VIDEO: CR7 Botches One-on-One Chance as Portugal Seal WC Qualification Against Switzerland

​Portugal may have qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Russia after the 2-0 victory against Switzerland, but their captain Cristiano Ronaldo had a moment to forget during the game. 

In this tense group deciding game between Portugal and Switzerland, the hosts struck the first blow in the 41st minute when the ball deflected off Swiss defender Johan Djourou into his own net to give the hosts the lead. 

Andre Silva then sealed it for Portugal when he struck home from a couple of yards out in the 57th minute. After winning Euro 2016 last summer, they’ve now qualified for another major tournament next summer. 

But one player who may not be happy with his performance during the game is Cristiano Ronaldo. Compared to his usual high standards, the Real Madrid star put in an average performance, and it was summed up in the chance he missed in the 79th minute. 

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​​The 33-year-old was put through on goal by teammate Joao Mario and as he approached the Switzerland goalkeeper in a one-on-one chance, he never looked like he made his mind on what he wanted to do.

In the end he tried to go past the keeper, but ended up getting too close and the chance was gone when Switzerland’s Sommer wrestled the ball from Ronaldo’s feet. 

But at least Ronaldo was happy to be heading for Russia as he posted this photo on Instagram of his team celebrating. The caption said: “Great team effort! Thank you all for your support. Russia, here we come!!.”


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Real Madrid President Preparing Bids for Chelsea and Spurs Stars After Difficult Start to Season

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is reportedly preparing to splash the cash next summer, in a bid to avoid a repeat of this season’s poor La Liga start.

Madrid are currently sat fifth in the league – seven points adrift of table toppers Barcelona – having only won four of their opening seven games in the top flight this term. Despite an upturn in form in the last few weeks, Perez is said to be determined to spend big in next summer’s transfer window.

According to Spanish outlet Diario Gol, Perez is eyeing a host of big names, headlined by the likes of Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane, as well as Chelsea’s main man Eden Hazard.

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Los Blancos were linked with moves for all three of these players in the previous window, though nothing ever materialised. Any plans that Hazard had of leaving Stamford Bridge were put on hold following an ankle injury, while Alli and Kane never looked like leaving Spurs regardless of any interest received.

Alongside the Premier League names linked with the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of next summer sit Bayern Munich’s versatile defender David Alaba, as well as highly rated Juventus number 10 Paulo Dybala.

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Dybala, who spent much of the latter stages of summer being linked with a move to Barcelona (alongside Philippe Coutinho), eventually remained with the Bianconeri – the Catalan outfit opting for Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele instead.

The Argentine is making quite a name for himself throughout the footballing world, and having signed a new contract at the Juventus Stadium at the end of last season, the Serie A champions can drive any price for him as high as they desire right now.


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5 Stars Who Aren’t Necessarily Deserving of Their Spots on This Year’s Ballon d’Or Shortlist

The Ballon d’Or list; a compilation of the very best names in world football taking into account the one-year period that preceeds the ceremony.

One of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi has won every year since 2007, with the former the favourite to secure the fifth gong of his career and second in a row.

The list this year has once again thrown up some top stars who have brilliant past years including Neymar, Eden Hazard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and half of Real Madrid’s team, basically.

But which of the bunch have luckily managed to worm their way onto the list?

5. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid

It might seem harsh to place any Real Madrid player on this list of underserving players.

The Frenchman is underrated and under-appreciated at the Bernabeu, but the Ballon d’Or is about recognising standout individuals, and unfortunately he cannot shine with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale either side of him. Even though the latter did miss a lot of game time last season through injury, Isco came in to take a lot of the plaudits.

He only managed 11 La Liga goals in 29 matches last season, and you might have expected a better return from him knowing the team scored 106 in total in the league in 2016/17. For some context Alvaro Morata, the team’s second striker, managed 15 in 26.

He is an important player for Real, but probably not deserving of a place on the Ballon d’or shortlist.

4. Paulo Dybala – Juventus

Paulo Dybala may have flown out of the traps this season with 10 goals in his first seven matches but his past year probably isn’t enought to warrant a spot on the shortlist of the Ballon d’Or.

There is no doubt that the Argentine ace will be making shortlists for years to come such is his ability, but he is still relatively raw at the age of 23 and his past 12 months were not stellar.

Juventus stormed to another Serie A title in 2016/17 and Dybala showed flashes of brilliance on the way to scoring 11 league goals but their main men were at the other end of the pitch as Gianluigi Buffon and co stood solid in defence. Giorgio Chiellini or Dani Alves might have been more deserving of Dybala’s spot.

3. Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Sadio Mane was electric in his first season with Liverpool and was by far and away their best player as the club successfully qualified for this season’s Champions League.

Unfortunately though, he missed too many games and didn’t come close enough to winning anything to warrant inclusion on the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

Mane missed a crucial handful of games whilst on AFCON duty with Senegal, and then, through no fault of his own, was injured for the top four run in. Only players that were consistent regulars should be able to make their way onto the list, right?

2. Edinson Cavani – Paris Saint-Germain

You can only beat what’s put out in front of you, but that shouldn’t mean you deserve to be placed onto the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

Edinson Cavani amassed some impressive stats on the face of it last season, but his 35 league goals aren’t all that. Four came in one game against defensive disasters Caen and remember that he was also the club’s penalty-taker. 

Stat-padding in the French league is fairly cheap and to be honest, the man lives in an offside position. Also, note that one-on-one miss against Barcelona in the Champions League at the Nou Camp which would have spared PSG’s blushes…

1. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool

Sorry Liverpool fans, but your other shortlisted star isn’t that deserving of his place either.

Philippe Coutinho started off the 2016/17 season in good form but picked up an unfortunate ankle injury against Sunderland which sidelined him for a couple of months.

He returned and spent another couple of months trying to get back to the way he was before turning on the style against for the Reds’ top four run in.

Admittedly, he was great when the club needed their top players to step up to secure Champions League football – and clearly Barcelona rate him very highly.

By his standards though it wasn’t his best season, and a certain Danish playmaker over at Tottenham can probably feel a little bit aggrieved he wasn’t recognised instead.

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Arsenal Set to Finally Make a Move for Real Madrid Striker Karim Benzema

​Karim Benzema, the experienced 29-year old-striker, finally looks like he will make his long awaited move from the Spanish La Liga to the English Premier League sooner rather than later. 

During most recent transfer windows his name is regularly mentioned with a move to these shores, but now it seems that this will finally materialise as this proposed transfer gathers credibility. 

The French international has long been a top transfer target for Arsenal, however they are one of a number of major clubs interested in capturing his signature. Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has long been an admirer of his fellow countryman and is very keen to secure his services to add to his array of talented striking options.

Spanish transfer outlet Don​ Balon are reporting that ex-Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is aware of the Gunners’ continued interest and has been for while due to his strong connection with the Spanish giants. 

The Manchester United manager seems to believe that Los Blancos would be extremely interested in negotiating a transfer to acquire significant funding, which will then allow them to pursue their own top target of Harry Kane, from Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, to freshen up their own attack.

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Karim Benzema is recognised as a possible replacement for the unsettled pair of Chilean international Alexis Sanchez and German international Mesut Ozil. 

Both players look increasingly likely to be leaving the orth Londoners over the next couple of transfer windows as they have failed to agree new contracts. 


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Report Claims Real Madrid Superstars Name Barcelona Goalkeeper as Perfect Summer Signing

Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo are desperate to see a new goalkeeper arrive at Real Madrid, with the former suggesting Marc-André ter Stegen as the ideal signing for club president Florentino Pérez, according to Don Balon.

The German shot-stopper is Barcelona’s top goalkeeper, establishing himself in La Liga after a €12m move from hometown club Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2014. Ter Stegen has gone on to feature in 104 games for the Catalonian giants, keeping an impressive 43 clean sheets.

Firmly established as Die Mannschaft’s second choice goalkeeper behind Manuel Neuer, and ahead of Bernd Leno and Ralf Fährmann, the Blaugrana keeper has caught the eye of Real Madrid’s key duo.

Ramos, the Spain and Los Blancos captain, has reportedly held talks with the club president in an attempt to convince Pérez of opening his chequebook to sign ter Stegen.

Ronaldo is keen on the prospect of seeing a new face between the sicks at the Santiago Bernabéu, the Portuguese star also interested in seeing ter Stegen swap Catalonia for Madrid, the Daily Star suggests. 

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However, Ronaldo would also like to see the club make a move for long-term target David De Gea, as well as Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois or Madrid-based rival Jan Oblak.

Ter Stegen has a contract at the Camp Nou until 2022 and it would take a hefty fee, especially from Real Madrid, before the idea of allowing the German to leave is even considered.


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Brazilian Legend Kaka Wants to Hang Up His Boots: I Don’t Enjoy Playing Football Anymore

​Brazil legend Kaka has let out that he is interested in becoming a manager someday. 

The 35-year-old World Cup winner is currently playing his football in the MLS with Orlando City, but isn’t exactly having that great of a time.

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And with his contract set to expire at the end of the year, it’s looking like he’s ready to finally hang up the boots.

“I’d like to do like Zizou. He stopped playing, took some time off, he saw that he liked to coach and paid his dues in the youth system,” the Brazilian told Globoesporte (H/T ​Gianlucadimarzio.com).

“I could do like him. Continue playing? I don’t find enjoyment playing football anymore, I feel pain after every match. My body feels it and at the age of 35 it’s hard to recuperate”

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Kaka started his career with Brazilian side Sao Paulo before moving to AC Milan, where he would lift the Champions League trophy, as well as conquer Serie A. 

He left for Real Madrid in 2009 after a six-year stint in Milan, but things hardly went as planned, with injuries slighting his career in Spain.

The player returned to Milan for a single season in 2013, later moving to United States to play for Orlando City, where he has been for the last three years.

Fans would surely love it if the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner tried his luck at coaching. It’s quite likely he’d be good at that too.

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Tottenham Pair Head Real Madrid Transfer List After Missing Out on Primary Target Kylian Mbappe

Real Madrid are looking to secure the signing of Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane after failing to get Kylian Mbappé’s signature last summer, according to Marca.

Los Blancos were desperate to sign the French teenager after his breakout season with AS Monaco, going on to lift the Ligue 1 title ahead of big-spending Paris Saint-Germain. 

However, it was the Parisians who convinced Mbappé to return to the French capital, the 18-year-old agreeing to a loan move that includes an obligation to buy next summer.

Although Real Madrid have, to some extent, moved away from their Galactico transfer policy, fans at the Santiago Bernabéu are once again demanding high profile signings to maintain their European dominance.

Karim Benzema is one player whose position in the Real Madrid squad could be under threat as club president Florentino Pérez looks to Tottenham striker Kane as a possible new signing in the Spanish capital.

Despite previous links with the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Spurs’ 24-year-old striker could be the perfect player to guide Madrid to further domestic and European glory over a long period.

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Alli is also a player being considered by Real Madrid, the 21-year-old being one of the hottest prospects in world football. 

However, the former MK Dons man would have to wait until one of Madrid’s star players left before a first-team spot would be guaranteed, with Isco, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale all at risk of seeing their time with Los Blancos cut short.

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Former Agent Reveals the Shocking Events That Led to Claude Makelele Joining Real Madrid From Celta

​Former French Super agent Marc Roger has released a biography replete with several startling details pertinent to some of yesteryear’s biggest transfers, per ​AS.

Roger represented stars such as Thierry Henry, Laurent Blanc, Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira back in the day, and one of his stories, if not all of them, are sure to anger a lot of people.

Makelele, who played two years at Celta Vigo before moving to Real Madrid, will certainly go down as one of the best players to ever grace the Bernabeu, despite his stay being a short one.

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The Frenchman left for Chelsea after a three-year stint with Los Blancos. But the circumstances surrounding his departure were certainly less shocking.

According to Roger, Celta were forced into allowing the ex-midfielder to leave to Join Real Madrid after a fake report was made to Spanish police.

“To force Celta’s hand we presented a complaint to the police stating that fans had attacked the player’s car,” Roger said. “But I threw the stones at his car windows, with Makelele’s consent of course.”

It’s crazy what people will do to force through a move! Would that sort of thing happen today? It’s unlikely to think Real would need to resort to such tactics given the money and lure they have. 


 


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PHOTO: Real Madrid Star Theo Hernandez Posts Extraordinary Pics With Gun Wielding Dwarfs

Real Madrid’s Theo Hernandez turned 20 years old on Friday and it certainly seems as though he had an outlandish party to celebrate.

The pictures released from the party involved guns, dwarfs and policeman, making for a very strange scene:

The image, released on the player’s personal Instagram account, clearly shows a strange scene where a couple of dwarfs in Real Madrid kits are holding a gun to the Real new boy’s head.

Hernandez clearly enjoyed his birthday shenanigans, which also included the less extraordinary family and cake pictures, with his caption reading:

“Many thanks to everyone for the congratulations, it has been and unforgettable day.”

The 20-year-old left back is also seen in a similar picture where he appears to be surrendering to the policeman, in what is another hilarious photo.

Hernandez only moved to Real Madrid this summer, for around £28m from Madrid rivals Atletico, but already seems to have pledged his allegiance to Real with the most recent images. 

Despite this, the left-back has been used frequently by Madrid so far this season, making just three appearances for the club, with two of them coming in La Liga.

The 20-year-old played in an astounding 32 games for Atletico last season in La Liga, but is clearly seen as one for the future by Real boss Zidane.


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Portugal Boss Fernando Santos Explains Decision to Start Ronaldo on the Bench Against Andorra

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has opened up on his decision to start Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench against Andorra on Saturday.

The Euro 16 champions bagged a 2-0 victory on the day, but only after Ronaldo came on to open the scoring with what was his 15th goal of his nation’s World Cup qualifying run.

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The 32-year-old was also a booking away from missing Portugal’s last group match which comes against Switzerland on Tuesday.

And speaking to RTP (H/T ​Goal), Santos explained the thinking behind his opting to leave the forward out of the starting lineup. 

“I thought a lot. I thought, well, Ronaldo did not train 100 per cent in two of the days of work,” the coach insisted.

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“There were many factors that led to this decision. Games are complicated, I tried to manage and do what was best.

“Whether it was questionable or not… we ended up winning and that’s what matters.”

Ronaldo struck to give Portugal the lead in the 63rd minute of the match, then handed Andre Silva the assist for the second goal with a cross four minutes from time.

“We knew it was going to be difficult and it was notable the team had difficulties adapting to the pitch, and then with their defence very close, [we were] lacking momentum,” Santos added.

“I had to put Ronaldo on the field, another forward and everything improved. There was a period of adaptation, but from a certain moment we created situations. We ended up winning as well, as we wanted.

“We also had the goal of not taking cards and ending up without injuries. In the first half, we lacked momentum. They wanted it, but it was not easy because the ball was difficult to control.”


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