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

Real Madrid's players celebrate after sc

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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Teammates Desperate to Have Ronaldo Back in Lineup After Madrid’s Latest Slip Against Levante

B​oth Theo Hernandez and Marcos Llorente have said that Real Madrid need Cristaino Ronaldo back in the team as soon as possible, when speaking to ​Marca.

The pair were speaking after Madrid’s latest slip-up, where they were without Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw with Levante.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

The Portuguese talisman is currently serving a suspension that he picked up following an altercation with the referee during Real’s 1-3 Supercopa de Espana win over Barcelona.

The Spanish football association decided to uphold the five match ban given to Ronaldo, such that he has already missed games against Barcelona in the return leg, Deportivo, Valencia and Levante.

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Real Madrid managed to beat both Barcelona and Deportivo La Coruna in Ronaldo’s first two games out. However they have since drawn with both Valencia and Levante at home, with Theo Hernandez admitting that Ronaldo is missed by the Spanish giants:

“We tried hard throughout and our intensity was there as always but we just couldn’t make the most of our chances,” said Hernandez.

“Maybe we did lack a little spark but we gave everything. We do need Cristiano to score goals but we don’t necessarily need a No. 9. The squad will continue as it is.”

Marcos Llorente also highlighted the need to have Ronaldo back in the team, as he acknowledged that his side have been missing one of their biggest goal threats:

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“This wasn’t the kind of game we were expecting but what would be most worrying for us would be if we didn’t create many chances,” the midfielder said.

“These things happen and we must keep working. It is clear that in this team, he [Ronaldo] is very important and has an ability to score incredible goals. It would have been good to have him but those who did play tried their best throughout.”

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Ronaldo is set to miss Los Blancos next La Liga tie against Real Sociedad, but will return for Real’s La Liga game against Real Betis on September 20th.

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Real Madrid Star Marcelo Facing 4 Game Ban After Red Card Against Levante

​Real Madrid left-back Marcelo could receive a four-game suspension after the submission of the referee’s match report, ​AS have reported.

The Brazil international was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Levante midfielder Lerma following a tangle in the box late in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

Referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez spotted the incident, and the Spanish federation’s disciplinary committee are now expected to decide on a ban of between two and four games.

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“In the 89th minute of the game the player (12) Vieira Da Silva Junior, Marcelo was sent off for the following reason: kick an opponent in the back, with the ball well away from the action,” the report read.

If Marcelo’s kick is seen as an act of aggression, he could be punished with a four-game ban.

Real Madrid could appeal the disciplinary decision if they dispute the length of the suspension, as they have regularly done in the past.

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Los Blancos attempted to reduce the five-game ban picked up by Cristiano Ronaldo, who is set to return to the team for Wednesday’s Champions League group match against Apoel Nicosia.

Marcelo’s red card was Madrid’s third of the season, but coach Zinedine Zidane refused to discuss the issue in detail following the Levante game.

“I am not going to say anything,” he said, quoted by ​ESPN. “He [the referee] does the best he can, and I don’t get into this. I don’t say anything.”

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Real Madrid have failed to win both of their opening La Liga home games, drawing against Valencia and now Levante.

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Zinedine Zidane Admits Real Madrid Must Improve Following Shocking Draw Against Levante

​Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has voiced his frustrations after his side drew 1-1 with Levante at the Santiago Bernabeau, in Saturday’s early kick-off in La Liga. 

Los Blancos dominated possession all game, but fell behind after 12 minutes, after massively failing to deal with a long throw. Lucas Vasquez equalised for the hosts before half-time, poking home a rebound from a Sergio Ramos header. 

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Despite further applying pressure in the second half, a much-rotated Madrid were unable to unlock Levante’s vigilant defence, and had to settle for a second consecutive draw, which sees them already at a disadvantage in the La Liga title race, having drawn 2-2 with Valencia before the international break. 

“We can’t be happy with our performance,” the coach said after the game.

“Now we’re four points behind and we have to be a bit concerned. We have to find some solutions because we didn’t play well.

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“We lacked a lot today. The starts of games are very important for us and we didn’t start well today. We played against a team that holed themselves up and we didn’t apply enough intensity.

“We have to score first, but they did instead and that’s what bothers me the most. Still, we won’t go crazy and we’ll think about the next game.”

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An already experimental side was further hindered when Karim Benzema was substituted with an injury, and Marcelo received a red card for lashing out at Levante’s Lerma, late in the second half. 

Zidane refuted the claim that his team were unfit, despite the starting line-up being effectively second-string: “It’s not a physical problem. We’re good physically, we showed that in the second half, which was better than the first.

“The problem was that we didn’t find solutions. We haven’t scored enough goals, so we have to be more clinical.

“Two full-backs, Marcelo and Theo? I’m happy with what they did. We didn’t work as a team, it wasn’t just them.

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“We looked for the middle from their flank, but we didn’t find the right finish. I’m not going to change what I’m going to do with this team.

“I’m not going to change. We’re not going to go crazy over one bad game because this is what I believe in and we’ll keep going like this.”

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

After Benzema’s withdrawal, and with Cristiano Ronaldo still suspended, Madrid received a lot of scrutiny about their squad depth, as Gareth Bale had to deputise in a central role: 

“No No. 9 other than Benzema? This is the squad we have and we have no choice but to look for solutions within this squad.

“Cristiano and Benzema weren’t there and that can’t be changed. Still, I’m not worried about that.

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

Despite the resoluteness of the visitors’ back line, Madrid had several great chances, with Toni Kroos, Bale, and wonderkid Marcos Asensio all failing to capitalise on good chances. The Frenchman lamented these misses, telling ​ESPN :

“We have to be more clinical. What we can’t be happy with is what we did in the game today. We want to play better in order to pick up more points.

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“We can’t be happy, especially with the first half. We dropped two points, we had a good game at Depor, but not today. We improved in the second half, but we can’t be happy.

“We have to turn things around, not just the results. We must play better. We have to forget what happened to us today, analyse it and look for solutions within this squad.”

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​Real Madrid Set to Reward Historic Double-Winning Side With Whopping €70m in Bonuses

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez may not have followed the crowd and splashed an absurd amount of cash in the summer transfer window, but he is still set to fork out over €70m this month to reward those involved in the club’s triumphant 2016/17 season. 

Zinedine Zidane’s side made history last season by securing a league and Champions League double – in which the latter was secured for the second time in a row for the first time in the ‘modern’ competition’s history.  

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As a result of their unforgettable season, Perez is understood to have set €70m aside from the €80m received from their European glory to reward both the players, the manager and coaching staff, according to ​Diario Gol.

The report has suggested that Perez sat down with the club’s captain, Sergio Ramos, and fellow leadership players to agree on premiums for a title winning season, with the economic enticement seemingly having worked a treat.

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The historic double is set to see each player earn an extra €2m on top of their salary as a reward for their feat which saw the club return to the top of both domestic and European football.

It could be said that Real Madrid did not throw their weight around in the transfer window as they were aware of the bonuses and potential contract renewals that were on the horizon, as well as the fact that their squad is in fine form, as even Perez said: “What goes well is not touched.”


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Real Madrid start the defence of their Champions League titles on Wednesday when they face Apoel Nicosia, could they make it a historic third?

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Real Madrid 1-1 Levante: Marcelo Sees Red for Moment of Madness as Levante Hold Frustrated Madrid

​Real Madrid faced newly promoted Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga’s noon kick-off, hoping to establish dominance against one of the Spanish top flight’s minnows.  

Zinedine Zidane’s side was a rotated one, taking advantage of the depth that his side now has with Kiko Casilla, Theo Hernandez, Lucas Vasquez, and Marcos Llorente coming in for Keylor Navas, Luka Modric, and the still-suspended Cristiano Ronaldo, with Casemiro and Gareth Bale making the bench. 

Madrid set about exerting a near-total authority on the game from an early stage, with their visitors happy to let them keep the ball, and content to sit very deep in their own half. 

However, a spanner was (literally) thrown into the works after 12 minutes, after a static Madrid failed to defend Ivan Lopez’s monstrous long throw, with Ivi pouncing to give the visitors a shock lead and make Dani Carvajal look rather silly in the process. 

Things then went from bad to worse for Los Blancos as starting striker Karim Benzema had to be withdrawn through injury, with Gareth Bale taking his place in the central role. 

Madrid forced a way back into the game ten minutes before the interval, with Sergio Ramos providing a – you guessed it – towering header from a corner, which Raul managed to keep parry, but only as far as Lucas Vasquez, who restored parity for Zidane’s side. 

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga

With Bale up front, Madrid had a far more imposing outlet up front, and the Welsh talisman could have given his side the lead before the break, choosing to shoot with the outside of his left foot, rather than his weaker right, when through on Raul’s goal. 

Things began to get a little tetchy in the second half, as Levante continued to make life hard for their hosts, countering efficiently, tackling robustly, but not able to regain their lead. Madrid still looked a little disjointed in their unfamiliar line-up, and looked more to be relying on the qualities of their individuals than their shape and system.

Isco was thrown on at the hour mark to attempt to help Zidane’s side find more space, but the resolute discipline and concentration shown by Levante meant that they were worthy contenders to Los Blancos, stifling them excellently. 

After a rare foray into Madrid’s half for a corner, Levante were almost caught cold by Los Blancos’ ruthless counter attack, with Raul saving wonderkid Marcos Asensio’s left-footed shot superbly, reminding everyone watching that Madrid only need one chance to punish any team. 

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A frustrated Bernabeu was left near silent on 87 minutes, as Gareth Bale hung superbly in the air, but could only angle Isco’s cross wide. Seconds later, Marcelo was denied once again by Raul, after Kroos played him in.

Chaos then ensued as Marcelo then received a straight red card for lashing out at a Levante defender, whom he collided with after taking his shot. The incident happened right in front of the referee and epitomised the frustration shown by Madrid fans and players alike. 

Kroos still found time to bend a low shot against the Levante woodwork, before the final whilste sounded. This capped off a truly infuriating afternoon for Los Merengues, who have dropped further points early in the season, after being frustrated by Valencia in a 2-2 draw in their last match.

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Guillem Balague Makes Shock Revelation About Real Madrid Messi Interest in Twitter Q&A

​Most football fans allowed themselves a brief snigger when Florentino Perez suggested that Real Madrid had tried to sign Lionel Messi many moons ago.

The fact that Barcelona would have sanctioned a transfer of their most prized superstar to their bitter La Liga rivals is the most unlikely story to emerge in recent times – and yet there is some truth to it.

In fact, according to Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague, Los Blancos tried to poach Messi from Barcelona – twice.

Balague conducted a Twitter Q&A with Sky Sports’s Spanish division recently and, coupled with the above tweeted answer to one query about Real’s interest in Messi, elaborated on his story.

He revealed: “Florentino did not tell the full story. He actually tried. Twice. Jorge Valdano was a football director at the club, with a great relationship with the Messi family. There were tensions with the Messi’s and the club for many reasons and Valdano & Madrid tried to take advantage of it. It did not go very far!”

Blimey. Imagine how different things would have been if Messi had signed for Real. We imagine Ronaldo wouldn’t have joined them, for starters.

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Could we have seen Ronaldo at Barcelona instead then, given the rivalry between the pair? We’ll never know.

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Former Real Madrid Defender Pepe Takes Thinly-Veiled Swipe at Los Blancos Fans

Former Real Madrid centre-back Pepe has criticised Spanish champions’ fans, juxtaposing them with the supporters of his new side Besiktas, who he claims show more passion.

The Portugal international left the Bernabeu to join Besiktas after spending 10 years with the Champions League holders, and insists that he is very happy with the move.

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Pepe’s transfer came about after Madrid refused him a requested two-year extension, offering one year instead. There was also interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Inter, yet the 34-year-old opted to sign a two-year deal with the Turkish side.

“I spent ten marvelous years in Madrid winning both domestic and Champions League titles and my two daughters were born in the Spanish capital too,” he said after his exit back in June.

But speaking to La Sexta, a Spanish television network (via AS), he was quite critical of Los Blancos’ supporters.

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“Besiktas fans are fantastic,” he declared. “At times when playing for Real Madrid we had to motivate ourselves as the fans were not so passionate. Here at Besiktas, every player heads onto the pitch fully motivated to perform well with the aid of great support.”

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