Ronaldo Left Out of Squad to Face Celta as Real Madrid Expect Superstar to Return Before UCL Final

​Real Madrid will be without two key players in their final home game of ​La Liga this season against Celta Vigo on Saturday evening.

Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the match due to injury, while Sergio Ramos has also not travelled with the squad to Galicia, as Real Madrid look to see out their season in style and build some further momentum to take into the Champions League final.

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Ronaldo picked up an ankle problem in the recent victory over ​Barcelona in El Clasico and will miss the game against Celta. However, according to Marca, he is set to return in time for the final domestic game of the season with Villarreal.

Unfortunately for ​Liverpool fans, the 33-year-old will most definitely be available for the Champions League final in Kiev.

Meanwhile, midfielder Isco has returned to the matchday squad for Real Madrid after suffering with an injury of his own in recent weeks. There is more good news for fans of Real Madrid, as four players return after sitting out the last match against Sevilla.

Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are all in the squad to face Celta Vigo.

They are joined by former Tottenham winger Gareth Bale, who returns following a recent suspension.

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Qatari Emir Likely to Stand in Way of Real Madrid Move for Neymar This Summer

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could find it impossible to seek a move away from the French capital this summer.

The reason is that, according to ​Marca, potential suitors ​Real Madrid would have to go above club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in order to secure a deal.

In fact, they would have to deal with Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is the Emir of Qatar and is known as a highly-skilled negotiator and is an expert in international relations.

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Qatar want to give the world a new image of their country and are using sport as a vehicle to do that. They see the 2022 World Cup and Neymar as their two most valuable assets in this regard.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has a lot of important relationships in Europe and it is understood that some of these could be affected if he shows the weak will to let Neymar leave PSG after just one season.

Amazingly, Emir owns a 200m yacht in Mallorca, which costs less than 220m he paid for Neymar – which shows just how much he values the Brazilian star.

Due to the valuations mentioned above, the Emir is said to find ​suggestions of a €260m exit for Neymar to Real Madrid ‘humorous’.

In the past, players such as Marco Verratti, Ángel Di María and Edison Cavani has struggled to convince the Emir to allow them to leave, so it seems unlikely that a player as prestigious as Neymar would have any joy.

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Picking the Best Possible Real Madrid Lineup to Face Celta Vigo on Saturday

​Real Madrid take on Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday in a La Liga clash in which the home side will be looking to get back to winning ways after suffering a 3-2 defeat away to Sevilla on Wednesday.

With the Champions League final just two weeks away from this match, and a couple of key injury concerns to contend with, it is likely that ZInedine Zidane will continue to field a heavily rotated side.

However, Los Blancos will be keen to return to winning form to build confidence and momentum ahead of the European showpiece event in Kiev. 

With that in mind, the Madrid side which takes on Celta Vigo can be expected to see the return of a few more regular names to the team which fell to defeat in Seville in midweek.

Torhüter

  • Navas

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​Kiko Casilla started in goal against Sevilla and looked largely unconvincing and short of confidence to give assurance to those playing ahead of him. The Spaniard could be replace by regular first-choice Keylor Navas on Saturday, who made some heroic saves during Madrid’s Champions League semi-final tie with Bayern Munich.

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  • Nacho

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  • Varane

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  • S. Ramos

    S. Ramos4

  • Theo

    Theo15

​With Dani Carvajal still struggling to recover from injury, Nacho is likely to continue to fill his compatriot’s void at right-back. 

Jesus Vallejo started alongside captain Sergio Ramos on Wednesday in the side which shipped three goals against Sevilla. Rapahel Varane can be expected to replace the youngster on Saturday to restore greater solidity in the Madrid backline.

Marcelo is one of those key players likely to continue being rested ahead of the Champions League final, giving another useful run out to young French left-back, Theo Hernandez.

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  • Kovacic

    Kovacic23

  • Casemiro

    Casemiro14

  • Isco

    Isco22

​Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were both rested by Zidane on Wednesday in Seville, following the high-energy demands of an El Classico clash away to Barcelona three days earlier. Those two are again likely to be given further rest on Saturday. 

Dani Ceballos started alongside Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic in Madrid’s engine room in midweek, but the return of Isco from injury should see the attack-minded Spaniard return to the side in place of his younger compatriot to add more flair and dynamism to the midfield areas. 

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  • Vázquez

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  • Bale

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  • Asensio

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​With Cristiano Ronaldo still injured for Saturday’s game, Madrid are boosted by the return of Gareth Bale from the suspension he served in midweek. Karim Benzema looked out of sorts in Seville, failing to offer a cutting edge to Madrid’s attack.

Zidane could opt to restore Bale to the side in Benzema’s central role, with Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio flanking the Welshman, giving Los Blancos’ front line a wealth of pace, power and energy to maximise their trademark counter-attacking speed and threat.

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Spanish Football Expert Guillem Balague Says Real Madrid Will Only Move for Mo Salah on 2 Conditions

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has suggested that Real Madrid will only make an offer for ​Liverpool hotshot Mohamed Salah if the Reds beat them in the Champions League final and if the player has an impressive World Cup campaign for Egypt.

The speedster has fired Liverpool to this year’s European final but they will be facing a Madrid side who have won the competition two years running and are gunning for a fourth capture in the last five years.

Salah was named Liverpool’s Player of the Season on Thursday night, having already snagged the PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award. And he’s also on course to claim the Golden Boot this season.

“Obviously it’s not Real Madrid unsettling or trying to unsettle a player, it’s the media,” Balague told Sky Sports (via the ​Daily Star). “But it’s clear that if Salah does guide Liverpool to Champions League glory, and does well at the World Cup, then Real Madrid will make the steps to go for him.

“But at this moment in time, right now, he is not a target, and Jurgen Klopp and Salah have made it clear that staying at Anfield will be the best choice for him. Having said that, football changes in an instant.”

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The Egyptian, meanwhile, has declared that he is happy at Liverpool, suggesting he isn’t keen on making a move in the summer.

“I’m very happy here, I’m very happy and everything is fine,” he said. We have two games now starting with a game on Sunday. It’s a very important game and then Champions League final but I’m very happy here.

“Of course I have got ambitions for the future with Liverpool. As you can see we had a great season and now we are in the Champions League final and everyone is excited. It is just the start. This is my first year here and it is the same for some other players.”

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Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo Preview: Form Guide, Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

​​Real Madrid take on Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Saturday in a La Liga clash which looks likely to be near the bottom of Zinedine Zidane’s list of priorities.

Though ​Real are still competing with city rivals ​Atletico Madrid for the runners up spot in the table, and Zidane’s side’s attentions will naturally be centred on the ​Champions League final at the end of the month.


With that being said, the league fixtures continue to come thick and fast for Madrid, and Zidane will be aware of the importance of building momentum from results in the run up to the showpiece event against Liverpool in Kiev.


Recent Form

Real Madrid’s preparation for the Liverpool showdown has not began in the most desirable manner for Zidane’s side in terms of results. A 2-2 draw in last weekend’s El Clasico encounter was a decent result against a Barcelona who had twice taken the lead on the night.

The midweek defeat away to Sevilla, however, may offer a more concerning insight into the direction of Los Blancos’ remaining league outings this season.


Fielding a heavily rotated side from the full strength team which Zidane sent to the field against Barcelona three days earlier, Madrid struggled for ideas and impetus against a Sevilla side who simply wanted the result more. The home team eventually ran out narrow ​3-2 winners, having stormed into a 3-0 lead which tells a truer tale of the match than the final score line.

The continued rotation and resting of key players in upcoming domestic matches ahead of that all-important European final may see result in similar struggles for results in Madrid’s remaining league fixtures.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, are suffering a poor run of form, having not won in their last nine matches. A 4-1 defeat to Villareal, two 1-1 draws with Valencia and Deportivo and an action-packed 2-2 draw with Barcelona in their last four matches have done little to add any late cheer to their season.


Currently 12th in La Liga, Juan Carlos Unzue’s side are, however, only a point behind Eibar in 10th. Securing a top half finish could end Celta Vigo’s season on a high.

With Real Madrid likely to field a heavily rotated side on Saturday and a match against a lowly Levante in their final league game of the season, Unzue’s men may fancy their chances of sneaking into the top ten.


Previous Encounter

The last time the two sides met may provide some encouragement for Celta Vigo as they head to the Spanish capital this weekend. In a closely fought encounter, the home side on that occasion took the lead just over half an hour into the match through a Daniel Wass strike.

Gareth Bale provided an emphatic response for Madrid, hitting a quick-fire brace in the space of two minutes to hand the visitors a stunning lead.

Celta Vigo were far from down and out, however, and largely contained Madrid for the rest of the match from that point, before Maxi Gomez fired a dramatic equaliser for Unzue’s side in the final ten minutes of the game to secure a 2-2 draw.

Possession was evenly shared on that occasion, with Madrid’s superior amount of shots on goal proving inconsequential to Celta Vigo on the score line. A repeat performance at the Bernabeu against an understrength Madrid side could lead to an upset at the Bernabeu on Saturday.


Key Battle

With an uncertainty over the strength of team that Zidane will look to field following the midweek defeat, it is unclear exactly what kind of attacking threat Madrid will pose to Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo is certainly ruled out of the match through the injury he picked up during the Clasico last weekend, whilst Karim Benzema looked out of sorts against Sevilla on Wednesday. Gareth Bale was not in the squad that night due to suspension.

What will be of clear importance for both Madrid and Celta on Saturday is the midfield battle. Real will typically seek to stamp their authority on the match by controlling the game from the middle of the Bernabeu pitch.


Jozabed and Stanislav Lobotka will likely play as Celta Vigo’s two deep midfielfers and must provide an effective shield for the back four to isolate Madrid’s attacking players, stop the likes of Mateo Kovacic from running the game from deep and prevent their team from being exposed to Madrid’s devastating potential on the counter attack.


Team News

Zidane will be without first choice right-back Dani Carvajal for Saturday’s match, with the Spaniard still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered last month. Nacho is again likely to fill in at full back.

Cristiano Ronaldo remains injured, with Madrid nervously awaiting news on his availability for the Champions League final at the end of the month. Isco, however, should be available to return on Saturday from a short term shoulder injury.


Celta Vigo will be without former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas for the trip to Madrid, as the 30-year-old continues to suffer with a hamstring injury. Defensive midfielder Nemanja Radoja and central defender Facundo Roncaglia also remain absent for Saturday’s match.


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas/Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Hernandez/Kovacic, Casemiro, Isco/L. Vazquez, Bale, Asensio


Celta Vigo (4-2-3-1): S. Alvarez/Mallo, Gomez, Cabral, Jonny/Lobotka, Jozabed/Wass, Mendez, Sisto/Gomez


Prediction

Although Celta Vigo will be encouraged by Real Madrid’s struggles against Sevilla on Wednesday with an understrength team, Zidane is likely to restore some more familiar faces to the starting lineup following a longer period of rest after the energetic El Clasico last weekend.

The French manager will be keen to see his side get back to winning ways and regain a positive momentum to both end Madrid’s domestic season on a high.

Celta Vigo are suffering a poor run of form, and Madrid’s midfield control and electric attacking ability on the break should prove too much for the away side.

Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Celta Vigo

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Liverpool Legend Steven Gerrard Gives Reds Advice Ahead of Champions League Final With Real Madrid

Former ​Liverpool captain and newly appointed Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has said that he doesn’t view his old side as underdogs as they look forward to a Champions League Final clash against current holders Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants have conquered Europe for two years running and are looking to win the competition for the fourth time in five years. However, Gerrard reckons the Reds have every bit of a chance as Madrid do.

“I think we’ve got a really good chance, I wouldn’t say on current form we’re going into the game as underdogs,” the 2005 Champions League winning captain said at an LFC World event presented by Standard Chartered at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi on Thursday (via ​Sport 360).


“But, I suppose, Jurgen Klopp and the boys will want to go in as underdogs because it takes a little bit of pressure off.

“I think the form they’ve been in, how they’ve performed in the last two games against Roma, especially with Mo Salah, I think we go in with every confidence and belief that we can get the job done.”

Gerrard has experienced the feeling of coming out on top in a final where the Reds were labelled underdogs, having helped his former side stage a fantastic comeback against AC Milan in 2005.

“We were the underdogs and rightly so against a fantastic Milan side, we went in with confidence and belief and you never give up,” he added. “I’ve experienced it, you can beat them.”

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PSG Duo Claim Injured Star’s Cup Celebrations Means He Wants to Stay With Club in Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain players Adrien Rabiot and Kevin Trapp believe that Neymar wants to stay at the Parc des Princes, after he lapped up the celebrations following the club’s triumph in the Coupe de France.

PSG claimed a fourth trophy of the season by beating minnows Les Herbiers 2-0 at the Stade de France thanks to goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Edinson Cavani, and Brazilian superstar Neymar turned out in a home shirt at the end of the game to celebrate with his teammates.

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The 25-year-old, of course, is currently sidelined after sustaining a fractured metatarsal against Marseille in February – which he opted to undergo surgery for with the World Cup in mind.

Rabiot told ​ESPN FC: “He was very happy to be here with us tonight, it would be great if he could play a bit with us at the end of the season. He’s here with us, he’s working hard and really wants to stay here.

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“It’s great that he’s here. He’s a really important player for us so we are happy that he came tonight. Right now for him the goal is the World Cup, but now it’s too early for him to think about playing again.”

Interestingly, Trapp revealed that he and his teammates have only seldom seen Neymar since his injury which will only add to the speculation that he will leave the club this summer.

In the last few days, ​it has been reported that the former Barcelona star has twice been visited back in Brazil by a representative of Real Madrid, fuelling speculation that he would cease to be a PSG player come the start of the new season.

Obviously, his teammates in Paris hope that his celebrations prove that that won’t be the case.

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Bayern Chief Declares Lewandowski Will Stay Despite Real Madrid Links & Heynckes Handshake Snub

​Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has assured fans that Robert Lewandowski will not be sold this summer.

Speculation has followed the Poland international about all season after he spoke out about the club’s transfer policy ​to Rummenigge’s displeasure at the time, and it is refusing to go away as the summer transfer window draws nearer.

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The plot thickened at the weekend as the 29-year-old was substituted early in the second half by manager Jupp Heynckes, with Lewandowski refusing to shake the 72-year-old’s hand in a notable display of frustration and disrespect.

The striker headed straight for the bench and cut an irked figure for the remainder of the match against Koln, but Rummenigge has move to play down the altercation.


Speaking to the ​official Bundesliga website, he said: “There’s no need to worry about Lewandowski’s relationship with Bayern. It’s a very good one. 

“We know what we have in Robert Lewandowski, I’m very happy he’s still on a long-term contract. It doesn’t need to be given any thought. He’ll be a Bayern player next season.”

FC Augsburg v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga

The former ​Borussia Dortmund hitman has had another fine season in front of goal, scoring 29 in the league and 40 in 46 games across all competitions to show that he is still very much a world class forward.

Rummenigge added: “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s no exaggeration to say that Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world. His record proves that every year. It doesn’t matter if he goes a couple of games without a goal.”

Bayern might not want to part ways with Lewandowski, but if things like this continue to happen then interested parties such as ​Chelsea and ​Real Madrid may start to hover a little more closely.

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Sevilla 3-2 Real Madrid: Ramos’ Penalty Miss Costs Los Blancos as They Slip to Disappointing Defeat

Sergio Ramos had a night to forget as a makeshift ​Real Madrid side were narrowly beaten by Europa League hopefuls Sevilla on Wednesday night.

After a disappointing domestic season for both sides, it was the hosts who prevailed, with Wissam Ben Yedder shining on what was an incredibly entertaining night at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.

​Real Madrid dictated the early proceedings, controlling possession as they looked to play the game at their own tempo.

However, it was the hosts who had the first effort of the match as Vasquez fizzed an effort over the bar in the 10th minute.

Real Madrid were in trouble again just minutes later as Sergio Ramos had to react quickly to get across and block what looked like a promising effort on goal from Vasquez.

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Sevilla starting to look like the more dangerous attacking threat and their play was only briefly interrupted after a free-kick from Casemrio called David Soria into action for the first time in the match as he dove down to his right to smother the effort on goal.

Following this, Real Madrid had their best spell of the first half with youngster Marco Asensio and midfielder Kovacic firing wide for the visitors.

It was not just Real Madrid who were wasting their opportunities, however, as some superb individual trickery from Ben Yedder was undone after Layun shanked his shot into the crowd behind Kiko Casilla’s goal.

Sevilla v Real Madrid - La Liga

This was a warning for Real Madrid which was not not heeded as Wissam Ben Yedder broke the deadlock half way through the first half. Luis Muriel rose highest to win a long ball which was  pumped up from the back by Pareja and he nodded the ball into Ben Yedder’s path. The Frenchman spun away from Sergio Ramos to slip the ball beyond the helpless Casilla.

Real Madrid seemed stunned by the goal, with the makeshift side struggling to gel as they looked for a way back in to the match. They continued to control possession but struggled to penetrate the well drilled Sevilla defence.

Sevilla, whose recent form has seen them win just once in their last eight matches, were just inches away from doubling their lead after Nacho was able to clear a deflected effort from Muriel off the line following a scappy few moments in the Real Madrid box.

This didn’t deter the hosts as they compiled Madrid’s misery on the stroke of half time after former Stoke City man Steven N’zonzi capitalised on a defensive mix up to lay the ball off to Miguel Layun who had virtually the whole goal to aim for as he stroked the ball into the roof of the net.

Los Blancos had it all to do as they kicked off the second half and they started brightly with Lucas Vasquez having a pop from distance, only to see his effort narrowly rise over the woodwork.

The game really kicked into life after Lucas Vasquez was brought down in the Sevilla box to earn Real Madrid a penalty. This golden opportunity was wasted when captain Sergio Ramos clattered the bar, giving Sevilla genuine belief that this could be their evening.

Sevilla v Real Madrid - La Liga

Chance after chance went begging for the visitors who had only previously lost two La Liga fixtures since the turn of the year. Both Ramos and Benzema fired shots over the Sevilla goal and these efforts were followed up by Casemiro who failed to test Soria in between the sticks.

Ramos’ miserable evening was rounded off after he deflected a Mercado effort beyond his own keeper, accrediting an own goal to his name when on another night he could have grabbed himself a handful of goals. 

This third goal looked to practically put the game to bed, Real Madrid’s fighting spirit did not waver as they looked to achieve the impossible.

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They grabbed themselves a first consolation goal after a delicious cross from Asensio was met by substitute Borja Mayoral. 

Incredibly the action did not stop there as Madrid were awarded a second penaltyof the match in the fourth minute of added time after an off the ball incident between Mercado and Theo saw the Madrid man hit the deck. Ramos stepped up again and made no mistake on this occasion as he sent Soria the wrong way.

It proved too little too late however, as Real were unable to find an equaliser in what was an incredibly disappointing night for Zinedine Zidane’s men.

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Real Madrid Reportedly Eyeing Bid for Roma Stopper Alisson Following Successful Meetings With Player

​​Real Madrid are believed to be on the verge of submitting a transfer offer for Roma stopper Alisson. The Brazilian stopper has been in fine form for his club this last season, and Los Blancos are eager to bring him in to solve their goalkeeping dilemma.

Madrid are threatening to be very busy this summer. Having been linked with some of Europe’s top players all season long, the most recent reports are claiming that ​the club have already agreed a record breaking deal for Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. According to RMC Sport, Real are soon to submit a formal bid for Neymar’s compatriot, Alisson. Los Blancos have met with the player’s representatives on numerous occasions, and believe that a transfer for the keeper has a good chance of coming to fruition. 

However, a deal won’t come cheap for the champions of Europe. The 25-year-old is under contract at Stadio Olimpico until 2021, which means that Roma have a lot of power coming into the negotiations.

The report admits that Alisson’s transfer could cost Madrid up to €70m, a sum that could smash the world record fee paid for a keeper, which was set last summer by Manchester City when they bought Ederson Moraes from Benfica.

Though the prospect of top quality signings will excite fans, their season is still not over. Following the club’s three final La Liga games, Los Blancos face Liverpool in the Champions League final. The Reds knocked out Alisson’s AS Roma in the semi-finals, and all eyes are now on May 26.

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