Karim Benzema’s Agent Insists Striker Has ‘No Intention’ of Leaving Real Madrid Amid Arsenal Links

Karim Benzema will not be joining Arsenal after all. Although on Wednesday Spanish media claimed that the Gunners had made an offer on him for the January transfer window, his agent insisted that he is satisfied with his current position at Real Madrid. 

Interviewed by Sky Sports News, the Frenchman’s agent Karim Djaziri has silenced rumours of a possible departure by saying: “Karim Benzema is very happy at Real Madrid.”

Having just recently started his ninth year with Los Blancos, the 29-year-old striker signed a contract extension last month and, according to his agent, has ‘absolutely no intention of leaving the club.’

Benzema has made a lethal attacking trio at Real Madrid alongside historic teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and has contributed to the team’s national and international successes with 182 goals in 373 appearances. 

As a Blanco, he has won two league titles and three Champions Leagues, the last one in the past season. 

Had he completed his transfer move to London, he would have had the chance to re-join France teammate Alexandre Lacazette, who joined Arsenal during the summer and could have been seen as a potential substitute to veteran Olivier Giroud.


As rumours about Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s departure from the Emirates Stadium in January grow, Arsene Wenger could have found in Benzema a suitable candidate to take over. 


Report Claims Spain Trio Could Quit National Team Following Staff Sacking Stand-Off

Spain might have to face the World Cup without three of its most important players, as Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets have threatened to abandon their national duty. 

According to Spanish media outlet Marca, the formidable trio recently had a row with Spanish FA chief Juan Luis Larrea over his wish to sack team director Maria Jose Claramunt. 

Celta Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga

The players were made aware of such decision during a lunch ahead of Spain’s match against Liechtenstein earlier this season, but strongly disagreed with Larrea and threatened to leave the squad.

Claramunt has always been a popular figure in the squad, hence Ramos’ attempt to defend her position after La Roja’s 3-0 win against in Italy, when he said: “I think it would be in our best interests if Maria Jose Claramunt stays with us.”

​​Such attempts have, however, have proved to be powerless so far, as the RFEF (the Spanish FA) announced, earlier this week, the decision to dismiss Claramunt after four years of service.  

Tensions arose after Larrea was reportedly banned from accessing the dressing rooms and chose not to congratulate the Spaniards’ qualification for the 2018 World Cup, nor to eloge Busquets’ 100th cap against Israel earlier this month. 

As Spain wait for the trio’s response to the Claramunt’s sacking, concerns over the future of the team and its performance in Russia grow.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s First Manager Explains Why Superstar Must Retire at Real Madrid

Former Sporting CP coach Laszlo Boloni, the man who was responsible for handing a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo his debut in professional football, has explained exactly why he believes the Portuguese superstar must remain at Real Madrid for the rest of his career.

Ronaldo has a contract at Real until June 2021, by which time he will be 36. However, if he chooses to leave the Bernabeu at that stage or sooner, Boloni doesn’t want to see his former protégé drop down to a lower level just to prolong his career.

“I hope that Ronaldo never decides towards the end of his career to drop back down to a level he hasn’t played at for a very, very long time – a level which, with no disrespect to any teams, could only cause him harm,” the Romanian coach told FIFA.com.


“I think he should, and will, finish his career at Real Madrid.”

Boloni, who now manages in Belgium with Royal Antwerp, made a key decision as he was preparing Ronaldo for his debut back in 2002 – and that was to use the youngster as a winger, rather than the striker that he had been at youth team level.

“He played as a centre-forward at the time, but I moved him out to the wing because coming up against two 90kg centre-backs would have been a little too much for a boy of 16 or 17,” ex-Steaua Bucharest player Boloni recalled.

“Plus, he was better able to exploit his qualities out wide, without losing his effectiveness. To my huge satisfaction, Alex Ferguson did the same thing when Cristiano joined Manchester United.

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“Today, he’s free to go where he wants, but at the time I felt that changing his position was the best thing to do.”


Harry Kane Couldn’t Contain His Excitement After Swapping Shirts With ‘Role Model’ Ronaldo

Tottenham showed their capabilities on the biggest stage possible after walking away with an impressive point in their 1-1 draw with European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday.

With Tottenham now in a good position to qualify for the next round, star striker Harry Kane believes his sid​e showed the rest of Europe the calibre they possess to be able to compete with the best team in the world.

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

Kane was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: “It was a big statement. A few years ago we were playing Europa League and to come here to the Bernabeu and put in a performance like that — we drew and maybe could have won — shows what kind of team we are.

“We can be proud of it, the fans can be proud and the whole club can be proud.”

The 24-year-old, who has scored 11 goals in 11 games this season so far, went onto comment on his moment with current world player of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo, after the game.

“I asked for his shirt,” said Kane. “He’s a big role model of mine, watching him when I was growing up. It’s a nice shirt to get and frame. I gave him my shirt. I don’t know what he’ll do with it. We just said, See you in a couple of weeks.”

With Los Blancos and Spurs level on points, as well as goal difference, both teams will be going into the next game on the 1st November with the possibility of topping the group. Tottenham will host Real Madrid in the return fixture at Wembley on matchday four.


Harry Kane’s Classy Moment With Real Madrid Shot Stopper Keylor Navas After Champions League Clash

​Tottenham grabbed an impressive point against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night, showing they are ready to compete with the very best in European football.

The 1-1 draw ensured Real and Spurs remain completely level on all fronts at the top of their group. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

Harry Kane, who’s flick on ricocheted off Raphael Varane to give Tottenham the lead, praised his side’s steady performance against the current European champions.

Kane was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: “It was a big statement. A few years ago we were playing Europa League and to come here to the Bernabeu and put in a performance like that — we drew and maybe could have won — shows what kind of team we are.”

His battle with the Los Blancos defence was always going to be intriguing coming into the game, and the 24-year-old certainly didn’t crumble under the pressure, forcing Keylor Navas into action several times, including a spectacular save from the Costa Rican in the second half.

And after the game, Kane was spotted patting Navas on the back as he passed him while exiting the stadium.

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As the video shows, Harry Kane praises him for the “great saves”, to which Navas responded “Thank you my friend, bye bye”. 

Kane has, once again, continued his stupendous goalscoring habits this season, netting 11 goals in 11 games. This has earned him the interest of many of Europe’s top clubs over the past few seasons, with Barcelona the latest to show interest in the 24 year-old.

The return fixture at Wembley on November 1st will certainly be one to look forward to, with both teams looking to go top of the group.


Real Madrid Reportedly Eye Marcus Rashford as ‘Plan B’ if Rumoured Harry Kane Approach Fails

Real Madrid have reportedly identified Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford as ‘Plan B’ if they fail in their primary objective of landing Tottenham and fellow England star Harry Kane this summer.

Speculation regarding a possible approach for Kane has exploded over the course of the last week, perhaps not entirely a coincidence given the timing of back-to-back Champions League games between Spurs and Los Blancos.

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

Earlier this week, rumour had it that Real would be willing to offer around £150m for Kane, a Premier League Golden Boot winner in each of the last two seasons. But it was also claimed that Spurs value their home-grown hero higher than Neymar and so £200m is the minimum price.

In the likely event that they fail in their attempts to prise Kane away from the north London club, Don Balon is claiming that Rashford has emerged on the Bernabeu club’s radar.

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

The report suggests that Cristiano Ronaldo in particular is a big fan of the English teenager and has been closely following the player’s progress at his former club. Ronaldo would therefore approve if president Florentino Perez attempts to realise this apparent early interest.

As an emerging talent, Rashford fits the change in Real’s transfer policy which has noticeably shifted away from landing Galacticos in recent seasons to focus on developing players from a younger age – Marco Asensio, Theo Hernandez and Jesus Vallejo are notable examples.

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It is said that Rashford would not be a regular starter at Real right away, instead used as gradual relief for 29-year-old Karim Benzema over a period of time that, as Don Balon puts it, will ensure that ‘everyone wins.’

It must, however, be pointed out that any chance of Rashford moving to Spain will hinge on the willingness of both he and United to let it happen, which certainly seems unlikely.


Tottenham Star Harry Winks Reveals Facing Boyhood Idol Luka Modric Was ‘Special’

​Young Tottenham starlet Harry Winks has described playing against his boyhood hero Luka Modric as ‘special’, after the two went head to head in the centre of midfield on Tuesday night in the Champions League. 

Winks was only 12 when Modric signed for Spurs back in 2008, and he became an idol for the academy player as he progressed through the ranks. 

In spite of such admiration, Winks was unflustered on the night, delivering an assured performance at the Bernabeu against one of the best midfields in the history of world football. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

The up and coming English midfielder told Sky Sports: “When I was coming through the academy at a young age he [Modric] was someone I always used to watch at White Hart Lane,”

“I still admire him to this day – he’s a fantastic, world-class player. To play against him was special.

“Him and [Toni] Kroos, they are two world-class players, players I look up to, so when you go on the pitch with them it’s easy to get a little bit daunted by it.

“But I try to take all that away from it, treat it like any normal game and just go for them as I would any other player. Being on the pitch with them you realise their quality and just how good they are.”

Winks was also effusive in his praise for club captain Hugo Lloris, after the Frenchmen put together a string of incredible saves to deny Madrid throughout the game – the pick of which was was an astounding block with his feet to reject Karim Benzema’s header from point-blank range.

“He is world class, one of the best ‘keepers in the world,” Winks added. “The Benzema chance, the way he saved it I will never know.

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“He makes saves not many people can which is why he’s up there with the best ‘keepers in the world.”


Real Madrid President Says He Is ‘Not Considering’ La Liga Without Barcelona

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has claimed that he is “not considering” a La Liga that does not include Barcelona.

Catalonia’s recent independence vote and the political uncertainty that followed has led to speculation that Barcelona could at some point split from Spain’s league system.

And Perez has expressed his hope that the situation is resolved and that the Blaugrana will continue to rival Real Madrid.


“There are hypotheticals that I do not consider. I am not considering a Spain without Catalonia nor La Liga without Barcelona,” he told ​El Espanol. “Therefore, I am not able to answer something that I cannot even think about.

“Obviously it worries me like everyone else, but I can offer little assistance.

“I trust the government and the parties that back the constitution that have united to solve the problem in the best possible way.”


Barcelona have stressed their desire to remain in La Liga despite concern over the immediate future.

La Liga president Javier Tebas announced on Tuesday that he had delayed putting out future international TV rights out to tender because of the uncertainty.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has been outspoken against the violence in Catalonia earlier this month and called for dialogue and the right to vote. His stance has led to abuse by supporters during games for the Spanish national team, but Perez has expressed his belief that the best players should continue to play for La Roja.

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“I think that the selection must go all players that are united and that create good atmosphere. And if I tell you the truth, in the last few games I’ve seen that.”

If Barcelona were to exit La Liga, the TV rights would lose 20 to 25 percent of their value.


Real Madrid Defender Marcelo Admits Lawyers ‘Looking Into’ Tax Fraud Claims

Real Madrid defender and Brazil international Marcelo is getting his lawyers involved in the recently surfaced claims that he has been using companies abroad to handle image right earnings.

Prosecutors have claimed that Marcelo defrauded authorities of $579,348 back in the 2014, however Marcelo has been quick to respond. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

Marcelo, quoted by Marca, explained the situation in more detail in his post-match interview after Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Spurs. He said “My lawyers are looking into the matter.

“I hope they will find a resolution and that the matter will be sorted as soon as possible.”

The Brazilian defender has become the latest player to be targeted by Spanish authorities after Lionel Messi and his father were charged on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of $4.6m, similarly from income made from image rights. 

Other big names that have been under investigation by Spanish prosecution over tax avoidance are Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Radamel Falcao and Fabio Coentrao. 

Marcelo also took the time in his interview to merit Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino for his approach to last night’s Champions League clash, saying “Pochettino’s approach has been bad news for Real Madrid. We have not won the match, but in my opinion we won a point. It has been a very tough match, Tottenham read the game really well.”

Real Madrid return to La Liga action this weekend hosting Eibar; a game that Zidane will expect to earn three points from in their pursuit to gain traction on leaders Barcelona.


Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham: Spurs Grind Out Well Deserved Draw on Disappointing Night for Los Blancos

​Tottenham Hotspur managed to grind out what could prove to be an invaluable point following their 1-1 draw with Champions League holders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday evening. 

The opener came courtesy of Los Blancos defender Raphael Varane turning the ball into his own net midway through the first half to give Spurs their first ever goal against the La Liga giants. However, the dream result was dampened slightly just before the break as Cristiano Ronaldo levelled from the spot after a moment of madness from Serge Aurier. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

The result leaves both the North Londoners and one of the tournament’s hottest favourites level on seven points apiece after their opening three games, with the return leg at Wembley Stadium now just over two weeks away. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

It was a high-tempo opening and the hosts almost manufactured the perfect start, as inside five minutes the travelling Spurs contingent had their hearts in their mouths after Ronaldo crashed his header off Hugo Lloris’ upright, following a smart cut back by teenager Achraf Hakimi from the right-hand side. 

With the French custodian left floored following his attempts to claw the 32-year-old’s effort away from goal, the ball fell kindly to Karim Benzema around the penalty spot with the net gaping. But, somehow the striker could only drag, what was a superb opportunity, wide, giving Tottenham the biggest of let-offs.


The following 10 minutes consisted of Madrid continuing their opening onslaught, with Hakimi persistently causing make-shift left-back Jan Vertonghen’s life troublesome – and the rising pressure almost paid off. 

Ronaldo ended up latching onto a pass following silky build-up play between the Spanish right-back and Benzema on the edge of the Premier League side’s area, and with only one thought in his mind, the four-time Balon d’Or-winner left Lloris scrambling as the Portugal international’s long-range effort trickled inches wide his right-hand upright.

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

But following a monetary respite and a rare venture into the Los Blancos half, Harry Kane almost snatched the most undeserved of leads. The Englishman ghosted into the Real area before forcing a sublime save from hosts’ goalkeeper Keylor Navas after evading marker Casemiro and sending a bullet header goal-bound from a perfectly-flighted Christian Eriksen corner. 

Following their first clear-cut opportunity of the evening Mauricio Pochettino’s side finally began to show the tempo and qualities that has made them such a formidable force in English football, and just before the half-hour mark the visitors grabbed the lead. 


It seemed the man-of-the-moment Kane was on-hand to continue his stupendous goalscoring form, however on closer inspection it was in fact the Champions League holders’ Varane who had turned the ball into his own net to send Spurs ahead.

A tricky, fizzing cross was whipped in from deep on the right-hand side by Aurier towards the Madrid area where the 24-year-old striker attempted an audacious flick. The effort seemed to be skewed and harmless, however the unfortunate outstretched boot of the French centre-back turned the ball past the helpless Navas to mark the North Londoners’ first goal in their history against Tuesday’s opposition. 

As the half ticked on Zinedine Zidane’s side’s frustrations began to surface, but the 12-time kings of Europe levelled things up three minutes before the break, as Ronaldo leathered home from 12 yards to mark his 110th Champions League goal.

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

Aurier, the hero just 15 minutes previously, instantly became the villain after needlessly hacking-down the advancing Toni Kroos inside the area – leaving Polish referee Szymon Marciniak with no other choice but to point to the spot and send the tie into half-time level once again.

The opening of the second 45 followed a similar vein to the first, with Madrid flexing their muscles early on and setting up camp high in the Spurs half. 

However, striker Benzema could have done no more when offered the chance to send his side into the lead for the first time of the evening, but Lloris, with arguably the save of the season, was there to deny his fellow countryman from extremely close-range. 

The 29-year-old striker latched onto a beautifully-flighted Casemiro cross, but the frontman’s bulleted header from less than six-yards-out was somehow, somehow kept out of the back of the net by the left foot of the highly-decorated 30-year-old Tottenham custodian. 

But as the tie entered the final 20 minutes it was Madrid goalkeeper Navas’ turn to produce a vital stop – albeit slightly less dramatic, no less skilful or important. 

Fernando Llorente was found after some intricate one-touch football outside the Los Blancos area before sliding in goal-machine Kane with a beautiful first-time pass. 

Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League

With the prolific Englishman one-on-one, those inside the Santiago Bernabeu were simply waiting for the net to bulge, but amazingly the Costa Rican was able to get the slightest of fingertips to the shot and divert the sure-goalbound attempt wide. 

As the highly-entertaining tie fizzled out, the travelling army went away even happier thanks to witnessing the return of left-back Danny Rose, who managed to rack up his first 10 minutes of first-team football following his long lay off.

The two meet again in just over two weeks time, when Pochettino’s side will hope they can go one better than their heroics of Tuesday night and take control of Group H by clinching three points at Wembley.