Bayern Forward Thomas Muller Names the Toughest Defenders He’s Ever Faced

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller has named Real Madrid’s captain, a retired legend, and three of his own teammates when asked about to select a top three of the world’s toughest defenders.

Having faced so many over the years, Muller seemingly found it difficult to stick with just three, but heavily decorated superstar Sergio Ramos is definitely one that stands out.

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“Of course, Real Madrid won three Champions League titles, I think Sergio Ramos is one top level defender,” the German international told Goal.com.

Muller was too young to play against Jaap Stam in a real game but did encounter the intimidating Dutchman in an exhibition game.

“I met Jaap Stam one time in Mark van Bommel’s testimonial. It was a friendly match and he was in my team. So I was lucky!” he added.

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And Muller is also able to test himself against three more players he considers to be among the best in the world on a daily basis in training.

“But also with Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez, Jerome Boateng – when I play against them in the training sessions, it’s very tough,” the 27-year-old continued.

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Having enjoyed the best individual season of his career in 2015/16 when he scored 32 goals in all competitions for Bayern, Muller is looking to bounce back after a rather disappointing 2016/17.

He managed just five Bundesliga goals, the lowest single full season tally of his career to date, and similarly failed to reach double figures overall for the first time.

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5 Reasons Why Kylian Mbappe Would Be an Upgrade on Gareth Bale for Real Madrid

As Gareth Bale fights off constant battles with injuries and a lack of support from the passionate Madridistas, Los Blancos look to the next big Galactico that president Florentino Perez might sign. 

Bale has had some big moments for La Liga Champions since he signed for the club in 2013, playing a pivotal role in the 2014 Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona and the Champions League victories against city rivals Atlético Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

Although he is one of the top talents in the world, the 28-year-old’s big move to Spain has been blighted by injuries, causing friction between himself and the fans since his €100.8 million move to Madrid. Now a high number of fans are happy to allow Bale a return to the Premier League in the hope his sale could fund a move for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappé.

Here are 5 reasons why Mbappe would be an upgrade on Bale.

1. The Future Star of Football

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There is no question about it; Mbappe has arrived in the game. After a scintillating first season in football, where he helped Monaco to clinch Ligue 1 in an attacking set up, the French star has announced himself to the world. The likes of Arsenal and Real Madrid have reportedly bid over £80m for his services, with many prestigious clubs casting admiring glances.

Devastating with the ball at his feet and lightning quick in the final third, for years to come he will be the star of the future. When Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo eventually retire after iconic careers, Mbappe could be the one to take the mantle as Real Madrid are doing all they can to ensure he dons the famous white shirt. 

2. Devastating Skill and Pace

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What Mbappe would offer that Bale cannot is lightning pace and a repertoire of tricks on a consistent basis. At 28, Bale is reaching his peak years but his catalogue of injuries means he can never utilise his unqiue athletic ability to full potential.

Soon as he gets a run of games, sadly 17 different knocks during his time in the capital has halted his development in Spain. Mbappe on the other hand in his first full season in the Monaco first team was nothing short of sensational. Admired by opposition, his teammates and coaches around the world, his ability to beat a man with skills and blistering speed while smashing in 15 league goals sent shock-waves through football.

His ability and undoubted potential to be one of the best in the future makes him a number one target for Real Madrid and a likely replacement for Bale, should he decide to move on.

3. Instant Fan Favourite

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In Spanish football, it is different to anywhere else in the world, particularly at the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. The fans are purists of the game, and expect their hard earned money to be treated to a spectacle of entertainment. Managers in the past such as former World Cup winning coach Vicente del Bosque know the pressure that comes with taking the hot seat at Real Madrid.

He was shockingly sacked days after clinching the 29th La Liga crown for Los Blancos, as the fans and board pointed to his less-then-pleasing tactics not matching the attacking football they have come to expect at the Santiago Bernabéu. The clubs want fans to rise to their feet applauding the skill of their players, mesmerising with flair, pace and trickery.

Mbappe would offer this in abundance; the signing of the French international would be an instant hit with the fans because his style on the pitch is everything Real Madrid represents as a team. 

4. Heir to Cristiano Ronaldo

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Reports recently emerged that Ronaldo is against Real Madrid making a play on Monaco star Mbappe and there is an obvious reason why. The 32-year-old is the record top goal scorer for the Spanish outfit, a star in his own right and the talisman of the current Champions League and La Liga holders.

Although he is still a great of the game, he is the wrong side of 30 and he will eventually decline, ushering in a new era of talent. The former Manchester United man probably feels threatened that he will no longer be the main man at the Santiago Bernabéu, and although the number seven still reigns supreme in Madrid, if Mbappe signs he will be the future of Los Blancos. 

5. Less Injury Prone

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When Welsh wizard Gareth Bale signed from Tottenham in 2013 for a then record €100.8 million, many heralded the move as a masterstroke and claimed he would be the perfect foil for Ronaldo, perhaps even overtaking the Portugal captain as the main star at the Santiago Bernabéu one day.

However, a series of injuries has limited the 28-year-old to 150 appearances in his four seasons in Spain. For such a large fee, more was expected of the powerful winger, so when as many as 72% of fans in a recent poll in the Spanish capital admitted they would’t mind if he left for Manchester United, it showed the lack of faith in Bale from the Madridistas.

As Los Blancos allegedly eye a move for Mbappe, they would get an exciting talent who is less likely to succumb to injuries and offer a more consistent presence.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Insists He’s Innocent of Committing Tax Fraud During Court Appearance

​Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo had his day in court on Monday, having gotten on the end of a recent tax fraud charge.

The forward, though, has continued to protest his innocence, denying the evasion of 14.7m in taxes. And Monday was no different, as he claimed to be an open book when it comes to such matters.

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“The Spanish tax authorities know my income in detail, because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything in my declarations, nor have I had the smallest intention of evading taxes,” Ronaldo said, via ​Reuters.

“I always make my declarations voluntarily, because I think we all have to declare and pay tax in accordance to our incomes. Those who know me know what I ask my advisors: that they take their time on it and pay correctly, because I don’t want problems.”

The player also insisted that he did not create a special structure to manage his image rights following his move to Madrid from Manchester United in 2009.

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Ronaldo is just one of several footballers to face such scrutiny by Spanish authorities. Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Neymar have been hit with similar accusations.

Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence earlier this year, but will face no actual jail time as such sentences could be handled by way of payments under Spanish law, especially for first-time offenders.

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Rafa Benítez Wants Reunion With Real Madrid Star as Spanish Contingent Increases at Newcastle

Newcastle United could be set to make a sensational move for Real Madrid winger Lucas Vázquez. During his tenure in the Spanish capital, manager Rafa Benítez brought Vázquez back to the Santiago Bernabéu from Espanyol after the Spanish international moved to Catalonia in 2014.

According to the Sun, journalist Pete Jenson believes that Benítez will look heavily into the Spanish market as he continues to look for reinforcements this summer. Vázquez would be a marquee signing for Newcastle should they move for the 26-year-old who is contracted in the Spanish capital until 2021.

I think it’s one of a few [Spaniards] who might turn up at Newcastle,” Jenson stated. “There is overbooking at Real Madrid and Rafa Benítez does know the club very well.

He has that vast experience of European football and having been recently at Real Madrid, I think not just Spanish players but Madrid players,” he added. “I think winger Lucas Vázquez is another he might look at and that’s one of the advantages of taking Rafa as their manager.”

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If Newcastle were able to pull this transfer off, it would announce them back into the top flight in a fantastic way. 

Vázquez has told the Real Madrid hierarchy that he will leave the club should Los Blancos sign 18-year-old transfer target Kylian Mbappé, leaving the door open to a possible switch to the Premier League.

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Real Madrid Have Cause for Concern After Series of Friendly Defeats Against European Powerhouses

It is the 4th of June 2017, the Real Madrid players and staff have just rolled out of bed after a long night of partying following the back-to-back Champions League victories, something which has not been done by any club in the modern era since the prestigious trophy was revamped in 1992.

After a dominating 4-1 crushing of Italian giants Juventus while also pipping rivals Barcelona to the La Liga crown, Los Blancos are on top of the world; iconic former player Zinedine Zidane earned a promotion from Castilla manager in January 2016 to take arguably the highest pressured job in world football, and he has done magnificently well to steer the club to their 12th European trophy, while ending the four years of dominance in Spain from Barcelona after claiming La Liga last term.

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Now comes the hard part, how do you improve a team that is not only champions of Spain but repeat champions of Europe?

After only signing promising winger Dani Ceballos from Real Betis and French left-back Theo Hernández from city rivals Atlético Madrid so far, Los Blancos are simply looking to the future after highlighting their strength in depth these past two seasons while also demonstrating the talent at their disposal.

However, with defeats already to Blaugrana, Manchester United and Manchester City in pre-season, the alarm bells are starting to ring around the Spanish capital that they need to evolve with the times or risk being left behind. A host of first team players such as Portuguese duo Fábio Coentrão and Pepe, James Rodríguez on loan and Álvaro Morata to Chelsea for £60m have already departed the club, leaving a large hole in the first team squad.

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Last season Zidane did an excellent job of managing his resources, balancing the team on a weekly basis by placing the emphasis on squad importance over individual talent. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo were even convinced to sit out games against smaller opposition to be fresh for the important matches. Spanish stars such as Isco, Marco Asensio and Morata played an influential role from the bench to maintain squad fitness.

Now with a number of those players already out of the door, Zidane and the board of directors have a massive task on the hands in the next month to replace the squad fillers with talent that can deputise when injuries or suspensions crop up. The performances against Barcelona and Manchester City were particularly worrying, as the 12-time Champions League winners looked erratic in defence.

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The French manager has insisted he is ‘not bothered’ by the outcome of the defeats as he instead points towards preparation for the 8th of August, when they face Manchester United in the European Super Cup. Nevertheless, three defeats to some of the biggest teams in Europe show that much work lies ahead before the season officially starts.

With the future of key front men Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema still in doubt, Real Madrid are planning for a team with the future in mind as they currently chase French striker and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappé. The Monaco sensation is reportedly open to a move to Madrid, but the Ligue 1 champions are holding out for a fee beyond €150m for the lightning-quick forward.

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If Real Madrid can lure Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabéu this summer, a front three of Ronaldo, Mbappe and Bale or Isco could dominate domestically and in the Champions League once again. However, Zidane knows football can change in an instant and the popular club will have to work hard this season to ensure their rivals do not leave them behind.

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VIDEO: Watch Kaka Roll Back the Years With a Remarkable Golazo for Orlando City

​Brazilian legend Kaka has still got it.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid star is still lacing it up for MLS side Orlando City – and at 35, he still has a wicked shot about him.

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Kaka has registered four goals and three assists in 11 starts for the American outfit so far this season, and if he keeps banging them in they way you’ll see in the video below, Milan just might make him an offer – they are trying to sign just about everyone these days, after all.

Check it out in the video below:

Playing against Atlanta United on the weekend, the Brazilian unleashed a rocket of a shot from distance following some neat hold-up play from his teammate, reminding onlookers of his ability.

​​The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner was very unfortunate to have his Madrid career slighted by various injuries but it’s great to see him still perform at such a level at his age.

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The match ended at 1-1, but Kaka must be thoroughly pleased with himself after scoring such a beauty.

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Cristiano Ronaldo to Appear in Court on Monday After Accusations of €15m Tax Evasion

​Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo will appear in court on Monday over allegations of tax evasion.

Reports in Spain in May say the Portugal international is suspected of defrauding €15m between 2011 and 2014 and Ronaldo reportedly wanted to leave the club after the allegations surfaced.

He will now appear in court on Monday in Pozuelo, regarding the allegations claiming the former Manchester United winger defrauded Spanish authorities of tax money.

Ronaldo is not the only high profile football star to have been implicated in the claims, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi being associated with the tax avoidance matters.

Mourinho has denied the claims while Spain’s Supreme Court handed Messi a 21-month jail term last year but the Argentina international is unlikely to go to prison.

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Messi and father Jorge, who is in charge of the 30-year-old’s finances, were both convicted of defrauding Spain of €4.1m in taxes.

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano admitted to two counts of fraud after failing to declare earnings in 2011 and 2012, with the 33-year-old alleged to attempted to conceal earnings from his image via foreign companies he owns.

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Ronaldo was heavily linked with a move away from Real Madrid this summer but speculation regarding his future has cooled in the past month and he is now expected to stay with Los Blancos.

He scored 42 goals in all competitions last season, as Madrid won the La Liga title and beat Juventus to triumph in the Champions League.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Wants to Play Against Former Club Manchester United in UEFA Super Cup

​Cristiano Ronaldo is eager to play against former side Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup in August.

Ronaldo’s future has been in doubt over the summer after being accused of defrauding Spanish authorities of millions of euros in tax but speculation has cooled over the past few weeks and he is now expected to stay with Los Blancos.

AS believe Ronaldo could return to the club on Tuesday and begin pre-season work in order to appear in the Super Cup fixture, with the Portugal international yet to appear in a summer match before Madrid’s start to the season.

Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have featured in forward positions for Zinedine Zidane’s side in pre-season so far but have struggled for form, with both the Welshman and Frenchman failing to score.

The La Liga champions have so far lost to United on penalties after goals from Casemiro and Jesse Lingard and suffered further defeats to Manchester City and Barcelona ahead of their fixture against the MLS All-Stars.

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Madrid won the Champions League after beating Juventus in the final in Cardiff as Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 victory while United overcame Ajax 2-0 in the Europa League in Stockholm.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions last season, playing vital roles in Madrid’s success in La Liga and the Champions League, but was absent from the club’s El Clasico defeat to Barcelona on Saturday.

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Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic put the Catalan giants firmly in control in the opening 10 minutes before Mateo Kovacic and Marco Asensio drew Madrid level, with Gerard Pique netting the winner shortly after half time.

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Funny MoneyFan Pays Outrageous $13,358 for Front Row Tickets to El Clasico Friendly in Miami

​A football fan has reportedly paid a staggering $13,358.60 for two front row tickets to Saturday night’s El Clasico encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The two heavyweights of Spanish football meet in Miami on Saturday night to bring one of La Liga’s most fierce and hotly contested matches to the shores of the United States, and fans have been showing their determination to be there by paying well over ‘normal’ prices for tickets.

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According to Reuters, ticket prices on StubHub have been reaching around the $5,500 mark, but Darren Rovell of ESPN has now claimed that the highest price paid for one of these tickets has reached higher than double that amount.

​​An obscene amount for a football game, let alone a pre-season friendly – and Cristiano Ronaldo won’t even be paying.

Let’s see some perspective here. Two ‘Category 1 Gold’ tickets for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Santiago Bernabeu will currently set you back €1090.00 on Football Ticket Net.

Two return tickets from Miami to Madrid will cost a mere 857.78 and two nights in the luxury Hotel Villa Magna (2.5 miles from the Bernabeu) will cost a modest 769.54. Added together, your total cost comes to €2,717.32 – which converted to US dollars is $3913.47.

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This leaves around $10,000 to do whatever you like with – and you get to watch a match that means something to the players and includes Cristiano Ronaldo. You have to feel for the poor person who’s spent so much on those two tickets.

Either way, the game will surely be entertaining.

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Dortmund Ace Ousmane Dembele Slams ‘Annoying’ Aubameyang Departure Rumours

The constant rumours surrounding ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Borussia Dortmund future was “annoying” in the extreme, according to teammate Ousmane Dembele.

The French star was quoted in ​Sport Bild as he commented on the gossip earlier in the summer about Aubameyang departing the Westfalenstadion to complete a transfer to Premier League holders Chelsea.

That speculation followed plenty of conjecture about the striker’s situation with Dortmund with Real Madrid and Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjin said to have been looking at signing him, and Dembele admitted that the furore over his fellow forward’s future had irked him.

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He said: “Aubameyang in Tianjin Quanjian? This is totally unfounded. This is only misleading to the fans,” Dembele told Bild.

“There are no contacts. There are no negotiations, and there is nothing to indicate that. It annoys me. I’m glad he’s still playing with us. He’s like a brother for me.”

Blues boss Antonio Conte had weighed up whether to prise Aubameyang away from Germany, ahead of his eventual £60m acquistion of Alvaro Morata, after Chelsea had missed out on key transfer target Romelu Lukaku.

Other reports at the start of July also appeared to claim that the Gabon international was on the cusp of a £17m move to the Far East after Tianjin Quanjin had “agreed” to join them due to the unreal wages he had been offered.

However, that move failed to materialise and the 28-year-old is now set to remain with Peter Bosz’s senior squad for another season as long as no other interested parties try to test the waters.

Liverpool were also tentatively linked with making a bid for Aubameyang, but the Reds declined to make the interest concrete.

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Aubameyang, who harbours ambitions of playing for Real Madrid due to a promise he had to his late grandfather, has become one of the most consistent goalscorers in world football. The ex-Saint Etienne star has plundered a sensational 120 goals in just 189 games for Dortmund, and has helped fire them to two German Super Cups and the 2017 DfB Pokal Cup in his four-year spell.

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