Adama Traore Refuses to Rule Out a La Liga Return With Barcelona or Real Madrid in the Future

​Adama Traore has refused to rule out a return Barcelona while also admitting that he would consider an approach from Real Madrid in the future.

The Wolves winger has been in sensational form this season, registering four goals and six assists in the Premier League for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Traore first came to England in August 2015 when Aston Villa signed him from Barcelona for a fee of around £7m. 

Adama Traore

He then moved to Middlesbrough the following campaign, before being snapped up by Wolves in the summer of 2018 for £18m. 

Despite enjoying considerable success since moving to Molineux, the player conceded that he would certainly entertain the possibility of returning to La Liga if the opportunity presented itself in the future.

Back to Barça? I have no resentment, I have good memories. But if Madrid calls me I would rethink the same,” he said about a possible return to Spain, in an interview on the radio show ‘El Larguero (via ​Sport). 

FBL-ESP-CUP-BARCELONA-HUESCA

When asked about his departure from Camp Nou, Traore insisted that he does not regret his decision to leave the Catalan giants. 

There were certain problems with the club, misunderstandings. I decide to go out and grow as a player. I make that decision. I’d rather not talk about the history I had for the club. It was a decision I made at the time and I don’t regret it,” he stated. 

Wolves face the daunting task of hosting Premier League leaders Liverpool on Thursday evening. The Reds are yet to be defeated this season but Traore revealed that his side were not afraid of facing Jurgen Klopp’s high-flyers. 

Adama Traore

The games have to be played, no player comes out thinking he has lost. It is true that they have the league on track, but regardless of the team we have in front you have to face it,” the forward mused. 


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

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Real Madrid Boss Zinedine Zidane Responds to Kylian Mbappé ‘Idol’ Praise

​Zinedine Zidane has challenged Kylian Mbappé to become the perfect idol for football supporters everywhere, in response to a recent interview given by the Paris Saint-Germain forward. 

Mbappé admitted at the launch of his new foundation in Paris that fellow Frenchman and Real Madrid coach Zidane was his idol as a child.

Zinedine Zidane

The Madrid boss was asked for his take on Mbappé’s admiration in his pre-match press conference, and he responded by calling on the 21-year-old to be ‘the example’ for the coming generations, as reported by ​Marca.

“Now he (​Mbappé) is the example. We are examples for those who play football. I have been an example because some people liked how I played,” Zidane explained, ahead of los Blancos’ Copa del Rey tie with Unionistas.

There were plenty of rumours linking Mbappé with a big-money move from PSG to ​Madrid over the summer, but the French champions were able to hold on to their star asset. Zidane had previously admitted that ​he is ‘in love with’ the World Cup 2018 winner, whilst Mbappé himself confessed that it is his dream to play for Madrid in the future. 

PSG signed the wonderkid from Monaco for around €145m in 2017, and the France international would command a much higher fee, should he move on from the Parc des Princes in the near future.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-PSG

Mbappé has been at his electric best for the French giants this season, notching 13 goals in 14 league matches for Les Parisiens – including a brace against former side Monaco in PSG’s most recent clash. 

Madrid have been in excellent form in recent months under Zidane, and los Merengues now sit joint top of the La Liga table with ​​Barcelona. Los Blancos also claimed a dramatic penalty shootout victory over city rivals ​Atlético Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final, with captain Sergio Ramos tucking away the winning penalty. 

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

​Real Madrid travel to Spanish minnows Unionistas in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night as they look to continue their winning run this month.

After finishing 2019 with three draws in La Liga, Los Blancos have won their last four in all competitions – securing the Supercopa de Espana in the process. Victories against Getafe and Sevilla in recent weeks mean they are level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table. 

Real Madrid CF v Sevilla FC  - La Liga

The 4,000 capacity Estadio Las Pistas del Helmantico, home to opponents Unionistas, will make Wednesday night’s encounter a unique one for Zinedine Zidane’s men – with the French boss set to rest numerous starters ahead of their trip to Valladolid on Sunday.

The lowly side haven’t exactly set their division alight this season, they’re currently 16th in the table but are enjoying a good run of form amid their Copa del Rey journey. In the previous round, the Salamanca-based outfit overcame Deportivo La Coruna on penalties to set up this blockbuster tie in the last 32.


Where to Watch

​When is Kick Off? Wednesday 22 January​
​What Time is Kick Off? ​20:00 (BST)
Where is it Played? ​Estadio Las Pistas del Helmantico
​TV Channel/Live Stream ​N/A
​Referee ​TBC

Team News

Unionistas boss Jabi Luaces is expected to have everybody available to him for this huge encounter with the Spanish supergiants.

As for Real, Eden Hazard is set to return in the Madrid Derby at the start of February after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a foot injury. Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, missed the home win against Sevilla on the weekend with a sprained ankle and is unlikely to feature in a game of this profile. A return to action at the weekend is probable, however.

FBL-KSA-ESP-SUPERCUP-REAL MADRID-ATLETICO

Federico Valverde, the hero from Real’s Supercopa victory in Saudi Arabia, could return for this one after serving his suspension for his cynical chop-down of Alvaro Morata in the dying embers of the final.

Nevertheless, in what could be a potential banana-skin fixture, expect Zidane to field a relatively strong lineup for this one.


Predicted Lineups

​Unionistas ​Pereiro; Piojo, Zubiri, Placeres, Gongora; Navas, Ribelles, Portilla, Romero; Andres, Grande.
​Real Madrid ​Areola; Carvajal, Nacho, Militao, Mendy; Valverde, Isco, Rodriguez; Diaz, Jovic, Vinicius.

Head-to-Head Record

This clash will be the first time these two have ever met in a competitive fixture.

Unionistas were founded in 2013 after UD Salamanca’s dissolution and have worked their way up from the sixth tier of Spanish football to the third in five seasons. They finished ninth in the Segunda Division B last season and reached the second round in the Copa del Rey. 


Recent Form

After winning just one of their opening ten games of the season under previous manager Roberto Aguirre, Unionistas have enjoyed an upturn in form in recent weeks under new boss Luaces – who was appointed at the end of October. 

The Salamanca-based side are unbeaten in their last seven league encounters, helping them rise out of the relegation zone and into 16th. Their newfound confidence also helped them overcome Atletico Baleares and second-tier side Deportivo in this competition to set up this monster fixture with Real Madrid.

Real Madrid CF v Sevilla FC  - La Liga

Real have also had a good time of it as of late after an indifferent start to the campaign. They haven’t lost a game since the 1-0 defeat at Mallorca in mid-October, meaning they’re currently enjoying a 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions. However, several draws at the end of last year has prevented them from pulling away from the stuttering Catalans in the La Liga title race.

Injuries among other factors have stopped Los Blancos from hitting their stride in recent games, but they keep finding ways to win and Zidane will be hoping that’ll continue in this one.

Here’s how the two sides have fared in their last five outings. 

​Unionistas ​Real Madrid
​Real Sociedad B 0-0 Unionistas (18/01) ​Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla (18/01)
Unionistas 1-0 Barakaldo (15/01) Real Madrid 0-0 (4-1p) Atletico (12/01)
Unionistas 1-1 (8-7p) Deportivo La Coruna (12/01) ​Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid (08/01)
​Unionistas 1-1 Leioa (05/01) ​Getafe 0-3 Real Madrid (04/01)
​Izarra 2-6 Unionistas (21/12) ​Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao (22/12)

Prediction

Wow, what a matchup for the third-tier side, eh?

The draw was met with jubilation within the Unionistas squad and now, they have the chance to show what they can do against some of the world’s best.

Casemiro,Jovic,Lucas Vazquez

Although the likes of Casemiro, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane are set for rests, you can expect Zidane to put out more than a half-decent lineup; with fringe players like James Rodriguez, Isco, Vinicius Junior and Luka Jovic poised to get a chance to impress their boss on Wednesday night.

With the potential quality that Los Blancos could have on the field, they should win this one comfortably.

Prediction: Unionistas 0-3 Real Madrid

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Kylian Mbappé Makes Liverpool Admission & Dismisses Talk of Real Madrid Switch

​Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé has admitted that he is a huge fan of the way Liverpool have performed in recent seasons, also refuting talk of a move to Real Madrid.

The Reds, who stormed to Champions League glory this season, look set to wrap up the Premier League title in record time this season, having won an astonishing 21 of their first 22 league games.

Virgil van Dijk,Mohamed Salah

Speaking to ​BBC Sport at the launch of his new charity, ‘Inspired by ​Kylian Mbappé (IBKM), the Frenchman confessed that it is hard not to be impressed by what Jürgen Klopp’s side are doing right now.

“What ​Liverpool do in this moment is amazing,” Mbappe said. “They’re like a machine, they’ve found a rhythm and are like ‘we play again, we play again’.

“They’ve lost zero games. When you watch you think everything’s easy but that’s not easy. The guys are focused, they play games every three days and they win, they win, they win.

“Now the problem is that everybody watches Liverpool, and everybody watches what we can do against them, so now they have to show they are strong again but it’s a very good team with a very good manager.”

Meanwhile, asked specifically about Trent Alexander-Arnold mimicking his arms folded celebration, Mbappe said of the Reds right back: “Yeah, I saw! I’m proud. This guy is amazing.” 

Does this mean that Liverpool fans’ #Mbappé2020 movement may actually come good?

No. No it does not. But keep dreaming.

One club who have been more plausibly linked with Mbappé is ​Real Madrid, with manager Zinedine Zidane believed to be keen on launching a blockbuster move for his fellow Frenchman in the near future.

Mbappe, however, insists that talk of a transfer does not affect him, but he did leave the door open to a possible move away from PSG in the summer.

“Everyone talks about [joining Real] – when I was young I talked about it too. But now I’m a player and I know it’s not the moment.


“We are in January – it’s the money time of the season. Imagine I answer your question and say something. Everybody will talk about it and it’s not good for PSG. Now I’m with PSG and I’m 100% with the club. I want to help the club grow this season, to win a lot of titles, so for me it’s not good to talk about [my future].

“I think about the club because the club helped me. I came here at 18. I was a talent but I was not a superstar. Now I’m a superstar, thanks to PSG and the French national team.

“I have to stay calm and stay focused on PSG. After that, at the end of the season, we will see. But now I’m focused on my game.”

But Mbappe did reveal that he idolised Zidane as a child, in quotes carried by ​Marca, before admitting that he also looked up to ​Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kylian Mbappe,Zinedine Zidane


“Well, I’ve had phases. As a kid, it was Zidane,” Mbappe said when asked about his idols.

“If you’re a kid and you’re French, your idol is Zidane.

“After, it was Cristiano, who I had the luck to go up against, and then the Brazilians for their way of playing.”


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Eden Hazard Steps Up Return From Injury Ahead of Madrid Derby

​Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard has returned to individual training as he nears a full recovery from a foot injury.

After a bruised ankle forced him to miss the last game of November 2019, Hazard is still yet to return to action after further tests discovered a hairline fracture in his foot, meaning he has missed his side’s last ten matches in all competitions.

UEFA Champions League"Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain"

However, as noted by ​AS, he has now laced up his boots and returned to the training complex at Valdebebas to enter the final stages of his recovery.

He had previously done some physical work on the grass, but only in normal shoes, so his transition to boots shows that he has not aggravated the injury and is on track for a full recovery in the near future.

​Hazard‘s goal is understood to be a return to face ​Atlético Madrid on 1 February, so he will sit out his side’s next two matches in order to give himself the best possible chance of being ready for the derby.

Eden Hazard

This season, Hazard has managed just 13 appearances for ​Real, and he has only netted once in all competitions. Injuries have plagued the first few months of his career in Madrid, but he did look to be rediscovering his best form before going down with his foot injury.

In his absence, Zinedine Zidane has used plenty of different players on the wing, but that was always likely as he attempted to cope with the club’s hectic schedule over the last month.

Rodrygo Goes, Vinícius Júnior and ​Isco have featured heavily, while Lucas Vázquez returned to the starting lineup against Sevilla after recovering from his own toe injury, so Zidane’s squad looks to be nearing full strength.

Sergio Ramos

However, one player who is also facing a battle to return for Atlético is centre-back ​Sergio Ramos, who picked up an ankle injury during Real’s Super Cup triumph over Los Rojiblancos.

He began his recovery soon after that game and has not featured since, but he is thought to be optimistic about his chances of returning for the derby.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Raul Bravo Denies ‘Nonsense’ Claims He Ordered Assassination of Former Teammate

​Former Real Madrid and Leeds United defender Raul Bravo has denied allegations he ordered the death of Darko Kovacevic, who he played with at Olympiacos.

The pair won two Greek Superleague titles during their time together at Karaiskakis Stadium, the Spaniard spending a total of four seasons with the club, while Kovacevic stayed for just two before retiring.

Real Sociedad?s forward serbian Darko Ko

​Reports in the Serbian press sensationally accused Bravo of arranging the attack that happened at his former teammate’s home in Athens earlier this month, with 46-year-old Kovacevic requiring treatment at a local hospital after injuring himself while dodging bullets.

It is unknown if the incident was an attempt at Kovacevic’s life or a just warning shot due to the information he’s claimed to know about a match-fixing scandal which Bravo has been caught up in.

The former Real Madrid defender was among 11 people arrested after an investigation by Spanish authorities – relating to a possible case of match-fixing in May 2018.

Bravo has now addressed claims he could be involved in any illegal operations. Speaking to Radio Marca’s ‘A Diario’, he said: “A magazine in Serbia reported it and I was stunned that it said I ordered the murder of Kovacevic.

The only thing that matters [to them] is selling [magazines], and saying I wanted to kill Darko sells more. It’s a crazy story, it’s nonsense.”

Serbia v Romania - UEFA Nations League C

Asked whether he had fallen out with Kovacevic, the Spain international replied: “I will say it again, the relationship is great. [The report] is something that has neither legs nor a head. It is a complete invention, madness.

“[Kovacevic] hasn’t gotten into any trouble and he doesn’t know why this has happened. He has earned a lot of money from football. I’ve told him to stay calm.”

After revealing he had already spoken to the Serb about the allegations, Bravo said: “At home they’re a little scared. But, I knew that Darko was going to laugh when he saw the news. It took him two days to call me.”


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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30 Most Expensive Footballers of All Time – Adjusted for Inflation

​Transfer fees have skyrocketed over the years, with more and more clubs appearing to turn a blind eye to the cost of a player – so as long as they get their man.

Yet who really are the most expensive players of all time? Well, now you can find out.

Here’s the top 30 – via ​Totally Money – taking into account the rise of inflation when calculating the final prices. So, here we go. There might just be a few that take you by surprise.


30. Paul Pogba – Juventus to Manchester United

Paul Pogba

Transfer Fee in 2016: £94,500,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £129,762,764

Paul Pogba is a player who continues to divide opinion. 

Having thrived in Italy at Juventus, Pogba returned to Manchester in 2016. And despite winning the League Cup and Europa League in his first season back, he has struggled for consistency.


29. Hernan Crespo – Parma to Lazio

Hernan Crespo

Transfer Fee in 2000: £51,130,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £130,454,475

Following a successful spell at Parma, Lazio came calling in 2000 to bring the Argentine forward to Rome. Crespo did not disappoint, scoring 39 goals in 54 games before earning himself another big-money move to Inter in 2002.


28. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool to Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho

Transfer Fee in 2018: £130,500,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £131,953,667

Many wondered if Liverpool were making a mistake when they allowed Coutinho to leave in January 2018. Yet they have since won the Champions League without him and remain on course to end their 30 year wait for a league title. Coutinho struggled at Barcelona before being loaned out to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019.


27. Luis Suarez – Liverpool to Barcelona

Luis Suarez

Transfer Fee in 2014: £73,550,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £132,295,483

Another transfer between Liverpool and Barcelona, although this one has worked out far better for the Catalan side. Suarez has been first choice striker in the team, winning the Champions League in his debut season.


26. Michael Essien – Lyon to Chelsea

Michael Essien

Transfer Fee in 2005: £34,200,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £132,614,261

Michael Essien arrived after Chelsea won their first title under Jose Mourinho and instantly fitted in. The Ghanaian midfielder remained on the Blues’ books until 2014, becoming a fan favourite along the way.


25. Dennis Bergkamp – Ajax to Inter

Serie A - Dennis Bergkamp of Internazionale

Transfer Fee in 1993: £8,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £136,146,017

One of the finest players to grace the Premier League, but it was actually before he even arrived at Arsenal that Bergkamp attracted another major club. Impressing in his homeland, Inter came calling. Bergkamp would only score 11 goals in 52 appearances for the Italian side, but he showed his true ​class when he came to north London.


24. Andriy Shevchenko – AC Milan to Chelsea

Andriy Shevchenko

Transfer Fee in 2006: £39,490,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £136,561,389

Shevchenko was an exceptional forward for AC Milan, helping them to the Champions League in 2003. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for a player at a particular club though. He scored just nine times for Chelsea in two seasons before returning to Milan on loan.


23. Kylian Mbappe – Monaco to PSG

Kylian Mbappe

Transfer Fee in 2018: £121,500,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £137,751,205

Many expect Mbappe to be a future Ballon d’Or winner, so it was no surprise when PSG splashed the cash on him back in 2018. Already a World Cup winner, it seems that the sky’s the limit for the French forward.


22. Luis Figo – Barcelona to Real Madrid

Luis Figo,Ivan Helguera,Hierro

Transfer Fee in 2000: £54,000,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £137,777,072

One of the most controversial transfers in recent times. Figo infamously had a pig’s head thrown at him by a Barcelona fan, such was the disgust at his perceived treachery. The winger did go on to win the 2001 World Player of the Year though, answering a few of his critics.


21. Alan Shearer – Blackburn to Newcastle

Alan Shearer

Transfer Fee in 1996: £18,900,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £138,026,584

After leading Blackburn to the Premier League title in 1995, Shearer got his dream move to his hometown club a year later. He would go on to become Newcastle’s greatest ever goalscorer, firmly establishing himself as a Geordie legend.


20. Kaka – AC Milan to Real Madrid

FBL-ESP-FRIENDLY-DEPORTIVO-REAL

Transfer Fee in 2009: £60,300,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £139,108,075

Kaka was a joy to watch in Italy as part of a Milan side that shone both domestically and in Europe. He could not quite replicate the same form when he moved to Madrid, but he remains one of the best Brazilian players to have graced European football in recent years.


19. Predrag Mijatovic – Partizan to Valencia

FBL-EUR-C1-INTERVIEW-MIJATOVIC

Transfer Fee in 1993: £9,000,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £139,240,244

While perhaps not a name football fans are overly familiar with, Mijatovic certainly made his mark in Spain. It was his move to Valencia which attracted such a lofty transfer fee, but he would also go on to play for Real Madrid, where he was runner-up in the Ballon d’Or in 1997 before winning the Champions League the following year.


18. David Beckham – Manchester United to Real Madrid

David Beckham

Transfer Fee in 2003: £33,750,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £141,775,416

He had to feature on the list somewhere. After a hugely successful spell at Manchester United, Beckham arrived in the Spanish capital, where he remained until 2007 before becoming the first high-profile player to move to America to play for LA Galaxy.


17. Christian Vieri – Lazio to Inter

(FILES) -- A file photo taken 06 Februar

Transfer Fee in 1999: £41,830,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £144,135,998

Vieri made the switch from Lazio to Inter in 1999 and was an instant hit. He went on to establish himself as one of the most lethal strikers in Europe, scoring 103 goals in 143 games for the club.


16. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Inter to Barcelona

Barcelona's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrah

Transfer Fee in 2009: £62,550,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £144,298,675

Zlatan has been at so many clubs, with clubs having to pay big fees to acquire his services each time. His move to Barcelona attracted the biggest sum, though. The Swedish striker struggled to settle at Barcelona, and after a falling out with Pep Guardiola he returned to Italy in 2010.


15. Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea

FBL-ENG-ESP-CHELSEA-REALSOCIEDAD-FRIENDLY

Transfer Fee in 2011: £52,650,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £144,987,097

A transfer that Chelsea fans probably won’t want to be reminded of. Bringing Torres to London seemed like a fine piece of business at the time, but he was unable to repeat the stunning displays that he had consistently produced at Liverpool.


14. Ronaldo – Barcelona to Inter

Inter Milan 's striker Ronaldo of Brazil

Transfer Fee in 1997: £25,200,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £145,226,390

The original Ronaldo. Undoubtedly the best striker of his generation on his day, Ronaldo’s career was overshadowed by some terrible luck with injuries. However, he still won two World Cups and shone for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, ensuring that his legendary status is secured.


13. Neymar – Santos to Barcelona

Neymar

Transfer Fee in 2013: £79,380,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £145,490,765

Another Brazilian superstar makes the list. Neymar was regularly in the shadow of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but he was still able to show his truly exceptional talent on occasions. The winger inspired arguably the greatest comeback in Champions League history as Barcelona overturned a four goal first leg deficit to knock out PSG in 2017.


12. Darko Pancev – Red Star to Inter

Transfer Fee in 1992: £10,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £152,008,497

One of those moves that just didn’t work out. Pancev had won the European Golden Boot in 1991, ​so Inter thought they were getting a prolific striker. Three goals in 19 appearances for the club told a different story.


11. Igor Shalimov – Foggia to Inter

Transfer Fee in 1992: £10,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £152,008,497

Shalimov earned a move to Inter in 1992 after impressing at little-known Foggia, and he would go on to play for Udinese, Bologna and Napoli during his time in Italy.


10. Jean-Pierre Papin – Marseille to AC Milan

FBL-OM-PAPIN

Transfer Fee in 1992: £10,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £152,008,497

At the same time Shalimov moved to Inter, there was a big-money move happening across at AC Milan as well. Papin had earned himself a reputation as a lethal finisher in France and got his move to Milan, where he would stay for two years before leaving for German giants Bayern Munich.


9. Alen Boksic – Marseille to Lazio

Alen Boksic

Transfer Fee in 1993: £9,900,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £153,164,269

Premier League fans may remember Boksic from his time at Middlesbrough, where he ended his professional career. However, he built much of his reputation in Italy, playing for Lazio and Juventus, as he established himself as one of Croatia’s best ever players.


8. Ronaldo – Inter to Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Brazilian Ronaldo (R) cele

Transfer Fee in 2002: £40,500,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £155,210,616

It’s that man again. To be fair, he was the most sought after player in the world at the time having just finished as the top scorer at the recent World Cup. He would go on to score 83 goals in 127 games in the Spanish capital, showing that he remained an outstanding footballer.


7. Zinedine Zidane – Juventus to Real Madrid

FBL-FIFA-AWARDS-ZIDANE

Transfer Fee in 2001: £69,750,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £157,531,382

Real Madrid certainly didn’t mind getting their cheque book out in the early 2000s. Zidane was at the peak of his powers and earned every penny of his transfer fee when he scored one of the greatest goals ever seen in a Champions League final the following year against Bayer Leverkusen.​


6. Rio Ferdinand – Leeds to Manchester United

Rio Ferdinand

Transfer Fee in 2002: £41,400,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £158,659,741

Ferdinand became the most expensive defender in history when he moved to Manchester United in 2002. He would stay at the club for over a decade and formed half of one of the most dominant centre back partnerships alongside Nemanja Vidic. 


5. Gareth Bale – Tottenham to Real Madrid

FBL-ESP-GBR-REALMADRID-BALE

Transfer Fee in 2013: £90,900,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £166,605,071

Bale has had a turbulent time at Madrid, often struggling to win the fans over. A succession of fitness issues have not helped his cause, but he has still won four Champions Leagues during his time there and scored a stunning overhead kick to guide the team to victory over Liverpool in the 2018 final.


​4. Romario – PSV to Barcelona

MAN U V BARCELONA

Transfer Fee in 1993: £10,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £167,088,293

Another Brazilian great. Romario joined Barcelona in 1993, scored a remarkable 30 goals in his first season and then won the World Cup with Brazil that summer. Not a bad year at all.


3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United to Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo

Transfer Fee in 2009: £84,600,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £195,166,553

The Portuguese icon has to settle for third place on this particular list. The forward was mobbed by Madrid fans when he arrived in 2009, and they were right to be excited. 292 goals in 311 games for the club confirmed he was worth every penny, as Ronaldo cemented his place as one of the finest goalscorers in history.


2. Neymar – Barcelona to PSG

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior

Transfer Fee in 2017: £199,800,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £202,025,615

Neymar features on the list for the second time, but just misses out on top spot. Seemingly wanting to prove that he could shine in a team that did not include Lionel Messi, Neymar switched Barcelona for Paris. Injuries have hampered his time at the club, and rumours persist that he could return to Barcelona at some point.


1. Gianluca Vialli – Sampdoria to Juventus

A portrait of Gianluca Vialli of Italy

Transfer Fee in 1992: £14,850,000

Today’s Transfer Fee: £209,011,684

Not the name that many would have predicted to top this list. Younger readers may only remember Vialli for his time at Chelsea, but the Italian forward was most prolific in his homeland. Having won three Italian Cups and Serie A with Sampdoria, he was rewarded with a move to Juventus where he went on to win a league title and the Champions League.


Let’

Real Madrid Announce Signing of Reinier on Long-Term Contract Until 2026

Real Madrid have officially announced the signing of teenage Brazilian attacker Reinier from Flamengo for a fee rumoured to be in the region of €30m.

Reinier, who celebrated his 18th birthday over the weekend, has agreed a long-term six-and-a-half year contract with Los Blancos that promises to keep him at the Bernabeu until 2026.


Real have confirmed that Reinier will link up with the club’s Castilla squad once he has finished his current international commitment with the Brazil Under-23 squad at the South American 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament in Colombia.

That competition began on 18 January and will run until 9 February.

The signing has drawn comparisons between Real’s captures of Vinicius Junior and Rordygo Goes direct from Brazilian clubs at a young age in recent years. In fact, Vinicius has already travelled the exact same path as Reinier from Flamengo to Madrid.

A report from AS explains that Flamengo will pocket €24m of the €30m transfer fee, with €3m being paid to Reinier’s family and another €3m going to a representative.


It is also suggested that Reinier was made aware of just how keen Real were on a deal at the recent 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar when his father told him.

Before that, Real were interested but it was Premier League side Everton were expected to wrap up the signing instead. ​90min explained in the summer how Richarlison was an important factor in the Toffees tempting Reinier to head to Merseyside.

At the time, reports from Brazil suggested Everton were ready to pay €40m. But, fast forward six months, and it is Real that have now won the race instead.


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20 Players Who You’ll Only Ever Hear About During the Transfer Window

​The transfer window really is a wonderful thing. 

It gives fans hope that brighter days are just around the corner. It has new shirts ready to be pre-ordered for anyone wanting to don their latest signing on their back. It has bizarre Wikipedia pages being scoured every second of the day for any information on a club’s target list.

But one thing these stages of the season also bring is a chance for a group of players to get their 15 minutes of fame before, for most fans at least, they drop back into obscurity before the transfer window re-opens a few months later.

Let’s not keep you waiting any longer. Here are our top 20 players that you’ll only ever hear about during the January or summer transfer windows.


Adrien Rabiot

Adrien Rabiot

If spending most of the latter stages of his time with Paris Saint-Germain weren’t difficult enough for Adrien Rabiot, the France international is once again out of favour but this time it’s with his new club Juventus.

He’s confirmed he’s staying in Turin for the rest of the season. But will that really stop the transfer rumours over his future? 


Samuel Chukwueze

Samuel Chukwueze

The Nigeria international’s senior career has only lasted for just over a year, but Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze has (and will continue to) be mentioned in every single transfer window since.

The 20-year-old is rarely ever mentioned as a club’s priority target, especially for those in the Champions League, but Chukwueze is the Spanish media’s go-to Plan B for any top side looking to recruit a new winger.


Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech

It’s been clear for a few years that Hakim Ziyech is too good to keep playing in the Eredivisie.

Even when he was at FC Twente, Ziyech was being tipped for a move to the Premier League and those rumours have only increased since Ajax’s success in the Champions League last season.


Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser

Yes, Ryan Fraser’s contract at Bournemouth is running out.

Do we really need to be reminded about that twice a year when he might be sold in a cut-price deal?


Gareth Bale

Getafe CF v Real Madrid CF  - La Liga

Wales.

Golf.

Being on the back pages.

Madrid.

In that order.


Nikola Kalinić

Nikola Kalinic

Nikola Kalinić has made a career of convincing big clubs that he can play football.

In reality, Kalinić has actually spent his being desperately sold by those big clubs who instantly regretted their decision to sign him.

So if you’ve ever wondered why the 32-year-old’s name always pops up during a transfer window, that’ll be why.


Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal

Arturo Vidal will end his career as one of the best South American midfielders to ever make the move to Europe, so it’s no surprise that he always being linked with a big-money move elsewhere.

Even at the ripe age of 32, Vidal is still being tipped for a high-profile transfer in the near future.


Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali

At the other end of the age spectrum is Sandro Tonali, who’s been dubbed as ‘the next Andrea Pirlo’ after breaking into Brescia’s first-team in 2017.

The 19-year-old is at one of Italy’s smallest top-flight clubs and as a defensive midfielder, Tonali isn’t the go-to player to be making headlines on any given matchday – especially when he has Mario Balotelli for a teammate.


Sander Berge

AS Eupen v KRC Genk - Jupiler Pro League

Erling Haaland and Martin Ødegaard are Norway’s two brightest talents, but Sander Berge has been impressing at the highest level of European football for much longer.

Berge, 21, already has over 150 senior appearances to his name and he’s a regular with the national team.

If you’re a mid-table Premier League team the chances are you’ve already seen Berge’s name pop up on a transfer shortlist or two.


Isco

Getafe CF v Real Madrid CF  - La Liga

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Isco is still only 27, but the Spain international has never really found his feet to cement a regular starting place at Real Madrid.

Thankfully, we’re always reminded that the Spain international actually still plays football every time he’s linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabéu.


Timo Werner

Timo Werner

He’s in the form of his life and has scored just one less Bundesliga goal than Robert Lewandowski this season, but until Timo Werner leaves RB Leipzig, he’ll always be known primarily as a transfer target for bigger clubs in Europe.


Nicolò Zaniolo

Nicolò Zaniolo

Nicolò Zaniolo will go on to be the face of Italian football for a generation of fans – and the football media know it.

The 20-year-old has outgrown every club he’s ever played for and the same has happened with Roma, so you can expect to see Zaniolo’s name keep popping up before a European super club finally pays up.


Moussa Dembélé

FBL-EUR-C1-LYON-BENFICA

For all of his ability of the pitch, Moussa Dembélé’s quickly becoming the modern-day Nicolás Gaitán – getting linked with any Premier League team who might need a striker.

*Checks notes*

Wait, Gaitán is only 31? There’s still hope, Manchester United fans!


Eduardo Camavinga

FBL-FRA-U21

Is including a 17-year-old on this list cheating?

Yes.

But has Eduardo Camavinga been linked to absolutely everyone during the last two transfer windows?

Also, yes.


Fedor Chalov

Fyodor Chalov

There’s something about the rumour mill that loves linking Russian youngsters with a move to Europe’s bigger leagues, and Fedor Chalov has been the go-to player who any side who are in the market for a new striker.

The 21-year-old is deemed to be a huge talent, but Chalov still isn’t a regular part of the Russian national team and has spent the last few international breaks with their Under-21 side.


Gabriel Barbosa

Gabriel Barbosa

Gabriel Barbosa, more popularly known as Gabigol, has been in the spotlight for years and was deemed to be Brazil’s next big thing even ahead of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.

Since leaving Santos in 2016, Gabigol hasn’t ever settled with parent club Inter and he’s been linked with a move away from San Siro ever since as a result.

The 23-year-old has only ever spent time away on loan, but he re-joined Inter this month and is once again being tipped to finally secure a permanent move elsewhere. 


Bruno Fernandes

UEFA Europa League"Sporting Club de Portugal v PSV"

Bruno Fernandes is one of the most talented midfielders on the planet.

But after the last few transfer windows, fans will be desperate to see the back of one of the most slow-moving transfer sagas in modern memory.


Boubakary Soumaré

Boubakary Soumare

Football Twitter will tell you that Boubakary Soumaré is the best defensive midfielder in Ligue 1.

Football Twitter won’t tell you that they’ve never watched a Lille game before and can’t spell the Senegal international’s name without using a quick copy and paste from Google.


Thomas Meunier

Thomas Meunier

Does anyone else remember reading about Thomas Meunier leaving Paris Saint-Germain when he still had three years left on his contract?

Well, he’s now got just six months left.

But you knew that already. Of course you did. Because we haven’t for one second heard the end of him becoming a free agent in 2020.


Rúben Dias

FBL-POR-LIGA-BENFICA-PORTIMONENSE

Good centre-backs are a rare commodity in modern football so it’s no surprise to see the same name getting recycled over and over again during the transfer window.

And even though Benfica’s Rúben Dias signed a new contract at the Estádio da Luz two months ago, he was again being tipped to leave the club the next day. 

Not the next week. No. The next day.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Zinedine Zidane Hits Out at Monchi Criticism of Referee in Real Win

​Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has hit back at criticism levelled at the referee in his side’s win over Sevilla by opposition sporting director Monchi.

Monchi took a dim view on the decision which saw Sevilla have a goal ruled out in the first half, which would have put them 1-0 up, when Real Madrid’s Éder Militão was blocked off by Nemanja Gudelj at a corner before Luuk de Jong headed home. 

Juan Martinez,Luuk De Jong

Sevilla’s sporting director, speaking about the incident, told Spanish publication ​Marca: “I refuse to analyse the match tactically or technically because this moment is very key and it’s absurd to analyse the game from this point on.” 

Zidane’s view of the events could not have differed more, as he explained: “What I can say is that I’ve seen the incident and it’s a block, there’s a foul, the referee looked at VAR and gave a foul.”

When addressing Monchi’s comments, the ​Real Madrid manager said: “What [Monchi] says is up to him, I’m not someone to say nothing. In the end, it’s the referee who decides. It’s a bit strong what he said, but I’m not going to stop the sporting director of Sevilla from talking.”

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-SEVILLA

De Jong did find the net legally in the second half as he levelled the score, seven minutes after ​Casemiro’s opener. However, Zidane felt that Munir El Haddadi had handled the ball whilst on the ground in the buildup to Sevilla’s goal.

The former Ballon d’Or winner said: “In the second half, there’s a handball [for De Jong’s goal] and he didn’t give it. I can’t explain anything and I never enter into evaluating it. It’s the referees who decide. Sometimes it goes against you and sometimes it goes in your favour.”

Zidane maintained his place in the moral high ground as he added: “I don’t think the referee was so decisive [in the result]. He did what he had to do.”

If the referee wasn’t decisive, Casemiro certainly was, as the Brazilian’s two goals steered Madrid to the top of the La Liga table, with ​Barcelona sitting three points behind with a game in hand.

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