by striking deals for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale and Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Having surprised many by landing manager Carlo Ancelotti back when the club were towards the bottom of the table in December 2019, the Toffees are looking to take the next step towards finally achieving their long-term goals.

Carlo Ancelotti

​Everton owner Farhad Moshiri sees Ancelotti as the perfect manager to steer the club back to glory, but there is an acceptance that the playing squad needs improving if they are to compete for the title.

The belief is that Everton need six or seven top-class players to get where they want to be, and a source has confirmed to 90min that club officials have discussed trying to lure both ​Bale and ​Ramsey to Goodison Park.

The logic behind this ambitious plot is that both players are thought to be unsettled at their current clubs. 

Beginning with Bale, ​Real are ready to offload him this summer as they don’t want to pay his huge £350,000-a-week wages, and it is understood that Los Blancos would even let Bale leave on loan with no up-front cost if a club offered to pay the majority of the Welshman’s salary.

As for Ramsey, he has grown frustrated with life at the Allianz Stadium, having started just nine ​Serie A games during his debut season in Turin. He is not keen on spending another season on the bench and he is aware that ​Juventus have informed representatives they would be open to letting him go if the right offer arrived.

The midfielder earns a similar wage to Bale, so covering both would be a huge challenge for Everton, but the Toffees accept that they will have to spend big if they want to keep the club moving in the right direction.


Moshiri believes the core of the current squad is excellent and capable of mounting a real push towards the top of the table, but only if they can add some more star quality.

Landing both Bale and Ramsey would be an enormous challenge, but they are the kind of moves which Everton want to make to compete with ​Liverpool and ​Manchester City for the league title.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

Selecting a La Liga Best XI – But Only Using One Player Per Club

An accusation oft-levelled at La Liga is its supposed lack of quality beyond the big three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

The trio dominate the TV deals, have the most money to spend and have shared out all the domestic trophies in Spain for the last 10 years bar: Sevilla (Copa del Rey 2010) and Valencia (Copa del Rey 2019). Athletic Club did win the Supercopa in 2015 as well, if you want to be pedantic.

While Barça, Madrid and Atleti players are the overrepresented bulk of team of the year picks, like toilet roll in yer da’s shopping trolley, there is plenty of quality to be found throughout Spain, despite the gap in money between the super clubs and the rest.

Ok, that’s all fine, but let’s say you were building a Team La Liga to take on the rest of the world and wanted to distribute the places fairly. How on Earth would you do it?

Glad you asked! Here’s how a starting XI, subs bench and managerial pick might look, selecting just one star for each of the 20 clubs…


GK – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Jan Oblak

Diego Simeone is a wonderful defensive coach and his Atleti players are drilled to within an inch of their lives to become human walls…but, all that would matter less, if he didn’t also have the best in the business between the sticks as the last line of defence. 

Four-time (four, Jeremy? That’s insane) Zamora trophy winner Oblak ‘el Pulpo‘ (the octopus) is simply the best keeper there is.


RB – Hugo Mallo (Celta Vigo)

Hugo Mallo

Less glamorous at right-back is Celta Vigo’s ever-dependable Hugo Mallo. The 28-year-old has made over 300 La Liga appearances, all for boyhood club Vigo.

Disclaimer: I promise this is the least exciting choice.


LB – Sergio Reguilon (Sevilla)

Reguilon

Ok, yes Reguilon is only on loan at Sevilla and is technically still a Real Madrid player but let’s ignore that, alright? 

The 23-year-old has been one of the (temporary) signings of the season in La Liga and looks set for a very bright future either at Sevilla, Madrid or somewhere else.


CB – Djene Dakonam (Getafe)

Getafe CF v RC Celta de Vigo  - La Liga

At the beating heart of Pepe Bordalas’ La Liga and now Europa League upstarts is Djene. 

Not the biggest or the flashiest, but the Togo international has been a rock for Geta since joining in 2017, and is fast becoming a favourite of the gossip columns linking his name to a host of Premier League clubs.


CB – Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Sergio Ramos

It had to be. Read more about the controversial brilliance of Sergio Ramos, La Liga’s ‘Big Bad’ ​here, if you want to.


DM – Marc Roca (Espanyol)

Marc Roca

It’s been a horrible season for Barcelona’s other club. Still, Marc Roca is a pretty good defensive midfielder, so they still have that…for now.

After a move to Bayern Munich fell through last summer, he’s unlikely to stick around for the Segunda Division.


CM – Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad)

Martin Odegaard,Sergio Busquets

Another Real Madrid loanee (sorry) but Odegaard has been on fire this season.

​Once dismissed as yet another overhyped wonderkid who fell short of their billing, the 21-year-old Norwegian has done an about-face to go from new Fredy Adu to Scandi Iniesta.

Only Lionel Messi (unsurprising) and Levante’s Jose Campaña (more surprising) have made more key passes in La Liga this season, according to the folks at ​WhoScored.


CM: Dani Parejo (Valencia)


Rounding off the midfield is another of La Liga’s arch creators in Dani Parejo. The 30-year-old once of QPR – yeah, I know, weird right – has been Los Ches best player for some time, scoring eight in 2019/20.

He might be the best player in the division who doesn’t belong to one of the big three. Definitely the best at free kicks.


​FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Lionel Messi

Probably don’t need to justify this one. 

This may well be the only choice we all agree on. And, you know what, in these troubled times, that’ll do for me.


FW: Chimy Avila (Osasuna)

Chimy Avila

One of 2019/20’s standout stars before injury cut his season short/even shorter than it has been for the rest of the league.

Fun fact, the rocket-booted Argentinian used to travel to training on a horse. ​Honestly.


​FW: Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club)

Inaki Williams

It’s been a disappointing season for Iñaki in La Liga, though the Copa del Rey has somewhat made up for it. He remains one of the league’s good guys and an unstoppable player…on his day.

The 26-year-old effectively tied himself to Athletic Club for life with his nine-year contract last year.


Subs bench: Aitor Fernandez (Levante), Mohammed Salisu (Real Valladolid), Gonzalo Escalante (Eibar), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis), Takefusa Kubo (Mallorca), Lucas Perez (Alaves)

Manager: Diego Martinez (Granada)


Let’

90min’s Greatest Footballers of All Time Draft – As it Happened

​You’re bored. We’re bored. Everyone’s bored. 

We’ve all been indoors for what seems like an eternity. We’ve all watched every Simpsons episode from season 2-10 about a thousand times. We’ve walked the dog a billion times. One day we even did a spot of cleaning. 

And now, we’ve run out of things to do. The boredom has come, and bah gawd is it boring. 

So in the search for new ways to stave off the boredom, we at 90min stumbled on an idea: 

What if we did a greatest footballers of all time draft? 

‘What in the Jesus is that?’ 

I’m glad you asked. 

Seven members of 90min team banded together last week to pick our personal GOAT XIs from carefully collated lists of the top 25 players of all time in each position. 

We picked these teams using an American sports style snake draft format – one pick per person in each of the 11 rounds, with the order of the picks determined via a random draft order generator. Here’s the order that threw up: 

1. ​Chris Deeley

2. ​Scott Saunders

3. ​Jack Gallagher

4. ​Toby Cudworth

5.​ Hunter Godson

6. ​Ben Haines 

7. ​Jude Summerfield

And here is how the draft went down: 


Round 1

Diego Maradona

Pick 1 

Chris Deeley selects Diego Maradona

90min‘s number one greatest player of all time, so he had to go first, didn’t he?

Tooted and booted rating: 10/10


Pick 2

Scott Saunders selects Lionel Messi

Scott’s already won the Twitter poll…

Never scored a World Cup knockout round goal rating: 10/10


Pick 3

Jack Gallagher selects Franz Beckenbauer

A left-field pick from Jack, but because Beckenbauer can play literally anywhere it’s probably a good one. 

1974 afro rating: 8/10


Pick 4

Toby Cudworth selects Ronaldo

‘Which one?’ 

‘R9.’

‘Ohhhhh right answer – good pick.’ 

‘Real/fat’ rating: 7/10


Pick 5

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-VERONA-JUVENTUS

Hunter Godson selects Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s looking like a two-horse race between Scott and Hunter on Twitter.

Has a six-pack but can’t grow a beard rating: 10/10 


Pick 6

Ben Haines selects Paolo Maldini

Benjamin selects the most beautiful man on the draft board. 

Can also play tennis rating: 6/10


Pick 7

Jude Summerfield selects Pele

The second best player of all time dropped wayyyyyy down to the last pick in the first round. A steal of a pick for Jude. 

‘Hey ma look at me, I’m Pele’ rating: 9/10


Round 2

Zinedine Zidane

Pick 8

Jude Summerfield selects Zinedine Zidane

And another one! 

‘Siri play ​Coldplay – The Scientist’ rating: 10/10


Pick 9

Ben Haines selects Cafu

Picking his full-backs first is a rogue tactic, but it might pay off. 

Rhymes with Kung-fu rating: 4/10


Pick 10

Hunter Godson selects George Best

Hunter = closet Manchester United fan. 

Norn Iron rating: 10/10


Pick 11

Dutch midfielder Johann Cruyff dribbles

Toby Cudworth selects Johan Cruyff

MUNDIAL READERS WILL LOVE THIS PICK FROM TOBY BECAUSE IT’S CRUYFF AND IN CAPITAL LETTERS. 

Invented modern football rating: 10/10


Pick 12

Jack Gallagher selects Michel Platini

Morality aside, you have to say this pick is class. 

​’The guy I’m really looking for is Mr. Bribe’ rating: 10/10


Pick 13

Ronaldinho

Scott Saunders selects Ronaldinho

And Twitter cheers as Scott picks another of its favourites. 

Currently in prison playing football to win piglets rating: 10/10


Pick 14

Chris Deeley selects Franco Baresi

It’s hard to find fault in this pick to be honest. 

AC Milan fans like him more than Maldini rating: 8/10


Round 3

Pick 15

Chris Deeley selects Lothar Matthaus

Chris Deeley picks a man with an ego almost as inflated as his own.  

Ego rating: 10/10


Pick 16

Andrea Pirlo

Scott Saunders selects Andrea Pirlo

Twitter: ‘Three cheers for Scott!’ 

Drinks red wine rating: 10/10


Pick 17

Jack Gallagher selects Gerd Muller

Platini and Muller in the same team makes Jack’s team a ​something something. 

​Eat my goal rating: 10/10


Pick 18

Toby Cudworth selects Ruud Gullit

Toby has selected Gullit and now we’re all scared because his team is becoming quite good. 

Hates Alan Shearer rating: 7/10


Pick 19

Hunter Godson selects Eusebio

Honestly, I didn’t think Eusebio would be picked at all – never mind 19th overall. 

The first ‘e’ is silent rating: 10/10


Pick 20

FC Barcelona's captain Carles Puyol reac

Ben Haines selects Carles Puyol

Sticking to his guns here, Benjamin is building from the back. 

It’s not Carlos rating: 8/10


Pick 21

Jude Summerfield selects Mane Garrincha

Jude has added some much needed flair to his team that contains Pele and Zinedine Zidane…

Bent legs rating: 8/10


Round 4

Pick 22

Jude Summerfield selects Rivelino

…More much needed flair being added to Jude’s team which contains Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Mane Garrincha. 

Moustache rating: 10/10


Pick 23

Ben Haines selects Fernando Hierro

Back four: complete. Ben’s mission: accomplished. 

Played for Bolton rating: 10/10


Pick 24

AC Milan's midfielder Kaka of Brazil cel

Hunter Godson selects Kaka

Good pick from Hunter to be fair.

Loves God rating: 8/10


Pick 25

Toby Cudworth selects Ruud Krol

Ohhhhh so that’s what Toby is doing: he’s picking a Dutch team. Clever…maybe…

Terrible manager rating: 5/10


Pick 26

Jack Gallagher selects Paul Brietner

Another German who can play anywhere for Jack. 

1974 afro rating: 10/10


Pick 27

Scott Saunders selects Steven Gerrard

Twitter: ‘We love you Scotty, we do!’

Phil Collins fandom rating: 9/10


Pick 28

SOCCER-WORLD CUP-1994-BRAZIL-ROMARIO-TROPHY

Chris Deeley selects Romario

Deeley loves those early 90s legends. 

‘I scored 1000 goals…swear’ rating: 10/10


Round 5

Pick 29

Chris Deeley selects Roberto Carlos

A Twitter favourite – smart pick up from Deeley. 

‘He must have a foot like a traction engine’ rating: 10/10


Pick 30

Scott Saunders selects Javier Zanetti

A non-Twitter pick from Scott! And bah gawd it’s a good one. 

Olay anti-aging night cream rating: 8/10


Pick 31

Alessandro Nesta of AC Milan

Jack Gallagher selects Alessandro Nesta

Franz Beckenbauer – Alessandro Nesta centre back partnership: delightful. 

Once took the ball off Messi rating: 9/10


Pick 32

Toby Cudworth selects Johan Neeskens

More Dutchmen for Toby. He loves it. 

Not Johan Cruyff rating: 5/10


Pick 33

Hunter Godson selects Andres Iniesta

Kaka and Iniesta together. Nice. 

Made Chelsea fans cry rating: 9/10


Pick 34

Ben Haines selects Gordon Banks

Ben is really sticking to his game plan, selecting a goalkeeper very, very, very early in the draft.

THAT save rating: 10/10


Pick 35

WORLD CUP-1986-FRA-BRA

Jude Summerfield selects Socrates

Jude picks a player he can get cigarettes off. Great shout. 

Weird Greek Philosopher rating: 7/10


Round 6

Pick 36

Jude Summerfield selects Luka Modric

And Jack punches the table in disgust as Jude selects the player he had pencilled in for his next pick.

Raging Jude picked him before I could rating: 9/10


Pick 37

Ben Haines selects Claude Makelele

Ok, no one is scoring against Ben’s team. 

Better than N’Golo Kante rating: 10/10


Pick 38

Patrick Vieira,Sol Campbell,Fredrik Ljungberg

Hunter Godson selects Patrick Vieira

It’s just a fantastic pick. It really is. 

Big guy rating: 9/10


Pick 39

Toby Cudworth selects Roy Keane

Every draftee grunts in disgust as Toby picks Roy Keane – the man who could beat up everyone else’s team single handedly. 

Would start a fight with a bouncer in a quiet pub in Donegal rating: 10/10


Pick 40

Jack Gallagher selects Xavi Hernandez

‘I’m taking Xavi…ah dammit, why did I pick him?’ 

​The Curb Your Enthusiasm th​eme plays. 

Team = BROKEN.

Curb Your Enthusiasm rating: 10/10


Pick 41

Paul Scholes

Scott Saunders selects Paul Scholes

Another fan favourite for Scott…so long as he doesn’t play him out left. 

Ginger rating: 10/10


Pick 42

Chris Deeley selects Lilian Thuram

Solid. Solid. Solid. 

Now looks like a theology professor rating: 7/10


Round 7

Juventus midfielder Czech Pavel Nedved r

Pick 43

Chris Deeley selects Pavel Nedved

‘He was born in Cheb’ says Deeley as he makes a pretty damn good selection. 

Born in the town of Cheb rating: 10/10


Pick 44

Scott Saunders selects Sergio Ramos

All that pandering to Twitter ruined with the pick up of the man who made Mohamed Salah cry. 

Shithouse rating: 10/10


Pick 45

Jack Gallagher selects Hristo Stoichkov

A random panic pick at best – obviously still reeling from the disastrous Xavi pick. 

‘How in sweet honourable Jesus do you say that first name?’ rating: 6/10


Pick 46

Toby Cudworth selects Manuel Neuer

‘Ohhhhh he has a mistake in him!’ 

Literally everyone’s response to Toby’s round 7 pick. 

Has a mistake in him rating: 7/10


Pick 47

Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro celebra

Hunter Godson selects Fabio Cannavaro

Hunter selects the smallest man in the world to lead his backline.

Lives in China rating: 7/10


Pick 48

Ben Haines selects Clarence Seedorf

Everybody loves Seedorf.

Likelihood of cameo appearance in HBO show Ballers rating: 8/10


Pick 49

Europa Cup 1 final - "FC Barcelona v Sampdoria"

Jude Summerfield selects Ronald Koeman

‘I need a centre back that can score goals’, says Jude as he picks a centre back who can score goals. 

‘I need a centre back that can score goals’ rating: 9/10


Round 8

Pick 50

Jude Summerfield selects Gianluigi Buffon

The best goalkeeper of all time. Nice pick. 

Mid-life crisis rating: 8/10


Pick 51

Paul Gascoigne of Tottenham Hotspur and Paul Birch of Aston Villa

Ben Haines selects Paul Gascoigne

Noted Spurs fan Ben picks noted Spurs legend Gazza. Makes sense.

Football Italia host rating: 1/10


Pick 52

Hunter Godson selects Rio Ferdinand

Noted closet Manchester United fan Hunter picks noted Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand. Makes sense. 

Injured himself lifting the TV remote rating: 10/10


Pick 53

Toby Cudworth selects Gaetano Scirea

After picking a million players who lost World Cup finals, Toby needed a player who actually won one so he selected Juventus legend Scirea. 

Catenaccio rating: 9/10


Pick 54

Jack Gallagher selects Arjen Robben

He’s given up. He’s broken his team. There’s no way back. 

Perfect head shape for a bald man rating: 10/10


Pick 55

Gabriel Batistuta of Fiorentina celebrates

Scott Saunders selects Gabriel Bastituta

Swooping in before Deeley, Scott gets his man: Batigol. 

​Release the Kracken!!!! rating: 10/10


Pick 56

Chris Deeley selects Daniel Passarella

Another clever selection from Deeley. 

Brian appreciation rating: 9/10


Round 9

Pick 57

Chris Deeley selects Jairzinho

Less clever, but fun. 

Best Body on the Planet FIFA award: 10/10


Pick 58

Giorgio Chiellini

Scott Saunders selects Giorgio Chiellini

Ramos and Chiellini at the back = THE DREAM.

There Will Be Blood rating: 10/10


Pick 59

Jack Gallagher selects Dani Alves

Jack: ‘It’s between Dani Alves and Carlos Alberto…I’ll take Dani Alves.” 

Hunter: ‘Ah shite.’ 

Can open a beer bottle with an overhead kick rating: 10/10


Pick 60

Toby Cudworth selects Marcel Desailly

Like most of Toby’s team, Desailly can play pretty much anywhere so he fits the bill. 

Great smile rating: 10/10


Pick 61

Hunter Godson selects Carlos Alberto

Second prize. 

Scored a really good goal this one time rating: 9/10


Pick 62

Ben Haines selects Thierry Henry

The best Premier League player ever is selected late in the 9th. 

Renault Clio dealer rating: 8/10


Pick 63

(FILES) File picture of England's nation...

Jude Summerfield selects Bobby Moore

Jude shouts ‘Brexit!’ and selects England’s greatest ever defender. 

West Ham rating: 10/10


Round 10

Pick 64

Jude Summerfield selects Denis Irwin

He follows that up by singing Raglan Road and picking Ireland’s greatest ever full back. 

Looks like a History teacher rating: 9/10


Pick 65

Ben Haines selects Jimmy Greaves

Ben has finally picked a forward! Hooraaay! 

Pour Anglais rating: 8/10


Pick 66

Hunter Godson selects Marcelo

Second prize. 

Not as good as a Roberto Carlos rating: 10/10


Pick 67

Philipp Lahm,Thomas Mueller

Toby Cudworth selects Phillip Lahm

Not Dutch, but can play anywhere. Fits Toby’s bill. 

Pep Guardiola <3 rating: 9/10


Pick 68

Jack Gallagher selects Marco van Basten

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in! A late steal in the draft. 

Sleepers (1996 – starring Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon) pick rating: 10/10


Pick 69

Scott Saunders selects Patrice Evra

He couldn’t get Denis Irwin, so he’s got the next best thing. 

Eats raw chicken rating: 10/10


Pick 70

Lev Yashin,Jimmy Greaves

Chris Deeley selects Lev Yashin

The fourth goalkeeper selected, and the only one to win the Ballon d’Or. 

Flat cap rating: 10/10


Round 11

Pick 71

Chris Deeley selects Marco Tardelli

For the celebrations alone, this is a good pick. 

Celebration rating: 10/10


Pick 72

Scott Saunders selects Peter Schmeichel 

There’s goals throughout Scott’s team…

‘It’s i before e except after c’ rating: 10/10


Pick 73

Jack Gallagher selects Dino Zoff

Couldn’t get Buffon, but Zoff will more than do a job.

​Jurassic Park rating: 8/10


Pick 74

ITALY V SPAIN

Toby Cudworth selects Roberto Baggio

Toby selects Jack’s spirit animal…the spirit animal he completely forgot about. 

Ponytail rating: 10/10


Pick 75

Hunter Godson selects Edwin van der Sar

Solid but ​can’t dance. The 90min team in a nutshell. 

Played for Fulham rating: 8/10


Pick 76

SOCCER-CHAMPS LEAGUE-MADRID-ANDERLECHT

Ben Haines selects Luis Figo

Another steal late in the draft. Benjamin finishes his team off on a high. 

Shouldn’t have won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 rating: 8/10


Pick 77

Jude Summerfield selects Djalma Santos

And with the final pick of the draft Jude picks…Djalma Santos. Who was a Brazilian footballer…this one time… 

‘Who the f**k is that guy?’ rating: 7/10


Be sure to keep an eye on 90min.com and our social media pages in the coming days (Twitter & Instagram) for the finalised teams, and a chance to vote for whose team you think is the best!


Let’

The Best Players Ever to Wear Each Shirt Number at Real Madrid

One thing that Real Madrid have never lacked is star power. 

Throughout the club’s history, the world’s best players have always played for Los Merengues. They’ll spend whatever to bring the best to the Spanish capital. 

Right-wing dictator General Franco helped fund the blockbuster transfer of Alfredo Di Stéfano from Millionarios in 1953. 

Harry Gregg,Alfredo Di Stefano

Fast-forward to the early noughties and Florentino Pérez’s Galáctico policy emptied the coffers for the best talent around Europe. 

Even last summer was no different; Real spent a cool €300m to bring in Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Eder Militao among an assortment of others.

With all these incredible signings, it means that if you’re a Real Madrid fan, you live a pretty rarefied existence. 

It also means that this eleven of the best players ever to wear each shirt number is probably an unbeatable team.


1. Iker Casillas

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REALMADRID

​Six-time ​La Liga winner, three-time ​Champions League winner, more than 500 appearances for the club. The number one shirt is in no doubt. 

The chiselled Madridista dons the gloves in this XI,and it’s no competition. Casillas joined the club at eleven, became captain and led ​Real to win a load of silverware.

It’s just sad that the club that he called home got rid of the man so callously. 

There, there Iker, you’re always welcome in this fantasy XI. 


2. Chendo

Chendo of Spain

In choosing Chendo to take the number two shirt, it’s choosing another academy product to show that Madrid aren’t always about flashing the cash.

Miguel Porlán or ‘Chendo’ started and finished his glittering career at Real Madrid. The one-club man racked up more 400 appearances and captained the club to numerous successes. 

Not content there, Chendo wanted the storybook ending so finished his career as a part of the Champions League-winning side that beat ​Juventus on penalties.

A fitting end for a top-quality operator.


3. Roberto Carlos

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-CARLOS

​Owner of the muscliest legs in world football for more than 20 years, Roberto Carlos changed the game. 

Inexplicably sold by ​Inter after only one brilliant season in Italy, Real Madrid only had to pay £5m for the Brazilian’s services.

Carlos’ rampaging down the flank reimagined what full-backs could do in modern football and, armed with his cannon of a left peg, Roberto set the realms of possibility of what defenders were capable of attacking-wise. 

Four league titles, three ​Champions Leagues and an assortment of other medals made his Los Blancos career pretty special. 


4. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Although he’s the biggest villain in world football right now, ​Sergio Ramos should be protected at all costs. It’s characters like Ramos that make football such a compelling game, even if the Madrid captain plays loose and fast with the rules. 

Not everyone can or should be good guys. 

Concussing goalkeepers, purposely getting yellow cards and dislocating shoulders is child’s play to the Spaniard. His record-breaking 26 red cards should be applauded for its absurdity and is likely to never be broken. 

The fact that he’s a serial winner that’s been at the top of the game for 16 years only adds deliciously to his overall image. 

We’re unsure if even his mother likes him, but by God, we know she respects him.


5. Zinedine Zidane

FBL-FIFA-AWARDS-ZIDANE

Zinedine Zidane was so good that people thought nothing of him taking a defender’s number; he made it cool for a midfielder to wear the number five. 

Zidane was the most aesthetically pleasing footballer – the Frenchman’s touch and skill were prodigious. While his Galácticos side might have underachieved in terms of trophies, Zidane wasn’t to blame. 

His 30-yard volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final in Glasgow was a seminal moment for football fans everywhere.

The best player of his generation isn’t left out of any side, and we’re not about to start.


6. Fernando Redondo

Fernando Redondo

​While potentially a contentious selection, people are quick to forget what a crucial player Fernando Redondo was to the Madrid side of the late 90s. 

His play, most notably alongside Steve McManaman, led Real to Champions League glory in 1998 and 2000. His performances were so good that during the success of 2000, Redondo won the competition’s Most Valuable Player award.

It was that year that Redondo famously left Henning Berg all ends up at Old Trafford, with a delicious backheel before putting it on a plate for Raul to finish. After the game, Sir Alex questioned what wizardry Redondo had just done.

“What does this player have in his boots? A magnet?” Fair question.


7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid's new player Portuguese Cris

​When Cristiano signed for Real Madrid for the eye-watering figure of £80m, even the most loyal fans must have been unsure whether the Portuguese striker could repay the fee. 

I think we can now safely say that Ronaldo well outdid even the wildest of expectations for the player. Two league titles, two Copa del Reys and four Champions League titles. Oh, and 451 goals as well.

Cristiano became Madrid’s top goalscorer in 2015 and now outranks Raul’s previous mark by a whopping 128 goals. 


8. Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos

The metronomic German midfielder only cost Real Madrid €30m and has been an integral member of multiple successful sides since. 

It was a tough decision for the vaunted number eight shirt between ​Kroos and 80s dynamo, Míchel. Míchel won an absolute boatload of trophies but the verve and panache that the 30-year-old has shown at the Santiago Bernábeu are different gravy.

Míchel might have been a serial winner, but it’s fair to say that he didn’t face the type of competition that La Liga has now. 


Kroos is the man for the biggest occasion, he brings tempo and technical skill to his role.


9. Alfredo Di Stéfano

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-FIORENTINA-KOPA-DI STEFANO

The club’s first global superstar, Alfredo Di Stéfano helped establish the club’s most successful period, winning eight league titles and five European Cups in eleven years. 

Whenever there’s a list of the ‘world’s best players’, the Argentinian is always near the top. Pelé, who knows a thing or two about football, called Di Stéfano the best Argentinian player ‘ever’ in 2009. 

The striker scored in five consecutive European finals, including a hat-trick in the last one. The list of achievements and the testimonials by contemporaries are endless.

A simple choice – he’s a footballing legend.


10. Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskas

​The greatest Hungarian footballer ever, Puskás made a formidable partnership alongside Di Stéfano. One of the most prolific strikers ever, Puskás eventually moved to Madrid after scoring 358 times for Budapest Honvéd in 1958.

He joined the club at 31, perhaps not as trim as he once was, but that didn’t stop the Hungarian. In his first La Liga season, Puskás notched four hat-tricks as Real Madrid stormed the league. 

His trophy collection is as ridiculous as his scoring rate, five league titles and three European Cups. 


11. Francisco Gento

Alex Stepney,Francisco Gento

There might be some surprise that a certain Brazilian striker isn’t in our final spot, but in terms of their Real Madrid careers, there are few comparisons to Francisco Gento. 

The most successful player in Real Madrid history, Gento won 23 major honours in an 18-year career that included more than 400 appearances. 

Ronaldo’s best club moments happened in either an Inter shirt or worse still, a Barcelona shirt. Gento is the most decorated players in Los Merengues’ history, so there’s no debate really.


Let’

How Real Madrid’s Loaned Out Players Will Get on When They Return to the Bernabéu – Ranked

Real Madrid are the ultimate footballing reminder that life just isn’t fair, and you need look no further than their frankly extravagant squad depth as proof of that.

If boasting some of the greatest footballers to play the modern game in their first team wasn’t enough, the army of Real loanees dotted throughout Europe would probably give whoever you support a decent game.

Zinedine Zidane is a manager who knows what he likes and what he doesn’t, however, and it remains to be seen how many of these exiles can work their way back into his plans. Let’s take a deep dive.


9. Jesús Vallejo

It might shock you to hear that this fella played for Wolves this season, although we wouldn’t blame you if you missed his underwhelming league displays against Chelsea and Southampton, or were catching up with Midsomer Murders during his two EFL Cup appearances.

Jesus Vallejo

The 23-year-old should probably start clearing his desk at the Bernabéu, with a decent spell at Granada after his Wolves loan was cut short unlikely to impress Zizou despite some promising signs at the beginning of his career.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 0/10


8. Borja Mayoral

Though Mayoral has had a slightly better time of it than Vallejo, the striker hasn’t exactly pulled up any trees with his five goals for Levante this season.

Given Karim Benzema is unlikely to be shaking at his boots at the thought of Mayoral coming home, Real Madrid will probably look to move the forward on before his contract expires in 2021.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 0/10


7. Andriy Lunin and Luca Zidane

It’s not easy being a third-choice keeper in Madrid – Lunin has struggled to convert his potential into playing time, squeezing five league appearances out of loan spells with Leganés and Real Valladolid, while a cynic might argue that the main thing going for Luca Zidane right now is being the gaffer’s son.

Luca Zidane

However, there are a few contingencies in play which could prolong the careers of both men in white, including whether Real Madrid manage to permanently sign Alphonse Areola as understudy to Thibaut Courtois, and Madrid might be loath to give up on potential back-up options Lunin (FIFA Under-20 World Cup Golden Glove winner) and Zidane (the son thing) any time soon.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 5/10


6. Dani Ceballos

It was going so well for Ceballos at Arsenal… until it wasn’t – he had his own song, footage of him humbling Burnley’s star-studded midfield at the Emirates was the talk of the town, and he looked like an important part of Unai Emery’s plans.


Injuries and inconsistent form then took their toll, and while he has regained some pizzazz under new boss Mikel Arteta, there has been very little buzz about him staying in north London. With the Spanish international not a favourite of Zidane’s, expect to see him head out on loan again next season.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 5/10


5. Álvaro Odriozola

Another national team player who hasn’t quite cut the mustard at Madrid, the right-back made a surprise loan move to Bayern Munich in January after opportunities were limited at his parent club.

Alvaro Odriozola

What gives Odriozola the edge over Ceballos is that more opportunities could open up in his position – especially with Achraf Hakimi’s future far from certain – and it could be that he ends up deputizing for Dani Carvajal next season.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 6/10


4. Takefusa Kubo

If this lad can take his YouTube compilation form to the Bernabéu, the footballing world is in for an absolute treat.


With lightning quick feet, a cracking shot, and a weight of pass most senior players can only dream of, the teenager has looked tidy in his first season in La Liga on loan at Mallorca.

Kubo, who has already played seven times for Japan, will probably head out on loan again next season, but the future looks bright for him already.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 7/10


3. Achraf Hakimi

Probably one of the best players to watch in world football at the moment, Hakimi’s explosiveness on the Dortmund flanks is enough to make you feel slightly out of breath in front of your TV.


If it weren’t for the lack of clarity as to whether Real Madrid will look to keep him when his two-year loan ends this summer, Hakimi would be higher up this list, but don’t be surprised to see the Premier League vultures circling if nothing is resolved by June.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 8/10


2. Sergio Reguilón

Ferland Mendy is going to be kept on his toes at left-back by a man who has quietly evolved into one of La Liga’s most consistent defenders, and his rounded skillset makes him the perfect fit for a modern football team.


Though there’s some indication that Reguilón might fancy staying at Sevilla, there’s undoubtedly a seat reserved for him at the biggest club in the world, and the challenge of jostling with Madrid’s £50m man for a place is all down to him.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 8/10


1. Martin Ødegaard

Admit it, we all thought the next time we’d remember Ødegaard’s name would be during a particularly difficult Sporcle quiz in 2030.

The man has somehow waved goodbye to Freddy Adu and Ravel Morrison and escaped the faded starlets retirement home to put up some ludicrous attacking numbers for Real Sociedad, in esteemed company with Santi Cazorla and a certain Lionel Messi as one of the best passers in the league.


As Luka Modrić and Cristiano Ronaldo could tell you from their early days in Madrid, there’s no such thing as a sure thing at Real, but this kid is as close as it gets, and his two-year loan deal in San Sebastián could be cut short abruptly, especially if the effects of the coronavirus on the upcoming transfer window force Sociedad to cut their losses on certain players.

Likelihood of Making it at Real Madrid: 9/10


Let’

Coronavirus Outbreak Could Cause Impasse in Contract Talks Between Sergio Ramos & Real Madrid

​Time waits for no man – and Sergio Ramos is no exception. 

The Spanish star will celebrate his 34th birthday on Monday, but his party may be spoiled by lingering doubts over his current contract situation. Ramos’ deal is set to expire in June 2021, and the tough-tackling centre back has made it clear that he hopes to end his career at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

However, agreeing terms on a new deal may not be so straightforward for the 33-year-old. 

Sergio Ramos

​Marca reports that one of the parties will have to make a compromise in their demands, as Madrid rarely hand out contract extensions longer than a single year to players over the age of 30.

And ​Ramos is keen to sign a deal which will see him finish his career with Los Blancos, and he may feel able to play beyond the age of 36, which a contract until 2022 would cover. After all, the former Sevilla man is still a regular feature in Real’s side and remains in peak physical condition.

The Madrid captain signed his last extension with the club in 2016, when Manchester United were sniffing around to try and land the World Cup winner, and he will be hoping that his loyalty is repaid with a contract worthy of a club legend.

Preliminary talks have taken place between Ramos and ​Madrid over a new deal, with many expecting a new contract to have already been agreed. 

Sergio Ramos

But the coronavirus outbreak may have thrown his contract hopes into doubt, as clubs are beginning to feel the pinch of the financial implications which have arisen from the suspension in fixtures. 

The Spanish giants may feel that they cannot afford to dish out a longer deal in the current climate, and that could cause a rather awkward standoff with their club captain. 

Let’

7 of Real Madrid’s Best Big Game Players – Ranked

​As one of the most decorated clubs in the history of world football, it’s fair to say that Real Madrid have had many a ‘big game player’ representing the club over the years. How else would they have managed to win a record 13 European Cups?

With honourable mentions to club legends such as Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás (a player so good that FIFA named an award after him), this list will focus more towards the modern day greats that have inspired Los Blancos to more recent successes. 

With so many wonderful names to choose from, here are the seven players who produced match-winning performances on the biggest stage for Real Madrid.


7. Fernando Hierro

Real Madrid v Barcelona Fernando Hierro of Real Madrid

​The legendary Real Madrid skipper was a stalwart at the back for 14 years at the Santiago Bernabéu, playing over 600 games for the club.

During that time, Hierro won five La Liga titles, and three Champions League trophies. His knack of scoring goals often prompted his managers to select him in a more advanced role as a holding midfielder.

And who will ever forget seeing the Spaniard play in a Bolton Wanderers shirt in 2004/05?

Biggest Moment: His brilliant display in the 1998 Champions League final, as Madrid beat Juventus 1-0. “Where is Del Piero?” sang the Madrid fans of the Old Lady’s star striker. “Hierro has eaten him!”


6. Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas

Perhaps the greatest goalkeeper in Real Madrid’s history. Casillas began his career in Los Blancos’ youth system, but he didn’t have to wait long before being first called up to the senior side at the tender age of 16. The Spanish stopper made the number one spot his own at 18 years old, and kept it for well over a decade thereafter.

With an identical record to Hierro above, Casillas won five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies with the club. But unlike Hierro, Casillas also managed to win international honours with Spain too – bagging the 2010 World Cup, sandwiched in between two European Championship wins, during his 167 international caps.

Biggest Moment: La Decima. Casillas was pivotal in the 2014 Champions League final, where he captained the side against local rivals Atlético Madrid in Lisbon. After 120 minutes of action, the goalkeeper got his hands on the trophy and helped end the club’s 12-year wait for European glory.


5. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos  celebrates after winning

The man that so many love to hate. Sergio Ramos is notorious for his poor disciplinary record, with 26 career red cards, but is equally renowned for his incredible defensive abilities and leadership skills. 

While the Spaniard is often derided for the number of times he’s been given his marching orders, it’s the tenacious part of his game which makes him one of the most feared defenders in world football, and one that strikers really don’t enjoy playing against (just ask Mo Salah).

Ramos has been hoarding trophies ever since his move to Madrid from Seville in 2005, winning 

four La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

Biggest Moment: Scored the 93rd minute equaliser against Atlético Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final with a leaping header. It was the most crucial moment in Madrid’s conquest of La Decima as it knocked the stuffing out of Atlético, and Los Blancos went on to win 4-1 in extra-time.  


4. Gareth Bale

Champions League Final 2018

While Sergio Ramos might lay claim to being the most disliked Real Madrid player outside of the club, Gareth Bale most certainly holds the title of most disliked player inside the club. And all because the Welshman enjoys a little too much golf, and struggles with the Spanish lingo, apparently. 

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems unfathomable that Bale is not revered at Real Madrid. He played a huge role in the club’s historic run of three consecutive Champions League victories, and four in five years. The Real Madrid supporters are a funny bunch, aren’t they? 

Before we get to Bale’s most defining moment in a Real Madrid shirt (which you may have guessed from the photo), it’s worth noting that this is a man who has delivered time and time again on the big stage. Who can forget that blistering run from his own half as he scored the winning goal in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona? Or when he put his side 2-1 ahead in extra-time of the 2014 Champions League final? But yeah, go ahead and boo him!

Biggest Moment: That bicycle kick against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final. With the game finely poised at 1-1, Bale came off the bench and became the first substitute to score twice in a Champions League final, winning himself the man of the match award, and Real Madrid their 13th European Cup.


3. Raúl

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-LOKOMOTIV

Before a certain Portuguese forward joined the club, Raul was the top goalscorer in Real Madrid history – notching an incredible 323 goals.

While his goals tally may have been bettered in recent years, no one can match him for appearances, as the Spanish striker played a staggering 741 times for Los Blancos – a true club legend.

Raul won six La Liga titles, and three European Cups during his 16 years of service to the club.

Biggest Moment: Scored the opening goal in the 2002 Champions League final victory against Bayer Leverkusen, and in doing so became the first player to score in two Champions League finals.


2. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has contributed more to Real Madrid’s illustrious history than most. Winning three Champions League trophies as manager is an incredible achievement in itself, but he was also at the peak of his powers during his playing days at the club. 

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When signing for Madrid from Juventus in 2001, Zizou was indisputably one of the greatest players on the planet. He never failed to live up to the billing at the Bernabeu, winning the Champions League in 2002 and La Liga in 2003, as well as winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award for a third time that same year.

Biggest Moment: Scored what many consider to be the greatest European Cup final goal of all time against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002. As Roberto Carlos’ lofted cross from the left hand side fell from the heavens, Zidane swivelled his body and hit the most magnificent left-footed volley from the edge of the area.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo

Was there ever any doubt as to who would be topping this list?

Breaking every goal scoring record imaginable, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of, if not the, greatest footballers of all time. He ran riot during his time at Los Blancos, scoring an eye-watering 450 goals in 438 games. 

The Portuguese forward has won five Champions League trophies in total (four at Real Madrid), and is a five-time winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. 

Biggest Moment: The two goals he scored in the 2017 Champions League final, setting Real Madrid on their way to a 4-1 win over Juventus, and helping the side become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.


Let’

Real Madrid Looking to Offload ‘4 or 5’ Players in Order to Prepare for New Arrivals

​Real Madrid are said to be willing to listen to offers for James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale among others as the club must sell before it can spend in the next transfer window, while the futures of Nacho, Marcelo and Luka Modric are also all up in the air. 

Manager Zinedine Zidane has a very large squad at his disposal, with the likes of Bale, James and others all struggling for minutes this term. Los Blancos currently have 25 first team players (including youngster Rodrygo), emphasising the strength in depth. 

Gareth Bale

However, this could potentially impact the club’s transfer plans. This is because ​AS report that before anyone can come in, someone must first leave. The report points towards the size of Real’s squad, and explains there are as many as 11 players out on loan that are in contention to be in Zidane’s squad next season.

Achraf Hakimi is currently starring on loan with Borussia Dortmund, while Martin Odegaard has excelled at Real Sociedad. Elsewhere, Dani Ceballos, Sergio Reguilon, Alvaro Odriozola, Takefusa Kubo, Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral, Andriy Lunin, Oscar Rodriguez and Luca Zidane are also fighting for a place in the first team squad for the 2020/21 season.

As a result, ​Real Madrid will sell a minimum of four or five players in the next transfer market. And if the right offer comes in for any of ​James, ​Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Mariano, they could be heading out the exit door. 

Luka Modric

Similarly, the futures of Nacho Fernandez, ​Luka Modric, Marcelo and Brahim Diaz all remain up in the air. However, the report notes that the club will sit down with Nacho, Modric and Marcelo, who have all been long-term servers to the club, and will come to a sensible conclusion regarding their departures. As for Brahim, the club will look to loan him out. 

AS further add that Madrid will bring back both Hakimi and Odegaard, but they are also on the lookout for a central midfielder and a ‘number nine.’ Fabian Ruiz of ​Napoli is the board’s preferred target, but Zidane wants Manchester United’s ​Paul Pogba. As for the forward, Erling Haaland is the primary target. However, the club will only make a move if Luka Jovic continues to disappoint. 

Let’