Luka Modric to Miss Out First Leg of Spanish Super Cup Due to Something That Occurred 3 Years Ago

​Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric will play no part in his side’s Super Cup meet with rivals Barcelona when the teams go head to head this weekend, per ​Marca.

The La Liga giants will play out the first leg of the tie on Sunday, with the second leg set to take place on Wednesday.

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Modric will be eligible to partake in the midweek fixture, but he won’t be able to suit up on Sunday, and he may not even remember the reason – as it’s from three years ago.

The Croatian was sent off for two bookable offences in a Super Cup match against Atletico Madrid in August of 2014, hence receiving a ban. He is now set to serve that ban three years later.

The rules state that a suspended player will only serve out a ban in the very competition he was penalised in if it’s based off two yellows. A straight red would have seen him sit out the following La Liga match, but as that wasn’t the case, it’s only right that he gets to sit out the first leg of the next Super Cup.

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Modric showed great form in pre-season, also performing spectacularly against Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup this week.  Zinedine Zidane will now have to look at alternatives, and it is believed that Mateo Kovacic will be the one who gets the nod.

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Madrid’s Interest in Dembele Is Strengthening Dortmund’s Position in Their Negotiations With Barca

​Borussia Dortmund attacker Ousmane Dembele has captured the interest of Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona this summer.

The young Frenchman’s stellar performances last season has made him one of the top prospects in Europe, and at just 20-years-old, he’s bound to get even better.

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Madrid are in the market for a new attacker these days, having sold prolific super-sub Alvaro Morata to Chelsea a few weeks ago. Barcelona, meanwhile, are still reeling from the loss of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.

The Catalan side are thought to have set their sights on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, as well as Dembele. But the French star seems like he’s being rated a bit higher.

Dortmund have no intention to sell their player, with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke claiming that it would take an offer way in excess of €100m to get the German side to consider selling.

Translation:The appearance of Madrid strengthens the position of Borussia Dortmund when negotiating with Barça by Dembélé.”

Certain sources are suggesting that Barca are willing to shell out €110m, a sum they believe is capable of changing Dortmund’s stance, but with Madrid now in the picture, BVB now have a stronger position and could demand even more.

The player has set tongues wagging with the recent removal of links to the Bundesliga side from his social media bios. And it’s certainly looking like he has no qualms over leaving this summer.

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The La Liga giants now look set for a transfer battle, something which can only work out well for Dortmund from a financial standpoint, as they’re guaranteed a huge fee for their player based on current circumstances.

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Real Madrid 2-1 Man Utd: Champions League Holders Outclass Red Devils to Win Coveted UEFA Super Cup

Real Madrid showed their European dominance and reminded physically imposing

Manchester United side that there is a huge gap in technical quality, with a 2-1 victory in the UEFA Super Cup final, on a sweltering night in Skopje​.

Brazilian international Casemiro opened the account for Los Blancos with a fine left-footed volley past Real Madrid target David de Gea, despite looking marginally offside. 

After the interval, Spanish international Isco then doubled the lead following fantastic link-up play with Gareth Bale to put Real Madrid in the ascendancy.

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However, the Red Devils were not finished as Romelu Lukaku pounced on a Nemanja Matić effort to create a tense finale in which Real Madrid claimed another European crown.

On an evening that was pushing the 40-degree barrier, Zinedine Zidane’s side started the brighter of the two with a dominating display of ball retention, making the Red Devils work hard in difficult conditions that required regular water breaks.

After the early stages consisted of Manchester United struggling to keep the ball in the first competitive match of the season, the game came to life when Casemiro should have put the La Liga champions in the lead inside 20 minutes. A Toni Kroos corner was met by the powerful head of the Brazilian midfield anchor, who easily lost marker Matteo Darmian to hit the crossbar.

It didn’t take long for the tall box-to-box midfielder to make amends for earlier sitter he missed as the former Sao Paulo star punished Jose Mourinho’s side for a lapse in concentration. A rare run into the opposition box paid dividends when the defensive stopper latched on to a fantastic Dani Carvajal pass to give Los Blancos the lead.

Following 35 minutes of constant pressure from Real Madrid, the Red Devils finally started to ask questions as £75m signing Lukaku pressed the 12-time Champions League winners. His physical presence nearly paid off just before half time as the Belgian target man rose highest to test goalkeeper Keylor Navas with a powerful header, which unfortunately failed to test the Costa Rican.

Real Madrid v Manchester United: UEFA Super Cup

Los Merengues started the second half in the same fashion as Germany star and midfield linchpin Kroos tested De Gea with a fine shot from 25 yards out on his opposite foot, which the Spanish international had to claw away.

They then showed their class and why they are domestic and European champions with talented playmaker Isco cutting apart the Manchester United defence to double the lead. 

A great through ball from Gareth Bale made the difference on the edge of the box with an excellent pass, which was coolly dispatched by the man who took his place in the Champions League final line-up.

Minutes later Manchester United nearly halved the deficit as Ander Herrera whipped in a cross that should have the Europa League winners back in the game. French star Paul Pogba was unmarked eight yards out, but headed straight at Navas in goal, with the misery compounded when Lukaku followed up the rebound by blazing his effort over the crossbar.

Gareth Bale should have put the game beyond doubt, but a thunderous shot cannoned back off the woodwork to give the Red Devils a glimmer of hope in a one-sided affair up to that point.

The English fans finally erupted with 30 minutes to go as two new signings linked up to give Manchester United hope. After fine build up play around the 18-yard box, recent acquisition Matić fired a low drive at Navas, which could only be parried into the path of Lukaku, who made sure on the second time of asking with a buried right-footed effort into the bottom corner.

Mourinho then tried to get his team back in the game with the introduction of the explosive Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini, with the latter coming close to making the game level after a clash of heads with Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos.

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Ex-Manchester United player and Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo was finally introduced with 20 minutes to go against his former side, as the Portuguese star only recently returned to first team training following his exploits in the Confederations Cup.

Rashford then came close to the equalising after breaking through the back line. It took a fine stop from Navas, who managed to tip his left-footed effort around the post, to keep Real Madrid in the lead during the closing stages. In stoppage time Fellaini came close to creating a remarkable comeback with a headed effort, but Real Madrid held on to win their fourth Super Cup.

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Tottenham Have ‘First Option’ on Former Winger and Real Madrid Star Gareth Bale

​Tottenham have the ‘first option’ on Real Madrid winger and Manchester United target Gareth Bale.

The Wales international has been consistently linked with a move to United ever since joining Los Blancos back in 2013, but Spurs could play a major role in the future of their former winger.

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The Mirror believe Tottenham could match the bid of any other Premier League rival and have it accepted by Real Madrid, although the clause is not exactly a buy-back option.

The option means Mauricio Pochettino’s side could match a bid made by United if Madrid accept the Red Devils’ offer, with the stipulation believed to to expire in June 2019.

Despite a lack of signings so far this summer, Tottenham fans would undoubtedly jump at the chance to see the 28-year-old play for the club again after a string of successes for the forward in Spain.

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Bale has taken a backseat to Madrid icon Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at the Bernabeu, but still played his part in three Champions League triumphs, a La Liga title win and a Copa del Rey victory.

United manager Jose Mourinho has recently confirmed his interest in Bale, claiming his side will be one of the first looking to sign him should Madrid decide to discard the former Southampton youth product.

Ahead of UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday, he said, as quoted by ​BBC Sport: “If he plays, it is the clearest signal that he is staying there.

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“Then I won’t even think about it. If he is not in the club’s plans and it is true that a player like Bale is at the departure gate, I will try to be there waiting for him at the other side.”

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Report Claims Real Madrid Could Offer Juventus Player Plus Cash Deal for Striker Paolo Dybala

Real Madrid could be preparing to launch a daring raid on Serie A giants Juventus for their Argentine star Paolo Dybala.
As reported by ​GiveMeSport via ​Mundo Deportivo, Los Blancos are preparing an €85m offer for the striker, and are looking to include highly-rated Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic in the deal.

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If the Champions League and La Liga winners were able to pull of such a transaction it would represent a major coup, as bitter rivals Barcelona, who are known to be keen on the 23-year-old.

Indeed, Dybala is one of their primary targets to replace Neymar – however, Juve are insisting that they will not part ways with their star man for less than €120m, particularly as Barca are known to be cash rich.

Real’s offer would likely match Juve’s expectations, with Kovacic a valuable asset to acquire as well as €85m.

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Los Blancos have already made two stellar additions to their squad with the arrivals of Spanish starlets Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos from Atletico Madrid and Real Betis respectively, but their customary blockbuster signing has thus far eluded them.

Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe has been a star name consistently linked with the Bernabeu, however, Zidane’s side could be about to switch their attention to another talent.

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Sergio Ramos Takes a Pop at Former Boss Jose Mourinho After Branding Him ‘Just Another Coach’

​Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos has taken aim at his former manager José Mourinho, claiming that the Portuguese coach is no better than any of the others he has worked with. The ‘Special One’ managed the La Liga giants for three seasons, winning the league title with Los Blancos in the 2011/12 season.

Speaking to the press ahead of his side’s Super Cup encounter with Manchester United on Tuesday evening, via the Daily Mail, the Spaniard was grilled on his opinion regarding the differences between current boss Zinedine Zidane and former manager Mourinho. Ramos claimed:

My view is that when a team has a new coach it changes a great deal. How to manage the dressing room… Zidane is good at understanding our dressing room. Mourinho had a lot of experience.

“They are both great coaches and we’re grateful to live this historical moment with Zidane”.

Ramos’ claims hint at a slight unease among his fellow teammates during Mourinho’s time at the club, suggesting that his dressing room approach was inferior to that of current boss Zidane. Further addressing his time playing under Mourinho, specifically whether his choice to develop Ramos as a centre-back changed his career, the player claimed:

“No, he’s just another coach I worked with”.

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Evidently, there is a little love lost between the powerful defender and Mourinho, with the player unwilling to give his former coach any credit for his transition into one of the finest centre-backs in world football. 

Real Madrid have enjoyed a great deal of success under current boss Zidane, who has won two Champions League trophies and a league title in two seasons as a manager.

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Jose Mourinho Declares Man Utd Will Be ‘Waiting’ for Gareth Bale If Star Isn’t in Real Madrid Plans

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has seemingly confirmed his interest in signing Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale before the end of the summer as the club prepares to meet Los Blancos in the UEFA Super Cup this week.

United have been linked with Bale since the closing weeks of last season, with rumours that he could be forced out of the Bernabeu still persistent despite the player’s insistence he is happy.

2017 MLS All-Star Game: Real Madrid v MLS All-Stars

It was suggested as recently as the ​end of last week that Real could accept an offer of £90m as they look to make room and raise funds to sign Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe.

Asked about Bale ahead of Tuesday night’s game in Macedonia, Mourinho plainly stated that United will be “waiting for him on the other side” should the Welshman have no future at Real.

In Mourinho’s eyes, whether Bale is part of the Real plans for the upcoming campaign will hinge on whether he plays a part for the reigning European champions in the game. The implication is that if the 28-year-old isn’t on the pitch, he’s up for grabs and United will make their approach.

What this appears to be is an intelligent move from the United boss.

In offering a very specific meaning for his understanding of Bale being in Real’s plans he’s given the club an easy out if a deal fails to materialise. With Mbappe not yet signed, Bale is more than likely to feature in the game and it will remove pressure and expectation.

At the very least, he is planting a firm seed in the event does not play in Macedonia.

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United famously tried to sign Bale in the same summer that he joined Real in 2013. The winger had just enjoyed a stunning campaign for Tottenham and United actually offered Spurs more than the Spanish giants, only for the player to pursue what was described as a dream move.

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Real Madrid vs Man Utd: UEFA Super Cup Final Preview – Last Encounter, Key Men, Team News & More

​Real Madrid and Manchester United will go head-to-head in Macedonia on Tuesday evening to contest the UEFA Super Cup final in Skopje’s Filip II Arena.

Despite Red Devils’ midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan stating that the Europa League winners’ priority was success in the Premier League, the traditional face off between the holders of Europe’s biggest cup competitions is hardly going to be a dead rubber. 

A win for United especially would provide a huge morale boost before the return of English top-flight football.


Last Encounter

While the two teams have never met in the Super Cup, they have met 10 times in the European Cup/Champions League, with the most recent being Los Blancos’ victory at Old Trafford in 2013 in the Champions League Round of 16.

The two sides entered the game after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Danny Welbeck had forced a draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg.

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A stroke of luck ensured that United took the lead, with Madrid defender Sergio Ramos diverting into his own net just after halftime. However, a straight red card for Nani after a reckless high challenge saw the momentum swing and goals from Luka Modrić and Ronaldo in the space of three minutes saw the Spanish giants advance to the Quarter finals.


Key Men

After scoring just 54 times in the Premier League last season and the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimović leaving a gap in the Europa League holders’ front line, new signing Romelu Lukaku will be expected to bring some much-needed fire power to the Old Trafford side. 

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With star men Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale lacking match fitness after injuries in pre-season, much will be expected of French striker Karim Benzemato lead the line for the Spanish champions.  

A player who is often shadowed by his teammates, the former Lyon man still netted 19 times last season.


Team News

Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane may risk starting Ronaldo despite a season opener against Barcelona five days later.

Last season’s breakthrough players Marco Asensio and Lucas Vásquez are expected to compete from the bench, while striker Borja Mayoral could feature after returning from a season-long loan at Wolfsburg. Star players Ramos, Marcelo, Modrić and Toni Kroos will play.

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After playing in a friendly win against Sampdoria last Wednesday, new signing Nemanja Matić should be in contention to make his United debut in Macedonia.

The Red Devils are also expected to start in a 3-5-2 formation, which would mean starts for Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian at wing-back and a debut for Victor Lindelöf in defence. Lukaku will start up front.

Probable Line-ups

Real Madrid (4-3-3):Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo

Man Utd (3-5-2):De Gea; Lindelöf, Smalling, Blind; Valencia, Herrera, Matić, Pogba, Darmian; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku


Prediction

The arrival of Matić may allow us to see Paul Pogba play with more freedom and with Lukaku in the side we may see a different performance from United compared to what we saw last year.

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However, even if Ronaldo and Bale do not start the Spanish giants will be tough to beat. If Modrić and Kroos can dominate the midfield then we could have a very tight game on our hands.

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Real Madrid Player Reportedly Open to Playing for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United

Newcastle United have had a slow summer in the transfer window with the only the likes of Mikel Merino and Jacob Murphy arriving on Tyneside.

Still in need of a forward, Rafa Benitez has had his eyes set on Angel Correa and Joselu but will be pleased to hear that the possibility of signing a player from his former team might have increased.

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According to ​Don Balon, Real Madrid striker Lucas Vazquez is open to joining Benitez at Newcastle United following the rumours that the La Liga champions have shown a keen interest in Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe. 

​Benitez is looking to strengthen the Magpies’ attack with the new Premier League season around the corner and Vazquez is without a doubt the best option the Spaniard could go for.

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The player himself is looking for regular game time as it seems highly unlikely that Los Blancos will use him considering the strong attack they already possess.

A move to Newcastle will allow Vazquez to develop with regular starts in time for a selection in the Spanish national team come 2018, ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

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Statistics show that the 26-year-old only managed to score two goals in 33 appearances for Madrid last season but with a total of 42 chances created.

If Newcastle are looking to avoid relegation battle this season, they will need to secure a reliable goalscorer of Vazquez’s stature.

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Brazil Legend Ronaldo Reveals How He Succeeded Where Others Failed & Why He Retired in 2011

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo says tireless practice and a bottomless desire helped set him apart from other young footballers growing up.

Ronaldo is regarded as one of the finest footballers ever, having won two World Cups and two Ballon d’Or awards, and the ex-Barcelona man says his desire to be one of greatest players from a young age helped him make the grade at the highest level.

He told ​the Players’ Tribune: “​For right then, I was still just one of the other little boys in our town known for playing football.

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“And I mean playing all the time. Maybe, looking back, that’s what made me different from all the other kids in Brazil who wanted to be footballers. I wasn’t just dreaming of being the greatest, but actually, truly believing it. That I really could be … one of the best who ever played.”

“I laugh thinking about it, because I don’t know where it came from, or where that thinking started.

“It was just … life … from the moment I first kicked a ball.”

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The former Real Madrid forward also revealed he practiced for hours in his family’s garden as he looked to fulfil his ambition of becoming a professional footballer.

He added: “I looked at every opportunity as a step toward becoming a professional football player. It was like a menace in my head. I couldn’t think of anything else — as much as my parents wanted me to focus on school. 

“And after that first year playing futsal, all the other steps seemed to fall into place. Part of it was luck … a lot of it was dedication. I began training the next year with São Cristóvão football club. And by the time I was 13, clubs were already looking at me. 

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“So I went to Belo Horizonte to play for Cruzeiro. When I was 15, I got my first invite to train with the national team. When I was 16, I made my professional debut for Cruzeiro. And the next year, in 1994, I went to my first World Cup with Brazil. Like I said, it all happened so fast.

“And as much as I wanted all of it, every moment still felt like a surprise, in a way. I didn’t know what a timeline for becoming a professional was supposed to be like. There’s no plan or handbook. Sometimes it felt like I went from one day playing at school and in our backyard, to practicing with Bebeto.

“Then the World Cup came. How can I describe that 1994 World Cup? Or that team?”

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The 40-year-old says his decision to retire in 2011 came after a whole host of injury and health problems made it difficult for him to play at the level he wanted to.

He said: “For me, football was always about seeing how far I could push myself and I feel I did that for as long as I could. I had made it through another knee injury and I joined Corinthians. 

“But when other health problems made it difficult to not only play, but also to breathe, and stand up, and walk … I knew I had to stop. If I couldn’t be the player that I wanted to be on the pitch, if I couldn’t have the same feeling, then I couldn’t be out there at all.

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“In 2011, I needed to make a decision. I knew that I needed to say goodbye to football. At least, to my time on the pitch.

“But football — it’s like an addiction. For players. For fans. For everyone. It’s why it just grabs so many people all over the world. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that since I’ve stopped playing. I think about what the sport gave to me.”

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