VIDEO: Real Madrid Show Virtual Projection of New-Look Bernabeu & Reveal How Much Money It Will Make

Spanish giants Real Madrid have revealed plans to renovate their Santiago Bernabeu stadium in a video showing fans a virtual projection of what the refurbished facilities will look like upon completion.

Club president Florentino Perez has also declared that the new Bernabeu will rake in at least €150m per season and will provide better comfort and security for supporters.

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Perez also indicated that the time is right for such an investment, given Real’s financial strength at the moment, as well as reduced interest rates.

On Sunday, the Primera Division side released a video on their Twitter account, giving supporters a glimpse of what they can expect in future.


“The cost was to be 400 million euros but the modification of the project to comply with new obligations from the Madrid Court of Justice ruling has led to an increase to 525 million euros,” the Los Blancos chief revealed, via MARCA.

“Now is the ideal time for it with low-interest rates, it is an opportunity we have to the advantage of because in addition, our debt has become negative.

“Our financial strength allows us flexibility and the annual fee of about 25 million euros is less than four per cent of our revenues from last season.

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“The new stadium will also bring us in 150 million euros per season.”

It has also been reported that the new Bernabeu will have a retractable roof and hotel rooms with a view of the pitch.

“It will be more modern, more secure. There are two objectives: improving comfort and accessibility for our fans and secondly, to obtain more income,” Perez continued.

“All locations will have new seats, new services, two new towers in Castellana will allow for better exiting, better access and the movement of fans will be more fluid.

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Bayern München'

“Technological advances and audiovisual media will be present throughout the stadium as well as a new screen. There will be 800 new locations for people with different disabilities and two new club stores, one in Castellana and the other in Padre Damian.”

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Karim Benzema Looking to Secure New Real Madrid Contract Amid Interest From Premier League

After an impressive start to the new season, French forward Karim Benzema is believed to have demanded a new and improved contract with Real Madrid, and is prepared to leave the club in favour of Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal if they cannot meet his demands.

In the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era, Benzema has netted four goals in five La Liga appearances so far this season, and has managed to keep the returning Mariano out of the starting lineup. The 30-year-old has faced many critics in recent years, but has consistently proven himself to be integral to the first team.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga

The report of ​Benzema’s contract demands comes from Spanish outlet ​Don Balon, who describe Benzema’s actions as a ‘threat’ to Florentino Perez and ​Real Madrid. This season, Benzema has looked completely reborn, with his attitude and movement on the pitch impressing many in Spain, and Don Balon claim that Benzema now feels he deserves a significant pay rise.

The claim from Don Balon is also reinforced by ​Diario Gol, who state that Benzema is willing to leave the club if they do not accept his demands. The report claims that ​Chelsea, ​Manchester United and ​Arsenal are all interested in the Frenchman, who would seriously consider their proposals if necessary.

Athletic de Bilbao v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander

Inter Milan are also named as potential suitors for Benzema, especially if Mauro Icardi leaves the club in January. Links between Icardi and Real Madrid refuse to disappear, meaning the two could potentially be involved in a swap deal.

Benzema and his agent are believed to be using the interest from the aforementioned clubs as a way of simply earning more money in Madrid, but he is prepared to follow through on his threat of leaving the club if Real Madrid fail to prove their loyalty to him.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Don Balon claim that Perez and Real Madrid are not prepared to discuss an extension for Benzema, with Benzema’s age cited as a serious issue for the club.

Since joining Real Madrid, Benzema has made 419 appearances for the club, netting an impressive 197 goals since arriving in 2009.

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Julen Lopetegui Impressed With Real Madrid’s Ability to Grind Out Difficult Win Against Espanyol

​Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui claimed to be satisfied with his side after a tough 1-0 at home to Espanyol.

Speaking on his overall feeling after the match, ​Football Espana report Los Blancos coach as saying: ​“These are complex games because of our opponents and where we come from.

“We also faced a very well-drilled team, with a good coach and good players. There was also some fear because we didn’t score the second goal. We knew it would be a dangerous match.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga

“​La Liga has very complex points along the way, This was one of them and the most important thing is that the team knew how to suffer and win. That was very important as we weren’t able to kill the game off. It’s possible that teams come here to sit back.

“Espanyol sat deep but also attacked. What hurt us the most was losing control of the ball, although we’ve still picked up three very important points.”

Commenting on some of the perceived deficiencies in his tactics, Lopetegui responded: “Ramos going forward too much? It’s part of his game and not something that we’ve talked about. Not everything is said in football.

​Courtois has the ability to play the ball short and he does it well. Our opponents pressed us and he did very well.”

Wrapping up the media conference, Real’s boss spoke on his decision to rotate the starting eleven: “The new faces did well. 

“Everyone had a complete game, Nacho included, even if his yellow card affected him a lot. We left out Vinicius because Valverde came in instead. We’ll see if he plays for Castilla tomorrow.”

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Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Sloppy Los Blancos Gain Scrappy Win

​​Real Madrid continued their ​La Liga title pursuit with a jittery 1-0 win at home to mid-table Espanyol.

Dictating proceedings from the off, Real secured the victory thanks to Marco Asensio’s strike but were not as convincing as in recent weeks.

Espanyol were punished for their inaccuracies in front of goal as Real Madrid broke the deadlock just before half time. A fluffed ​Luka Modric shot landed at the feet of ​Asensio and the young Spaniard smashed across Diego Lopez. After a quick VAR check for offside, the game’s only goal was awarded by referee Mateu Lahoz.

Madrid weren’t against testing their luck however, as Sergio Ramos was caught dawdling by Borja Iglesias. Getting away a smart chip shot, the forward had Courtois beaten all ends up. Unfortunately for him, his execution was ever so slightly misjudged, and the ball bounced off the crossbar to safety.

With Espanyol offering little as the game came to a climax, Real Madrid’s experience and fitness told. While it could be looked at as a fairly comfortable night for Los Blancos, fans would no doubt have had their hearts racing at certain moments throughout this encounter. 


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Key Talking Point

As Sergio Ramos wasn’t bothered with defending today, space was there to be run at by the away side. Many an opportunity was had, but the Catalans couldn’t quite find a way to hit the net. 

Both Piatti and Vila should have done better with their chances early on, and Iglesias was inches away from tying the scores up at 1-1. It was an unnecessarily rickety ending for Los Blancos, with the onlooking Bernabeu crowd evidently nervous as the game dragged on. 



Player Ratings

Starting XI (4-3-3): Courtois (6); Odriozola (6), Ramos (5), Varane (5), Nacho (6); ​Casemiro (6), Modric (7), Ceballos (5); Asensio (8*), ​Benzema (5), Isco (7).

Substitutes: Mariano (5), Vazquez (6), Llorente (6)


STAR MAN – Marco Asensio

The starlet was most definitely Real Madrid’s most dangerous attacking man, and his goal was a just reward. Gifted with a fantastic ability to dribble the ball out of perilous situations, Asensio showed touches of ​Eden Hazard on Saturday night.

His strike made the difference between the two teams, and if not for him, the result would’ve been a very disheartening one for Los Blancos. Leaned on in his match, the 22-year-old showed impressive leadership in many a troublesome circumstance.


Worst Player – Karim Benzema

Replaced by Mariano on the hour mark, the streaky Benzema had a frustrating day at the office. On form up until Saturday, the Frenchman saw very little of the ball tonight.

When he did, his touch deceived him. The number nine is likely to play a bigger role this season than he did in the previous campaign, and will be looked upon to contribute more goals now​ Cristiano Ronaldo has left the building. 


ESPANYOL

Player Ratings

Starting XI (4-5-1): D.Lopez (6); J.Lopez (6), Hermoso (7), Naldo (6), Didac (6); Perez (5), Roca (6), Granero (5), Darder (5), Piatti (5); Iglesias (7*).

Substitutes: Baptistao (6), Sanchez (7), Garcia (5).


STAR MAN – Sergio Iglesias

While failing to score with his only real chance, Iglesias was unafraid to continually track down both Ramos and Varane. His pressure made life difficult for the home side, and allowed Espanyol’s midfield to operate.

Joined up top by Leo Baptistao in the second half, Real Madrid’s midfield dropped deeper as Casemiro started to battle more frequently than had been necessary in the first half. Breaking the line a few times, the striker will be irked that he was not found more often.


Worst Player – Pablo Piatti

Missing a glorious chance to put Espanyol in the lead, the Argentine screwed his shot wide of the post without any pressure. Most would have expected the winger to break the net from his angle, so not even forcing Courtois into a save was unforgivable. 

Substituted after 45 minutes, his influence on the game dwindled after his missed chance. Possibly losing confidence after wasting such an opportunity, Rubi was wise to give him the hook. 


Looking Ahead

By no means vintage ​Real Madrid, Los Blancos didn’t quite create with their usual power. While it turned out to be a positive result in the end, Espanyol’s lack of accuracy in front of net made life far easier than it could’ve been at the Bernabeu.

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Lopetegui can still say his rotation policy worked however, as three points were gained without having to use ​Toni Kroos, ​Gareth Bale or ​Marcelo. With Sevilla in midweek and El Derbi Madrileno next Saturday, it’s fair to say this job was well executed. 

As for the away side, it’s doubtful they came to Spain’s capital expecting to take anything back to Catalonia. At home to plucky Eibar on Tuesday, focus will now quickly shift to garnering a solid result in that one. 

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Florentino Perez Confirms Cristiano Ronaldo Wanted to Leave Real Madrid for Personal Reasons

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has confirmed that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave the Bernabeu in the summer due to personal reasons.

The forward enjoyed a record breaking career in the Spanish capital, but despite his superb performances on the pitch it seemed tension was constantly brewing under the surface. 

A reportedly shaky relationship with president Perez didn’t help matters and Ronaldo eventually ended his stay in Spain earlier this summer with a move to Serie A champions Juventus.

UEFA Champions League'Valencia FC v Juventus FC'

Perez has now revealed that Ronaldo wanted to leave the club for ‘personal reasons’. Speaking to delegates as reported by OK Diario and quoted by Football Italia, Perez opened up on the summer’s transfer business.

He said: “The most profitable sale this year was that of ​Cristiano. He wanted to leave for personal reasons, and when everyone is converging on one solution you come to an agreement.”

Perez quashed any rumours of ill will following the transfer however, and reiterated that Madrid will always be Ronaldo’s home.

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

He added: “No one offered Real Madrid more than Juventus’ €100m. We can’t do anything but thank Ronaldo for all he did with this shirt. He’s the best ever after [Alfredo] Di Stefano and this will always be his home.”

Ronaldo has made a strong start to his career in Italy, scoring two goals and adding an assist in four games.

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Julen Lopetegui Opens Door for Vinicius Junior Debut as He Hints at Rotating Real Madrid Squad

​Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has opened the door for Vinicius Junior to make his debut against Espanyol, as he considers rotating his squad to combat a congested run of fixtures. 

Vinicius, 18, joined Los Blancos over the summer and while he made four appearances during the club’s pre-season fixtures he has yet to make his senior debut having featured primarily for the club’s reserve side. 

Athletic de Bilbao v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander

However, ​Real are set to play five games in the space of just two weeks, and Lopetegui is conscious of utilising the depth of his squad to ensure maximum points are obtained throughout this period. 

“It’s normal that the fixture list is like this. When a team is playing in the Champions League it’s the way things are and we have to approach it game-by-game and knowing that the squad depth we have will be used,” Lopetegui said, via ​AS.


“Football is not about the starting XI, in every game there are 14 players and in a squad that wants to win everything everybody is important. No two players are the same and all of them want to put into practice what we are trying to achieve.”

When asked directly if that meant Vinicius would be involved in the squad for the ​La Liga clash on Saturday evening at the Bernabeu, he added: “We will always make decisions based on what we feel is best for the team. We’ll see tomorrow.”


Moreover, Álvaro Odriozola is set for his Real debut after his summer move from Real Sociedad after first choice right back Dani Carvajal picked up a knock in the Champions League win over Roma in midweek. 

Dani Ceballos is also in line for game time against Espanyol after featuring in the 1-1 draw against San Mamés and featuring off the bench against Roma.

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Atletico Madrid New Boy Rodri Hits Out at Sergio Ramos After Criticism of Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann’s Atletico Madrid teammates are stepping up to defend the Frenchman in the wake of Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos criticising him.

The World Cup winner made little secret of his desire to win the Ballon d’Or this year, also claiming he’s at the same level with previous winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But it hasn’t gone down well with Ramos, who has since hit out at the Rojiblancos striker.

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“Griezmann saying he is on the same table than Cristiano and Messi? Ignorance is very bold,” the Spaniard said, via Goal. “I remember Raúl, Francesco Totti, Iker Casillas, Paolo Maldini…they won every title and they don’t have a Ballon d’Or.”

Griezmann’s new Atletico teammate Rodri has spoken out in his defence, insisting the striker does his talking on the pitch and is not affected by  Ramos’s criticism.

“Griezmann can speak on the pitch, if others want to talk off it then they are free to do so,” the 22-year-old told reporters in quotes cited by Marca (H/T Football Italia). “He was not affected by the words of Ramos, he can speak if he wants to but that will not impact what happens on the pitch.”

Lucas Hernandez, Griezmann’s Atleti teammate and compatriot, had previously backed the striker over his bold claims regarding Ronaldo and Messi.

“I think that 90% of the world believes that Griezmann is at the same level as Messi and Ronaldo,” he said after Atletico’s 2-1 win over Monaco in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

“Maybe Sergio Ramos doesn’t like it, that Antoine has spoken his mind. We know that he defends his interests. He’s in a rival team, the team of the capital. We know that there’s a great rivalry between the teams and it’s normal that he defends his interests and we defend ours.”

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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday

Real Madrid host Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday as  the home side look to get back to winning ways in La Liga following the disappointment of a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao last time out.

That draw halted a rampant start to the season from Los Blancos after Julen Lopetegui’s side won their first three games of the La Liga campaign, with back to back 4-1 victories coming before their more recent draw in Bilbao.

Espanyol arrive at the Bernabeu in impressive form, with an encouraging start to the season of their own helping the away side sit in the top four heading into this weekend’s match. 

Here’s how Madrid could look on Saturday.

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Having seen Keylor Navas start ahead of him in goal following a late arrival in Madrid during the summer, Courtois has now seized his spot as Real Madrid’s first choice goalie following his big summer move from Chelsea.

Dani Carvajal (RB) – Though Alvaro Odriozola arrived from Real Sociedad in the summer to provide greater competition at right back, Carvajal remains one of Madrid’s best defenders and one of Spanish football’s finest in his position.

Raphael Varane (CB) – After winning a third successive Champions League title with Madrid last season, Varane went on to star in France’s World Cup winning squad during the summer. Still only 25, Varane is as accomplished at defending as he is at boasting the biggest titles in football to his name.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – An ever-controversial figure for his ruthless approach to defending, Ramos’ captaining of his side to a succession of back to back Champions League titles has established the defender as a Madrid icon, and his winning mentality shows no signs of waning.

Marcelo (LB) – An era-defining full back, Marcelo remains as integral as ever to Madrid’s back line and has become a real leader of the side he has served with such distinction.

2. Midfielders

Casemiro (CDM) – Despite being left out of the starting lineup in favour of the more attack-minded Dani Ceballos last time out in La Liga, Casemiro remains one of Madrid’s most crucial players in terms of bringing natural balance to Los Blancos’ midfield and great organisation and protection ahead of a defence that can be suspect at times.

Luka Modric (CM) – The winner of the World Cup’s player of the tournament, Modric seems to get better with age and remains as capable as ever at running games from midfield with his drifting dynamism and effortless control.

Toni Kroos (CM) – The maestro of the side, Kroos’ sublime passing and deliveries make him an essential part of the Madrid set-up with his ability to keep his side ticking and pick out an incisive pass into the front men.

3. Forwards

Gareth Bale (RW) – Following years of debate over his long-term role at Real Madrid and his place in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo since arriving in Madrid in 2013, Bale finally has centre stage at the Bernabeu following Ronaldo’s departure in the summer and the Welshman has grabbed the opportunity with three goals in Madrid’s first four league games this season.

Karim Benzema (ST) – Like Bale, Benzema has responded to Ronaldo’s departure and the added goalscoring responsibility on his shoulders in fine form early in the season, with four goals in Madrid’s first four games.

Marco Asensio (LW) – Whilse Bale is Madrid’s answer to Ronaldo’s exit in terms of their next big superstar in the short-term, it is Asensio who is Los Blancos’ biggest hope for the future, with the 22-year-old Spaniard’s importance and influence ever-growing for both club and country.

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Real Madrid vs Espanyol Preview: Form, Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

Real Madrid host Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday in a La Liga clash between two sides who have enjoyed bright starts to the season.

The hosts have begun their post-Zidane and post-Ronaldo era in positive fashion, having lost their manager and star player during the summer. Los Blancos have showed little sign of weakness despite those key departures, winning three and drawing once in their first four league games.

Espanyol, meanwhile, have been one of the surprise packages of La Liga so far, recording two wins, drawing once and suffering one defeat in a generally positive start which has seen them storm to fourth.

Saturday’s trip to the Bernabeu promises to be a tough test of the Catalan side’s improvements this season and is sure to put their promising start under intense scrutiny.


Form

​Real Madrid began their season strongly with a 2-0 victory at home to Getafe as the European champions looked to dispel any notions of weakness following the summer departures of Zinedine Zidane and ​Cristiano Ronaldo.

​Gareth Bale immediately picked up the striking mantle from Ronaldo in that match, as would have been expected as Madrid’s next in line Galactico forward, and the Welshman continued to carry the burden along with ​Karim Benzema as Los Blancos dispatched Girona 4-1 in their second game.

Girona FC v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

The same striking duo repeated the trick the following week, with Benzema once again at the double and Bale finding the net once more, as Madrid secured another 4-1 win over Leganes to continue their emphatic start.

Madrid’s momentum was halted, however, as Athletic Bilbao held Julen Lopetegui’s side to a 1-1 draw, with ​Isco netting a second half equaliser to earn a point after Los Blancos fell behind.

They’ve also made a positive start to the defence of their Champions League title, with a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Italian outfit Roma in midweek, with Gareth Bale scoring and starring once more.

Espanyol have recorded more mixed form so far this season, though 2-0 and 1-0 wins over Valencia and Levante respectively have elevated the Catalans into the top four, whilst a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo and a 2-1 defeat to Alaves are reminders that their positive start will give them little to rest upon when they travel to Madrid on Saturday.


Previous Encounter

If Espanyol are to earn a positive result this weekend, they will be hoping to reproduce something similar to their shock 1-0 win over the European champions when the sides last met in February.

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At that time, Madrid were 14 points behind league leaders Barcelona, and Espanyol struck further difficulty into their league campaign with a last-minute winner from Gerard Moreno to condemn Zinedine Zidane’s side to an unlikely defeat at the RCDE Stadium.

In what was generally regarded as a poor match of little quality, it is Espanyol who will have by far the fonder memories of a game which will go down in the club’s history.

However, Madrid fielded a heavily rotated side on that occasion, with their Champions League campaign taking priority by that stage of the season, and Espanyol can expect to face the full armoury of Los Blancos in what is likely to be a tougher task this time out.


Key Battle

With the previous encounter between the two sides having been a generally low-quality affair, the key to Saturday’s game could be which side is able to produce greater quality and create more on the ball this time out.

With creativity key to the outcome of the match, it is in the centre of midfield where the game could be most intriguingly contested, with particular focus on which side’s technicians in the middle of the park are able to produce telling moments of quality.

For Madrid, the pass master of the side is Toni Kroos. The German maestro is the man who makes Los Blancos tick from the central areas, and the onus will be on the World Cup winner to unlock the Espanyol defence and break through the midfield with quality passing and incisive movement on Saturday.

Espanyol, meanwhile, have a former Real Madrid playmaker of their own to assume similar responsibilities for the away side in Esteban Granero.

The Spaniard never quite made the grade during his short stint at the Bernabeu but displayed on numerous occasions his eye for a key pass and a strong ability to provide good deliveries into the box. His ability to pick out teammates in dangerous areas could be key to Espanyol’s chances of success.


Team News

Real Madrid are set to be without defender Jesus Vallejo for this weekend, though with Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez all fit it is unlikely that the young Spaniard would have featured against Espanyol if fit.

The away side, meanwhile, are set to be without a central defender of their own, with Oscar Duarte absent through a knee injury for Espanyol, whilst winger Javi Puado also remains sidelined for Rubi’s side with ligament damage.


Potential Real Madrid Lineup: ​Courtois; Carvajal, ​Varane, ​Ramos, ​Marcelo; ​Casemiro, ​Modric, ​Kroos; Bale, Benzema, ​Asensio.

Potential Espanyol Lineup: Diego Lopez; Javi Lopez, David Lopez, Hermoso, Vila; Darder, Roca, Granero; Baptistao, Iglesias, Garcia.


Prediction

Though Espanyol will be buoyed by their positive start to the season and top four place heading into Saturday’s match, a showdown with the European champions is likely to prove a more telling test of the away side’s quality.

Real Madrid  v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Group G

Having been held to a disappointing 1-1 draw in their previous league outing, Madrid will be gunning to get back to winning ways in La Liga and will likely have too much quality going forward for the visitors.

Score prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Espanyol

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Real Madrid Star Luka Modric Admits the World Cup Left Him Physically & Mentally Exhausted

​Luka Modric has admitted that the 2018 World Cup took a heavy toll on his body, as well as his mind.

The Real Madrid midfielder’s performances helped Croatia reach the tournament’s final and saw him win the Golden Ball in the end. But the Vatreni would stumble at the final hurdle, losing to France in an exciting showdown on the last day.

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Modric was in action for Madrid on Wednesday night as they beat Italian side AS Roma 3-0 in the first group stage match of the new Champions League campaign and put on a grand display. Speaking after the match, he said he is feeling better every day, following his gruelling and mentally challenging World Cup exploits.

“The World Cup caused me a lot of physical and mental exhaustion, but I feel better every day and I hope to continue playing as I did tonight,” he told reporters, via MARCA.

The 33-year-old also praised his team’s performance against the Serie A side, claiming that they played a “complete match”.

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“Very happy for our performance as a team and for the victory, we played a very complete match,” he declared. “We created many chances and we were able to score more than three goals.”

Asked what it’s like to work alongside the likes of Casemiro and Toni Kroos, the veteran midfielder boasted they could play together with their eyes closed.

“Of course I feel very comfortable with them,” he said. “We have played together for more than three years, we know each other almost with our eyes closed, but I also feel very comfortable with others.”

It has been quite the year for Modric. The Croatian captured the Champions League for the third straight time with Los Blancos at the end of last season, before going on to win the World Cup’s Golden Ball and then the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award.

He’s now thought to be a top candidate for the Ballon d’Or, but he says he isn’t obsessing over it, although winning the accolade would make him very happy.

Real Madrid CF v CD Leganes - La Liga

“Proud that the fans and teammates ask for it, but it does not obsess me,” he claimed. “The important thing is the team, if I win it, very well, I will be very happy, but if that’s not the case, life goes on.”

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