Liverpool Target Nabil Fekir Reveals His Marginal Champions League Final Allegiances

​Lyon’s attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir could be set with for a move to Liverpool later this summer, with ​the Frenchman refusing to rule out a move to the Merseyside club.

However, despite the 24-year-old Frenchman’s apparent, impending move to join Jurgen Klopp’s men, he would not be disappointed if Real Madrid were to claim their third successive final win on Saturday, as reported by the ​Liverpool Echo.

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Speaking at a press conference with the French national team ahead of the upcoming World Cup, Fekir said: “Do I have a personal favourite between Liverpool and Real for the Champions League final? No, no really not!

“We have two team-mates who will be playing tomorrow, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema. May the best win! If Real could win we would be happy for them!”

Regarding his future, Fekir added: “For now I am in Clairefontaine. Games are coming and I really don’t have my situation in my mind. I let things happen but nothing is done. I have to discuss with the Jean-Michel Aulas and we’ll see what happens next.”

Following their Champions League clash against Real Madrid, Liverpool are planning on intensifying their pursuit of Fekir, with the goal scoring midfielder viewed as an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho who departed the club in January to join Barcelona.

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Why Real Madrid’s Galacticos Don’t Deserve to Be Remembered as One of Europe’s Greatest Ever Sides

Not since May 1960, when a 127,000-strong Hampden Park watched on as ​Real Madrid demolished Eintracht Frankfurt to continue the trend of being the only side to lift the European Cup – a stretch which had lasted five consecutive years – has Spanish football, more so the capital had such a stranglehold over the continental game. 

During that period, the Los Blancos XI were undeniably one of the greatest sides in history, with such names as Raymond Kopa, Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo di Stéfano leading the line in a top-heavy 3-2-5 formation masterminded by José Villalonga and Luis Carniglia. 

“We just had the misfortune to be around at the same time as that incredible Real Madrid team,” reflected Stade de Reims goalkeeper Dominique Colonna in 1959 after his side’s second European Cup final defeat to Madrid. “If it wasn’t for them, Reims might have dominated Europe for years.”

Of course, however, Los Vikingos’ time at the summit of European football indeed did come to an end; crashing out of the competition in the first round at the hands of ​Barcelona just months after claiming their fifth straight crown. However, Madrid’s demise opened the door for other legacies, ones which, still to this day, prove to be the cornerstone of footballing institutions. 

The Ajax collective of 1970-1973 – a side which continues to define the best of today. Barcelona and ​Manchester City, most famously, have kept Rinus Michels’ philosophy alive. But instead of Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Piet Keizer, Sjaak Swart and Wim Suurbier, names such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Kevin De Buryne, Xavi and the one constant; Pep Guardiola, have adapted the 4-3-3 ‘Total Football’ methodology into a much greater beast. 


Bayern Munich of the mid 70s, an outfit built upon West Germany’s international success and one which restructured the meaning of defensive football. Although a similar formational structure to that of Ajax during the three years prior, a much greater emphasis on solidity proved to be the overriding aspect. 

The security Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier provided allowed the likes of Gerd Müller to score with such efficiency, despite other sides maybe possessing the aesthetically pleasing flair which seems to be most important today. 

“I will always cherish the memory of the first European title,” Beckenbauer claimed years later. “It was the most important one and the feeling of victory changed in the next two years. We were already past our peak at that point, and the performances dropped. But due to our experience, we had the energy to focus in the most important matches.” 

Since then, England has enjoyed long spells of uninterrupted success in the pinnacle of club football – with Real Madrid’s opponents on Saturday, ​Liverpool, leading much of that, particularly during the transition of the late 70s and early 80s. However, not until the present day has such dominance been held by one particular nation, and Los Blancos have the opportunity to continue their incomparable glory this weekend.  

But, with that, a question is presented. Does Zinedine Zidane’s squad deserve to be held in the same regard as the aforementioned heroes of history? 

From one to eleven, superstar names of the present and the future are displayed across the shoulders on the famous all white of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Isco, Marco Asensio; the list continues. In the dugout, a former Ballon d’Or and World Cup-winner watches on as his men attempt to replicate the trailblazing achievements of years gone by. 

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Yet, with all their power both on and off the pitch, they do not. 

To claim Real Madrid are a one-man team would be disingenuous, to say the least; however, their lack of capability without an in-form Ronaldo, as has also been evident at Barcelona with Messi in patches this year, shows cause for concern. There is little coincidence that Los Blancos’ woeful opening half of the campaign domestically, as well as, in some instances, in Europe coincided with the crisis of confidence the Portuguese was suffering. 

50% of Los Merengues’ 30 Champions League goals this season have come from the 33-year-old, with Benzema (four) and Marcelo (three) the only other two players to have more than a solitary strike to their name. And as was evident during Real Madrid’s trip to Wembley late last year, an off night for the poacher can spell disaster. 

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Also unlike their history-making predecessors, the Spaniard’s do not possess a clear identity. Ajax had ‘Total Football’, Bayern Munich defensive stability. Real Madrid don’t really have anything besides the trophies themselves. 

In truth, it is hard to evade the overwhelming success Zidane’s XI have achieved over the past five years, and it should not be discounted. As already stated, no team since the 1970s has had the chance to assert themselves as the undisputed ‘Kings of Europe’. 

But when looking back over this period in years to come, to see today’s Los Blancos squad hailed in the same regard as Villalonga, Carniglia or Michels’, it will be both undeserved and unjustified. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo Names Former Chelsea Star as Toughest Defender He’s Ever Faced

​Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed former Arsenal, Chelsea and England full back Ashley Cole as the toughest defender he’s ever had to face. 

Ronaldo came up against Cole on a regular basis in the early stages of his career while playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. The Portuguese superstar joined the Red Devils from Sporting CP in 2003, having impressed the Scotsman in a previous Champions League encounter between the two sides. 

Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, back when the Premier League trophy was contested mainly between United, Arsenal and Chelsea. 

Cole and Arsenal triumphed in the 2003/04 season, before the 107-cap England star moved across London to Chelsea, where he secured league titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons, ahead of Ronaldo’s United.

Speaking to Spanish talk show El Chiringuito TV (via the ​Daily Ma​il), Ronaldo recalled his early duels with Cole, when asked by the presenter to name his toughest defensive opponent.

Cole controversially signed for Chelsea in 2006 from London rivals Arsenal. He made a total of 229 appearances for the club before he left to join Roma as a free agent in 2014. 

The former England international spent two seasons in Rome and then left to Los Angeles in 2016 to play for MLS side LA Galaxy, where the 37-year-old is still playing. 

Ronaldo, on the other hand, has continued to dominate European football. The 33-year-old has scored 43 goals for Real Madrid this season and will be looking to further add to his tally on Saturday when Los Blancos face Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev. 

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Guillem Balague Makes Bold Prediction Ahead of Liverpool UCL Final Meeting With Real Madrid

​Ahead of the highly anticipated Champions League final between ​Real Madrid and ​Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, Spanish Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague has predicted Los Blancos will be incapable of handling Jurgen Klopp’s mercurial Reds’ attack.

While Real Madrid will be looking to make this Saturday their third Champions League triumph in a row, and their fourth in five years, Liverpool are gearing up to claim their first piece of European silverware since their dramatic victory over AC Milan in 2005.

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And although there’s a significant contingent of Madrid supporters who believe their 13th European Cup is all but secured, the Reds’ attacking triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will not make it easy for La Liga outfit.

In fact, Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague believes that, despite their experience and winning track record, Real Madrid will find it ‘impossible’ to deal with Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, as reported by the ​Daily Star.

Speaking to Liverpool fan channel, Redmen TV, Balague said: “I was with Rafa Benitez a couple of days ago. We were going through the final, and he came out with something that made me think. It was a very good analysis.

Previews to the UEFA Champions League Final

“It was about intensity versus knowledge and control, particularly the intensity of Liverpool. If they go from minute one, it’s impossible to be matched by Real Madrid.

“By controlling the game in a conservative way, they are just trying to stop Liverpool going at that rate and pace.

“That’s all they’ll be able to do. It could well be that they just go aggressive from minute one on the front foot and surprise Real Madrid that way. If that happens, Real are not used to that intensity.” 

Following an immensely impressive Champions League campaign, ​Liverpool have notched 46 goals in the competition so far (including qualification against Hoffenheim), besting Los Blancos’ tally by 16 goals, as well as setting an impressive precedent of scoring at least five goals against each side they’ve faced thus far.

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5 Classic Clashes Between Liverpool & Real Madrid as They Prepare to Meet in Saturday’s UCL Final

Two giants of European football, Real Madrid and Liverpool, will lock horns once more as they face off in the biggest game in club football in Kiev this weekend, in the 2017/18 Champions League final.

It will only be the sixth time that they’ve come up against one another in competitive matches, all of which have been in European Cup competitions.

Both sides have had their fair share of successes over one another over the years. So with that in mind, and ahead of the game, take a look into the archives to find out how previous encounters have turned out.

1. Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid (European Cup Final, 1981)

The first time the Reds faced off against the Galacticos was on the biggest stage of them all;  the European Cup final.

In 1981, the match took place at the Parc des Princes in Paris, and Liverpool’s Alan Kennedy got the only goal of the game eight minutes from time.

His goal gifted the Merseyside outfit with their third European Cup in four years.

2. Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool (Champions League Last 16 First Leg, 2009)

Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun got the only goal of the game in the first leg tie of this last 16 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, in 2009.

The the Reds’ smash and grab performance secured them a 1-0 victory to take back to Anfield, ahead of a game that will live long in the memory of Liverpool fans…

3. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, 2009)

It was one of the greatest European nights at Anfield, as Liverpool demolished Los Merengues with a stunning 4-0 victory in the second leg.

Goals from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Dossena piled on the misery for Real, who were unceremoniously dumped up 5-0 on aggregate.

4. Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Group Stage, 2014)

Real Madrid got their long and overdue victory over Liverpool in Europe with dominating display at Anfield in 2014.

The reigning champions showed their style and class on the night and their effortless nature of their passing and control of play left Liverpool looking at each other wondering what to do. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, and a brace from Karim Benzema, did the business.

5. Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (UEFA Champions League Group Stage, 2014)

Liverpool’s starting lineup stole the headlines on this occasion as opposed to Real Madrid’s victory. 

The Reds decided to start with players like Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Lazar Markovic, Fabio Borini, Alberto Moreno and Lucas Leiva, while Brendan Rodgers opted to leave left star players such as Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli on the bench.

It was a shock move, and proved to be the end of his reign for the Northern Irishman.

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Real Madrid Announce 24-Man Squad for Champions League Final in Kiev

​Zinedine Zidane has called up the entire Real Madrid squad for the Champions League final on Saturday, ensuring Liverpool remain in the dark over the final team selection in Kiev. 

The 24-man squad was announced by ​Real Madrid on Thursday as the club prepare to travel to Ukraine in a bid to secure their third European Cup in succession, and their thirteenth in the club’s history. 

​​The squad named on the ​club’s website sees a fully fit side ready to come to blows with ​Liverpool after emerging from their final league game against Villarreal unscathed. 

Cristiano Ronaldo headlines the star studded lineup but question marks remain over whether Zidane will opt for Lucas Vasquez ahead of Gareth Bale on the right wing, despite the Welshman’s recent up turn in form. 

Real Madrid squad: Navas, Casilla, Luca, Carvajal, Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo, Achraf, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Llorente, Asensio, Isco, Kovacic, Ceballos, Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Vázquez and Mayoral.

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Los Blancos’ fourth final in five years has seen the club instated as favourites over their ​Premier League counterparts, where many expect their experience on the big stage to come up trumps against a Liverpool outfit who have not featured in a European Cup final since 2007.

Meanwhile, whilst Liverpool’s starting lineup is unlikely to come as a surprise to Real, the Reds have been boosted by the return of Emre Can to ​their 24-man squad after seeing their midfield options dwindle in recent weeks. 

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Mauro Icardi’s Agent Reveals ‘Big Clubs’ Willing to Trigger Inter Striker’s Release Clause

​Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara has revealed there has been a great deal of interest from a host of European super clubs willing to trigger the Argentine striker’s release clause.

The ​Inter captain currently has his release clause set at a hefty €110m, but this has allegedly not dissuaded interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and ​Real Madrid who would be interested in signing the 25-year-old striker.

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Icardi enjoyed yet another season of prolific goalscoring in Serie A this campaign, notching 29 goals throughout the season to claim a share of the Capocannoniere award with Ciro Immobile of Lazio.

His goalscoring exploits fired the Nerazzuri into the Champions League places on the final day of the season, thus attracting interest from a whole host of ‘big clubs’ across Europe.

Nara spoke to Radio Metro regarding the possibility of a big-money deal, saying: “There are some big clubs ready to pay the release clause, which is very high, but considering the figures that are circulating in football right now and the kind of player Mauro is, it’s not even that remarkable.

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“There are many clubs putting pressure on, but his priority is Inter. There will be a meeting with their director of sport and the priority as of today is to stay here.”

As a result of Inter securing Champions League football for the 2018/19 season, the Nerazzuri are naturally very keen to renew the contract of their prized asset, keeping him at the club as they look to return to the formidable force in Italy, and indeed Europe, that they once were.

“It irritates me when people underestimate Mauro, as he is wanted by the three best teams in the world,” Nara added.

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“We’ll see what he does with Inter, the situation is he’ll either sign a renewal or leave, but the priority is to remain here and resolve the issue before we can go on vacation.”

With Icardi ​omitted from Argentina’s World Cup squad destined for Russia this summer, he’ll have plenty of time to consider his next destination without the added pressures of international football. However, it goes without saying that Inter fans will undoubtedly be keen to see their talisman donning the same blue and black jersey come the end of the summer.

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Klopp Praises Real Madrid Ahead of UCL Final But Hints at Potential Weakness in Los Blancos’ Team

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised Champions League final opponents Real Madrid and dismissed any notion that the Spanish giants have a weakness – but did hint that they may be able to find some space for Mohamed Salah to exploit.

​Klopp was speaking to Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler for The Mirror when Fowler asked him about Madrid left back Marcelo possibly being a weakness for the Reds to attack.

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Klopp was keen to underline the Brazilian’s quality, saying: “You saw it, everybody saw it, seems obvious: ‘Marcelo, what an offensive player, but…he can’t defend’.”

He did however go on to say: “Real need four chances to score twice. ​Bayern needed eight to score one. They are experienced from head to toe. There is no weakness. ­Football is not so easy that you can say, ‘If Marcelo (right) makes that run, and we leave Mo Salah there in that space, Salah gets in against Ramos’.

The German also insisted that this final would be different to the Europa League Final defeat to Sevilla in 2016, saying: “This time it is completely different. The game in Basel (against Sevilla) we were ‘dead legs’, no energy any more. We couldn’t strike back. The road to Basel and Kiev was similar, but we are now a better football team of course.”

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Whilst Klopp may not publicly be stating that Marcelo is a weakness, Liverpool will be well aware of his tendency to push forward too far and abandon his defensive responsibilities. Especially considering they have one of Europe’s most potent wingers in their side in Mohamed Salah. 

In what could be a high scoring final, the space left for Salah to attack could be key.

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Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo Reveals When He Plans to Retire From Football on Spanish TV

​Real Madrid and Portugal legend Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed when he plans to retire from football and, contrary to popular belief, he won’t be hanging up his boots anytime soon. 

In fact, Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer has announced he plans to continue playing well into his forties, leaving the Galactico with at least another seven years in his tank.

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At 33 years of age, many had anticipated Ronaldo’s age to have caught up to him by now, and it seemingly had done earlier in the season, with the Portuguese superstar having scored a paltry two league goals by December.

However, he soon picked up the pace once more, scoring at will to end the La Liga season on 26 league goals, as well as notching an unbelievable 15 Champions League goals in 12 games with the final against Liverpool yet to be played. 

Although the near future holds the potential for Ronaldo to become the player to have won the most Champions League titles, with the match against Liverpool in Kiev looming, the Madrid forward has been equally interested in speculating what the distant future holds for him.

“Right now I have a biological age of 23,” he explained to Spanish TV show El Chiringuito, as cited by the Daily Mirror. “I’ve still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I’m 41. I’m feeling good, happy, I can’t complain. We are playing another final on Saturday and the fans are behind Cristiano.

“I’ve been here for eight years and people always say 50 players are coming here but in the end, no-one comes. In September people think lots of players are going to come but the ones who take us to finals are always the same ones.

“The best players are already at Madrid. [Gareth] Bale, [Karim] Benzema, [Lucas] Vazquez, [Marco] Asensio. They are all here.”

Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are set to play their last game of the season on Saturday, with the Champions League final against Liverpool being an excellent opportunity for the 33-year-old forward to add a fifth Champions League winner’s medal to his trophy cabinet.

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Wenger Reveals How Many Times He Turned Down Real Madrid & England to Stay as Arsenal Boss

Arsene Wenger has claimed he turned down numerous offers from both Real Madrid and the England national team, during his tenure as Arsenal boss.

The Frenchman stepped down from his position at the helm of the club this summer after a 22-year spell and is set to be replaced soon, with ex-PSG boss ​Unai Emery all but confirmed as his successor.

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It is still unclear what comes next for Wenger, who leaves the Emirates Stadium as one of the most experienced coaches in the game.

While his next step is unknown, it’s hardly any secret that he was wanted by some of Europe’s best clubs at different points in his career. However, he remained steadfast, a decision that was helped by financial constraints after the club’s Emirates move.

“When we built the stadium the banks asked me to commit for five years, the first time [I turned them down] was inside the five years and I thought no I could not do that, that would betray my club,” he said to beIN Sports (via ​Standard Sport).

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“Real Madrid I think I turned down two or three times you know. It’s one of the teams I loved when I was a kid. I just felt that it was a very sensitive period for Arsenal Football Club.

“You are always tempted to go to Real Madrid because they offered me the chance to take control of the whole club.

“At the end of the day, I said no once, twice. I turned so many clubs down you could believe it. At the end of the day, I was happy where I was as well.”

Wenger also reveals having turned down the England job, yet the FA’s interest in him was hardly kept under wraps.

“I turned them [England] down two or three times,” he added. “But at that time the daily involvement for me was important.”

Apparently keen to remain active as a manager, Wenger is likely to take up a project away from the Premier League, especially as he’s said he would hate to ever go up against his former club in the future.

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