Cristiano Ronaldo Speaks About Mourinho & Zidane & Reveals He Would Play for Man Utd Boss Again

With Jose Mourinho’s job looking more precarious by the day and Zinedine Zidane being tipped to replace him, Manchester United fans are wondering what the Frenchman would be able to bring to the Old Trafford table.

Few players are able to offer as much insight on some of football’s great modern-day managers as Cristiano Ronaldo can. He played under both Mourinho and Zidane at Real Madrid, as well as playing for Sir Alex Ferguson during his time at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

Like most players who have played for Mourinho, Ronaldo did not always agree with him, but he has often spoken highly of his countryman and believes him to be one of the best managers in the world.

“Work with Mourinho again? Why not? I would put him at the top, I always say that,” said Ronaldo after Mourinho left Real Madrid for ​Chelsea in 2013 (as quoted by ​the Mirror).

Talking about what makes Mourinho so special, Ronaldo added: “I have played for so many great coaches, but Jose Mourinho was a big thinker analytically, he went into everything in great detail.”

Ronaldo spent his last two-and-a-half seasons at ​Real Madrid playing for Zidane, and he says that the France legend got the best out of him and his teammates.

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“We had not started well, but then Zidane arrived and was the catalyst for one of my best-ever seasons,” Ronaldo said. “It was a great season for me and Real Madrid, and the right coach can be that inspiration.”

Despite the rumours, there is not yet any concrete evidence that Zidane will be the next ​Manchester United manager. ​The Frenchman reportedly phoned Mourinho to assure him that there had been no approach from the club.

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Real Madrid Eyeing Up Arsenal Star Aaron Ramsey as Welshman Looks Set to Leave on a Free Transfer

​Real Madrid are looking to add to the Welsh contingency within their ranks by capturing Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer, with the Wales international looking unlikely to agree a new deal. 

According to ​Teamtalk, Los Blancos are keeping tabs on the 27-year-old’s situation at the Emirates, with Arsenal yet to offer Ramsey a new contract. 

The player and the club have struggled to come to an agreement for some time now, and it appears that contract talks have broken down completely. 

Madrid, the reigning champions of Europe, are hoping to pair ​Ramsey alongside fellow Welshman Gareth Bale at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Additionally, with the futures of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos up in the air, the need for midfield reinforcements could see the club make their move in January. 

Bale, ​Madrid’s record signing, has been sounded out over the potentiality of his international teammate joining him in the Spanish capital recently. 

The ​Gunners will most likely be looking to cash in on the former Cardiff man in the Winter transfer window, or they risk losing him for nothing in the summer. 

Julen Lopetegui’s side face competition from ​Liverpool and Juventus, whilst AC Milan, led by ex-Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, are also sniffing around the situation. 

Ramsey added fuel to the fire when he snubbed Unai Emery after being substituted in the recent win over Watford, with the midfielder’s position in north London now looking untenable. 

The 27-year-old moved to the Emirates for just £5m back in 2008, and has made 337 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 58 goals. 

However, his decade-long stay at Arsenal looks to be coming to a sour end, having fallen out with Emery. 

It was believed that the board and the player had agreed a new four-year deal, but the club withdrew the offer and now look happy to cut ties with the Welshman. 

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CSKA Moscow vs Real Madrid Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & Prediction

CSKA Moscow may have baulked at seeing their own name drawn alongside defending champions Real Madrid in Group G, but their home fixture against Los Blancos (at the VEB Arena on Tuesday night) could hardly have come at a better time.

Julen Lopetegui’s side, while still second in La Liga, have won just two of their last five in all competitions and have scored just twice in the league since September 1. In addition, Lopetegui, who last left Russia on the eve of the World Cup with Spain, travels to Moscow missing a quartet of key players: Isco, Marcelo and Gareth Bale all have injuries, while captain Sergio Ramos is apparently being rested.

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While there are several conundrums for Lopetegui to sort out, the Champions League has often proved welcome respite for Real, where in recent seasons they have failed to let domestic concerns follow them across the continent. Meanwhile, CSKA have their own injury crisis to contend with.

Los Blancos have a reasonable if not perfect record against Russian opposition, with nine wins from 16 matches. However, all four defeats suffered have all come away from home.

Here’s everything you need to know about this one.


Classic Encounter

Real Madrid CF v PFC CSKA Moskva - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

The only time these two sides have met previously met was in the 2011/12 Champions League round of 16, where Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid won 5-2 on aggregate.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the return leg at the Bernabeu to calm the home fans’ nerves after a 1-1 draw in Russia. 

Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema were the other names on the scoresheet for Real – the latter being the only player from the team that played that night in 2012 who is likely to play again on Tuesday.


Key Battles

Karim Benzema & Marco Asensio vs. CSKA’s Defence

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander

Real Madrid may have scored at least twice in nine of their last 10 Champions League matches, but they are in the midst of a goalscoring drought domestically.

Of Lopetegui’s probable strike duo for Tuesday, Benzema last scored for the club on September 1st, while Marco Asensio has just one goal all season.

CSKA have conceded just four times in the Russian Premier League in nine outings so far in 2018/19 and could be a tough nut to crack.

For Real’s Spanish contingent, the looming faces of Igor Akinfeev and Mario Fernandes at the back for the hosts could either bring back bad memories of Spain’s ignominious round of 16 defeat to Russia in the World Cup, or be the perfect inspiration for revenge.


Nikola Vlasic vs. Casemiro

FC Rubin Kazan vs PFC CSKA Moscow - Russian Premier League

A familiar face for Everton fans, 20-year-old Croatian star Nikola Vlasic is already doing better on loan in Moscow than he did on Merseyside.

The attacking midfielder is establishing himself as a creative outlet for his new side, chipping in with a goal and an assist in the 2-2 draw with Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League’s first game week.

He is likely to play in a midfield three with license to roam on Tuesday night, supplying ammunition to the Russian league’s top scorer Fedor Chalov, who has eight in all competitions this season.

Casemiro, who could feature at the base of a rejigged Real Madrid midfield, will be the man tasked with nullifying the creative threat.


Team News

As mentioned, Real Madrid are missing Bale, Marcelo and Isco as they continue their recoveries, while Ramos has been given a break by Lopetegui.

The likes of Sergio Reguilon, Mariano Diaz and Vinicius Junior have all travelled and could feature. Keylor Navas should continue as Lopetegui’s cup keeper after keeping a clean sheet against Roma.

For the hosts, their ranks are even more depleted with as many as seven first team stars unavailable through injury. Most crucially Icelandic defender Hördur Magnússon is out, while Uruguayan forward Abel Hernandez is a major doubt.


Predicted Lineups

CSKA Moscow (3-4-1-1): Akinfeev; Becão, Chernov, Nababkin, Fernandes, Efremov, Bijol, Oblyakov, Vlasic; Dzagoev; Chalov

Real Madrid (4-4-2): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Alvaro; Casemiro, Kroos, Ceballos, Modric; Benzema, Asensio


Prediction

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Injuries and domestic form blip aside, on paper Real Madrid are strong favourites for this one and​ will expect to return from Russia with another three points – although it may not be pretty.

With CSKA’s Chalov-led attack sparkling, Real’s altered defence will have to be vigilant, while a transference of their goalscoring impotence from La Liga onto the European stage could spark crisis talk.

The visitors’ midfield should dominate possession, and it will be up to the attack to put away their chances. Expect to see Mariano and even Vinicius introduced if they can’t.

Ultimately, grinding out these type of results in Europe is just what this Real Madrid team does. 

Predicted Scoreline: CSKA Moscow 1-2 Real Madrid

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Report Claims Gareth Bale Not Suffering From New Muscle Injury Amid Fears He Could Miss Wales Match

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale did not suffer a new muscle injury during his side’s outing against Atletico Madrid in the derby on Saturday and could return to the lineup for the upcoming trip to Alaves.

The Wales international started for Real this weekend but was taken off at halftime, with Dani Ceballos coming on to replace him.

​Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui revealed that the player was taken off as a means of precaution after feeling something in his abductor muscle. And he has not been included in the squad for Los Blancos’ Champions League group stage match against CSKA Moscow this Tuesday.

According to Radio station Cope and publication Marca (via ESPN), initial examinations did not show any serious damage to the ​Bale’s muscle but he might undergo another scan this Tuesday.

Given the player’s history with muscle issues – he has suffered more than 20 muscle injuries since moving to Madrid – it was feared that he could miss Wales’ UEFA Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland.

Real Madrid CF v  Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

However, his problem is not thought to be a serious one and the player could return to action for Real on the weekend.

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Antoine Griezmann & Sergio Ramos Insist They ‘Respect’ Each Other Despite Recent War of Words

Antoine Griezmann has said that he respects Spain star Sergio Ramos following the weekend’s goalless Madrid derby.

The pair were thought to be developing a bit of animosity after Ramos publicly questioned the Frenchman’s status among the world’s current greats. But they both insist they have respect for each other and seem to have buried the hatchet.

Real Madrid CF v  Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

Ramos had previously talked down Griezmann’s personal claim to the Ballon d’Or, hitting out after the World Cup winner spoke of his parity with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Madrid defender also urged Atletico boss Diego Simeone to teach his player “values.”

Griezmann, though, has decided to play things off and has admitted that he was had this time around as he likes to have a go at other players himself.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

He’s my little friend, I have a lot of respect for him,” the France international declared following Saturday’s 0-0 draw between Real and Atleti (via the Daily Mail). “He’s an example for the kids and a great centre-back.

“For me, this is a game, I like to have fun with my team-mates and with players from other teams. Sometimes I’m poking and this time I was poked.”

Ramos was happy to let it go as well and suggested that there is a mutual respect between himself and Griezmann.

“I have not spoken with Griezmann, regardless of the opinion of each other, one must always have the utmost respect for a fellow professional,” he explained.

Saturday’s match, meanwhile, was not without controversy. Los Rojiblancos were left feeling hard done by after being denied a penalty when Casemiro handled the ball in the Madrid box during the first half of the match and have since published a statement in which they have revealed that they will be seeking clarification over VAR. 

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Real Madrid’s Finances Explain Why Cristiano Ronaldo Was Allowed to Join Juventus

​Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer move to Juventus was the big summer transfer story, with the iconic forward reportedly feeling it was time to move on after winning three consecutive Champions Leagues.

However, there is perhaps another underlying reason behind the forward’s departure, and it lies in the finances of the Spanish giants, who would reportedly have made a massive financial loss if not for the €100m they received for his sale.

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

The ​Daily Telegraph‘s Sam Wallace explained: “Without his €100m sale to ​Juventus, which also wiped out his €42m annual wages, ​Madrid would be posting an €87m loss rather than a €43m profit.

“The accounting impact of replacing ​Ronaldo with the Dominican Republic striker Mariano, re-signed from Lyon, is €96m: Mariano cost €20m, spread over five years, making his book cost this year just €4m.

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Serie A

“He earns €34m annually less than Ronaldo, altogether lifting €130m off the costs.”

Of course, while the sale of Ronaldo ended up being the financial difference, it’s possible that Madrid had contingency plans had the deal not gone ahead for whatever reason, as there is no shortage of valuable talent in the Real ranks. 

The Portuguese forward has had a reasonably productive, if disappointing by his own standards, start to life with Juventus, scoring three and assisting five in his opening seven matches in Italy.

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Serie A

Real Madrid, meanwhile, have kicked off life without Ronaldo in reasonably impressive fashion, winning four and drawing two of their opening seven ​La Liga matches, as well as a 3-0 Champions League victory over Roma.

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Real Madrid Confirm Key Trio Will Miss Champions League Match With CSKA Moscow

​Real Madrid face a lengthy trip to take on CKSA Moscow in their second Champions League group tie this Tuesday.

As revealed on their ​official Twitter feed, Los Blancos are to make the journey to Russia without three star names. ​Gareth Bale, ​Sergio Ramos, and ​Marcelo have all missed out on Julen Lopetegui’s 20-man squad. 


​​Starting with the Welsh winger, it was revealed that Bale suffered an adductor muscle injury in this weekend’s Derbi Madrelino. Substituted at half time for Dani Ceballos, it is yet to be seen whether the former ​Tottenham missing this trip is just a precautionary move. 

Ramos’ exclusion is slightly more mystifying, as the club captain didn’t look to be struggling at all on Saturday. 

Likely a rotational policy due to the perceived weakness of their upcoming opponents, Los Blancos obviously think they can do without him.

​​Marcelo has been struggling to get back after suffering a calf strain at Sevilla, and it seems like this one has come a little too soon for him. An incredible overlapping wide outlet for Madrid, the influence of their Brazilian left back was missed against ​Atletico.

​Isco is to sit out the trip as well, with the versatile attacker still recovering from appendicitis. While it was expected he would miss a reasonable portion after the onset of his illness, Real could’ve really done with his incisive runs for this encounter. 

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4 Things We Learned Following Real Madrid’s 0-0 Draw With Atletico Madrid on Saturday

Real Madrid and cross town enemy Atletico Madrid played out a humdrum draw in Saturday’s La Liga clash, as both failed to steal a march on Barcelona. 

With little in the way of attacking entertainment, Los Blancos struggled to break down their opponent’s well drilled banks of four. 

With Merengue fans screaming for Cristiano Ronaldo midway through the second half, it’s clear that there is still some way to go for Julen Lopetegui’s side.

Here’s four things we learned following the stalemate at Santiago Bernabeu:

1. Atletico Are Still Really Good at Defending

It may sound obvious, but Diego Simeone’s team are properly solid when it comes to seeing out games. Compatriots Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez have built one of the fiercest centre back pairings in world football, with Karim Benzema their latest victim.

The Frenchman was continually caught in no man’s land at the Bernabeu, as he saw his opportunities limited. Beaten both aerially and on the ground, it was another disappointing night for a player who started this La Liga campaign so well. 

2. Gareth Bale’s Injury Put a Downer on Proceedings

Substituted for Dani Ceballos at half time, rumours swirled about Gareth Bale’s role in this new look Real Madrid side. However, it was soon confirmed that his removal was due to an injury. 

The former Tottenham man had little joy in the first period though, as even switching flanks proved futile. Locked down by Juanfran and Filipe Luis, it was a game in which Bale couldn’t run free like usual. A deep set line limited him to long shots and cross balls, neither of which brought any sort of opening.

3. Julen Lopetegui Doesn’t Know His Strongest XI

We are now seven games into La Liga, and Julen Lopetegui is still tinkering with his match eleven. Los Blancos have continued to experiment with different lineups, but none have quite stuck yet. After a 3-0 loss to Sevilla and a goalless affair in this one, it’s probable there is still more switching to come. 

Who is his first choice goalkeeper? Where does Ceballos best fit into the team? Is Marco Asensio or Isco a better option on the right flank? So many questions, yet very few answers. Real’s boss has now been at the helm since June, so should really have a handle on what he wants from this Real side.

4. Thibaut Courtois Will Prove to Be Money Well Spent

While most will disagree with his goalkeeper of the year award, Thibaut Courtois is no doubt an exceptional shot stopper when on form. Now that his soap opera at Chelsea has ended, the Belgian can get back to what he does best, saving his side. 

Last night was a prime example, as incredible one-on-one blocks from Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa kept his team from going behind early on. A commanding figure in net, Real’s newest acquisition will hope to properly condemn Keylor Navas to the bench sooner rather than later. 

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Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Derby Ends in Stalemate

​Real Madrid and city rivals ​Atletico toiled to a 0-0 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night, in what was the 22nd Madrid derby of the last five years. 

In a match that lacked quality, the first big chance of the first half fell to Antoine Griezmann. Saul Ñiguez’s through ball beat the high line of Real, but one-on-one with ​Thibaut Courtois, the Frenchman’s shot was well saved by the former ​Chelsea stopper. 

It was sloppiness that granted the visitors their opening and it seemed that Los Blancos didn’t learn from their earlier mistake, as ​Toni Kroos’ loose pass gifted ​Atletico another opportunity to break at pace.

Unintelligent positioning from ​Sergio Ramos allowed ​Diego Costa in on goal, but his shoddy control saw Courtois smother an attempted toe-poke finish.

The second half was void of action until the 65th minute, when a great Kroos ball found Asensio unmarked at the back stick. Closing the Spaniard down very quickly, Jan Oblak made himself big and sent the ball behind for a corner. 

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander

The match descended into a little bit of gamesmanship late on, as ​Real fans made their discontent known. 

None of the six substitutes (including a debut-making Vinicius Junior) livened the game up, as it petered out into a draw.

Atleti will take comfort in the fact they are unbeaten away in the league at the Bernabeu in the last six years. However, for Julen Lopetegui’s side this was a missed opportunity to go top.


​REAL MADRID

Key Talking Point

Unable to do anything when having the ball at their feet, the acumen of Rodrigo and Saul really ate into Kroos and ​Luka Modric’s ability to create. Usually dicing up back lines for fun, the two were left wandering around in this evening’s bout.

It truly was a dull battle, so there is little else to say. However, the onus for beating Atleti’s near impenetrable wall wasn’t completely on Real’s central figures, as Asensio and Dani Ceballos offered zero too.


Player Ratings

Starting XI (4-3-3): Courtois (8*); Carvajal (6), Ramos (6), ​​Varane (7), Nacho (7); ​Casemiro (6), Kroos (6), Modric (6); ​Bale (5), ​Benzema (5), Asensio (6). 

Substitutes: Ceballos (6), Vazquez (5), Vinicius (N/A).


STAR MAN – Thibaut Courtois

Two massive saves in the first half, many Real Madrid zealots could suggest that if Courtois was not in net, the game would’ve taken a different route.


While many will disagree with his goalkeeper of the year award, the Belgian’s display in this one most definitely highlighted his brilliance. One-on-one blocks from both Griezmann and Costa, he won’t face many better strikers this ​La Liga season. 


Worst Player – Gareth Bale

A lot was expected of the Welshman in tonight’s clash, but his performance didn’t live up to the billing. Any effect he could’ve had was negated by Atleti’s deep lying defence, as Diego Simeone’s side weren’t up for getting beat in behind.

Subbed at half time after feeling a tweak in his calf muscle, Bale will no doubt be bitterly disappointed that he wasn’t able to help Real in the second period. 


ATLETICO MADRID

Key Talking Point

It may seem like a chore to read about Atletico Madrid’s continual defensive solidity, but it repeatedly returns as topic for a reason. Following their manager’s orders to a tee, both Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez dominated Karim Benzema for the whole ninety. 


Real only got in behind them once or twice in this outing, and with Jan Oblak between the sticks, they were bailed out with a fair ease. If they are to challenge for any sort of silverware this campaign, these sort of performances will need to be replicated.


Player Ratings

Starting XI (4-4-2): Oblak (8*); Juanfran (7), Godin (7), Gimenez (8), Luis (7); Koke (6), Saul (6), Rodrigo (7), Lemar (5);  Costa (4), Griezmann (5).

Substitutes: Correa (5), Partey (6), Kalinic (N/A).


STAR MAN – Jan Oblak

Often going under the radar across Europe when it comes to talking the continent’s best, Oblak is certainly not undervalued by Los Rojiblancos supporters.



His saves from Asensio and Modric were crucial to Atleti leaving the Bernabeu with a point, especially in a match were he had little to do for large spells. 


Worst Player – Diego Costa

Giving nothing up top for Griezmann to work off, Costa’s influence on this match was muted. His most memorable moments were getting into classic verbal spats with Ramos, as his frustration slowly boiled over.

With viewers able to use their fingers in counting the forward’s total touches, it was surprise Simeone took seventy minutes to remove him. 


Looking Ahead

 

Real Madrid will be annoyed with their inability to create any clear cut chances throughout the match, specifically because Atleti’s game plan was so obvious coming into this clash. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-ATLETICO

Unable to steal a march on ​Barcelona after their earlier draw this afternoon, attention will now turn towards a Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. 

As for the visitors, they will no doubt be comfortable with taking away a solitary point from their rivals ground. Known for spiky play in big encounters, Simeone’s men executed well.

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Saul Insists He Would Never Play for Real Madrid But Admits Contact With Barcelona

​Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul has firmly rejected the possibility of joining cross-town rivals Real Madrid, but revealed he came close to transferring to Barcelona in the past.

The 23-year-old is widely regarded as one of Europe’s hottest midfield prospects and has emerged as a key player for Atletico in recent years.

Barcelona secured first refusal on Saul in the deal which saw David Villa join Atletico in 2013, meaning they will have the chance to match any offer for the midfielder.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

Speaking to El Larguero on Cadena Ser ahead of the Madrid derby this weekend, Saul was asked about his future and whether he would ever consider a move to either ​Real Madrid or ​Barcelona. He is quoted by ​Sport as saying: “Real Madrid? For me, it’s impossible. It would be very, very difficult, almost impossible. No bloody way.”

Saul was then asked about rumours suggesting Barcelona had made contact with him in the past, and the Spaniard confirmed the story. He said: “There was one year when it was close. I’ve never listened to offers. 

“The year of Milan [the Champions League final] I had offers but they offered me a new deal here.”

FBL-EUR-SUPERCUP-REAL MADRID-ATLETICO

He also went on to discuss ​Atletico‘s move from the Vicente Calderon to the Wanda Metropolitano last season, admitting: “I hope I don’t offend anyone but I prefer the Vicente Calderon.”

Saul has made 211 appearances for Los Rojiblancos since making his debut as a 17-year-old in March 2012. He has netted 29 goals and created a further 15 for his teammates, and has developed into one of the side’s most important players.

Spain  v Croatia  -UEFA Nations league

He earned his first cap for Spain in 2016 and has gone on to represent his country a further nine times. He was part of the side who travelled to Russia for the World Cup this summer, but was an unused substitute throughout.

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