Bayern Boss Jupp Heynckes Backs Real Madrid to Bounce Back and Progress in the Champions League

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has backed Real Madrid to turn around their recent poor form and beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Madrid currently sit in fourth in the La Liga table, 19 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona and are widely being written off by critics ahead of their last-16 fixture against PSG.

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Manager Zinedine Zidane is very much under pressure, with European silverware now their only chance of bringing something back at the end of a disappointing campaign.

But Heynckes, who was Madrid manager during their 1998 Champions League title win in his only season at the Bernabeu, thinks that Real will be able to beat Neymar and co and progress into the quarter finals.

“That Madrid is going through a low in the league at the moment is, in my opinion, quite normal, especially if you have won the Champions League twice and been Spanish champions too,” he told Goal.

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“In addition, Real have given away three very good players in the summer with Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez, perhaps to save salaries.

“They have not bought big and thought that with the young players they can compensate for that. You need a really good mix between young and old, between experienced and hungry players.

“Nevertheless, you must not write off Real in the Champions League. They have much more experience than Paris Saint-Germain. Much more! I believe they will win the tie.

“They have a good team for playing in European competition. When we first won the Champions League again in 1998, we finished fourth in the league. I know from personal experience Madrid should never be underestimated.”

Heynckes has already faced PSG this season, with Bayern facing the French giants in the group stages earlier in the season.

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Bayern haven’t won the top prize in European football since 2013 but are being tipped as this year’s dark horses after Heynckes resurrected their poor start to the campaign under Carlo Ancelotti.

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PSG Academy Director Believes Neymar Will Not Make Controversial Move to Real Madrid

​Neymar is not about to make a crazy move to Real Madrid – that’s the opinion of Paris Saint-Germain’s academy director Luis Fernandez.

For a couple of months now the Brazilian’s name has been linked with a move to the Spanish giants, with Cristiano Ronaldo seemingly on the decline at the age of 33, and Gareth Bale not trusted over his injury record.

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Neymar, as dazzling as the stats suggest he has been for the French league leaders this season, has made headlines on numerous occasions about his popularity, or lack thereof, in the dressing room because of his inflated ego.

He has also been reported to have fallen out with manager Unai Emery and Edinson Cavani on several occasions, which has only increased speculation that he might not actually stick around in Paris despite the incredible amount of money it took to get him there.

According to Fernandez, Neymar won’t be making such a controversial move though. He told Cadena SER’s ‘El Larguero’ programme, as quoted by ​Marca: “I’ll stick my neck out, because Neymar will not go to Real Madrid.

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“If PSG went after Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe then it was for them to stay here, not for them to leave. Neymar is the star of PSG.

“He makes the difference and when you see him play you don’t detect what people say about him wanting to leave. He’s convinced that he’s happy here and he wants to succeed.”


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Neymar, who turned 26 on Monday, certainly is the star at the Parc des Princes – since his move last summer, he’s scored 27 goals in just 26 games so far and 18 assists.

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Former Liverpool Man Claims Club May Receive World Record Transfer Fee for Mohamed Salah

​Former Liverpool defender and now pundit Phil Babb has claimed if Mohamed Salah can continue his current vein of form through to the World Cup, the Red’s may be in line to receive a world-record fee for the winger in the summer.

The Egyptian international is on red-hot form at the moment, scoring his 20th and 21st Premier League goals of the season in Liverpool’s latest 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday. He was named as the Premier League Player of the Month for November, and looks on course to win the Golden Boot as well as being an early contender for the PFA Player of the Year award.

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Unfortunately for Liverpool, with good form comes vast amounts of interest in the player, with Spanish giants Real Madrid already being linked with a summer move for the winger, and Babb believes both Real and their fierce rivals Barcelona would be prepared to break the world record for a transfer fee to get their man.

Speaking about Salah’s performance against Tottenham, in particularly his second goal, he said (via ​Daily Star): It’s a fantastic goal, composure to finish as well. He was going past international players, elite footballers there. Going past them like they don’t exist. 

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“He is one of the hottest properties in world football without a shadow of a doubt. I think again, you do fantastically well, then you have the big Spanish giants, you awake their interest.”

To add to his scintillating club form, Salah was also the hero for his country when his late penalty secured Egypt’s passage to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia in the summer. Babb went onto claim if he can repeat his current form during the World Cup, he would expect a world record fee for the winger.

He added: They’re going to keep monitoring him and they’re going to say eventually ‘if he keeps doing it until the end of the season, if he does well in the World Cup’, do they put in a massive world-breaking bid in the summer transfer window?”

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In the meantime, Liverpool have temporarily overtaken Chelsea into third position in the Premier League, with the reigning champions playing Watford on Monday night. Liverpool fans will be hoping to see more of the same from Salah in the games to come as they now face an away trip to Southampton on Sunday before their Champions League round of 16 clash with Porto.

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7 Things You May Not Have Known About Cristiano Ronaldo on His 33rd Birthday

1. He Was Once Expelled From School

Now one of the most successful men on the planet, but when he was 14, Ronaldo was expelled from school in Portugal after launching a chair at a teacher. The teacher was apparently making fun of his Madeiran accent, and the wealth of his family. 

I think we know who had the last laugh here. 

2. His Career Could Have Been Over at 15-Years-Old

At 15, Ronaldo was diagnosed with a heart condition which could have ended his football career. He was at Sporting CP when the racing heart condition was discovered, and he underwent laser surgery to rectify the problem. 

Luckily the surgery was successful and he was able to continue playing football.  

3. You Can Study a Cristiano Ronaldo Course at a College in Canada

The University of British Colombia in Canada offers a course in Cristiano Ronaldo studies. The course involves studying everything about Cristiano Ronaldo from his skill and achievements to his fashion style and lifestyle. 

The semester-long course also looks at Ronaldo’s influence and relationship with Portugal and Madeira

4. He Was the First Player to Score in Every Minute of the Game

He was the first player to score in the first, second… all the way through to the 90th minute in a game at some point in his career, which is pretty impressive. 

He achieved the feat in 2014 when he netted a brace against Atletico Madrid in the Copa Del Rey. The first of the goals completed the set, and ironically it was scored in the 7th minute. 

5. He is Named After a Former American President

Ronaldo was actually born Cristiano Dos Santos Aveiro, but he is now known as Ronaldo due to his dad.

He was a big fan of American actor and former president Ronald Regan, so much so that he decided to name his son after him. 

6. He Was the First Premier League Player to Win FIFA World Player of the Year

Ronaldo became the first player from the Premier League to be crowned as the world’s best player by FIFA when he won the award for 2008. 

He beat of competition from Lionel Messi and Fernando Torres to win the award; Ronaldo has since gone on to win the award on 4 other occasions.

7. He Shares His Birthday With Neymar and Carlos Tevez

Ronaldo was born on this very day (February 5th) in 1985, and it seems that it is a popular day for birthdays associated with football. 

Other players to be born on this day include: Neymar, Carlos Tevez, Adnan Januzaj, Jordan Rhodes, as well as ex England manager Sven Goran Eriksson. 

Happy Birthday to them all!

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David Beckham Sits on Fence as Former Clubs Real Madrid and PSG Prepare for Champions League Clash

David Beckham has admitted that he can’t decide between Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain as the two giants prepare to clash in the Champions League’s round of 16. 

Real Madrid have struggled in both domestic and European competitions this season. Los Blancos, who Beckham joined from Manchester United in 2003, are a massive 19 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, while they were also recently dumped out of the Copa del Rey when they lost out on away goals to Leganes. 

Real did qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League but only as runners-up, and the pressure is starting to mount on Zinedine Zidane following Saturday’s draw to relegation-threatened Levante – which left Zidane feeling disgusted. 

His job is now hanging by a thread, and it is thought that it will all come down to how well Los Blancos perform in the Champions League where they will face Ligue 1 PSG – another of Beckham’s former clubs. 

PSG, whom Beckham joined in 2013 on a free, have ripped up their respective league this season and are currently 11 points ahead of 2nd-placed Marseilles. 

The French outfit also smashed the record for most goals in a Champions League group stage with 25 and topped their group ahead of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. 

Speaking to Marca, Beckham, who recently got the go-ahead for his own Miami-based MLS franchise, admitted it would be difficult for Real to overcome Ligue 1’s table-toppers: “It is going to be difficult with PSG on top form at the moment.

“This is the moment for Los Blancos as they love this competition. Look at the players that they have like Cristiano. It is in these moments that the top players come to the fore and the game is going to incredible to watch.

“It is very difficult to choose as I like both clubs and they have a lot of passion,” Beckham revealed.

“I had four great years at Madrid, I was not so long at PSG but obviously winning the league was great. I love the club, the people and the fans are incredible, and I say the same about Real Madrid”


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Sergio Ramos Admits Real Madrid Have ‘Done Something Quite Badly’ to Be So Far Off Barcelona

​Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has admitted he and his teammates must have “done something quite badly” to be so far behind rivals Barcelona this season.

Los Blancos are 18 points off Ernesto Valverde’s league leaders in La Liga, and were left further disappointed by a ​2-2 draw against Levante on Saturday.

And Ramos, who scored his side’s opening goal at Estadi Ciutat de València, has made clear his view that Real Madrid need to improve.

“We must have done something quite badly because it’s not normal to be this far away from Barcelona,” he said – quoted by ​Marca.

“We have dropped so many points in matches where we have been in control. It’s been one of our worst years and the Champions League is all that’s left.

“We need to be united as that’s the only way we’ll do something in that competition.”

Real Madrid twice led and were twice pegged back by Levante, with Giampaolo Pazzini scoring a late equaliser.

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Asked about the reasons for another slip-up, Ramos added: “There’s a lot to analyse, it’s true that at times we appear to be dominating and in control. Then once they’ve had a shot rebound off Keylor Navas, we make a mistake.

“We have to look at this because we’re still alive in the Champions League.

“It bothers us all, not just myself, when you do the difficult thing by coming back and going ahead and then you draw with five minutes left.

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“In football, these things happen, but Real Madrid have an obligation to play well. We want to give a good account of ourselves.”

Real Madrid are next in action against Real Sociedad in La Liga, before their Champions League last 16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

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Graeme Souness Claims Harry Kane Could Be the First £200m Man and Urges Him to Join Real Madrid

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness has claimed that Tottenham striker Harry Kane is good enough to play for Real Madrid, urging the England international to join the La Liga giants in the summer.

There have been rumours circulating for quite some time now linking 24-year-old Kane with European champions Real Madrid and former Spurs man Souness – writing in his column for the Sunday Times – feels that the England striker should follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale and go to the Bernabeu, should they come calling in the summer.

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Souness feels that with Spurs not having the financial firepower as some of their Premier League rivals and with Kane possibly feeling that ‘he’s better than players who are getting [paid] twice as much and winning medals’ could be contributing factors into influencing him to leave north London.

Souness writes: “I’m fully aware that I will be upsetting some fans with what I’m about to argue, but, being impartial, I believe that Harry Kane should leave for Real Madrid this summer, if he gets the chance.

“The fee Real will have to pay for Kane will start with a two and be followed by eight zeros. I reckon that he could become the first £200m player.”

Though Souness believes Kane has the ability to pull on the famous white jersey of Real Madrid, the same can’t be said for his Tottenham compatriot Dele Alli and boss Mauricio Pochettino, who Souness believes haven’t hit the level in their respective careers to warrant a call-up from the Spanish giants just yet.

“Kane’s ready for Real Madrid, but Dele Alli isn’t,” Souness continued. “I’ve seen a definite improvement in Kane since he came into Tottenham’s team, but not to the same extent in Alli.

“Similarly, Real Madrid can’t be considering Mauricio Pochettino based on what he’s won. His publicity is great and he’s deemed to have done a good job at Tottenham, but if he’s being touted for the manager’s job at Real it tells me there’s a lack of candidates.

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“Zinedine Zidane’s track record of two Champions League’s and a La Liga title in the past two seasons is the standard expected there.”


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Real Madrid Implement ‘Anti-Sheikh’ Clause Into Youth Players’ Contracts to Stop Small-Fee Poachers

​Real Madrid are implementing a clause into all their youth products’ contracts in order to stop them being lured away by big-money sides for small transfer fees, according to reports. 

Los Blancos have, for some time now, been world renowned for their developmental system, La Fabrica, despite fielding a number of alien stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema during their recent successes.

Although their starting XI is usually jam packed with talent from afar, Diego Llorente, Borja Mayoral, Federico Valverde, Jesus Vallejo and Achraf Hakimi are just some who in recent memory have been afforded the chance to don the senior side’s famous all white, or at least come close to it. 

(You may also enjoy: Why Florentino Perez’s Mistakes Over a Decade Ago Could Spell the End of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid)

However, as is often the case, when you struggle to implement such talents into your first-team squad with regularity poachers appear, which was the case for the aforementioned Llorente last summer when he made €7m switch from the Spanish capital to Real Sociedad. 

While the fee paid is not to be sniffed at considering the 24-year-old made just two senior appearances for the club, it did not necessarily reimburse Los Blancos’ outlay to allow the Spain international to prosper. 

However, according to ​Marca, that is now set to change, with all players who forge their path through La Fabrica set to have at least a €30m buyout clause included within their deal in an attempt to stop youth talent being lured away for fairly small fees. 

The new inclusion is being dubbed as the “anti-sheikh” clause, and in some cases the report claims that figures of up to €50-€60m are being embedded. 

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Levante 2-2 Real Madrid: Deadline Day Signing Pazzini Nets Late to Deny Visitors

After beating Valencia 4-1 at the Mestalla last weekend, Real Madrid were unable to overcome to the city’s other top flight side in Saturday night’s 2-2 draw with Levante.

Zinedine Zidane made one change to the lineup that crushed Valencia one week prior, as captain Sergio Ramos returned to the heart of the defence alongside Raphael Varane at the expense of Nacho. 

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Kepa’s signature on the dotted line of a new deal at Athletic Club, despite Florentino Perez’s best efforts, meant Keylor Navas continued in goal against his former club.

Levante had not won in La Liga at the Estadi Ciutat de València since September, but stole a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the reverse fixture this season, giving them some reason to hope.

Deadline day signing, 33-year-old Giampaolo Pazzini was slung in among the subs by manager Juan Muniz for the hosts, while Coke was the only of Levante’s seven January additions to make the starting lineup.

After an opening ten minutes in which the visitors dominated, Marcelo’s skewed drive following a neat interchange with Karim Benzema earned a corner and the returning Ramos rose above the defence to open the scoring with a characteristic header.

While the power from Ramos’ connection wasn’t unstoppable, Benzema’s movement in front of former Barcelona man Oier Olazabal caused enough of a distraction to allow the ball to wriggle into the far corner.

The visitors continued to probe prior to the half-time whistle, and Cristiano Ronaldo came closest to doubling Los Blancos’ advantage as he pounced on Oier’s spill after Toni Kroos bent an effort from outside the 18-yard box. However, the Ballon d’Or holder’s angle was cut by the reactions of the keeper, who made the block from point blank with his face.

The Granotas responded gamely to the early goal without ever really threatening their former keeper’s net, until three minutes before the break when Jose Morales found himself in behind Ramos from Sasa Lukic’s raking through ball. 

Navas did well to block the initial effort but 21-year-old Emmanuel Boateng made no mistake with the rebound, stroking home into the far corner past the lunge of Varane for the equaliser and his first league goal of the season.  

While the home side might have felt fortunate to go into halftime level, after holding less than 30% possession in the opening 45, Muniz’ side went into the second period with renewed vigour and confidence.

Levante might even have taken an unlikely lead around the 55-minute mark when Morales, who caused the visitors all kinds of problems on the counter, charged through before Jefferson Lerma’s volley was bravely by Navas, who (proving he could match anything Oier could do on the night), prevented a certain goal with his face.

Gareth Bale made way for Isco in the 66th minute, as Zidane sought to wrestle back control in the tie. However, unwilling to be cowed by the World Champions, Muniz’ sent on attackers Roger Marti and Pazzini in search of a Levante winner.

Real laboured, but the chances came. Isco and Benzema both found openings – with the latter dancing through the home defence, before seeing his effort blocked.

Ramos might’ve doubled his tally from the resulting corner with another header but Oier made up for his earlier indecision on the opener to produce a sharp reflex save.

With just ten minutes left on the clock, substitute Isco seemed to break Levante hearts by slamming home after taking a touch from Benzema’s cut back inside the box.

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The France international was lucky to get on the end of Dani Carvajal’s deflected cross, but he took full advantage in laying off for the waiting Isco to restore Real’s advantage.

Visiting fans expecting a casual stroll to the finish line for Zidane’s side were sorely mistaken. Roger Marti should’ve equalised from the excellent Morales’ cross, but nodded just wide from centimetres out.

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However, debut-making Pazzini – who promised he was not in Valencia as a tourist upon his arrival two days prior – made no mistake with his finish when he was put through on goal. The veteran poacher snuck his effort under Navas to seal a deserved point for Levante with less than one minute of normal time left.

The draw will be viewed as two points dropped for Real Madrid, who failed to overtake Valencia into third, and have still only won three games back to back once this season.

Leavnte remain just above the drop zone in 17th but Muniz will take more than just the point from this performance.

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Spanish Report Links Liverpool With Prized Madrid Wide Men As Potential Overhaul Looms

Liverpool are reported as having made enquiries into the availability of Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez and Nacho Fernandez by Spanish outlet Don Balon (H/T the Daily Star).

The report claims that the Reds made approaches in the past, although not as serious, and have returned with the intention of bringing the pair to Anfield next summer.

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Both Vazquez and Nacho are highly regarded at Madrid, but they aren’t regular starters, and could possibly seek an exit if the right club comes calling.

The side are also considering a massive summer overhaul, given the horrid season they’re having in La Liga after having won the league title last year. The defending champions are sitting in fourth place on the Primera Division table and trail leaders Barcelona by a shocking 19 points.

There’s very little hope, if any, of recovering in time to successfully defend their crown. And the heads at the club have grown extremely frustrated. Zinedine Zidane’s future at the Bernabeu is also the subject of rife speculation, despite the former France international leading the side to two successive Champions League captures in the last two seasons.

(You may also be interested in: ​Swansea Vindicated After Passing Up on Reds Outcast Lazar Markovic Following Revelation by New Boss)

There could be plenty of changes at Madrid next season. And not even five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is thought to be safe. Liverpool have possibly sensed an opportunity and could pounce, if Don Balon’s report is anything to go by.

Vazquez, a winger, is Zidane’s go-to option from the bench. But it is understood that he wanted to leave the club last summer. Nacho, meanwhile, can play at both right-back and centre-back, and his versatility will certainly suit Liverpool.

Real president Florentino Perez has no plans to sell either of the two, but the situation could become a rocky one in the summer, leaving the players up for grabs.

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