Player Power: Luka Modric Rant Leads to Zlatko Dalic Replacing Ante Cacic as Croatia Manager

​Croatia’s draw against Finland in Rijeka on Friday evening has put the national team at risk of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Croatian national team’s most influential player and captain, Luka Modric was upset with the team’s result and blamed manager Ante Cacic for their poor form.

2017 China Cup International Football Championship - Third Place Match

As a result of the 32-year-old’s rant, the Croatia board have sacked Cacic and appointed Zlatko Dalic as the new manager, the ​Independent reports.

Following Croatia’s draw with Finland which saw Iceland go top of group I in the qualifiers, Modric took to the press to vent his frustrations at Cacic: 

“What do we do now? We started with him and now we have to just keep going,” the captain said. “Until our match with Iceland, everything was fine and now all of a sudden nothing is of any worth.

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“That’s the honest truth, the situation is catastrophic, but we still have a chance to make it right.”

In order for Croatia to qualify for the tournament, they will have to beat Ukraine in their upcoming match with the new manager at the helm.

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Modric showed his lack of trust in Cacic after brutally being honest about the plight of the Croatia side’s performance recently.

“What happened? Nothing, we have only just compromised our path to the World Cup,” he said.  “When we were looking for the goal, we had a few chances and initiative. When we scored, it was unbelievable that we would retreat against Finland, of all teams.

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“That Croatia was waiting for the final whistle against that kind of national team is…It is unbelievable that we are struggling against teams like Kosovo and Finland, where before we would have beaten them with ease.”

With Dalic in charge, many of the Croatia faithful including Modric will expect the team to get the win necessary to qualify for Russia.


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5 Unlikely Stars Who’ve Outscored Cristiano Ronaldo So Far This Season

After a long run of good form, picking up the Champions League, the La Liga title and the Supercopa de España, Cristiano Ronaldo’s good from looks to have stagnated so far this season, with the Portuguese man enduring an unprecedented goal drought in the league.

If not for his form in the Champions League, the Real Madrid star would be without any competitive goals this season. 

With Ronaldo having only netted only four goals from six appearances (a poor return by his impeccable standards), here are five undistinguished players who have notched more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo so far this season…

1. Simone Zaza

Appearances: 7 

Goals: 6

After a calamitous loan spell at West Ham United and Euro 2016 campaign, Simone Zaza looks as though he has finally put the memories of that Italy penalty miss to rest and is once again finding his feet.

After a six month loan spell with Valencia in the second half of the 2016/17 season, Zaza made his switch from Juventus to Los Murcielagos permanent in the summer and he has repaid his new club in kind. 

This season, the Italian forward has notched six goals from seven league appearances, including a hat-trick against Malaga, seeing him surge to second in the La Liga goalscoring charts, his tally for the season being bettered only by Lionel Messi.

2. Jamie Vardy

Appearances: 7

Goals: 5

Jamie Vardy looks to have another impressive season ahead of him in the Premier League. After notching only 13 league goals last season, the 30-year-old England man looks to have returned to the kind of form that helped Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2015/16.

Having already netted five times in the league this season, averaging a goal every 122 minutes, Vardy could well be on his way to notching upwards of 20 goals this season if his current form continues. A big contrast to his tally from last season and therefore warranting a spot in this list. 

3. Mario Balotelli

Appearances: 9

Goals: 7

Ever since leaving AC Milan for Liverpool, Balotelli has struggled to recapture the kind of form he enjoyed in his early playing days with Inter and Manchester City. However, a move to OGC Nice seems to have revitalised ‘Super’ Mario’s career.

So far this season Balotelli has been unstoppable in Ligue 1, notching five goals from five games, averaging an astounding goal every 72 minutes. The Italian’s two other goals have come in European competition as he scored in the Champions League qualifiers and Europa League group stage.

4. Vagner Love

Appearances: 7

Goals: 7

The Brazilian journeyman, Vagner Love, is currently plying his trade in the Turkish Super Lig with Aytemiz Alanyaspor. 

Although his side is currently sitting eighth in the league, one point behind Fenerbahce, Love is currently the league’s joint top goalscorer. Among the other three players to net seven in the league this season is former Swansea and Marseille man, Bafetimbi Gomis.

5. Wout Weghorst

Appearances: 8

Goals:8

AZ Alkmaar’s Wout Weghorst has proven pivotal to his side’s performances so far this season as he has netted over half of all their league goals so far this campaign. As well as displaying good form in the Eredivisie, Weghorst has been influential in the KNVB Beker, notching a brace in a 3-2 win over second tier side, MVV Maastricht.

Since joining AZ in 2016, Weghorst has proven to be invaluable to the Alkmaar-Zaanstreek outfit, scoring 13 league goals in his debut season, and the 25-year-old Dutchman looks set to build upon that tally this season.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Request Could Dash West Ham’s Hopes of Signing William Carvalho

​West Ham may find themselves frustrated by a particular request from Cristiano Ronaldo if Real Madrid decide to act in his favour.

According to notorious Spanish rumourmongers ​Don Balon, the Portuguese superstar has asked that his club make a move for his compatriot William Carvahlho.

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The midfielder, now attached to Portuguese side Sporting CP, has been quite impressive for both club and country in recent times and is being monitored by several clubs around Europe.

West Ham, one such club, came pretty close to signing the player during the last transfer window, but the deal ultimately fell through. They are expected to continue their pursuit of the Portugal international, who is thought to still want a move to London.

If Don Balon are to be believed, though, Ronaldo has given Madrid’s bosses his take on who they should sign when players become available next year, and has highlighted Carvalho as one they should focus on.

Real manager Zinedine Zidane is also said to be an admirer of the 38-time capped player, who he sees as someone who could come in and provide competition for Casemiro, as well as hand the club more depth in midfield.

It would certainly be hard for Carvalho to turn down a move to Madrid in favour of the Hammers, who have been struggling for most of the season. And such a request from Ronaldo would all but end their hopes of signing the talented midfield man for good.


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Ex-Chelsea & Real Star Ricardo Carvalho Handed Suspended Jail Term Over Spanish Tax Fraud

​Ricardo Carvalho has been slapped with a suspended prison sentence relating to tax fraud that the Chelsea legend committed during his Real Madrid days.

The centre-back, who now plies his trade in the Far East with Shanghai SIPG, was handed a seven-month jail term and ordered to pay a €142,822 fine by Madrid’s magistrate court, as reported by ​Sky Sports.

However, given that Spanish criminal law does not expect individuals handed a sentence under two years to actually spend time in prison, Carvalho will not have to up sticks from China and carry out his punishment behind bars.

UEFA Champions League: Real Betis v Chelsea

Carvalho had dodged tax returns totalling €545,981 across the years 2011 and 2012, which fell during his three-year spell with Los Blancos under current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has also been accused of tax fraud by the Spanish authorities, but is yet to stand trial despite being summoned to appear in court over his own allegations.

The Spanish prosecution offence had ordered that Carvalho should face a year in prison and pay €300,000 in fines for his own case but, after being found guilty of his offences, the judiciary opted to cut short his suspended sentence and reduce his fine.

That verdict came off the back of Carvalho accepting that he had conned Spain’s tax authorities out of a handsome sum, and that he would pay back the amount in full requested by the magistrate.

Carvalho won three Premier League titles and two League Cups during his time with Chelsea, while his stint at Santiago Bernabeu saw him land 2012’s La Liga trophy and the 2011 Copa Del Rey.

The 39-year-old was also part of the Portugal squad that succeeded in lifting the Euro 2016 trophy – the country’s first success at a major international tournament – 15 months ago.


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Incredible Stat Reveals Just How Similar Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Careers Have Been

Comparisons between the two best players of the 21st century have become common discussion amongst football fans – yet the most recent discovery has sparked more debate than ever before.

That intriguing stat? Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo find themselves exactly level when their combined goals and assists are tallied; both with 812 to their name. While the pair are neck and neck still though, Messi has achieved the feat in 155 fewer games.

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Revealed by messivsronaldo.net, the stats display that both players are currently even for goal contributions at the time of writing.

Both Messi and Ronaldo frequently play down the rivalry created by the media between them. Back in May, Ronaldo said: “I like to see all good players and Messi is one of them. He is a player. I really enjoy seeing him on the pitch and all the great players”

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Messi returned the favour this summer saying: “I have always said it – and [Ronaldo] from his part – that he is armed with the presence of us both. He is a phenomenal player with a lot of quality. All the world knows, and that is why he is one of the best of the world”

While Ronaldo had the most successful 2017 in terms of honours, winning the double last season – the way Messi has started the season means he is likely to be the highest scoring of the two in 2017. Scoring 14 goals thus far this season, compared to Ronaldo’s five – Messi has eclipsed Ronaldo entirely, scoring 68 goals this calendar year. 


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Real Madrid Handed Boost as First Team Trio Return to Training Ahead of Getafe & Spurs Clashes

​Real Madrid have been handed a boost as Karim Benzema, Theo Hernandez and Marcelo have all returned to first team training.

The club confirmed the news on their ​official site, and it is bound to go down well with fans who have seen their side make a stuttering start to the new season.

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Benzema and Hernandez are more likely to start Madrid’s next two matches, with Marcelo having come through the first part of a workout on Wednesday.

The Brazilian had suffered ‘a grade 2 tear’ in his bicep femorus muscle against Real Betis, Hernandez was sidelined with a shoulder injury picked up against Levante and Benzema had been out with a muscle injury sustained against Levante.

The club’s site read: “Real Madrid returned to training today (on Wednesday evening), completing the first session of the week without the 14 players who have been called up for their national sides. 

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“Casilla, Luca, Theo, Llorente, Lucas Vázquez, Benzema and Marcelo trained out on pitch 3 with the Castilla squad. The Brazilian full-back completed the first part of the session with the group, before finishing off on his own.”

Madrid will be eager to get Marcelo and Benzema in particular back into the first team – Zinedine Zidane’s men have struggled so far in La Liga, and need to close the seven-point gap on rivals Barcelona. 

They face Getafe up next in the league and then a potentially tough tie against Tottenham in the Champions League.


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Harry Kane Opens Up About Possibility of Following Former Spurs Star Gareth Bale to Play Abroad

Harry Kane has admitted that while he is happy at Tottenham, he could one day consider a move abroad later on in his career.

The in-form forward will captain England for the third time in his career against Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night, as Kane continues to show his importance to both club and country.

After winning the Premier League Golden Boot award for the past two seasons, and netting six times already this season, there have been inevitable transfer rumours linking Kane with a move to Real Madrid.

However, Kane is insistent that while he could never ‘rule out’ a move abroad, he is focussed on his career with Spurs.

Asked if he would be tempted to play abroad during the England press conference, Kane responded, as quoted by The Mirror: I would never say no or yes. You’d not rule out anything.”

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Kane’s goalscoring record and is likely to see him continue to be linked with Europe’s best for the foreseeable future. However, the Walthamstow-born star also confirmed that he is content to stay in his home city for the time being.

It’s not something I definitely want to do, but you never rule anything out. I’m very happy here [at Tottenham], but we’ll see what happens.” 

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Report Claims Cristiano Ronaldo Could Block Real Madrid Move for Spurs Goal Machine Harry Kane

​Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo will deny Harry Kane a move to the Los Blancos side if any attempt to lure him to Spain is made.

That is according to Spanish outlet ​Don Balon, who report that the 32-year-old will try to block any move as the Portuguese looks to maintain his role as the key figure in attack in the side.

Apparently, Ronaldo is concerned that the arrival of another striker would take the role in which he wants play; centre-forward.

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Harry Kane, meanwhile, has made it clear he isn’t ruling out a move away from Tottenham in the future and is quoted as saying: “I would never say no or yes.

“It’s not something I definitely want to do, but you never rule anything out. I’m very happy here, but we’ll see what happens.”

The report claims that Ronaldo would, however, be more open to a move for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, as long as the Argentine star who currently plays for Juventus doesn’t infringe on his position.

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Real Madrid’s Marcelo Becomes Latest La Liga Star to Be Investigated for Tax Fraud

The Spanish tax agency have reopened a tax fraud investigation against Real Madrid left-back Marcelo over payments regarding his image rights.

​AS report that the investigation is over a possible fraud of €400,000 dating back to 2013, in relation to image rights. The case is being reinvestigated as the Real star declared the income on his 2015 tax return as corporation tax, while authorities claim that it should have been paid as personal income tax.

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The case qualifies for investigation as it exceeds the €120,000 limit needed in Spain for a fraud case to be opened, and will now be passed on to the Spanish financial crimes investigators where they will decide whether there was any intention on Marcelo’s part to purposely defraud the tax authorities.

The Brazilian is far from the first of La Liga’s stars to be in Spanish tax investigators’ cross-hairs, with Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Neymar (now at Paris Saint-Germain) and Los Blancos teammate Cristiano Ronaldo being looked at closely in recent years. 

Mascherano and Messi were both found guilty of their respective offences, while a case is still ongoing against Portugal star and Ballon d’Or favourite Ronaldo. 

Marcelo, largely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, has been at the Bernabeu since 2007 – becoming an integral part of the Real Madrid team which won La Liga last season and secured back-to-back Champions League titles. He recently signed a new contract that will keep him in Madrid until 2022, and has become the vice-captain of the team. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo Reveals Reason He Left Man Utd in Interview With Ex-Teammate Rio Ferdinand

Cristiano Ronaldo has opened up on why he decided to leave the comfort of Manchester United for Real Madrid back in 2009, after an intimate interview with former teammate Rio Ferdinand saw the attacker reflect on his career.

Ronaldo quit Old Trafford for the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2009 after Los Blancos offered a then world record fee of £80m (which, less than a decade later seems an almost insignificant fee). However, now he’s discussed his decision to leave – claiming that he had to prove himself.

“I just thought in my mind I want to go there to show my level, to show that I’m a different player and that’s what I did,” he told Ferdinand.

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“I arrived and I had a fantastic first season and then I have improved every season,

“I will never forget the Red Devils. I learnt to be better and better, being around the best players in the world.”

Ronaldo did take a minute to rip into his interviewer – who recently announced his desire to move into professional boxing. When asked where he sees himself in ten years, the 32-year-old was quick to take a jab at Ferdinand.

“10 years? No, in 10 years it will be tough. Maybe I will be a boxer like you” he joked.

Ronaldo is a serial trophy winner on the pitch, and even in his veteran years, his hunger to win everything he can remains as strong as ever:

“The most important thing is to win trophies. We work 10, 11 months and if you win nothing you feel empty and I like to win trophies – as a collective and as an individual, because I work hard for that.


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