Isco Signs New 5-Year Deal to Remain With Champions League Holders Real Madrid Until 2022

​Spain midfielder Isco has signed a new five-year deal with Real Madrid, extending his supposed stay at the club to 2022.

The 25-year-old, who stole his way back into Los Blancos set-up with some remarkable form following Gareth Bale’s injury, has finally put pen to paper on a fresh contract, bringing an end to all the exit speculation.

A statement on the club’s website reads: “Real Madrid C. and Isco have agreed to extend the player’s contract, which is linked to the club until June 30, 2022. 

“On Friday, at 14:00, Isco will appear before the media in the press room of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.”

Isco’s previous contract was set to expire next year, but his new deal has reaffirmed his status at the club.

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According to AS, the attacker will now earn a salary of €6m per year, with a release clause of €700m also included in the terms.

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Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL: Returning Ronaldo Fires Madrid to Victory Over Cypriot Minnows

Real Madrid began their defence of the Champions League crown with a stylish 3-0 victory over a stubborn Apoel Nicosia, thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a solitary Sergio Ramos strike.

After a disappointing draw at the Bernabeu against Levante on Saturday, Zinedine Zidane rung the changes for the home side, with the returning Ronaldo starting in a front three, that was without the injured Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema.

Apoel boss Giorgos Donis was without Cyprus international George Efram who picked up and injury in their qualifying round victory over Slavia Prague, meaning 20-year-old Roland Sallai was given his Champions League debut following his goal on Saturday.

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As expected, Los Blancos started the game of the front foot with the first clear chance falling to Gareth Bale – as he headed wide. Roberto Lago then forced Keylor Navas into a routine save as his speculative effort from range was tipped over from the Costa Rican.

The Cypriot side grew in confidence from Lago’s effort and committed more men forward, but were caught out in the 12th minute when a Madrid counter attack saw Bale drill a low cross in for the returning Ronaldo to slot home past Boy Waterman.

Two minutes later, Ronaldo went close to doubling the home side’s lead when he met another Bale cross but could only direct his effort into the side netting. A stop start next 15 minutes followed after an injury to Mateo Kovacic saw him replaced by Toni Kroos.

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Madrid were finding it hard to breakdown a stubborn and disciplined Apoel team with Ronaldo again coming close from Bale’s superb first time cross, and Kroos saw his effort from 20 yards deflected wide.

Ronaldo looked the biggest threat in his first match since his three-match suspension and dragged an effort wide following good work from Isco, and then saw his penalty appeal fall on deaf ears moments before the half time whistle.

The second half began in frantic fashion with Ronaldo rattling the bar from a Dani Carvajal cross, before the Portugal captain confidently doubled his side’s lead from the penalty spot after Lago was adjudged to have handled Bale’s cross.

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Isco then saw his effort thwarted by Waterman, with Ronaldo again feeling he should have had a penalty under the challenge of Lago, as Madrid started to stamp their authority.

Following the Madrid onslaught in the opening stages of the second period, the away side began to sit deeper in order to keep the scoreline respectable, allowing Zidane’s side more space and time on the ball.

On the hour mark, Ramos added his name to the scoresheet when he acrobatically turned home Bale’s header. Ronaldo was then denied his hat-trick by Waterman after Isco fed the four time Ballon d’Or winner, before the Spaniard drilled a low effort wide of the far post.

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Igor de Carmago then saw his effort go wide for Apoel following good work down the left hand side from Efstathios Aloneftis as the Cypriot side searched for a unlikely route back into the game with 15 minutes to go.

Ronaldo thought he had his third with five minutes to go after Luka Modric superbly beat his man and fired in a cross, to the forward who tapped home only to be denied by the offside flag. As Madrid comfortably saw out the game, to start their campaign in the best possible fashion.

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Madrid Star’s Agent Claims Transfer of His Client From Bayern Was ‘Steal of the Century’

​Real Madrid’s signing of midfielder Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich was “the steal of the century”, according to the player’s agent.

The Germany international moved to the Bernabeu for €25m in 2014, and has been instrumental in a side that has since won two Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and the Spanish Super Cup.

And Kroos’ agent, Volker Struth, has expressed his belief that the playmaker has proved to be one of world football’s greatest bargains.

Real Madrid v Fiorentina

“Looking at the transfer fees these days, and then remembering that Toni was transferred for €25m, you could argue that Kroos is the steal of the century for Real,” he told Sport Bild, via ​ESPN.

“Those in charge at Real only told us after the Champions League final in Cardiff [in June] that they are still delighted to have won over such a player for them. Only to put things into perspective — James Rodriguez back then also joined Real Madrid for €80m [and is now on loan at Bayern].”

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Struth also revealed the details behind Kroos’ Bayern exit. 

“We could not reach an agreement with Bayern in late 2013,” he added. “Toni only got better under [then-Bayern coach Pep] Guardiola, he was — not only for me — the best player at the [2014] World Cup in Brazil, and then had offers from top clubs. 

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“It’s a normal process. Toni was not happy with what Bayern offered, and thus talks were put on ice.”

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VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo Sends Madrid Teammates Packing With Stunning Training Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo has left a number of defenders on their backsides with his incredible pace and skill over the years. 

But it was his Real Madrid teammates that suffered from his quick feet and even quicker footballing brain in training ahead if their Champions League clash with APOEL Nicosia at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Lucas Vázquez and Marcos Llorente, in particular, were shown up incredibly by their Portuguese teammate before Ronaldo slotted the ball beautifully in between the legs of Keylor Navas.

The four time Ballon d’Or winner, who’s missed just one top three placing in 10 years for FIFA’s individual accolade, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and his decade-long battle with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been a constant topic of discussion for football fans across the world.


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Just hours before Real Madrid kick-off agaist APOEL on Wednesday, they announced that Brazilian left-back Marcelo had put pen to paper of a new two-year deal at the Santiago Bernabéu. Summer signing Theo Hernández will have the opportunity to learn from one of the best full-backs in modern football over the next two years, before taking over the reigns in the Los Blancos back four. 

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Real Madrid Star Marco Asensio Not Interested in Joining PSG

​Marco Asensio has insisted he has no interest in signing for Paris Saint-Germain and wants to stay at the Bernabeu.

When speaking to ​COPE, the Madrid man denied any links towards a move away after his performances reportedly attracted the interest of big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain towards the end of the transfer window.

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Despite competing with the likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo for a place in the starting lineup, Asensio doesn’t seem to be phased on the pitch and has produced emphatic performances for both club and country. 

Zinedine Zidane has already shown his admiration for the young midfielder who has started as he means to go on already this season. He is in excellent form at the minute and has caught the eye of all supporters with his delightful skill and shooting ability.

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In the interview with ​COPE, Asensio discussed his aspirations for his footballing career:

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“I don’t know how much I’m worth… I guess what my [release] clause says.

“If I would go to PSG? No, not really, because I’m very happy here.”

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The Madrid talisman also recalled how he came close to signing for Barcelona prior to joining Real, only for the Catalan club to pull out of the deal – but he has no regrets.

“I started with the first team of Mallorca and Barca appeared,” Asensio continued.

“When Horacio called me and told me Real Madrid were interested, I said I just wanted to play there.”


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It seems Asensio is content at Real Madrid and a move to PSG is certainly not on the cards at least for the next few seasons and if recent performances are anything to go by, the Spanish intentional is going to set the world alight in the years to come. 

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Zinedine Zidane Admits Real Madrid Are Lacking a No.9 With Ronaldo & Benzema Unavailable

​Real Madrid had a quiet transfer window in comparison to the huge spending throughout the summer and after already having dropped four points this season, Zinedine Zidane has admitted that he would have liked another striker in his squad, but that it wasn’t possible.

A major concern for the Madrid manager has been the number of chances that have been missed with Karim Benzema out due to injury and Cristiano Ronaldo banned for pushing referee

Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea versus Barcelona in the first leg of the Supercopa. 

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All of this speculation has led some to wonder if it was wise to let Alvaro Morata and Mariano leave in the summer after missing Ronaldo and Benzema’s ability in front of goal due to their unavailability.

In a Press Conference on Tuesday, Zinedine Zidane addressed the issue, as reported by ​Marca:

“It’s true that when you look at the players you had, like [Alvaro] Morata and Mariano, and when you see that now you only have [Borja] Mayoral that you might think we lack a No.9…

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“I would have liked Morata to stay, but he wanted to play more and to leave.

“It wasn’t possible to sign another player, but I really believe in Mayoral, as he is hungry.

As for Zidane’s willingness to rotate, he insisted that he would continue to do so, even if a rotated side dropped points to Levante last weekend.

“With this squad, we can do a lot of things,” he said.

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The loss of four points was also explicitly addressed, but Zidane pointed to the series of draws suffered last September, while he also looked ahead to this fresh start in the Champions League.

“The same thing happened last year, we’re not worried,” the coach said.

“We’re not pleased with these results, but this is football.


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That match against Apoel Nicosia kicks off at 19:45 GMT on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu with Zidane in need of a victory. 

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Gonzalo Higuain Names His Choice in GOAT Debate & Addresses ‘Bottler’ Criticisms

Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain has named Brazilian icon Ronaldo as ‘the best ever’, and admits to having spent hours watching the former PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Internazionale and Real Madrid phenomenon at work on old VHS tapes when he was growing up in Argentina.

Higuain was a teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid and an international colleague of Lionel Messi at international, yet ‘R9’ Ronaldo is the only one for him in the GOATdebate.

“I’ve watched two million of his goals. For me, he’s the best ever, by a big margin,” Higuain explained in an interview with The Guardian.

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As for the key to his own goalscoring prowess, Higuain commented, “For me, it’s about always having the image of the goal in my mind. That’s fundamental, I think.”

After leaving Real Madrid in 2013, where he had scored a very impressive 110 goals in his final five seasons after arriving from River Plate as an unproven youngster, Higuain has established himself as one of the most feared and prolific strikers in Europe.

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His goal tally improved year on year at Napoli, culminating in a haul of 36 in the league in 2015/16 to equal an 87-year-old Serie A record. He scored 32 in all competitions during his debut season at Juventus after a €90m move and has already found the net twice in 2017/18.

Higuain has acquired a reputation in the eyes of some as a ‘bottler’, though. He has played in a World Cup final, two Copa America finals and a Champions League final for club and country since 2014, and has missed several high profile chances that could have changed history.

The player himself does not see himself as cursed, or not having the mental strength to cope on the biggest of stages. Instead, he places a great deal of emphasis on just reaching that stage.

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“I always believe that it’s beautiful to win important matches, but it’s also very important simply to reach those moments. I truly believe that. Juve have played two Champions League finals in three years. That is very difficult to do,” he explained.

And when it comes to the critics who point out his flaws, Higuain has little time, explaining, “My philosophy for football is to be happy with what you’re doing.

“Pay attention to people who want good things for you: to your team‑mates, to the staff – if my father, or my manager, or my club’s president says something that interests me. Not someone who does not know me and is not saying these things to help me get better.”

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Gareth Bale Is Remarkably Frank When Quizzed About His Biggest Weakness

One would easily guess that Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale is a hard worker, but it’s looking like such an assumption would be incorrect, given the winger’s latest interview.

Since joining Madrid, Bale has gone on to win the Champions League on three occasions, as well as the La Liga title. He certainly seems to put a lot of work into his game, but according to the Welshman, he’s quite the sloth.

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“I’m quite lazy. That’s probably the best answer,” he told ​Diario AS after being asked what his biggest weakness is.

Responding to a question regarding his greatest virtue, Bale said: “I don’t know. I think that while I’m healthy and my family and friends are as well, and that they are happy, that’s all I ask for, nothing more.”

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The player was also asked what the hardest part of being a footballer is for him, and as expected, he singled out the travelling. 

“Travelling a lot, being away from you family so often; living in a different country,” he explained. “You want to be close to you family and friends… but you have to spend a lot of time away from home, travelling. And after that, it’s take a while to actually recover from all of those trips.


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Bale went on to reveal that he is hardly ever bothered by criticism from the media as it’s all ‘just opinions’.

“It’s all just opinions,” he said with a laugh. “They have to sell newspapers somehow and they need to write something… I’m used to people writing nice things and bad things… It’s nothing something which worries me.”

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Real Madrid v APOEL: Match Preview, Recent Form, Team News and More

​Real Madrid begin the defence of their Champions League title on Wednesday night. 

The Spanish giants have now lifted the trophy in successive seasons and on 12 occasions in total. Their first opponents in 2017-18 will be APOEL, the champions of Cyprus. 

Here is everything you need to know about the game at Bernabeu. 

Classic Encounter

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APOEL caused a major surprise in the 2011-12 season by reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League. Having come through a group featuring Zenit St. Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto, the Cypriots then knocked out Lyon in the round of 16. 

This gave them a quarter final date with Real Madrid. Having lost 3-0 at home, APOEL arrived at the Bernabeu looking for a miracle. Goals from Ronaldo and Kaka gave Real a halftime lead. 

APOEL need get back into the game with two goals scored by Gustavo Manduca and Esteban Solari. 

The Cypriots faded away badly though a second goal from Ronaldo along with strikes from José Callejón and Angel di Maria leading to a 8-2 Real Madrid aggregate win. 

Recent Form

Real Madrid v Valencia - La Liga

After beating Deportivo La Coruña in their opening game of the season, Real have stuttered in their opening two games at home in the league. 

A 2-2 draw with Valencia saw Zidane’s man need a late equaliser Marco Asensio before Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Levante, which saw Marcelo sent off.

APOEL started their Champions League campaign in the middle of July when they entered the tournament in the second qualifying round. 

They’ve knocked out F91 Dudelange (Luxembourg), Viitorul Constanța (Romania) and Slavia Prague (Czech Republic). They now have landed a dream draw against one of Europe’s biggest clubs

Team News

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After his ban for being sent off in the Spanish Super Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo will make his eagerly awaited return on Wednesday. 

Karim Benzema is injured and will certainly miss the game with Gareth Bale expected to return having been on the bench over the weekend.

APOEL will welcome back their Australian winger Tommy Oar for this game, they also have left back Nektarios Alexandrou back available. 

Prediction

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In a group with Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund, APOEL will probably be the whipping boys of this group. This is likely to start in the Bernabeu as Real Madrid will look to right some wrongs after a poor start to the La Liga season.

Prediction: Real Madrid 4-1 APOEL

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FIFA 18’s Low Ranking of Luka Modric Sparks Heated Twitter Response

​Football fans have had a heated reaction to the FIFA 18 ranking of Real Madrid star Luka Modric as they show their displeasure at his low overall score. 

With the new season under way, fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the popular football video game and over the last few days FIFA have been releasing the top ranked players available for the ultimate team game mode. 

On Sunday it was the turn of the top 20-11 players with Antoine Griezmann starting the list at 88 and David De Gea rounding it off with a huge 90. 

Not everyone will agree with the rankings but one thing that fans are united in is that Modric should have been given higher then 89. 

After running the midfield, alongside teammate Toni Kroos,of one of the most successful teams in the world, which has led to three Champions League wins and a league title in recent years, fans were expecting at least a 90 and they made sure producers EA were aware of their displeasure. 

Modric made 41 appearances last season, in all competitions, making five assists and scoring one goal while carrying out his playmaker midfield role to perfection. 

He shares his rank with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez who had a dominant season last year despite the club’s shortcomings as well as teammate Gareth Bale who had a disappointing campaign after suffering with several injuries.


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Modric however has consistently got better after he joined the La Liga giants in 2012 and while fans might be baffled as to why Kroos was awarded a 90 but he wan’t the Croatia international will simply be looking to defend their league and European title. 

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