Top Liverpool Target Agrees Personal Terms With Real Madrid as Fee Negotiations Continue

​​Real Madrid look set to usurp ​Liverpool in the race to sign Roma goalkeeper Alisson after he reportedly agreed personal terms with the Spanish giants.

The Anfield outfit have been deeply entrenched in their search for a new keeper following Loris Karius’ nightmare performance in the Champions League final, whereas Los Blancos are eager to upgrade on their current number one Keylor Navas.


With a common objective of pursuing one of football’s rising stars, Roma’s Alisson was identified by both clubs as the man to rectify their goalkeeping woes. 

While there have been suggestions that the Reds had offered the 25-year-old a contract, according to ​Gianluca Di Marzio Real Madrid have gone one step further after coming to an agreement with the Brazilian.

The report claims that an opening offer of £44m from Liverpool – plus bonuses – was swiftly rejected and having failing to come back to the table with a counter offer the Spanish giants have jumped ahead in the race after making contact with both Roma and Alisson’s representatives.

It is understood that an initial offer of £48m was made by Real, which continues to be well away from the Italian outfits valuation of £70m, but after showing a willingness to reach an agreement the deal has swung in their favour. 

Real president Florentino Perez, however, is eager to secure the 25-year-old by any means necessary and it is being said that an improved offer of £52m – plus bonuses – could result in a breakthrough in negotiations next week. 

[embedded content]

Los Blancos are also known to be considering Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois after seeing Manchester United’s David de Gea sign an extended contract at Old Trafford, however an informal approach from Real was rebuffed by the Blues. 

Liverpool on the other hand have ​turned to Lazio’s €30m-rated stopper Thomas Strakosha after impressing with the Serie A side in the last two seasons, with Jack Butland also remaining a contender to rectify a problem position for Jurgen Klopp. 


Portugal Boss Hails ‘Best in the World’ Cristiano Ronaldo After Incredible Performance Against Spain

​Portugal boss Fernando Santos has heaped praise upon Cristiano after a stunning hat-trick saw the Selecao das Quinas salvage a point in a ​breathtaking 3-3 draw against Spain at the ​World Cup.

Friday’s Iberian derby was certainly one to remember, as Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal to their first point in Group B following a brace from Diego Costa and a sensational volley from Nacho.

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Were it not for Ronaldo, Portugal could very well have been on the wrong end of a spanking, and Portugal boss Fernando Santos has recognised the importance and quality of his captain.

​Following the match against Spain, Santos said to reporters: “I have said it so many times, Cristiano is the best in the world. More important than his physical form is his mental form, he has incredible mental endurance.

“He is in great physical shape and has an incredible mind and that is what makes him one of the best in the world. He raised the team, he had absolute trust in the team.”

“When it was 3-2 he was the one who raised his team. He plays in great teams, is always in great finals so that gives him a different perspective.”

Following his performance against Spain, Ronaldo earned a series of accolades, including becoming the oldest player to score a hat-trick at the World Cup and becoming the first player to ever score in eight consecutive major tournaments.


Portugal 3-3 Spain: Player Ratings as Cristiano Ronaldo Steals the Show With Spectacular Hat-Trick

Portugal and Spain both played their parts in a true World Cup classic as they shared the spoils with a wonderful exhibition of the world’s greatest game.

The result comes after a turbulent week for the Spanish side, but only one man will dominate the headlines – Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese talisman scored a hat-trick which was capped off with a spectacular free-kick in the dying moments of the match.

Here’s a look at how all the players fared.

1. Portugal: Goalkeeper & Defenders

Rui Patricio 6/10 – Stood absolutely no chance with any of Spain’s goals. 

Cedric 6/10 – Got forward well on occasions and his delivery was good. However, he was left exposed on occasions on the right flank.

Pepe 5/10 – Foul or not, Pepe was far too weak for Spain’s goal and should not have gone down so easy.

Jose Fonte 6/10 – Found his wires crossed when Diego Costa turned him inside out for Spain’s opener but was otherwise solid.

Raphael Guerreiro  6/10 – Got forward well on occasions but his final ball was often lacking.

2. Portugal: Midfielders

Bernardo Silva 6/10 – Worked hard and looked threatening at times but he often left Cedric exposed at right-back.

William Carvalho 6/10 – Very economical with the ball at his feet but was unspectacular.

Joao Moutinho 5/10 – Was largely a spectator throughout the match as the Spanish midfield ran circles around him.

Bruno Fernandes 6/10 – Certainly worked hard on the left flank but he ultimately lacked a final ball that could split the Spanish defence.

3. Portugal: Forwards

Goncalo Guedes 5/10 –  A disappointing performance which saw the young forward fluff his lines on a number of occasions and was easily out-jumped by Sergio Busquets for Spain’s second goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo 9/10 – Scored a hat-trick and led the line admirably despite the fact that his teammates weren’t always on his wavelength. His third was a sensational free-kick. A stunning performance from one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

4. Portugal: Substitutes

Joao Mario 6/10 – Largely absent after coming on but he worked up and down the left flank tirelessly.

Ricardo Quaresma 6/10 – Showed flashes of brilliance but that was all.

Andre Silva N/A – Came on with five minutes to go.

5. Spain: Goalkeeper & Defenders

David De Gea 4/10 – Had an absolute shocker for Portugal’s second goal, letting the ball inexplicably squirm through his hands. 

Nacho 7/10 – Silly mistake to dive in to give away the penalty against Ronaldo early on but he more than redeemed himself with an unbelievable strike for Spain’s third.

Sergio Ramos 7/10 – Influence grew as the game went by and some of his diagonal cross field balls were simply sensational.

Gerard Pique 6/10 – Was largely solid and made a superb tackle late late on in the second half.

Jordi Alba 7/10 – The Barcelona man looked a threat every time he broke down the left flank.

6. Spain: Midfielders

Sergio Busquests 7/10 – As usual, Busquets was instrumental throughout and picked up an assist after nodding down David Silva’s free-kick for Diego Costa to nod home.

Koke 6/10 –  Spain’s quietest midfielder on the night, but he went about his business effectively and rarely put a foot wrong.

Isco 9/10 – Was inches away from scoring an absolute rocket in the first half and was the best player on the park as he completely ran the show throughout. An unbelievable performance. 

Andres Iniesta 7/10 – Difficult to see why he is leaving Barcelona to ply his trade in Japan. His link-up play was good and he rarely gave the ball away all night.

David Silva 8/10 – Provided a delicious free-kick for the second Spanish goal and got better as the game progressed, toying with the Portuguese midfield and defence.

7. Spain: Forward

Diego Costa 8/10 – Scored a typical Diego Costa goal by bullying the Portuguese defence in the first half before doubling his tally with a poacher’s finish in the second. Was very close to getting a hat-trick but has to make do with a brace.

8. Spain: Substitutes

Thiago Alcantara 6/10 – Fitted into the midfield seamlessly and looked comfortable with the ball at his feet. 

Iago Aspas 5/10 – Couldn’t justify his inclusion in the game and had a decent half chance which he could only scuff.

Lucas Vasquez N/A – Came on with seven minutes to go.


Portugal 3-3 Spain: Ronaldo Hat-Trick Cancels Out Costa Double and Nacho Strike in Group B Classic

​Cristiano Ronaldo was Portugal’s hero in their ​World Cup opener against neighbours Spain, as the Real Madrid forward’s three goals cancelled out a Diego Costa brace and an early contender for goal of the tournament from Dani Cravajal’s replacement Nacho.

Following a plethora of distractions ahead of Group B’s clash between Portugal and Spain, including a mass exodus of players at Sporting CP, Julen Lopetegui’s sacking as Spain manager, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s tax evasion sentencing, the Iberian derby was certainly poised to be an interesting affair.

Portugal opened the match the stronger of the two sides and they got their just rewards when they won a penalty inside the opening three minutes after Nacho brought down Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to take and, like the seasoned professional he is, showed no nerve as he calmly sent David de Gea the wrong way to give Fernando Santos’ men an early lead.

Spain had the opportunity to respond to Portugal’s early opener before the 10 minute mark, with a good spell of attacking play resulting in a chance falling to Manchester City’s David Silva however, he could not take the chance, firing over the bar and wasting La Furia Roja’s first big chance of the match.

Despite the early setback, by the 15 minute mark Spain had begun to impose themselves on the match and begin to look confident in possession and in control of the game, passing the ball about with real purpose and making their opposition work to win the possession back. 

Once again Ronaldo found himself in a goal scoring opportunity, after a wild Sergio Busquets tackle on Goncalo Guedes won the Selecao das Quinas a free kick on the right-hand corner of the box, but the Real Madrid forward smashed his shot straight at the wall.

Quickly following the free kick, Portugal shirked yet another chance when an electrifying counter petered out on the edge of the box with a series of passes promptly being dealt with.

Subsequently, the Quinas would be made to pay for wasting so many opportunities, with Spain launching counter of their own, getting the ball forward to Diego Costa who gladly converted from the edge of the box, making it 1-1 and bettering his record of zero shots on a target in Brazil in 2014.

Quickly following their equaliser, Spain came inches from taking the lead after a venomous long range effort from Isco crashed off the underside of the bar and bounced off the line, no goal was given and Portugal were able to take a big sigh of relief.

After conceding it was clear that Portugal were shaken up and Spain were intent on taking advantage, after squandering a promising free kick opportunity, Fernando Hierro’s men came close to scoring once again when a deflected effort from 2010 World Cup winner Andres Iniesta made its way just wide of the post.

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Just as the game looked as though it was starting to calm down before the half time whistle, Ronaldo popped up with his second goal of the match following an uncharacteristic, but nonetheless egregious error from De Gea.

Following a weak volleyed effort from the Portuguese forward, De Gea got behind the ball, only to watch the ball bobble over his arms and into the net, seeing the first half end 2-1 to Portugal.  

Following the resumption of the match things took a little while to get going again, with Spain enjoying much of the possession, although not doing much of note with it. That changed on the 55th minute when Iniesta won a free kick.

A well worked set piece saw the ball worked around the back of the Portugal defence and played across the face of goal for a grateful Costa to poke home to notch his second of the match, seeing the game spark back to life and level the scores out at 2-2. 

Just as they did after their opener, Spain really took the game by the scruff of the neck, this time letting their dominance show as an impressive attacking display culminated in a ferocious half volley from Nacho, the full back’s shot curling magnificently into the bottom corner, crashing against the post and firing into the side netting to hand the Spaniards the lead for the first time in the match.

After making it 3-2 Spain continued to exercise their dominance on the game, with Portugal being forced to weather attack after attack, it began to look as though Hierro’s men could make this a bit of a rout.

Costa came close to completing his hat trick on the 70 minute mark, with a well worked move falling to the Atletico Madrid man, although he fluffed his lines and his effort was dragged past the post, much to the relief of Rui Patricio.

It took a while before Portugal found themselves another opportunity, and when it fell to substitute Ricardo Quaresma, the Besiktas man was unable to convert. Despite his shot being a decent effort from a tight angle, his shot taken with the outside of his foot flew safely over the bar.

Portugal v Spain: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Following Qauresma’s effort, Portugal came close to bringing the scores level once again after Ronaldo managed to hook the ball over De Gea, only for Gerard Pique to close the ball down and prevent the Quinas from pulling level.

Just when Portugal’s hope of salvaging a result seemed lost, Ronaldo stepped up to an enticing free kick on the edge of the area, proceeding to do what he does best, the 33-year-old forward hit a sweetly struck effort into the top corner, leaving De Gea rooted to the spot an making the score and astounding 3-3 and completing his hat-trick for the night.

Invigorated by Ronaldo’s equaliser, Portugal pressed Spain right to the end, looking for an elusive winner, although it never came and, following a breathless, full on affair, the match ended 3-3, setting an early contender for game of the tournament.






Jose Mourinho Outlines Reason Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal Will Be Disadvantaged This World Cup

​Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has pointed out that Portugal probably lack enough quality in midfield to win the ​World Cup.

The Portuguese tactician is currently on punditry duty in Russia and should be monitoring Portugal quite closely as he hopes to see them follow their Euro 16 triumph up with even greater success on football’s grandest stage.


But Mourinho, who worked as Real Madrid’s coach before returning to England to take over at Chelsea, reckons Cristiano Ronaldo might not be as successful for Portugal as he is for Los Blancos because he doesn’t have similar talent around him in the Portugal set-up.

The manger specifically identified Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as the players who help Ronaldo tick at club level.

“One thing is Ronaldo for Portugal. Another is Ronaldo with Real Madrid,” Mourinho was quoted as saying. “We don’t have a Modric or a Kroos.”

The Portuguese side did manage to conquer Europe without a Modric or Kroos back in 2016. And they even did so without Ronaldo, who suffered an injury in the final. The side can also boast having the likes of Bernardo Silva, Goncalo Guedes, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Moutinho in their midfield.


While Mourinho has seemingly counted his country out, the grit they showed at the Euros cannot be discounted. A clearer picture should be painted when they face Spain on Friday, which should be quite a challenge, yet the discord within the Spanish side could make things interesting and Portugal could exploit it as they aim to top Group B.


‘Liverpool Can Have Him’: Real Madrid President Laughs Off Rumours Linking Club With Serie A Star

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has laughed off rumours linking Real Madrid with a potential €78m move for AS Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

According to reports in Spain (via ​AS), Real Madrid were said to be close to striking a deal to bring the Brazilian number one to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. The rumours regarding Alisson’s potential move to Los Blancos gained traction after AS Roma president James Pallotta stated: 

Brazil Training and Press Conference

“Alisson has a high market value, around 78m. He is close to Real Madrid, while [Radja] Nainggolan will join Inter.”

These comments were later discounted as nothing more than a joke by the Roma president, citing the previous statement as merely parodical: 

I have read with much amusement the quotes attributed to me about the transfer market. 

Brazil Training and Press Conference

“In fact I was joking around with a group of guys and responded sarcastically with a reference to the popular rumours on Twitter and in the papers since I’ve been in Italy.

“There was nothing serious about anything I said whilst making pizza. Just stupid American humour that some don’t get.”

Rumours surrounding Alisson’s potential to move Los Blancos have been quashed even further by Perez, who has revealed that a €78m bid is out of the question for the club: 

“Alisson to Real Madrid for €78M in Spanish press today? For this price, Liverpool can buy him.”

It is welcome news for many Liverpool fans who see the Brazilian number one as the potential answer to their goalkeeping woes. 

The Reds have been continuously linked with a move for Alisson – among a number of other goalkeepers – this summer, and it now looks as though any potential move will be uncontested by other top European clubs.

[embedded content]

Alisson is seen by many as a perfect replacement for Loris Karius, who endured a torrid UEFA Champions League final outing with the Reds. The German through the ball directly into the path of Karim Benzema for the first goal of the night, before allowing a long range effort from Gareth Bale to slip through his fingers in the dying embers of the game.


After Sorrow Comes Joy? New Madrid Boss Julen Lopetegui Says He’s Over the Moon With New Appointment

​Real Madrid unveiled their new boss on Thursday, a day on which he should have been gearing up for Spain’s ​World Cup opener against Portugal.

Julen Lopetegui has been hired by Los Blancos as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement in one of the most controversial managerial appointments of all time, something which prompted Spain to subsequently fire him as theirs just a day before the 2018 World Cup kicked off.

The Spaniard was presented to the press this Thursday and expressed immense pleasure in his new role, while insisting that he was unhappy over the way things went down with the Spanish Federation.

“It’s a day to be excited, thank you, President, thank you, Real Madrid, for the trust and responsibility, I know I’m coming to Madrid, not everything is worth it here, we’re going to fight to keep up with the club and even improve it,” Lopetegui said (H/T Marca). 

“I feel qualified and that force that accompanies Real Madrid. We want to win everything and we will aspire to achieve it.”

Julen Lopetegui Announced As New Real Madrid Manager

The former Spain boss also claimed that he’s now a happy man after having to deal with the disappointment of getting sacked, and promised to cheer for his country when they take the field against the Euro 2016 winners on Friday.

“Yesterday was the saddest day of my life since the death of my mother,” he continued. “But today is the happiest day of my life.

“Tomorrow I will cheer like a Spaniard, they are going to make a great World Cup and I feel part of that team.”

Madrid president Florentino Perez presented the new boss, also insisting that the club would have preferred to announce Lopetegui as their manager after the World Cup, but were left with little choice due to certain circumstances. He also noted that the coach could have performed a dual role with little issue had he been kept by the Spanish national side.

“We wanted to do it after the World Cup, but a series of circumstances have made us here and with the illusion of a new stage,” he explained. “It is a great satisfaction to present someone who knows this club perfectly.

“I know it’s a day for you with conflicting feelings because I know you dreamed about the World Cup, you had two dreams and they were perfectly compatible: winning the World Cup with Spain and training Real Madrid.”

Julen Lopetegui Announced As New Real Madrid Manager

Lopetegui, though, seemed to point out that managing Cristiano Ronaldo, whom he proclaimed to be the best player in the world, was a huge selling point for him during negotiations.

“Cristiano is the player I want to be by my side always,” he remarked. “Evidently the best in the World is in Real Madrid, without a doubt.”

The recent developments have cast a lot of doubt on La Roja‘s chances at the tournament in Russia, yet many believe that it could have a positive effect on the players and prompt a closer bond that could see them repeat their 2010 feat.


Sergio Ramos Looks to Reassure Spain Supporters on Twitter After Shock Julen Lopetegui Sacking

The Spanish national side, along with their chances of glory at this summer’s World Cup, were thrown into turmoil on Wednesday when manager ​Julen Lopetegui was sacked, just two days before La Furia’s first match of the tournament.

The decision to sack Lopetegui, who was unbeaten as Spain manager, came after it was announced on Tuesday that the 51-year-old would become the new manager of ​Real Madrid after the World Cup – an agreement that was reached without the permission of the Spanish FA.


With Spanish football in disarray and the national side seemingly throwing out their entire gameplan right before the start of the competition, fans needed some words of encouragement to keep spirits high. 

Step forward Sergio Ramos, captain of Spain and Real Madrid, who spoke out on Twitter after the announcement of Lopetegui’s departure.

​​The tweet translates roughly to: “We are the selection, we represent a shield, some colors, a hobby, a country. Responsibility and commitment are with you and for you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, together: #VamosEspaña.”

Ramos’ words suggest that Spain remain a united front in spite of this major upheaval and are determined to go the full distance in Russia no matter who is in charge of the side. With serial winners such as Ramos, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique in the Spanish squad, no setback will be enough to stop the side form giving its all in pursuit of World Cup glory.

Spain Training Session

Lopetegui has been replaced as manager by Spain’s director of football, Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro. Though the country’s chances of winning the World Cup have taken a severe tumble, Spain still boasts an impressive array of talent and belief will remain high that they can take the World Cup trophy home this summer.


Real Madrid Sign Brazil Wonderkid in €45m Transfer With Official Announcement Imminent

Real Madrid are close to officially announcing the signing of Brazilian prodigy Rodrygo after completing a €45m transfer for the teenage striker, according to reports.

The 17-year-old has been one of many South Americain talents linked with big money moves to Europe this summer, and Santos striker Rodrygo is now set to link up with his compatriot Vinícius Júnior in the Spanish capital.

Santos v Estudiantes ARG - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018

A deal for Rodrygo was initially expected to be announced on Tuesday, with delays over the transfer proving to be a cause for concern for some fans.

But the player’s agent Nick Arcuri confirmed that an official announcement had only been held up due to a document that needed to be signed by all of Santos’ 10 board members – including club president José Carlos Peres.

There haven’t been any issues, this was simply due to the fact that everyone on the managing board had to sign,” Arcuri told Marca.

Europe’s biggest clubs have to cross all kinds of red tape when it comes to signing players from South America, most frustratingly of which is being forced to wait until the player turns 18 before they can move across Atlantic.

As a result, Rodrygo will remain at Santos until the summer of 2019 despite the fact he turns 18 in January of next year.

[embedded content]

The aforementioned Vinícius Júnior has also been forced to stay in Brazil despite completing a move to Real Madrid some time ago, although the youngster will move to the Santiago Bernabéu later this summer.


‘I Am Very Sad’: Julen Lopetegui Speaks Out After Turbulent 2 Days for the New Real Madrid Manager

It’s been a turbulent few days for Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui. After being surprisingly announced as the new Real Madrid manager on Tuesday, the former Porto coach was subsequently – also surprisingly – sacked by the Spanish FA on the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

Following an interesting two days, Julen Lopetegui has spoken out for the first time. Speaking to Cadena Ser (via ​Marca), the new Real Madrid manager revealed that he was bitterly disappointed to no longer having the opportunity to lead the Spanish national team at a World Cup:

“I am very said, but wishing that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win.

“We have a magnificent team and I hope that we win the World Cup.”

The decision to relieve Lopetegui of his duties – in spite of his unbeaten record as the Spanish national team manager – was made after the Spanish FA had been left out of negotiations between the coach and Real Madrid. RFEF president Luis Rubiales, during Wednesday morning’s press conference, revealed that Lopetegui had not conducted himself in ‘the right way’ (via ​ESPN): 

“I very much admire Julen and respect him greatly. He seems to be a top coach and that has made it more difficult to make this decision. 

“To win is very important. To have the best coach very important. But, above everything, is acting in the right way. Maybe this is tough now, but in the end, it will make us stronger.”

Rubiales also revealed that the Spanish did not find out that talks had been held between Los Blancos and Julen Lopetegui just five minutes before the club’s official announcement:

“The federation cannot be left outside the negotiation of one of its employees and find out just five minutes before a public announcement. If anybody wants to talk to one of our employees, they have to speak to us, too.” 

Lopetegui is set to be unveiled as the new Real Madrid manager tomorrow, while Spain will kick start their 2018 World Cup campaign under new coach Fernando Hierro on Friday evening. Spain will take on Euro 2016 winners Portugal in what promises to be one of the ties of the group stages.