Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Sevilla in La Liga

Real Madrid host Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday afternoon. Real find themselves clinging to a spot in the top four, having allowedBarcelona to open up a ten point lead at the top of the table. 

Santiago Solari’s men can ill afford to let that gap widen, and will need to be at their best to see off a Sevilla side much improved from last season. 

3. Goalkeeper and Defenders

Sergio Ramos

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Not fully recovered from a hip problem, but the injury Keylor Navas picked up in midweek – along with the sale of Kiko Casilla to Leeds – means that Courtois will have to be ready, like it or not. 

Dani Carvajal (RB) – The Spaniard is as adept going forward as he is defensively, providing the right balance for Madrid down the right-hand side. 

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Madrid’s captain will need to be at his tenacious best against his former club. Provides a big threat in the opposition box. 

Raphael Varane (CB) – The World Cup winner may have struggled for form since his summer triumph, but there aren’t many better centre-backs on the planet when he’s on song. 

Marcelo (LB) – Probably the best attacking left-back in the world, the Brazilian adds another dimension to Real’s attack going forward. 

2. Midfielders

Luka Modric

Casemiro (CM) – The Brazilian does the dirty work in midfield spectacularly, allowing his more creative partners to do damage going forward. 

Luka Modric (CM) – The Ballon d’Or winner will be key to influencing the game as in the absence of Toni Kross, the onus will be on him to dictate the tempo of Mardid’s play. 

Dani Ceballos (CM) – The young Spaniard’s ability to carry the ball forward will be an asset to Real in the final third. 

1. Forwards

Isco Alarcon

Isco (LW) – He may not see eye to eye with the manager, but Isco is a creative force when he’s allowed to be. He links midfield and attack seamlessly, and has a killer eye for goal. 

Vinicius Jr (ST) – In the absence of Benzema, Vinicius Jr may be tasked with leading the line. Quick, physical and possessing great feet, the youngster’s fearlessness could prove troublesome for the Sevilla back line. 

Lucas Vazquez (RW) – The Spaniard’s pace will make him a nuisance for the Sevilla defenders as he has the ability to hurt them in behind. 

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Barcelona to Face Sevilla in Copa del Rey Quarters After RFEF Rejects Levante’s Complaint

​Barcelona will not be disqualified from the Copa del Rey after Levante’s complaint that they fielded an ineligible player was rejected by the Spanish Football Federation.

Barcelona fielded young midfielder Chumi in the first leg of their last 16 tie, which Levante won 2-1 on home turf. However, Barcelona overcame the deficit with a 3-0 victory on Thursday to advance to the quarter finals.

Even before the second leg, Levante president Quico Catalan had stated the club’s intention to appeal against the outcome of the tie, believing that Chumi should be ineligible because he had accrued five yellow cards for Barcelona B this season.

Barcelona believed that Chumi’s ban applied only to matches played in the Segunda Division B, by which logic he was suspended for Barcelona B’s game against Alcoyano – two days after the Levante match.

In their official statement on the matter, ​RFEF ruled that Barcelona would stay in the competition because Levante’s complaint had arrived too late to be considered. The deadline was on Monday.

Levante ​have announced their intention to appeal against the decision before the RFEF Appeals Court and are hoping for a swift resolution.

Levante’s complaint is not the first of its kind. In 2015, Real Madrid were disqualified from the Copa del Rey for fielding Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz, despite the Russian serving a ban carried over from the previous year’s competition.

Unless the decision is overturned, Barcelona remain in contention to lift the Copa del Rey for a fifth consecutive year. They were drawn against Sevilla in Friday’s last eight draw, a repeat of last year’s final.

The pick of the other quarter final match-ups sees Real Madrid face Girona, who dumped out Atletico Madrid on away goals this week. Getafe face Valencia and Espanyol play Betis in the other ties, all of which will be contested across two legs.

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Manchester United Target Eder Militao Set for Real Madrid as Reports of ‘Verbal Agreemeent’ Emerge

​Long reported Manchester United target Eder Militao looks to have ‘verbally agreed’ a move to Real Madrid this week, as reports in Portugal claim last season’s Champions League winners have acted fast to secure his signature.

The 20-year-old is enjoying a stellar debut year in Portugal after joining from Sao Paulo in the summer, quickly becoming a first team regular at the heart of their defence, and his displays had inspired rumoured interest from Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as United and Real. 

It appears it’s the latter who will get the deal over the line, however, as Portuguese outlet ​SporTV say that ​Real have moved to trigger his release clause, thought to be around £44m, and will see him join at the end of the season. 

There had been talk of Porto negotiating significant new terms that would have seen the clause rise significantly, but it seems even the club themselves have been beaten to the punch by the ​La Liga giants.

Of the fee, 13.5% – around £6m – will go to Sao Paulo, but it still sees the Portuguese side net a staggering profit on the £3.5m they paid to sign him less than a year ago. 

​United‘s focus seems as if it will now have to turn to other central defensive targets, of which many have been reported over the last few months as they look to upgrade on their current partnership of Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof. 

Phil Jones

Their failure to sign a new centre-back in the summer was one of the dominating stories early in the season, with Jose Mourinho publicly calling out the United board for their transfer shortcomings prior to his departure last month, and they have since been ​linked with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly among a host of other defenders. 

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Real Madrid vs Sevilla Preview: How to Watch, Kick Off Time, Live Stream, Team News & More

​Real Madrid host Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday in a top four clash. Los Blancos have endured a turbulent season by their standards, rife with managerial controversy and inconsistent performances on the pitch. 

Sevilla on the other hand are much improved from last season, and are right in the mix for Champions League qualification at the end of the season. 

Vinicius Junior

Both teams sit ten points behind leaders Barcelona, and a victory for one side could prove to be a devastating blow to the other. Here’s 90min’s preview of Saturday’s game.


How to Watch

​When Is Kick Off? Saturday 19th January ​
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​15:15 BST
​Where Is it Played?  Santiago Bernabeu​
​TV Channel/Live Stream? Eleven La Liga TV, Bet 365 Live​

Team News

​Real Madrid have several established first team players ruled out of Saturday’s match. ​Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, Thibaut Courtois and Marco Asensio are all injured, whilst ​Karim Benzema remains a doubt. Brahim Diaz, recently acquired from Manchester City, has come off the bench in the last two matches and will be pushing for a starting berth.

Karim Benzema

Sevilla have been more fortunate in the injury department, with Maxime Gonalons and Nolito their only long term absentees. Boss Pablo Machin may be looking to make changes from the team who lost against Athletic Bilbao last time out. 


Predicted Lineups 

​Real Madrid ​Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Isco, Ceballos, Diaz; Vinicius Jr 
​Sevilla ​Soriano; Mercado, Carrico, Gnagnon; Vidal, Banega, Amadou, Vazquez, Sarabia; Ben Yedder, Promes

Head to Head Record

Although the overall history of this fixture has been dominated by Madrid, Sevilla have been tricky customers for them in recent history. Real have won 33 of their 50 previous encounters, with Sevilla emerging victorious 13 times.

However in their last five meetings, Sevilla have won three times – including a 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. 

FBL-EUR-C1-C3-SUPERCUP-REALMADRID-SEVILLA


​​Recent Form

Real Madrid have discovered some degree of consistency of late, losing just one of their last five league games. Sevilla on the other hand will be looking to end a run of three games without a win, and will need to bounce back following last week’s defeat to Bilbao. Here’s how both teams have fared in their last five matches. 

​Real Madrid  Sevilla​
​Leganes 1 -0 Real Madrid (16/01) Sevilla 0 – 1 Athletic Bilbao (16/01)
​Real Betis 1 – 2 Real Madrid (13/01) ​Athletic Bilbao 2 – 0 Sevilla (13/01)
​Real Madrid 3 – 0 Leganes (09/01) ​Athletic Bilbao 1 – 3 Sevilla (10/01)
Real Madrid 0 – 2 Real Sociedad (06/01) Sevilla 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid (06/01)
​Villarreal 2 – 2 Real Madrid (03/01) ​Leganes 1 – 1 Sevilla (23/12)

Predictions 

This is a must win game for both teams if they are to cling on to the slim hope of closing the gap on Barcelona. With Real likely to field a relatively inexperienced team for such a big game, Sevilla could capitalise on their nerves in front of an impatient crowd – heaping yet more misery on Santiago Solari’s reign as manager.

Prediction: Real Madrid 1 – 3 Sevilla

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Real Madrid Aiming to Beat Premier League Quartet to Eder Militao Deal by Triggering Buyout Clause

Real Madrid are reportedly willing to trigger the buyout clause of rapidly emerging Porto centre-back Eder Militao before the end of this season, with the player also linked with Premier League quartet Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton.

Militao has become a key player for Porto this season, both at home and in the Champions League, and his development seemingly hasn’t gone unnoticed by Europe’s biggest clubs.

Eder Militao

According to AS, Militao’s current buyout clause stands at €50m (£44m) and Real plan to offer to pay that amount before it expires on 30th June and rises to €75m (£66m).

It is said that even if Real triggered the clause this month, the young Brazilian would remain at Porto for the remainder of the season as the Portuguese side refuse to let him go mid-season.

AS also notes that Juni Calafat, a man who has already seen Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes sign deals with Real, is Militao’s main representative, which could help things along.

Were Real to trigger the buyout clause there would be no need to negotiate with Porto, instead moving straight onto hammering out personal terms with the player’s camp.

Eder Militao,Suat Serdar

However, there may be a problem for Real on that front as a report from Brazilian outlet UOL Esporte published earlier this week claimed that Militao would have reservations about moving to the Bernabeu and would prefer to head to the Premier League instead.

The Premier League is apparently his ‘priority’ as there are concerns about being able to command regular football at Real ahead of existing stars Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. It is said that Militao sees a clearer and quicker path to playing time in England.

Having made his senior international debut for Brazil in a friendly in September, one of his personal aims is said to be to properly break into the national squad in time for the 2019 Copa America on home soil next summer, starting in June.

Eder Militao

That might still be possible should he join Real but remain at Porto, as AS highlights, but Militao would still then encounter the stiffer competition for places in Madrid next season.

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Leeds United Confirm the Signing of Real Madrid Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla on 4-Year Contract

Championship leaders Leeds United have confirmed the arrival of former Spain international goalkeeper Kiko Casilla on a four-and-a-half year deal from Real Madrid.

United have been heavily linked with a move for Casilla in recent weeks as they look to strengthen their chances of winning the league title this season, and it was heavily speculated that the 32-year-old could sign on the dotted line before this weekend.

Kiko Casilla

Leeds have since announced on their official website that they have indeed been able to lure Casilla away from the Santiago Bernabéu, becoming manager Marcelo Bielsa’s first signing of the January transfer window where he’ll be given the number 33 shirt.

Casilla has spent almost four years with Real Madrid – his second stint with the club – where he’s competed for a first-team place alongside Keylor Navas, and most recently former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

The goalkeeper actually made a name for himself in Catalonia, however, where he was the first choice shot-stopper at Barcelona’s local rivals, Espanyol. 

Casilla’s performances at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat eventually convinced Real Madrid to sign their former academy player in 2015 for €7m, where he’s gone on to make 43 appearances for the club, keeping 15 clean sheets.

At Elland Road, Casilla will be fighting for a place in between the sticks with Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Will Huffer. The former has played in all but one game this season, missing out to Huffer due to injury against Bristol City.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

Former loanee goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, who returned to his parent club Chelsea due to a serious injury, was the club’s first choice during their brief run in the Carabao Cup.

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Leganes 1-0 Real Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Los Blancos Go Through Despite Defeat

Real Madrid progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey despite a 1-0 defeat to Leganes in the second leg of their round of 16 tie. 

Carrying a 3-0 lead into the game from the first leg, the contest saw Real create little in front of goal as they were happy to sit deep and defend in numbers. 

Vinicius Junior,Kenneth Omeruo

However, Leganes started the game brightly and deservedly took the lead through Marlon Braithwaite on the half-hour mark. The Dane, who first hit the post with a fantastic header, was quickest to react to the rebound as he tucked the ball home to put the hosts in front. 

Real did little to trouble Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar throughout the first period, with their best chance coming when Vinicius Junior flashed a snap-shot wide after a fine solo run. 

The second half was rather uneventful as Real were content to sit back and manage their lead to safety until the full-time whistle.

Vinicius Junior,Kenneth Omeruo

Leganes did have chances to make things interesting in the final ten minutes, but Braithwaite missed a guilt-edged opportunity, heading into the mid-riff of Keylor Navas.

Any hopes that the home side had were gone when Sabin Merino fired over the bar, unable to keep his composure in a one-on-one against Navas. 

Brahim Diaz almost scored following his recent signing from ​Manchester City, but hit the post late on with a dinked finish. 

Brahim Diaz

Check out 90min’s breakdown of the match below. 


REAL MADRID 

Key Talking Point 

Despite avenging last year’s Copa defeat to Leganes, Real performed with a lack of intensity for the duration of the contest, most notably in the first half when they registered just one shot on target. 

Santiago Solari

Although the result was not of great importance given Los Blancos’ cushion from the first leg, they appeared to lack any desire to impact the game, which is not something you would associate with a ​Real Madrid team. 

Santiago Solari knows he must find a way to motivate his players to produce more consistent performances if Real are to close the gap to Barcelona at the top of La Liga, or advance any further in the Champions League.


Player Ratings 

Starting XI: Navas (8*); Odriozola (7), Varane (6), Nacho (7), Marcelo (5); Valverde (6), Casemiro (6), Regulion (5); Vazquez (6), Vinicius (7), Isco (5). 

Substitutes: Ceballos (6), Cristo (6), Diaz (5).


STAR MAN 

Currently enjoying an extended spell between the sticks due to Thibaut Courtois’ injury, Navas was his team’s best player by some distance. 

Keylor Navas

The Costa Rican was unlucky to see his side go behind, after a fantastic reaction save in the build up to Leganes’ goal. His intervention to deny Braithwaite midway through the second half proved key as a second goal for the hosts could have completely changed the complexion of the tie. 

Once Courtois returns from his injury, Solari will certainly face a dilemma over who his first choice shot-stopper should be, given that Navas has impressed in recent weeks. 

WORST PLAYER 

Playing in a somewhat unfamiliar role in central midfield for the first 45 minutes, ​Marcelo failed to have an influence on the game from the middle of the park. The Brazilian was also uncharacteristically poor on the ball, being dispossessed on a number of occasions. 

Marcelo,Jose Luis edel Pozo alias Recio,Javier Eraso

In addition, Marcelo was poor from an attacking perspective, lacking any incisive threat in the final third. 

This is something that must change soon, as Los Merengues are currently without a number of first team players due to injury, and Solari will need his senior players to step up in their absence over the coming weeks. 


Looking Ahead 

Following their straightforward win, Real will be looking to gain some momentum in ​La Liga and close the ten point gap between themselves and leaders Barcelona, starting with their game at home to Sevilla on Saturday. 

Real will be hoping Leganes can aid their cause, as Los Pepineros travel to Barcelona on Sunday, with kick-off at 19:45 GMT. 

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Gareth Bale’s Real Madrid Future in Doubt if ‘No Deal’ Brexit Is Approved

​Gareth Bale’s future with Real Madrid could be uncertain if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 

With the British parliament currently unable to find amicable terms with which to leave the European Union, British citizens who work abroad, such as Bale, could lose the right to work in overseas EU countries.

Gareth Bale

According to ​ESPN, sources at the British Embassy in Madrid have confirmed that the current agreement would preserve the rights for UK citizens to work abroad, but the parliament’s latest disagreement over the terms means that these rights are no longer assured.

​Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barrett, has added that both he and Bale would “wait and see what happens”, but admitted that it is “impossible to plan”, given the current uncertainty.

If the right to work abroad cannot be preserved, Bale would be one of an estimated 300,000 British nationals working in Spain who would need to be granted permission to live and work in the country.

Juan Ignacio Navas, of legal experts Navas & Cusi Abogados Madrid, admitted that obtaining a work permit is not guaranteed. He said: “That is not currently not easy to get as many people want come here to live.

“But we have a law that if you buy a house for half a million euro, or you have a ‘special’ job, it is easier.”

Given Bale’s status in Madrid, it is likely that he would have no difficulties in obtaining a work permit. He is one of world football’s most recognisable players, certainly one of ​La Liga’s most valuable commodities, and his status as an elite footballer would help accelerate the process of earning a work permit.

Gabriel Paulista,Patrick Roberts

However, things may not be so simple for ​Manchester City youngster Patrick Roberts, who is currently on loan at Girona. Roberts would also have to apply for a permit and could also find himself staring into an uncertain future.

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Manchester City Not Interested in Real Madrid’s Isco With New Holding Midfielder a Higher Priority

Manchester City are reportedly not interested in Real Madrid and Spain playmaker Isco, and are instead focused on signing a defensive midfielder in the summer transfer window.

The 26-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu and has seemingly been side-lined by new Madrid manager Santiago Solari.

Isco

The midfielder has not started a La Liga game since Los Blancos’ humiliating 5-1 thrashing in El Clasico to Barcelona last October. Isco remained on the bench for last Sunday’s victory over Real Betis, with former City star Brahim Diaz brought on ahead of him.

Despite rumours suggesting that Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta had made a tentative enquiry over his availability, ​ESPN report that Pep Guardiola has no interest in signing Isco and has ruled out making any new additions to his squad in January.

The report adds that ​City are currently well stocked with players in ​Isco’s position, and that the Etihad side’s priorities in the summer transfer window lay elsewhere.

Guardiola has the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan at his disposal for City’s attacking midfield slots, whilst teenage academy prospect Phil Foden is also highly regarded at the club.

Bernardo Silva,Ilkay Gundogan,Kevin De Bruyne,Raheem Sterling

It is understood that City’s main target this summer will be to acquire a new holding midfielder to ease the burden on veteran Brazilian Fernandinho. Ajax’s Frankie de Jong, Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele and Ruben Neves from Wolves are amongst the names being considered.

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Santiago Solari Claims He Has No Say in Real Madrid’s Transfer Policy Amid Isco Exit Rumours

​Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari has suggested that the club’s incoming and outgoing transfers are not his responsibility, insisting that his job is only to train the players and pick the team.

Solari made the comments whilst distancing himself from the rumours surrounding Isco, suggesting that whether the 26-year-old stays or leaves the Santiago Bernabeu will not be his decision.

Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Isco has been repeatedly linked with a move away from the Spanish capital this month as a result of the Spaniard falling down the Madrid pecking order under Solari. In Real’s recent 2-1 victory away at Real Betis, Isco did not even make it onto the pitch – instead watching on from the substitutes bench.

But Solari claims that his job is solely to pick the team, not to worry about Los Blancos’ transfer policy. “It is not up to me to explain the transfer policy, I am just the coach.” Solari said, as quoted by ​Marca.

Whilst the midfielder – who has earned 36 caps for Spain – did not make it onto the pitch at the Benito Villamarin Stadium on Sunday; there were young players who did – including new arrival Brahim Diaz from ​Manchester City.

Solari went on to compliment his mix of youth and experience, praising both sides of that spectrum for helping the team perform during their games.

Brahim Diaz

“The other day, a lot [of youngsters] ended up playing in the Betis match. But they were also supported by ​[Sergio] Ramos, [Dani] Carvajal, ​Casemiro and ​[Luka] Modric, who are the players that form the base of the side and also have to support the young players.

“The young players are great, but also the veterans who contribute a lot. I feel proud of my players of the winning spirit they have, they never tire of competing, after winning for so many years.”

The Argentine also discussed the mentality of his team ahead of Wednesday’s Spanish Cup trip to Leganes, with Solari suggesting that his Real Madrid side will not ease off despite taking a 3-0 lead into the second leg.

“We will start thinking it is a new game, because we have a very serious team in front of us,” he added. “They are a strong, local side, and will think of the match as if it starts at 0-0. Every game has its characteristics, and every game has a new scenario.”

Alvaro Odriozola,Sergio Ramos,Vinicius Junior

Whilst Real look likely to cruise through into the next round of the cup, Solari will hope that he can help improve the club’s position in the league – with Los Blancos currently sitting in a rather uncharacteristically low fourth position.

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