Teammates Desperate to Have Ronaldo Back in Lineup After Madrid’s Latest Slip Against Levante

B​oth Theo Hernandez and Marcos Llorente have said that Real Madrid need Cristaino Ronaldo back in the team as soon as possible, when speaking to ​Marca.

The pair were speaking after Madrid’s latest slip-up, where they were without Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw with Levante.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

The Portuguese talisman is currently serving a suspension that he picked up following an altercation with the referee during Real’s 1-3 Supercopa de Espana win over Barcelona.

The Spanish football association decided to uphold the five match ban given to Ronaldo, such that he has already missed games against Barcelona in the return leg, Deportivo, Valencia and Levante.

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Real Madrid managed to beat both Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna in Ronaldo’s first two games out. However they have since drawn with both Valencia and Levante at home, with Theo Hernandez admitting that Ronaldo is missed by the Spanish giants:

“We tried hard throughout and our intensity was there as always but we just couldn’t make the most of our chances,” said Hernandez.

“Maybe we did lack a little spark but we gave everything. We do need Cristiano to score goals but we don’t necessarily need a No. 9. The squad will continue as it is.”

Marcos Llorente also highlighted the need to have Ronaldo back in the team, as he acknowledged that his side have been missing one of their biggest goal threats:

CR7 Cristiano Ronaldo Fragrance Unveiling

“This wasn’t the kind of game we were expecting but what would be most worrying for us would be if we didn’t create many chances,” the midfielder said.

“These things happen and we must keep working. It is clear that in this team, he [Ronaldo] is very important and has an ability to score incredible goals. It would have been good to have him but those who did play tried their best throughout.”

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Ronaldo is set to miss Los Blancos next La Liga tie against Real Sociedad, but will return for Real’s La Liga game against Real Betis on September 20th.

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Real Madrid Star Marcelo Facing 4 Game Ban After Red Card Against Levante

​Real Madrid left-back Marcelo could receive a four-game suspension after the submission of the referee’s match report, ​AS have reported.

The Brazil international was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Levante midfielder Lerma following a tangle in the box late in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez spotted the incident, and the Spanish federation’s disciplinary committee are now expected to decide on a ban of between two and four games.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

“In the 89th minute of the game the player (12) Vieira Da Silva Junior, Marcelo was sent off for the following reason: kick an opponent in the back, with the ball well away from the action,” the report read.

If Marcelo’s kick is seen as an act of aggression, he could be punished with a four-game ban.

Real Madrid could appeal the disciplinary decision if they dispute the length of the suspension, as they have regularly done in the past.

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Los Blancos attempted to reduce the five-game ban picked up by Cristiano Ronaldo, who is set to return to the team for Wednesday’s Champions League group match against Apoel Nicosia.

Marcelo’s red card was Madrid’s third of the season, but coach Zinedine Zidane refused to discuss the issue in detail following the Levante game.

“I am not going to say anything,” he said, quoted by ​ESPN. “He [the referee] does the best he can, and I don’t get into this. I don’t say anything.”

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Real Madrid have failed to win both of their opening La Liga home games, drawing against Valencia and now Levante.

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Zinedine Zidane Admits Real Madrid Must Improve Following Shocking Draw Against Levante

​Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has voiced his frustrations after his side drew 1-1 with Levante at the Santiago Bernabeau, in Saturday’s early kick-off in La Liga. 

Los Blancos dominated possession all game, but fell behind after 12 minutes, after massively failing to deal with a long throw. Lucas Vasquez equalised for the hosts before half-time, poking home a rebound from a Sergio Ramos header. 

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Despite further applying pressure in the second half, a much-rotated Madrid were unable to unlock Levante’s vigilant defence, and had to settle for a second consecutive draw, which sees them already at a disadvantage in the La Liga title race, having drawn 2-2 with Valencia before the international break. 

“We can’t be happy with our performance,” the coach said after the game.

“Now we’re four points behind and we have to be a bit concerned. We have to find some solutions because we didn’t play well.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

“We lacked a lot today. The starts of games are very important for us and we didn’t start well today. We played against a team that holed themselves up and we didn’t apply enough intensity.

“We have to score first, but they did instead and that’s what bothers me the most. Still, we won’t go crazy and we’ll think about the next game.”

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An already experimental side was further hindered when Karim Benzema was substituted with an injury, and Marcelo received a red card for lashing out at Levante’s Lerma, late in the second half. 

Zidane refuted the claim that his team were unfit, despite the starting line-up being effectively second-string: “It’s not a physical problem. We’re good physically, we showed that in the second half, which was better than the first.

“The problem was that we didn’t find solutions. We haven’t scored enough goals, so we have to be more clinical.

“Two full-backs, Marcelo and Theo? I’m happy with what they did. We didn’t work as a team, it wasn’t just them.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

“We looked for the middle from their flank, but we didn’t find the right finish. I’m not going to change what I’m going to do with this team.

“I’m not going to change. We’re not going to go crazy over one bad game because this is what I believe in and we’ll keep going like this.”

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

After Benzema’s withdrawal, and with Cristiano Ronaldo still suspended, Madrid received a lot of scrutiny about their squad depth, as Gareth Bale had to deputise in a central role: 

“No No. 9 other than Benzema? This is the squad we have and we have no choice but to look for solutions within this squad.

“Cristiano and Benzema weren’t there and that can’t be changed. Still, I’m not worried about that.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

Despite the resoluteness of the visitors’ back line, Madrid had several great chances, with Toni Kroos, Bale, and wonderkid Marcos Asensio all failing to capitalise on good chances. The Frenchman lamented these misses, telling ​ESPN :

“We have to be more clinical. What we can’t be happy with is what we did in the game today. We want to play better in order to pick up more points.

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“We can’t be happy, especially with the first half. We dropped two points, we had a good game at Depor, but not today. We improved in the second half, but we can’t be happy.

“We have to turn things around, not just the results. We must play better. We have to forget what happened to us today, analyse it and look for solutions within this squad.”

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​Real Madrid Set to Reward Historic Double-Winning Side With Whopping €70m in Bonuses

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez may not have followed the crowd and splashed an absurd amount of cash in the summer transfer window, but he is still set to fork out over €70m this month to reward those involved in the club’s triumphant 2016/17 season. 

Zinedine Zidane’s side made history last season by securing a league and Champions League double – in which the latter was secured for the second time in a row for the first time in the ‘modern’ competition’s history.  

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As a result of their unforgettable season, Perez is understood to have set €70m aside from the €80m received from their European glory to reward both the players, the manager and coaching staff, according to ​Diario Gol.

The report has suggested that Perez sat down with the club’s captain, Sergio Ramos, and fellow leadership players to agree on premiums for a title winning season, with the economic enticement seemingly having worked a treat.

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The historic double is set to see each player earn an extra €2m on top of their salary as a reward for their feat which saw the club return to the top of both domestic and European football.

It could be said that Real Madrid did not throw their weight around in the transfer window as they were aware of the bonuses and potential contract renewals that were on the horizon, as well as the fact that their squad is in fine form, as even Perez said: “What goes well is not touched.”


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Real Madrid start the defence of their Champions League titles on Wednesday when they face Apoel Nicosia, could they make it a historic third?

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Real Madrid 1-1 Levante: Marcelo Sees Red for Moment of Madness as Levante Hold Frustrated Madrid

​Real Madrid faced newly promoted Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga’s noon kick-off, hoping to establish dominance against one of the Spanish top flight’s minnows.  

Zinedine Zidane’s side was a rotated one, taking advantage of the depth that his side now has with Kiko Casilla, Theo Hernandez, Lucas Vasquez, and Marcos Llorente coming in for Keylor Navas, Luka Modric, and the still-suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, with Casemiro and Gareth Bale making the bench. 

Madrid set about exerting a near-total authority on the game from an early stage, with their visitors happy to let them keep the ball, and content to sit very deep in their own half. 

However, a spanner was (literally) thrown into the works after 12 minutes, after a static Madrid failed to defend Ivan Lopez’s monstrous long throw, with Ivi pouncing to give the visitors a shock lead and make Dani Carvajal look rather silly in the process. 

Things then went from bad to worse for Los Blancos as starting striker Karim Benzema had to be withdrawn through injury, with Gareth Bale taking his place in the central role. 

Madrid forced a way back into the game ten minutes before the interval, with Sergio Ramos providing a – you guessed it – towering header from a corner, which Raul managed to keep parry, but only as far as Lucas Vasquez, who restored parity for Zidane’s side. 

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

With Bale up front, Madrid had a far more imposing outlet up front, and the Welsh talisman could have given his side the lead before the break, choosing to shoot with the outside of his left foot, rather than his weaker right, when through on Raul’s goal. 

Things began to get a little tetchy in the second half, as Levante continued to make life hard for their hosts, countering efficiently, tackling robustly, but not able to regain their lead. Madrid still looked a little disjointed in their unfamiliar line-up, and looked more to be relying on the qualities of their individuals than their shape and system.

Isco was thrown on at the hour mark to attempt to help Zidane’s side find more space, but the resolute discipline and concentration shown by Levante meant that they were worthy contenders to Los Blancos, stifling them excellently. 

After a rare foray into Madrid’s half for a corner, Levante were almost caught cold by Los Blancos’ ruthless counter attack, with Raul saving wonderkid Marcos Asensio’s left-footed shot superbly, reminding everyone watching that Madrid only need one chance to punish any team. 

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A frustrated Bernabeu was left near silent on 87 minutes, as Gareth Bale hung superbly in the air, but could only angle Isco’s cross wide. Seconds later, Marcelo was denied once again by Raul, after Kroos played him in.

Chaos then ensued as Marcelo then received a straight red card for lashing out at a Levante defender, whom he collided with after taking his shot. The incident happened right in front of the referee and epitomised the frustration shown by Madrid fans and players alike. 

Kroos still found time to bend a low shot against the Levante woodwork, before the final whilste sounded. This capped off a truly infuriating afternoon for Los Merengues, who have dropped further points early in the season, after being frustrated by Valencia in a 2-2 draw in their last match.

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Guillem Balague Makes Shock Revelation About Real Madrid Messi Interest in Twitter Q&A

​Most football fans allowed themselves a brief snigger when Florentino Perez suggested that Real Madrid had tried to sign Lionel Messi many moons ago.

The fact that Barcelona would have sanctioned a transfer of their most prized superstar to their bitter La Liga rivals is the most unlikely story to emerge in recent times – and yet there is some truth to it.

In fact, according to Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague, Los Blancos tried to poach Messi from Barcelona – twice.

Balague conducted a Twitter Q&A with Sky Sports’s Spanish division recently and, coupled with the above tweeted answer to one query about Real’s interest in Messi, elaborated on his story.

He revealed: “Florentino did not tell the full story. He actually tried. Twice. Jorge Valdano was a football director at the club, with a great relationship with the Messi family. There were tensions with the Messi’s and the club for many reasons and Valdano & Madrid tried to take advantage of it. It did not go very far!”

Blimey. Imagine how different things would have been if Messi had signed for Real. We imagine Ronaldo wouldn’t have joined them, for starters.

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Could we have seen Ronaldo at Barcelona instead then, given the rivalry between the pair? We’ll never know.

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Former Real Madrid Defender Pepe Takes Thinly-Veiled Swipe at Los Blancos Fans

Former Real Madrid centre-back Pepe has criticised Spanish champions’ fans, juxtaposing them with the supporters of his new side Besiktas, who he claims show more passion.

The Portugal international left the Bernabeu to join Besiktas after spending 10 years with the Champions League holders, and insists that he is very happy with the move.

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Pepe’s transfer came about after Madrid refused him a requested two-year extension, offering one year instead. There was also interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Inter, yet the 34-year-old opted to sign a two-year deal with the Turkish side.

“I spent ten marvelous years in Madrid winning both domestic and Champions League titles and my two daughters were born in the Spanish capital too,” he said after his exit back in June.

But speaking to La Sexta, a Spanish television network (via AS), he was quite critical of Los Blancos’ supporters.

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“Besiktas fans are fantastic,” he declared. “At times when playing for Real Madrid we had to motivate ourselves as the fans were not so passionate. Here at Besiktas, every player heads onto the pitch fully motivated to perform well with the aid of great support.”

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Real Madrid vs Levante Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

​Real Madrid host Levante in La Liga’s midday kick-off on Saturday, and Zinedine Zidane will be adamant that his side respond to their recent draw with Valencia by claiming all three points.

With the return of Sergio Ramos amongst their starting line-up, Los Blancos head into their home tie as sure fire favourites to come away with a win after an underwhelming performance before the international break.

However, Levante have had a good start to their season, unbeaten in their opening two matches against Villareal and Deportivo. Currently sat on equal points with their Madrid based opponents, the visitors will be hoping to shock the masses with a win, and kick on with a very impressive opening few weeks.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Santiago Bernabeu:


Classic Encounter: Levante 2-3 Real Madrid (October 2013)

Levante UD v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

It’s rare that Madrid fans are ever sat desperately hoping for their team to find a last minute winner, but that’s exactly what they had to endure in October 2013. 

A game that started out as a tedious affair suddenly burst into life on 57 minutes when the home side found an unlikely opener. Baba Diawara kicked off what would finish an intense match with a beautifully timed half-volley.

However, the lead didn’t even last five minutes. Madrid’s goal-scoring centre-back Sergio Ramos managed an equaliser in the 61st, only for Nabil El Zhar to seemingly seal the winner four minutes before time – which would’ve handed Levante an incredible victory.

However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were resilient, and a 90th minute equaliser from Alvaro Morata was only bettered by the eventual winning goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in the 94th. Madrid made their fans sweat, but managed to get there in the end of what became a fascinating final half hour.


Key Battles

Sergio Ramos vs Alex Alegria

Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid - La Liga

Levante’s biggest hopes in this encounter will come through the performance of Alex Alegria. With Roger Marti and Nano both injured, as well as a suspension to wide man Jose Morales, Alegria’s teammates will be looking for the on-loan Betis man to lead the way.

Though starting both of Levante’s matches this season, the youngster is yet to find the back of the net. However, if the forward can make the most of Ramos’ tendency to dive into tackles, the forward could well kick-off his season with a potentially crucial goal against Zidane’s men.

Marco Asensio vs Ivan Lopez

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This is where Madrid fans will be getting excited. The rapid speed of Asensio against the not-so-fleet-footed Lopez has the potential to cause Levante all sorts of problems.

If the young Spaniard can continue the kind of form he’s been showing since the back end of last season, he’ll be too much for any La Liga defence to handle, let alone Levante’s. In Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence, Asensio is the man to turn to.


Team News

Real Madrid

Real Madrid head into this game with the much appreciated return of previously suspended Sergio Ramos.The same cannot be said for Raphael Varane, though. The Frenchman remains sidelined with muscular problems and his return is so far unknown.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Supercopa de Espana: 2nd Leg

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss two more matches (including Saturday’s) before his suspension is finished, and Los Blancos will be without summer signing Dani Ceballos – who is still recovering from injury.

Levante

The visitors are quite severely weakened in their attacking line this week – missing three players who could make quite a difference to the side. Last season’s star man Roger Marti continues to miss out through his ruptured cruciate ligament – expected to return in January. Meanwhile, Nano misses out with a muscle injury sustained at the beginning of August.

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Left winger Jose Morales will be a big miss for Levante. The wide man had shown a promising start to the season before he received his marching orders in the club’s 2-2 draw with Deportivo before the international break.


Predicted Starting XI’s:

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Asensio, Benzema, Bale

Levante (4-2-3-1): Fernandez, Lopez, Postigo, Chema, Tono, Campana, Lerma, Jason, Bardhi, Ivi, Alegria


Predicted Score: Real Madrid 4-1 Levante

Anything other than a Madrid rout will be a big surprise. With Levante’s depleted attack, the visitors will have little to offer going forward – and Madrid can easily be seen pinning them into their own third like cattle in front of the Bernabeu crowd. 

With Madrid’s ridiculous midfield and attacking threat, it won’t be a question of ‘if’ they score, nor will it be ‘when’ they score – but ‘how many more’ will they score?

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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Line Up to Face Levante on Saturday

Saturday afternoon will see Real Madrid host Levante as Los Blancos aim to rectify their failure to pick up three points against Valencia before the international break.

Though star player Cristiano Ronaldo remains absent through suspension for Los Blancos, the return of Sergio Ramos will sit very well with Madrid fans, and the entire home section of the Santiago Bernabeu will expect nothing less than a victory in La Liga’s early kick-off.

Here we take a look at the best possible starting XI that Zinedine Zidane could line his squad up with.​

Goalkeeper

  • Navas

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​Between the sticks for Los Blancos will most likely be Keylor Navas – the preferred choice in goal for Madrid ever since his arrival in 2014.

Defence

  • Carvajal

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  • S. Ramos

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  • Nacho

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  • Marcelo

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​The big news for Madrid is the return of the previously suspended Sergio Ramos after his red card against Deportivo – pushing Casemiro out of the starting XI. With Raphael Varane still injured, Nacho Fernandez is the most likely candidate to partner the Madrid captain in the heart of the defence.

Ever present full-backs Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are the obvious choices down the flanks.

Midfield

  • Isco

    Isco22

  • Kroos

    Kroos8

  • Modric

    Modric10

The omission of Casemiro from this midfield trio could potentially be a questionable one – after all, every team needs that defensive minded holding midfielder, and the Brazilian fits the bill perfectly.

However, Zidane is an attack minded coach, and in front of his home fans​, the Frenchman will be looking to impress. With Kroos and Modric making up one of the world’s best midfield duos, Isco will be given the freedom to roam and continue to show just how impressive he is against a Levante side that isn’t expected to put up much of a fight.

Forwards

  • Bale

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  • Benzema

    Benzema9

  • Asensio

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​However strange it might sound, fans could be forgiven if they’ve forgotten about Cristiano Ronaldo. In the Portuguese legend’s absence, the rising star of Marco Asensio has stepped in and shone as bright as one could expect – scoring both of Madrid’s goals in their draw with Valencia.

Alongside the young Spaniard will stand Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale – with the Frenchman looking to net his first goal of the season. 

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Real Madrid Star Cristiano Ronaldo Predicts Lionel Messi Will Suffer With Barcelona This Season

​Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly confident that he has an edge in the pursuit of individual honours over Lionel Messi this season as his side have a clear advantage over arch-rivals Barcelona – who are seemingly set for a tough year.

Zinedine Zidane’s side secured a La Liga and Champions League double last term and Ronaldo is said to be of the belief that another triumphant season awaits for Real Madrid, whilst Messi is set for anguish on both domestic and international fronts.

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According to Spanish outlet​ Don Balon, Ronaldo is optimistic that his success for Real Madrid will alleviate the pressure he feels on the international stage as he views the World Cup as a game changer for individual honours, which poses as an issue for Messi.

The Barcelona ace has seen Argentina struggle in the World Cup qualifiers, as they currently sit fifth in the South American standings with two games remaining. 

The top four qualify automatically, whilst the fifth-placed side will face a two-leg play-off against New Zealand – which isn’t necessarily a straight forward game. 

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With Ronaldo said to be expecting Barcelona to languish behind his side, the 32-year-old striker expects Messi will need to shine consistently for Argentina if he has any chance of competing for individual honours alongside him. 

As Portugal are continuing their rich vein of form following the Euro 2016 triumph, Ronaldo seemingly has an edge on his rival at this stage of the season, but as we know football can change in a flash and Messi is no ordinary footballer. ​​

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