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

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

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

Real Madrid v Valencia CF - La Liga

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

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


Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RC Celta de Vigo v SD Huesca - La Liga

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


How To Watch

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

Team News

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

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

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


Predicted Lineups

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

Head to Head Record 

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

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

SD Huesca v FC Girona - La Liga


Recent Form

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

Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round

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

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

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

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

Prediction

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

Atletico Madrid v SD Huesca - La Liga Santander

Prediction: Huesca 0-4 Real Madrid

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

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

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

Independiente v Santos - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

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

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

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

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

Real Madrid vs Melilla - Copa del Rey - Fourth Round

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

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

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

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

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

Something’s got to give. 

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

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

1. Gareth Bale

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

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

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

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

2. Karim Benzema

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

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

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

3. Keylor Navas

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

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

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

4. Luka Modrić

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

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

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

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

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

5. Lucas Vázquez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santos v Sao Paulo -Brasileirao Series A 2018

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

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

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

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

Real Madrid Training and Press Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boca Juniors v River Plate - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Santiago Solari Casts Doubt Over Real Madrid January Signings After Claiming It’s Not ‘His Area’

​Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari has described the winter transfer window as “not his area”, casting doubt over whether Los Blancos will make a move to strengthen their squad in January.

Real have had one of their worst starts to a domestic season in recent years, as some embarrassing results have seen the giants stumble into fifth position in the league. Despite this mixed campaign, they sit just five points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Real Madrid v Valencia CF - La Liga

Speaking at a press conference as quoted by Marca, Solari spoke on the issue of potentially bringing in reinforcements for his squad in January.

“I don’t know about this issue, as winter signings aren’t my area. There are 24 players in the squad, plus those who are at Castilla. I see that they all have desire and motivation.”

Solari also addressed Isco’s Instagram post in which the attacking midfielder asked fans if he looked overweight, and took the opportunity to speak on the importance of team selection.

Real Madrid v Valencia - La Liga Santander

“I’m not on social media and didn’t see Isco’s photo. Players need to give the best of themselves to be available and to then do the best possible. Then there are choices and different periods of form, all of this exists. The job of the coach is to try to pick well and avoid mistakes. 

“There are players in football who play well and who do so constantly, which is why they start for 10 or 12 years, but nobody has played forever because they are called X.”

Solari’s comments will worry Real fans who feel they need new arrivals in January to challenge for La Liga title, if no signings are made then players such as Gareth Bale will need to step up.

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Newcastle United Eyeing January Swoop for Real Madrid Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla

Newcastle United are reportedly lining up a move for Real Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

The Spanish goalkeeper is currently Los Blancos’ third choice goalkeeper, and hasn’t made an appearance for Real Madrid this year, having re-joined the club from Espanyol three years ago. 

Manchester United v Real Madrid - International Champions Cup 2018

​CalcioMercato (Via HITC) have stated that Casilla is one of Benitez’s January transfer targets after being told he is free to leave Los Blancos. 

​While Newcastle currently have four goalies at the club, first choice Martin Dubravka has been linked to Italian champions Juventus. Dubravka signed in January 2018 from Sparta Praha before being loaned back to the Czech side; since his return he has made 14 appearances with four clean sheets. If the Slovakian international was to head to Turin, Kiko Casilla is looking likely to become the new number one at St. James’ Park.

Under the Bosman, ruling Newcastle would be able to sign Casilla on a pre-contract. With Casilla currently not in the team being third choice behind Thibaut Courtois and Keylor Navas this may be an attractive move to link up with former manager and fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez in the north east.

Southampton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League

With Dubvraka’s potential move to Italy, Benitez will be hoping he can spend some money this January and Kiko Casilla could be the man he is looking to replace him with.

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Jose Mourinho Believes Real Madrid Will Save Him From ‘Man Utd Nightmare’ After Latest Bust-Up Claim

​Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is said to believe that Real Madrid are keen on bringing him back to Spain and ending his tumultuous time in Manchester..

Results on the pitch have been incredibly frustrating for Mourinho’s players, who are also reportedly dealing with behind-the-scenes clashes with the Portuguese manager. The Red Devils currently sit eighth in the Premier League, prompting a huge amount of speculation about Mourinho’s long-term future with the club.

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys - UEFA Champions League Group H

According to the ​Evenin​g Standard, Mourinho believes that ​Real president Florentino Perez wants to bring him back to the Santiago Bernabeu for a second spell as the club’s manager.

Mourinho spent three years in charge in Madrid from 2010-13, memorably guiding the side to the 2011/12 ​La Liga title ahead of Pep Guardiola’s ​Barcelona. Perez is believed to have remained a fan of Mourinho, and sources close to Mourinho have reportedly confirmed that Perez wants to work with Mourinho once again.

Following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with ​Southampton, Mourinho faced fresh accusations that he had lost the faith of the ​United squad. ​Reports suggested that Mourinho questioned his players’ desire and commitment in a furious rant, even brandishing ​Paul Pogba as a “virus”.

He was asked whether the players were still loyal to him but, according to the Da​ily Mail, avoided the specific issue and instead clarified why players do not allow personal feelings to impact their performances.

He said: “If you think a player only plays when, in your words, he is behind the manager, what you are calling them is dishonest.

“You believe a player scores in his own goal and then runs and celebrates? ‘I scored in my own goal because I don’t like the manager.’ Do you believe in that? I don’t believe in that. A football player is paid — and very well paid — to be a football professional.

FBL-EUR-C1-YOUNG BOYS-MANCHESTER UNITED

“What is that? It is to train every day to his limits, to play every game to his limits; it’s to behave socially according to the nature of his job, it’s to respect the millions of fans around the world and to respect the hierarchies of a club.

“One thing is to perform well and not so well, another thing is to be a football professional.

“When pundits who were professional players say this player is not playing for the manager, did they do that when they were players? Were they dishonest players? If they were, they shouldn’t be in front of a camera speaking to millions of people.”

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Real Madrid Loanee Mateo Kovacic Interested in Permanent Chelsea Stay Amid Spurs Interest

Mateo Kovacic’s chances of returning to Real Madrid are increasingly slim, with Chelsea holding a ‘clear advantage’ in completing a permanent transfer for the on-loan midfielder amidst rival interest from Tottenham.

The Croatia international made it clear during the summer that he wanted to leave the Santiago Bernabeu and was granted a season-long deal to join Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea FC - Premier League

While the Blues do not have an option to make the move permanent as part of the deal, Spanish publication ​AS have reported that the 24-year-old will not be heading back to Real Madrid next year.

It has been revealed that the 13-time European champions are ‘disgusted’ over the attitude displayed by ​Kovacic during the summer saga and are willing to sanction a transfer away for the midfielder.

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-CRYSTAL PALACE

The report adds that Sarri’s side have a ‘clear advantage’ in the race to sign the Croatian, with Kovacic himself acknowledging he ‘likes the idea’ of joining his current side on a permanent basis.

Premier League rivals ​Spurs are also said to be keeping tabs over the former Inter midfielder, but ​Chelsea’s recent relationship with Madrid is claimed to have put them in pole position.

In the last two seasons, the Blues have signed ​Alvaro Morata from the ​La Liga giants whilst Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois headed in the opposite direction earlier this summer. 

Santiago Solari’s side paid in the region of €35m to prise Kovacic away from the San Siro in 2015, and it has been suggested Los Blancos are looking for a higher fee than what they originally parted with to let the midfielder leave.

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