3 Key Battles That Could Decide Borussia Dortmund’s Clash With Real Madrid on Tuesday Night

Borussia Dortmund invite Real Madrid to Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday evening and will be under increased pressure to get three points against the current Champions League holders.

After losing to Spurs in the opening Group H gameweek, Dortmund could fall adrift of the top two spots with a loss, and here’s three battles that could go a long way to deciding how the game pans out… 

3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Sergio Ramos

It would be very hard to leave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of any Dortmund-related article, especially as the Gabonese frontman has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season.

Aubameyang’s battle against Sergio Ramos will be particularly key as the Madrid captain is one of the quickest centre-backs in the world and so may be able to negate the former Saint-Etienne striker’s pace advantage to a certain extent.

Ramos also has a reputation of picking up cards easily, so if Aubameyang can draw a few fouls from the Spanish international early on in the game, the Madrid backline could be put under significant pressure from Dortmund’s pacy attacking trio.

2. Nuri Sahin vs Casemiro

Dortmund’s lightning quick strike force led by Aubameyang may grab all the headlines, but Nuri Sahin’s role of anchoring the midfield will prove crucial on Tuesday night.

Sahin has a passing accuracy of 85.7% this season and will be looking to thread the ball through the backline for rapid wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Christian Pulisic to run on to.

Casemiro is very much the dark horse of the Madrid side and if the Brazilian ball-winning midfielder is able to cut off Dortmund’s link between midfield and attack then the Yellow Submarines could be looking at two successive losses in Europe.

1. Lukasz Piszczek vs Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has endured a tough start to the season by his standards, netting just three times and shooting up the infamous list of players with the most shots without scoring in Europe.

Dropped points against Real Betis, Levante and Valencia means that the defending La Liga champions are currently sitting in 5th place and their poor league form could have a detrimental impact on their performance in the Champions League.

Lukasz Piszczek will be coming up against Ronaldo directly in the right-back role, but the Polish defender has been part of a Dortmund side which has conceded just once in six league games, despite a nervy loss against Spurs in the Champions League a few weeks ago.

Ronaldo is the heart of the Madrid attack and his battle against Piszczek will be a crucial one because unless the Portuguese star can inspire a change of fortunes for Madrid, Los Blancos could be looking at more dropped points in an already poor start to the season. 


Ruud van Nistelrooy & Cristiano Ronaldo Relationship Revealed as Deciding Factor Into Striker’s Exit

​Ruud van Nistelrooy remains one of the most prolific strikers to ever grace European football, but his time at Manchester United is storied as being slightly stained.

The Dutchman left Manchester United in 2006 under poor circumstances, but the exact reason was unknown until now.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s ex-communications chief and former Labour Party spin doctor, has spilled the beans in his latest batch of diaries (H/T ​The Sunday Times).

Campbell was quite close to Sir Alex Ferguson back then, and revealed that the former United boss decided to let Van Nistelrooy go following various incidents, with the most grave coming in the form of an offensive remark regarding Cristiano Ronaldo.

Having met with Ferguson in France that year, Campbell claimed that the manager was “not sure what was going to happen with Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Manchester United Press Conference

“[He was] very self-centred. The last straw was when he told Cristiano Ronaldo he had found a new dad in Carlos [Queiroz, Ferguson’s assistant] – just after Ronaldo’s dad, who was an alcoholic, had died.

“Carlos asked him to show respect and he said he didn’t respect anyone there. He later apologised but CR was not having it.

“Alex sent van Nistelrooy home when he heard about it later. He was not sure what he was going to do with him.”

The striker would leave for Real Madrid, where he would spend the next four years of his career. He did play one season with Ronaldo at Madrid before moving to Hamburger SV in 2010.

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Van Nistelrooy bagged 150 goals during his five years at Old Trafford, and will always be regarded as a legend over there despite the circumstances under which he left the club.


PHOTO: Real Madrid Star Karim Benzema Was Involved in Weekend Car Crash

​Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema was involved in a vehicular accident on Friday night, according to Spanish paper ​El Mundo.


The Frenchman was left out of Zinedine Zidane’s squad for their match against Alaves, which they won 1-2, with a back injury being reported as the cause.

Benzema was driving on the M-13 motorway in his Audi RS6 when he collided with a Nissan Note. Both vehicles were damaged, but no one was injured.

The report claims that the drivers of both cars were breathalysed and none of them were found to have alcohol in their system.

Friday wasn’t the first time Benzema was involved in an accident. In fact, the striker has had several of those over the years, and this most recent one wasn’t even his first for 2017.

In 2009, he crashed into some barriers in La Finca de Pozuelo; and earlier this year, he was involved in another in Reunion. The Madrd man has also been fined for the offence of driving without a licence, as well as reckless driving.

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The 29-year-old signed a new contract with Los Blancos last week, extending his stay to 2021. Reports claim that a release clause of €1bn was inserted in the deal.


Super Agents Trying to Woo Dele Alli by Promising Big Money Moves to Man Utd or Real Madrid

​Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli could be heading for the Wembley Stadium exit door as a number of agents have promised him moves to Manchester United or Real Madrid following the 21-year-old’s decision to cut ties with long-time representatives Impact Sports Management, according to the ​Mirror

The Spurs midfield maestro has reportedly been approached by a number of ‘super agents’ vying for the England international’s signature, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s communicator, Jorge Mendes, and the man who oversees Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mino Raiola. 


The extremely talented attacking outlet has been told by a number of affair handlers that they are the only ones who can orchestrate a transfer to either the Red Devils or Los Blancos, should the PFA Young Player of the Year 2017 winner decide to leave the North Londoners

However, Tottenham have continuously stated that Alli is not for sale, and are in the midst of discussing a new deal for one of their key men.

The new contract will reportedly take the Milton Keynes youth academy graduate, who is believed to currently earn around £50,000-£60,000 per week, up into a similar wage bracket to that of fellow Wembley standouts Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris, who receive around £100,000 per week. 

The Englishman seems to have continued his excellent run of form from last season so far this term, netting three times in seven appearances during all competitions, as well as providing two assists. 


Real Madrid Sign Midfielder Marcos Llorente to New 4-Year Deal

​La Liga champions Real Madrid have tied down Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente to a new four-year extension.

The 22-year-old, who joined Los Blancos from Rayo Majadahonda in 2008 – has garnered quite a bit of attention from clubs around Europe, prompting Madrid to sign him to a new deal to possibly ward off interest.

Italy U21 v Spain U21 - International Friendly

“A statement on the club’s ​official website reads: Real Madrid C. F. and Marcos Llorente have agreed to extend the player’s contract, which will see him remain at the club until the 30th June 2021.”

“Tomorrow, Sunday, at 2pm, Marcos Llorente will appear before the media in the press room of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.”

Llorente now plays for Spain’s Under-21 side, having given a great account of himself at the Bernabeu in both the youth and senior side.

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Madrid reportedly rejected over 20 offers for him during the transfer window, and will hope that he can become a regular in the first team soon.


Alavés 1 – 2 Real Madrid: Los Blancos Return to Winning Ways Thanks to Brace From Dani Ceballos

Real Madrid returned to winning ways against Alavés on Saturday thanks to an impressive brace from Dani Ceballos, who found himself on the score-sheet for the first time in his Los Blancos career.

Despite sitting at the bottom of the La Liga table, the home side proved to be no easy feat as they notched their first goal of the season from a thunderous header by Manu Garcia, as they ensured the Spanish champions found it hard to control much of the games proceedings. 


Real Madrid settled into possession early at the Mendizorroza as they looked to bounce back from a poor run of form against an Alavés side who had yet to score a single league goal this season.

However, despite a half-chance coming the way of Cristiano Ronaldo inside the first few minutes, it was the home side who came close to breaking the deadlock early as Munir threatened to run in behind the Los Blancos back-line, which was quickly backed up by two dangerous crosses which threatened to undo the unorganised back-line of Real Madrid. 

But, as we know you can’t keep a top team down for long, just as Real Madrid appeared largely lacklustre inside the first ten minutes a special effort from Dani Ceballos who, had found space in the box, dispatched a right footed shot into the bottom left corner to give the visitors an early lead – his first goal for Real Madrid in his first starting appearance. 

​​Despite the set-back Alavés continued to commit players in the final third and take the game to the Whites, which allowed Real Madrid to absorb the pressure and look to counter-attack, a strategy which they seemingly had no qualms about executing as Zinedine Zidane’s side seemed to have moved up a gear half-way through the first period. 

The visitors tested the resolve of the Alavés’ stopper in back-to-back corners, where a close-range headed effort from Nacho had to be superbly tipped over the bar by Pacheco to ensure the deficit remained as one. 

Not to be disheartened Alavés continued to hold their own despite Madrid dominating possession, offering a real threat moving forward which they finally made count when they notched their first goal of their La Liga season when Garcia blasted a thumping header beyond a hapless Keylor Navas. 

The ecstasy and party atmosphere was quickly put to an end however, as Ceballos restored Real Madrid’s lead a mere three minutes later after a weak clearance from stopper Pacheco fell straight into his path, where his first time strike found the bottom right corner with little trouble – ensuring Zidane’s side took a 2-1 lead into the break. 


A bright start to the second half offered chances for both sides as an early cross into the box from the home side required the intervention of Navas to catch the incoming header, whilst the other end saw Ronaldo scuff a volley which clipped the outside of the left upright. 

As both side’s traded blows in midfield clear-cut chances were momentarily hard to come by, but a superb reading of the offside trap allowed Isco to charge into the opposition’s box unmarked but an untimely slip ensured his strike was saved by the legs of Pacheco – a real let off for Alavés.

Desperate to get on the score-sheet Ronaldo freed himself up in the box and unleashed a stunning strike from the right sight of the penalty area which looked bound for the back of the net, but it once again found the left upright with the rebound unable to be capitalised on as Alavés cleared their lines. 

Just as Real Madrid looked to be pulling away and asserting themselves in the game, the home side almost levelled the scores on two occasions through Pedraza, the first coming when his effort agonisingly hit the crossbar, and the second a toe-poke beyond Navas which found the left upright – a game of small margins. 

Chances to extend their lead continued to fall for Real Madrid as the game came to a close, but none were taken advantage of as Ceballos’s brace ultimately proved to be the difference. 

Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid - La Liga

The win against Alavés restores Real Madrid back onto the winners list and sends them into fourth position in the table, four points off leaders Barcelona, with their next league fixture coming against Espanyol next Sunday.

Despite scoring their first goal of the season, Alavés remain on the hunt for their first points in La Liga with their next chance now coming against fifth-placed Levante on Saturday.



Real Madrid Keeping Tabs on Liverpool’s Star Winger Sadio Mane as Senegalese Continues to Impress

​Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing a move for Liverpool’s flying superstar winger Sadio Mane after they shortlisted the 25-year-old as a future transfer target. 

Mane has been an instrumental part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans at Liverpool since his arrival from Southampton in a move worth £34m in 2016, and his consistent dazzling performances for the Reds have seemingly caught the eye of one of Europe’s top sides. 

Liverpool FC v Sevilla FC - UEFA Champions League

According to Spanish outlet ​OkDiario, Real Madrid are continually monitoring the progress of Mane at Liverpool as it is understood they are impressed with his pace and skill which is only set to improve as he enters the prime stage of his career.  

However, they could also face competition from arch rivals Barcelona who have reportedly turned their attention towards Mane after missing out on his teammate Philippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window. 

25-year-old Mane has hit the ground running at Anfield as he made 27 league appearances in his debut campaign – where he scored 13 goals and provided five assists – and the start of his second season has continued in the same vein as he has scored three goals in his opening four league games. 

The Senegal international’s impressive start to the season earned him August’s Premier League Player of the Month award, but a red card against Manchester City stopped Mane in his tracks as he was banned for three domestic matches. 

A linchpin in Klopp’s side will not be allowed to leave easily despite interest from members of Europe’s top table, in which Liverpool’s hand will be strengthened by the fact that Mane is contracted to the club until 2021. 

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Mane will have successfully completed his three game ban following Liverpool’s trip to Leicester on Saturday, allowing him to return to Premier League action next week against Newcastle. 


FIFA Announce Shortlists for Best Players, Coach and Goal of the Year

​Friday saw FIFA announce the 2017 finalists for their highly coveted awards ceremony, celebrating everything good about football – from the brilliance of fans, to the best goal scored over the past year, and, of course, the Player of the Year award.

Now, there’s a fair few amount of awards to be handed out in London on October 23, and voting has already started – so wouldn’t it be really useful if all the information was just piled into one article?

Funny you should say that…

1. The Best FIFA Men’s Player

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid CF)

Lionel Messi (Argentina/FC Barcelona) 

Neymar (Brazil/FC Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)

Now whether you class FIFA’s player of the year award or the Ballon d’Or as more prestigious, no one can dispute that this individual award means a great deal. 

The three finalists in Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar have been cut down from an original shortlist of 24; but, let’s be honest – was it ever going to be anyone other than those three? Highly regarded as the planet’s best trio, Twitter always gets a bit intense when this kind of debate rears its head – and this year it will be no different.

​​2. The Best FIFA Women’s Player

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Santa Clarita Blue Heat/Florida State Seminoles) 

Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash/Manchester City Women)

Lieke Martens (Netherlands/FC Rosengard/FC Barcelona)

At only 18 years old, Deyna Castellanos makes the list after a season worthy of earning UWS Player of the Year. She’s joined by highly decorated US international and current FIFA Women’s Player holder Carli Lloyd, as well as Lieke Martens – UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 winner and Player of the Tournament.

3. The Best FIFA Men’s Coach

Massimiliano Allegri (Italy/Juventus) 

Antonio Conte (Italy/Chelsea)

Zinedine Zidane (France/Real Madrid CF)

Scudetto and Coppa Italia winner? Check. Debutant Premier League winner? Check. Champions League and La Liga winner? Check. This year’s Men’s coach award looks to be one hell of a battle.

​​4. The Best FIFA Women’s Coach

Nils Nielsen (Denmark/Danish national team) 

Gerard Precheur (France/Olympique Lyonnais) 

Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands/Dutch national team).

Nils Nielsen earns his name amongst the top three for a superlative Euro 2017 campaign – reaching all the way to the final (and beating Germany along the way). Meanwhile Gerard Precheur was almost a dead cert to make the list after a second treble winning season in a row with Lyon, and Sarin Wiegman rightfully takes the third spot after guiding the Dutch national team to Euro 2017 glory.

​​5. The Best FIFA Goalkeeper

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy/Juventus) 

Keylor Navas (Costa Rica/Real Madrid CF) 

Manuel Neuer (Germany/FC Bayern München).

Ever-present Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon has become part of the soil at the Allianz Stadium in the last 20 years – helping his side reach all the way to the Champions League final last season. Keylor Navas’ rise to power after an impressive 2014 World Cup performance, and Manuel Neuer also makes the list – despite a rather injury plagued 2017.

​​6. FIFA Puskas Award

Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana/Las Palmas/23.10.2016)

Alejandro Camargo (Argentina/Universidad de Conception/04.12.2016)

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Venezuela U-17 Women national team/24.10.2016)

Moussa Dembele (France/Celtic FC/05.02.2017)

Olivier Giroud (France/Arsenal/01.01.2017)

Aviles Hurtado (Colombia/Tijuana Xolos/01.04.2017)

Mario Mandzukic (Croatia/Juventus/03.06.2017)

Oscarine Masuluke (South Africa/Baroka FC/30.11.2016)

Nemanja Matic (Serbia/Chelsea/23.04.2017)

Jordi Mboula (Spain/ FC Barcelona Youth/22.02.2017)

Now while we can’t fit videos of all of these goals in here, take the word from FIFA that there are some absolute screamers amongst that list. We’re talking scorpion kicks, cup final bicycle kicks. and wonderkid solo efforts (but no spoilers) – go discover for yourselves. You’ll be grateful.

Okay fine, here’s one just to whet the appetite a little. Kevin Prince Boateng’s effort for Las Palmas. It’s honestly something that’s come straight out of that childhood classic Shaolin Soccer…

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​​Oh lord, that’s tasty. Check the rest out here, and don’t forget to vote: FIFA Puskas Award.

7. FIFA Fan Award

Borussia Dortmund

Celtic FC

FC Copenhagen

By far the most heartwarming award. Dortmund make the list after offering to shelter Atletico Madrid fans for the night after the German side’s team bus was attacked and their Champions League fixture agaisnt the Spanish outfit was postponed by a day.

Celtic Park gave off a 360 degree card display towards the end of the 2016/17 season that coincided with their 50th anniversary of winning the European Cup.

When Copenhagen won the Danish Cup final, the players offered the trophy to the fans – who then halted celebrations in order to give the cup to a wheelchair-bound fan.

Voted for your favourite set of fans here: FIFA Fan Award.



Real Madrid Hit With Fresh Setback as Marcelo Is Ruled Out for 4 Weeks with Hamstring Tear

​Zinedine Zidane’s week has gone from bad to worse after news emerged on Friday that first choice Real Madrid left back Marcelo will be out of action for four weeks after tearing his hamstring.

Los Blancos’ poor start to the season continued on Wednesday evening as the club slumped to a 1-0 home defeat to Real Betis – the first occasion in 73 matches where Real have failed to score a goal.

Real Madrid v APOEL Nikosia - UEFA Champions League

And now, matters have gotten even worse for the after Marcelo was forced off the pitch in the 72nd minute during the match. According to Spanish outlet AS, the Brazilian has suffered a grade two tear in his left hamstring that will see him sidelined for four weeks.

As a result, he will miss Champions League matches with both Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund, as well as La Liga encounters with Alaves, Espanyol and Getafe.


After putting Barcelona to the sword in the Spanish Super Cup at the end of summer, the Bernabeu outfit have suffered a mighty fall from grace after last year’s heroics. The Madrid club sit seventh in the league with only eight points from five games.

To make matters worse, Barcelona are flying high. The Blaugrana are enjoying unexpected success after Neymar’s departure. Without dropping points so far in the campaign, the Catalan club sit on top of the pile with 15 points – and Lionel Messi has scored the same amount of goals (nine) as the entirety of the Real Madrid side combined.

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Zidane’s men already have a big job to do in order to gain ground on their fierce rivals.


Brazilian Legend Insists Real Madrid Should Keep Faith in Karim Benzema After Shaky Start

Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldo has rubbished claims that Real Madrid need a new striker in their ranks after a poor start to their league season.

Los Blancos are yet to win a home game this campaign, and there have been murmurs of a need for a new number nine at the Bernabeu – having let Alvaro Morata (the only like for like replacement for Karim Benzema) leave for Chelsea in the summer.

Real Madrid v Real Betis - La Liga

However, former Madrid striker Ronaldo claims that Zinedine Zidane doesn’t need to change anything in regards to his forward line.

“Real Madrid’s approach is perfect,” Ronaldo told Marca at a charity golf event. “They have Cristiano Ronaldo, the best player in the world, and Benzema, they do not need another No. 9.”

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The attacking legend has faith in the current Spanish champions despite a tricky start that leaves them seven points adrift from table toppers Barcelona – and Ronaldo maintains that come the end of the season, they will be back at the top, competing to retain their title.

“Real Madrid have shown their ability in the last few years,” he added. “In other years it has been similar and they have still won titles.I hope the good results come back.”

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However, news has gone from bad to worse for Zidane and Co after a shock 1-0 defeat to Real Betis in midweek (the first time in 73 matches that Los Blancos have failed to score). Having left the pitch after 72 minutes, left-back Marcelo has now been ruled out of action for a month with a torn hamstring – giving his manager a further headache.