When & Where to Watch Real Madrid’s Players During the October International Break

​Despite talk of a crisis at Real Madrid, with the team having only picked up one point from their opening two Champions League group games, Los Blancos are top of La Liga by two points heading into the latest international break.

However, Zinedine Zidane will have to prepare his side for their next game against Real Mallorca without 12 first team regulars as they go off to represent their respective countries this week.

Here is a rundown of how you can see these 12 players in action across the globe.

Sergio Ramos & Dani Carvajal (Spain)

Dani Carvajal,Sergio Ramos

Although he is now 33, Ramos remains an integral part of Madrid’s side, and has been one of their more consistent performers in the early stages of the season.

Carvajal has been less impressive, but still retains the faith of Zidane. Both will be expected to start for Spain in their upcoming games as they travel to Scandinavia to play Norway and Sweden.

​Game ​Date/Time ​TV Channel/Live Stream
​Norway vs Spain ​Saturday, Oct 12 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Football
​Sweden vs Spain ​Tuesday, Oct 15 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Premier League

Raphael Varane & Alphonse Areola (France)

Raphael Varane

He may only be 26, but Varane is now a senior figure in the France side, and someone that Didier Deschamps fully trusts. 

This international break could also give Areola a rare opportunity. He has played second fiddle to Hugo Lloris for some time, but with the Tottenham goalkeeper now ruled out until 2020 due to injury, it could be Areola’s time to shine. 

France still have some work to do in their group, as they are currently level on points with Turkey and three ahead of Iceland. They face both of those teams over the next week.

Game ​Date/Time TV Channel/Live Stream
​Iceland vs France ​Friday, Oct 11 (19:45) Sky Sports Football​
​France vs Turkey ​Monday, Oct 14 (19:45) Sky Sports Mix/Sky Sports Football

Eden Hazard & Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)

Eden Hazard

Hazard is yet to shine for Madrid following his summer move from Chelsea. He is still getting up to speed following a hamstring injury that he suffered in pre-season.

Meanwhile, Courtois has had problems of his own. A dip in form has meant that his place in the side has come into question with Areola being a more than capable replacement.

Yet the pair remain important players for the current number one ranked international side in the world. ​They are coasting towards Euro 2020, and should not face much of a challenge to their supremacy this week when they take on San Marino and Kazakhstan.

Game ​Date/Time ​TV Channel/Live Stream
​Belgium vs San Marino ​Thursday, Oct 10 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Football (Red Button)
​Kazakhstan vs Belgium ​Sunday, Oct 13 (14:00) ​Sky Sports Main Event

Casemiro & Eder Militao (Brazil)


The 2019 Copa America champions will be travelling to Singapore this week for two friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria. 

Unsurprisingly, Casemiro has made the squad, whilst Militao has also got a call-up despite his lack of game time at club level.

Game ​Date/Time ​TV Channel/Live Stream
​Brazil vs Senegal ​Thursday, Oct 10 (13:00) ​LFC TV
Brazil vs Nigeria ​Sunday, Oct 13 (13:00) ​Not in UK

Luka Modric (Croatia) 

Luka Modric

The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner has had a quieter 2019, but is still a vital player for his national team.

Croatia will need him to be close to his best this week, ​as they face a testing pair of fixtures. With four teams still realistically capable of qualifying out of Group E for Euro 2020, Croatia meet two of their rivals for a place at next year’s tournament as they host Hungary before travelling to Wales.

Game ​Date/Time ​TV Channel/Live Stream
​Croatia vs Hungary ​Thursday, Oct 10 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Football (Red Button)
​Wales vs Croatia ​Sunday, Oct 13 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Football/Sky Sports Main Event

Gareth Bale (Wales)

Gareth Bale

The Welsh winger may not be enjoying his time at Madrid under Zidane, but he is still his country’s star player. 

Wales are currently fourth in their group, and face a potentially defining week as they aim to make up ground and qualify for their second successive European Championships. 

First up is a tricky trip to Slovakia, before they return to home soil to take on Croatia.

​Game Date/Time​ ​TV Channel/Live Stream
​Slovakia vs Wales ​Thursday, Oct 10 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Premier League
​Wales vs Croatia ​Sunday, Oct 13 (19:45) ​Sky Sports Football/Sky Sports Main Event

Fede Valverde (Uruguay)

Fede Valverde

Valverde has started three of Madrid’s last four games, thus rightfully earning another call-up to the Uruguayan national team.

The South American side are just in friendly action, as they will be playing Peru twice in the space of four days.

Game ​Date/Time TV Channel/Live Stream
​Uruguay vs Peru ​Saturday, Oct 12 (00:00) ​Not in UK
​Peru vs Uruguay ​Wednesday, Oct 16 (02:30) ​Not in UK

Rodrygo (Brazil Olympic Team)


Ahead of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Brazil’s Olympic team will play two friendly fixtures over the next week as part of their preparation. 

Having joined Madrid over the summer, 18-year-old ​Rodrygo is still finding his feet at the club and has only made the matchday squad sporadically.

He will be expected to get more game time here though as Brazil take on Venezuela and Japan.

Game ​Date/Time TV Channel/Live Stream
​Brazil Olympic Team vs Venezuela  ​Friday, Oct 11 (02:30) ​Not in UK
​Brazil Olympic Team vs Japan ​Monday, Oct 14 (21:00) ​Not in UK


Sergio Ramos: Football’s Big Bad Who Has Dominated the Sport Like No Other Defender

Sergio Ramos is number 4 in 90min’s Top 20 Greatest Footballers of the Decade series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next week.

During the introduction of his much-anticipated Amazon Prime docu-series El Corazón de Sergio Ramos, a voiceover from the Real Madrid and Spain captain tells viewers that his public image doesn’t always reflect who he is and that he has never opened the doors to his private life before.

The series then proceeds to attempt to give a glimpse (albeit a highly manufactured and airbrushed glimpse) behind the scenes at home with one of the world’s most recognisable, admired and notorious sporting personalities of the last decade. 

After a spot of breakfast and face-painting session with the family at home, Ramos – wearing a black zipped-up-to-the-Adam’s apple tracksuit top with white spots under a grey blazer – speaks to camera, starting the sentence ‘the public know me as…’ before breaking off with a sheepish laugh, ‘pues, no lo se’ (well, I don’t know). 

I think he does know. He knows very well how he is perceived.

The public image that Ramos has created – run, jump, headered, tackled, fouled, Panenka’d, sh*thoused, tattooed and teeth-whitened and sh*thoused some more over many years – is one the world of football and beyond can’t get enough of.

For well over ten years, ​Ramos has been one of football’s apex predators. One of the sport’s finest players, an elite winner, leader and embracer of the celebrity that comes with the occupation. For many he is also The Big Bad of the beautiful game. Football’s Sh*thouse-in-Chief.

The Sevilla-born star is the most sent-off player in both ​La Liga and ​Champions League history but has also scored more career goals than Andres Iniesta.

Sergio Ramos,Andres Iniesta

During Florentino Perez’s first spell as ​Real Madrid president between 2000 and 2006, Los Blancos signed only three centre backs: Walter Samuel, Jonathan Woodgate and Ramos. Only one of those three was still there when Perez returned to lead the club again in 2009. For the president who had little time for the necessary evil of defending, Ramos was the perfect signing; a proper Galactico athlete, who transcends his position as a defender in a way few others can.

Ramos began the decade by becoming a World champion with Spain in the Vuvuzela-soundtracked World Cup in South Africa, topping Castrol’s Performance Index for the tournament, as La Roja overcame the Netherlands in the final – in the type of war of attrition that would define the defender’s career.

Nominated as one of Real Madrid’s four captains the following season after conquering the world, Ramos was sent off for hacking at Lionel Messi (and then pushing international teammate Carles Puyol) in the crushing 5-0 home defeat by Barcelona in November 2010 that marked Jose Mourinho’s extremely bad-tempered first Clasico. It was already his tenth red card for Real Madrid in fewer than five seasons. At time of writing, he has 19 reds and 164 yellows in La Liga.

The referee shows a red card to Real Mad

Already a World Cup winner and two-time La Liga champion, 2012 became a defining year in Ramos’ origin story, as the defender skied a decisive penalty in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich in April. Two months later, the defender stepped forward in Spain’s Euro 2012 semi-final against Portugal, dinking a Panenka down the middle past a helpless Rui Patricio, with the coolness of a man who has never suffered failure.

He told FourFourTwo:When certain moments arrive, there are players who fortunately have that complete confidence in themselves, who are in a rich vein of form and want to face up to such responsibility. Throughout my career I’ve always been able to take in the situation and assume that responsibility.

“You always remember the pain and the negativity after something like that. It was more in honour of my mother and my sister, who are the two that always suffer most: they deserved an eternal moment to cherish from my career, and I think that was one.”

Sergio Ramos,Rui Patrício

For all Cristiano Ronaldo’s shirtless posturing, Ramos was the key man in Real Madrid’s Décima and Undécima Champions League titles, breaking Atletico Madrid hearts with a stoppage-time header in 2014 to take the game to extra-time (Real went on to win 4-1), while he opened the scoring with a similar goal two years later at San Siro against the same opponents, before scoring in the penalty shootout.

In 2017, he became the first man to captain a side to back-to-back European titles (it would later become three) in the Champions League era as Real Madrid brushed aside Juventus in Cardiff.

The boy who, apparently, once considered becoming a bullfighter celebrated by waving a matador’s cape on the pitch at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. It wasn’t the first time he’d brought out his bizarrely choreographed routine for trophy celebrations. Bullfighting remains a highly controversial topic in Spain, with its popularity particularly low with the younger, more animal rights conscious youth. Ramos doesn’t care. “I feel a bond with that world because my family and my town have always been great bullfighting fans,” he has said. “It’s something you’re born with. I do feel I have some ‘matador’ qualities.”


In Kiev against Liverpool in 2018, as he collected his fourth Champions League crown, Ramos’ coronation both as one of the all-time greatest players and biggest sh*thouses was confirmed as he tussled Mohamed Salah to the ground – injuring the Egyptian’s shoulder (an action that launched a million memes), before later apparently concussing goalkeeper Loris Karius in the 3-1 win.

His bullish and defiant responses to any suggestion of wrongdoing after the game kept the press and fans wide-eyed and entertained. Ramos’ former teammates like Fernando Hierro and Pepe had developed reputations as masters of the dark arts but Ramos was on another level. He was not prepared to back down, or play nice off the pitch, ​well aware of how to use his sarcy wit in the press to dictate the headlines. 

More than all that, he has been despised because he is just so bloody brilliant.

Since the turn of the decade, Ramos has won two La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, four World Club Cups, the Copa del Rey twice (dropping one off a bus), the Euros and the World Cup.

For all his flaws and controversy, he will enter 2020 still at the pinnacle at football, named in ​FIFPro’s World Team of the Year – somewhat questionably mind you, but still there. 

The hair has changed, the teeth whitened, the beard styled and the tattoos added but Ramos is still the apex predator, still the box-office centre-back, still football’s Big Bad, still one of the best around.

At the beginning of episode one in El Corazón de Sergio Ramos, there is also some B-roll of Madrid’s famous Puerta del Sol square, and the plaque that marks ‘Km.0’ (kilometre zero) from which all roads in Spain are measured. Ramos, for whatever else he might be, is ‘kilometre zero’ when comparing all other defenders, captains, villains and heroes.

Number 20 – Arjen Robben: The Flying Dutchman Who Became a Modern Legend at Bayern Munich

Number 19 – Mohamed Salah: The Humble King Who Conquered Rome and Took Liverpool By Storm

Number 18 – Sergio Aguero: The Man Who Painted Manchester Blue With One Kick of a Football

Number 17 – Manuel Neuer: The Bayern Munich & Germany Legend Who Revolutionised Goalkeeeping

Number 16 – Eden Hazard: The Brilliant Belgian Who Mesmerised Fans Across the World

Number 15 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Man Who Needs No Introduction

Number 14 – Toni Kroos: The Underrated Jahrhunderttalent Who Was There for the Biggest Occasions

Number 13 – Giorgio Chiellini: The Juventus Who Has Always Found a Way to Win

Number 12 – Marcelo: From Favela Kickabouts Under Grandad’s Watch to 4 Champions League Win

Number 11 – Robert Lewandowski: Bayern Munich’s Best Foreign Player & Europe’s Most Underrated Star in History

Number 10 – Neymar Jr: Brazil’s Generational Talent Who Dictated the Greatest Champions League Night in History

Number 9 – Gareth Bale: The Cursed Talent Who Went on to Conquer Europe Four Times

Number 8 – Dani Alves: The Maverick Who’s Just Too Good to Be Copied

Number 7 – Franck Ribery: The Serial Entertainer Who Was Born to Win

Number 6 – Luis Suarez: The Uruguayan Heel Who Never Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

Number 5 – ​Andrés Iniesta: The Enigmatic Architect Behind the Best Barcelona Team in Modern History


Dani Ceballos Admits He Didn’t ‘Enjoy Football’ at Real Madrid After Taking Chance With Arsenal

​Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos insists that he’s very happy he left Real Madrid during the summer transfer window after admitting he wasn’t enjoying life down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The 23-year-old joined Unai Emery’s side on a season-long loan in the summer, and he has already made an impression on fans in north London, impressing with his passing and dribbling and opening his account for the club in their recent 4-0 win over Standard Liège in the Europa League group stage.

Ceballos’ future beyond this season looks set to be with his parent club, but the midfielder insists he needed to move away from the Spanish capital to start enjoying his football again after a frustrating two years with Los Blancos.


It was clear I wanted to leave,” Ceballos told Marca“I’ve been successful in leaving, now I’m where I want to be and I’m very happy.

“My idea was to leave, play and enjoy football. In the previous two years, I hadn’t done that.”

Ceballos has fought his way back into Spain’s senior national team where he’s forming a partnership with Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets in central midfield, playing together most recently in a 2-1 win over Romania.

Dani Ceballos,Sergio Busquets

On top of his relationship with Busquets, the Arsenal loanee also spoke about the possibility of featuring for Spain both at next year’s Euro 2020 finals as well as the Olympic Games in Tokyo – a competition last won by Neymar’s Brazil three years ago.

I love playing with Busquets,” he added. “He measures the time and speed of the game very well. He’s a reference for young people.

I could play in the Euros and the Olympics. It’d be a dream for me to be in Tokyo.”

Despite featuring in every game for the Gunners this season, Ceballos still hasn’t completely nailed down a starting spot, something which would help cement his place with Spain. 

But with Mesut Özil being ostracised under Emery, Ceballos could see his chances increase even more this season as he looks to make a statement before returning to Madrid.

For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!


Gareth Bale (Finally) Wants to Leave Real Madrid After Matchday Snub by Zinedine Zidane

​Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is ready to push for a move away from the club next summer after growing frustrated with almost everyone at the club.

The Welshman came close to leaving during the summer – despite his agent’s repeated public insistence that he would be honouring the remaining three years of his contract in Madrid – but saw a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapse at the last minute.

Gareth Bale

While manager Zinedine Zidane was the main driver in attempting to rid Real‘s of Bale this summer, the Welshman has actually been one of ​the club’s most important players so far this season, scoring twice and assisting as many in the opening six La Liga games.

However, ​Bale was (surprisingly) completely dropped from the matchday squad to face Club Brugge in the ​Champions League last Tuesday. According to ​AS, it’s a decision has left Bale fuming.

He was dropped without any explanation, but they swiftly reinstated for the next ​La Liga game against Granada. Bale was left confused as to why Zidane would do that, especially without speaking to him first.

He feels he is in great form and is only going to improve with regular game time, so to be abruptly dropped is said to have left him asking questions about his future.

However, it’s not just Zidane who has upset Bale. The Welshman fears that the club’s directors do not support him either.

Bale believes that club officials were always protective of former teammate ​Cristiano Ronaldo, say AS, and he is concerned that he is not receiving the same treatment, despite actually proving to be one of Real’s top performers this season.

As a result, he is now thought to be ready to leave Madrid after years of digging in his heels. AS claim he has notified his agent of his desire to leave, and the hope is that he will be able to find a new home once the current season comes to a close. The main problem, just as it was during the summer, is that few teams around the world can afford to sign Bale, while those that do have the capital may choose to spend their money on players under 30 with a shorter injury history.

Gareth Bale

Jiangsu Suning came close to striking a deal in the summer, but that was only because Real had initially agreed to let Bale leave on a free transfer. His high wage demands mean that few teams could afford to offer a satisfactory transfer fee as well.

With his contract not set to expire until 2022, Bale’s market value is dropping slowly. Although, now with manager and player seemingly on the same page with regards to the player’s future, an exit may be a little easier to facilitate. A little.

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!


90min’s Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week 8 Succession Special

This week was all about dynasties, new and old, rising and falling.

– The oldest of European dynasties Juventus DOWNED Antonio Conte’s intrepid Inter.

– Brighton RIP’d Mauricio Pochettino’s stint at Spurs.

– Steve Bruce DESTROYED Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

– Hoffenheim HOOVERED up Bayern.

– Barcelona won, Real Madrid won and Atletico Madrid…DREW.

With all this tumult at the top in the fight for the European throne, there’s only one TV show that can help us today, and that would be ‘Succession‘, aka the best show since ‘Mad Men‘, probably.

And, ahead of next week’s much-anticipated finale, it’s Season Two. Cause, you know, ‘Grexit’, ‘boar on the floor’, and ‘We Here For You’.

15. Jack Grealish (New Entry)

Jack Grealish

“I need to sever my links. Negotiate a bit of a Grexit.”

Jack Grealish is no stranger to a bit of a Grexit. He’s done it to Ireland, and he’s appeared destined to on numerous occasions do it to Aston Villa, before he became the club’s captain, talisman and kit man’s arch-nemesis – you know, the dilapidated boots. 

But now, in the midst of yet another purple patch, and ahead of next year’s Euros, perhaps a January Grexit could be in order? God knows he could do a job at most places – yes, including Westminster. 

14. Gonzalo Higuain (New Entry)


“Uncle Fun or Grandpa Grumps?”

For both the duration of his stint at Chelsea, and one notable training session with Juventus, Gonzalo Higuain has been Grandpa Grumps. 

But after scoring the winner against Inter in the Derby d’Italia? Higgy is Uncle Fun once again!

Don’t worry, Uncle Fun isn’t as creepy as he sounds. He’s no Uncle Mo. Probably.

13. Eden Hazard (New Entry)

Eden Hazard,Gareth Bale

“Hey, this is where the party is at. Look at us, all the cool and beautiful people in one spot.”

So Eden Hazard finally joined the Real Madrid party. And in what fashion! A spectacular dink from the Bulky Belgian. The Hungry Hazard. The Eating More Than Just An Apple in Eden. 

12. Willian (New Entry)


“You don’t really hear much about syphilis these days. Very much the MySpace of STDs.”

You don’t really hear much positive stuff about Willian these days. Very much the Facebook of Chelsea players.

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have been Tik Toking their way to the top, and they’ve received all that sweet, sweet engagement. But spare a thought for the Brazilian, who’s always been unfairly maligned at Stamford Bridge, and backed up his wonderful goal against Lille with a masterful piece of orchestration at Southampton.

11. Aaron Connolly (New Entry)

Brighton & Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

“Bring me franchisable IP.”

Before Saturday’s game with Spurs, Aaron Connolly was a nobody. A nobody! Logan Roy would’ve slapped him up, gobbled him whole then spat him out. 

But now? After that brilliant brace? Aaron Connolly is a household name. Aaron Connolly is franchisable IP. Aaron Connoly’s life story is about to be bought by Disn—I mean Waystar Royco. 

Aaron Connoly is about to be the first Irish superhero since Shamrock. 

10. Karim Benzema (Re-Entry)

Karim Benzema

“These trust fund YouTube sh*ts.”

In this gilded age of – yes – trust fund YouTube sh*ts, Karim Benzema is a rare breed. He is not the kind of player to be distracted by such low-grade highlights reels. But, in his own way, he has built up quite the portfolio in recent years, perhaps none more impressive than this season. 

He’s the only consistent performer Zinedine Zidane’s got at the minute.

9. Paulo Dybala (Up 4)


“Bill. The best boss that ever lived. It’s like Mandela f*cked Santa and gave birth to Bill.”

A few months ago, Paulo Dybala looked to be on the ropes at Juventus, and Maurizio Sarri seemed to be one of the architects behind this.

But now the two are best buds, and the Argentine’s scoring world-class goals in the biggest games of the season, before giving post-match quotes like the above… or at least trying to, while creepy Cristiano Ronaldo does creepy things to try and put him off.

8. Sargis Adamyan (New Entry)

Sargis Adamyan

“If this place was in Brooklyn it’d be worth five mil, easy.”

Sargis Adamyan is the man behind Bayern Munich’s unlikely dismantling at the hands of Hoffenheim.

If Adamyan was English, and not Armenian (Armenia: very much the Dundee – where the house referenced in this quote is situated – of Asia) he’d be worth £50m, EASY. Jadon Sancho WHO?!

7. Tammy Abraham (Re-Entry)

Tammy Abraham,Maya Yoshida

“The next Zuckerf*cker comes along and swallows you whole. Sh*ts you out as an app.”

Tammy Abraham – England’s Tammy Abraham, I should say – is the joint second-highest scorer across Europe’s Top Five leagues in 2019/20. Tammy Abraham is legit. For real. 

That finish at St Mary’s? Serious. 

Poor Olivier Giroud. He’s been Zuckerf*cked. 

6. Adama Traore (New Entry)

Adama Traore

“Here I am, I’m moving. I’m moving. I’m moving. Brisk movement. Brisk movement.”

This mantra has been Adama Traore’s M.O. for a long time. But no longer. Sure, both goals against City required some brisk movement, but more than that, they required crisp finishing. 

And he showed it in swathes at the Etihad. 

5. Lionel Messi (New Entry)

Lionel Messi

“No, no, no. No, no, no. F*ck off.”

Lionel Messi is back. Lionel Messi is back. Lionel Messi is back. 

The Messiah is alive and well, and he’s earned a call up to these here prestigious Power Rankings for the first time. The entirety of La Liga is quaking in their boots.

As for Sevilla? Well, they shat the bed, Kendall style.

4. Neymar (Up 3)


“Then he wanted me to tell you that obviously our public line will be that we’re considering the offer but it doesn’t matter what you offer. He will never recommend this to the board. You’re gonna bleed cash and he’s gonna bleed cash. It will never end. And maybe you’ll kill him but if you don’t he will aim to kill you. He will go bankrupt or go to jail before he lets you beat him. He will beat you in the business and if that doesn’t work he will send people around. He will send men to kill your pets and f*ck your wives and it will never be over.”

So, Neymar’s still at Paris Saint-Germain. Probably the right call in the end. 

3. Robert Lewandowski (Down 2)


“The evidence does not want to be destroyed.”

Here’s three-time European Player Power Rankings Champion Robert Lewandowski drowning his sorrows after coming in at third this week. 

But don’t despair, Lewan. All the prior evidence about your form will not be destroyed because of one result. We Will Remember Them [the goals and skills and stuff].

2. Sadio Mane (Re-Entry)

Sadio Mane

“Now it’s time for me to habeas the corpus.”

Cesc Fabregas recently called Sadio Mane one of the top three players in the world. Here at EPPR HQ, we see Cesc’s top three, and raise it to top two (though we reserve the right to completely eliminate him from next week’s rankings should we feel like it). 

Mane is a world-beater in a team of Europe-beaters. And they now look set to beat the rest of England, too. They just need to habeas the corpus, if you know what I mean? 

1. Luis Suarez (Up 11)

“L to the motherf*cking OG.”

L to the UIS

Dude be the OG

Ay, and he playin’

Playin’ like a pro

L to the UIS

Dude be the OG

Ay, and he playin’

Playin’ like a pro

A1 FIFA ratings, 80k wine,

Never gonna stop baby, f*ck Father Time!

L to the motherf*cking UIS. 

For, in the past week or so, Luis has scored three of the best goals of his career, and that’s no joke. He may be just as reviled as he is revered, but he’s a true great, and this week’s showings have been a timely reminder. 

And, yes, he may be entering into the ‘OG’ phase of his career, but he can he still hit a motherf*cking bicycle kick, and don’t you forget it. 

For more from Wilfred Laurence, follow him on Twitter!


Real Madrid Confirm Toni Kroos Injury as Club Await News of Recovery Time

​Real Madrid have confirmed midfielder Toni Kroos damaged adductors in his foot during the club’s 4-2 victory over Granada on Saturday.

The German underwent scans one day later, though it remains unknown how long his recovery will take. 

Coach Zinedine Zidane was forced to play Dani Carvajal at left-back following injuries to defensive trio Marcelo, Nacho Fernandez and Ferland Mendy, with Marco Asensio and Thibaut Courtois likewise receiving treatment at present.

Zinedine Zidane

First half goals from Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard – who opened his ​Real account with a deft lob – put the hosts firmly in control at the Bernabeu, before Luka Modric and James Rodriguez wrapped up the victory after the restart.

However, a statement on Madrid’s ​official website revealed the win had come at a cost, with Kroos hobbling off midway through the opening period.

The 29-year-old went straight down the tunnel and into the dressing room to meet with Los Blancos’ medical team, who are currently unsure of how serious the problem is.

Having played one match more than both ​Barcelona and neighbours ​Atletico, Zidane’s side sit four points clear at the top of the table, the result against Granada maintaining their unbeaten start to the domestic campaign.

The Andalusians are Real’s closest competitors ahead of La Blaugrana’s meeting with Sevilla and Atleti’s match at Valladolid, both of which take place on Sunday.

Despite a shaky beginning to the season, Madrid have put much of their troubles behind them after a nightmare showing in 2018/19, yet Kroos’ performance had been integral to their revival.

His composure and distribution have seen the side navigate several tricky fixtures, though the playmaker was unable to prevent a damaging 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the ​Champions League.

Los Blancos followed that up that defeat with an underwhelming 2-2 draw at home to Belgian outfit Club Brugge in their second game of the group stages, leaving them with plenty of work to do if they are to reach the knockouts.


Man Utd Deny Rumours That Paul Pogba Is Holding Club to Ransom for Real Madrid Move

​Manchester United have dismissed rumours that Paul Pogba is holding the club to ransom in an attempt to force through a switch to Real Madrid.

Los Blancos were reportedly desperate to recruit Pogba during the summer but met fierce resistance from United, who were unwilling to sell (at least for below their asking price) despite the player’s own public admission of a desire to move for a ​’new challenge’. 

With the Red Devils unwilling to sell, it has been rumoured that the Frenchman has demanded an outrageous pay rise to stay at United, in the hope that it would force the club to let him go.

Paul Pogba,Lucas Torreira

However, according to ​The Mirror, ​Pogba has not demanded a £600,000-a-week contract and ​United do not feel any pressure to tie him down to a fresh deal.

A United insider is quoted as saying: “Pogba’s only focus right now is trying to be fit to help his teammates.

“Reports of him demanding £600,000-a-week to stay aren’t true. Paul has two years left on his contract so time is on our side in terms of discussions on a new deal. The club made it clear in the summer that we want Paul at United and that remains the case.”

United also have the option to extend Pogba’s contract by a further year, just as they did with goalkeeper ​David de Gea to stop him moving away. The Spaniard ultimately penned a new deal in September, and United want to see Pogba do the same.

Pogba, who is currently battling an ankle injury, was one of ​Real boss Zinedine Zidane’s top transfer targets during the summer, and it is thought that Los Blancos would still be keen on a deal if they could negotiate an acceptable price.

Zinedine Zidane

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that Pogba is a part of the club’s future. Despite battling an ankle injury, Pogba has made six appearances in all competitions, but he will not add to that tally on Sunday as his injury is expected to keep him out of the trip to ​Newcastle United.


Real Madrid Considering January Swap Deal to Bring Christian Eriksen to the Bernabeu

​Luka Modric continues to be linked with a move away from Real Madrid, with Christian Eriksen now a candidate to form part of an ambitious swap deal. 

Eriksen has been on Real’s radar for some time now, with the board at the Bernabeu preferring a move for the Tottenham man over fellow reported target Paul Pogba – but didn’t end up making a formal move for the Dane after opposition from manager Zinedine Zidane. 

Christian Eriksen

Spanish outlet ​El Desmarque report that Florentino Perez is considering a player-for-player swap deal with ​Tottenham which would see ​Real get their man and Modric return to north London, where he spent four seasons around the turn of the decade. 

​Eriksen’s contract in north London expires this coming summer, with few signs of an agreement on an extension forthcoming, leaving Spurs considering the prospect of having to try and extract one last bit of value out of the 27-year-old rather them lose him for free at the end of the season. 

The Danish malcontent has been public about his desire to find a new challenge – preferably outside of the Premier League – which has left his club in a weak negotiating position. 

Luka Modric

There is one bald roadblock to the deal’s progression though, with El Desmarque noting that Zidane is still not a fan of the potential swap, still wanting to bring in ​Paul Pogba in a big-money move rather than the less dynamic Eriksen. 

It remains to be seen whether Modric – who scored against Granada this weekend – would be willing to go along with a deal which would see him move from the club currently leading La Liga to a club who have conceded ten goals in a five-day span. However, at the age of 34, Real are willing to move on from the Croatian to help their regeneration. 

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Real Madrid 4-2 Granada: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Los Blancos Fight Off Strong Comeback

Leaders ​Real Madrid took on Granada at the Bernabeu on Saturday in an early season top of the table clash.

Madrid started like a house on fire, going 1-0 up inside the opening three minutes thanks to Karim Benzema, who fired home after a wonderful cross from Gareth Bale.


Zinedine Zidane’s men then doubled their lead, courtesy of a glorious finish from​ Eden Hazard after a pass from Fede Valverde – finally getting off the mark for Los Blancos after his big money summer move.

Luka Modric then made it three after coming on for the injured Toni Kroos with a great strike from long range, with Hazard turning creator. Granada were far from done though, as they won a penalty soon after Modric’s goal, which Darwin Machis put away past Alphonse Areola.


Granada started to pile on even more pressure, and made it 3-2 when Domingos Duarte smashed home at the far post from a corner.

However, Madrid fans’ nerves were finally eased when James Rodriguez slotted home in the dying embers of the game to give Los Galacticos a 4-2 win to increase their gap at the top to four points ahead of their title rivals’ games tomorrow.


Key Talking Point

Despite a poor start in their Champions League campaign, Real Madrid have been doing somewhat well in the league. They sit top of the table, albeit with a set of far from unconvincing performances.

Madrid were much, much better in the final third than in recent weeks, and the front three seemed to be playing with more vigour and penetration. As well as that, the midfield trio seemed to complement each other extremely well.


However, at the back they are still as chaotic as ever, as seen by Granada’s late burst. Madrid can be successful in the league this season, but it is an absolute must for Zidane to sort out the defence.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Areola (6); Odriozola (7), Ramos (6), Varane (6), Carvajal (7); Casemiro (8), Valverde (9*); Kroos (6), Bale (7), Benzema (8), Hazard (8)

Subs: Modric (7), Isco (6), Rodriguez (7)


21-year-old Valverde is slowly becoming a regular in Madrid’s midfield, and boy is he looking good. 

The youngster is dynamic, and a constant threat in both boxes. He works hard to recover the ball, and starts attacks with a willingness to run at defenders. He looks a real talent.

To cap off his display, he got the assist for Hazard’s goal, and was crucial in Modric’s too. Madrid have some player on their hands.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Silva (6); Diaz (5), Duarte (7), Sanchez (5), Neva (6); Azeez (6), Montoro (6); Herrera (6); Diaz (6), Soldado (5), Machis (7)

Subs: Gonalons (6), Vadillo (6), Fernandez (6)

Looking Ahead

Real Madrid looked much better offensively today, but they need to keep in mind that it was ‘just’ Granada. Tougher tests will come.

However, they continue to look a shambles at the back, leaking goals for fun. But with a game against RCD Mallorca to come, their defence shouldn’t suffer too many problems, and they can look to stretch their lead at the top.


Thibaut Courtois Dropped From Real Madrid Squad After Club Dismiss ‘Anxiety’ Rumours

​Real Madrid have dropped goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from their matchday squad which faces Granada on Saturday, but the club have stressed it’s not been as a result of anxiety.

The Belgium international was substituted at half-time against Club Brugge on Tuesday as Real Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw, prompting rumours to pop up which claimed Courtois was hooked due to his anxiety.

But the club have released a statement which denies Courtois has been suffering from anxiety, instead chalking the goalkeeper’s substitution up to illness.

Emmanuel Bonaventure,Thibaut Courtois

“In relation to certain information about our player, Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid want to state the following,” the statement said (via Goal). “Our player has never been diagnosed with anxiety and that information is absolutely false.

“Courtois has been diagnosed and treated for gastroenteritis with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which made it impossible for him to finish Tuesday’s game against Brugge.

“The player is responding well to the treatment.”

Having now been left out of Real Madrid’s squad which hosts second-place Granada on Saturday, Courtois will be replaced in between the sticks by Alphonse Areola.

Castilla goalkeepers Javier Belman and Diego Altube have also been called up to Zinedine Zidane’s first-team squad.

Lucas Vázquez and Vinícius Júnior are both missing from Real Madrid’s attack this weekend, while at the other end of the pitch MarceloFerland Mendy and Nacho are also unavailable.

That could see summer signing Éder Militão or right-back Álvaro Odriozola used out of position to provide cover on the left against Granada, where they’ll have to mark either Antonio Puertas – he scored in last week’s win over Leganes – or Álvaro Vadillo.