Zidane resumes rivalry with Luis Enrique at El Clasico

With ten points separating La Liga leaders Barcelona and third placed Real Madrid heading into this weekend’s El Clasico, the fixture does perhaps not provide quite the hype in which has surrounded past meetings between the two. However, after a dominating 4-0 victory for Barcelona earlier on in the season, Zinedine Zidane will be determined to make amends as he comes up against old foe Luis Enrique for the first time as a manager. Over the years the two men have encountered each other many times on the field, and now bring their rivalry to the managerial stage as they take charge of their respective sides. Enrique will be looking to continue his excellent record against Madrid, having won over half of his El Clasico fixtures as a Barcelona player.

Aiming to win their fourth back to back La Liga title, Barcelona go into the fixture against a wounded animal in Madrid, who have struggled for consistency throughout this season. With key battles taking place all over the pitch, many will be hoping that the post match talk surrounds the football, rather than on pitch shenanigans and unsporting behaviour in which has marred recent matches.

The BBC vs MSN is gaining much of the attention in the build up to the game. Barcelona’s trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar Jr have been in scintillating form this season, contributing to a combined sixty nine La Liga goals between them. Meanwhile, Real’s front three of Benzema, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have lacked their usual firepower in front of goal, leading to the downfall of the Bernabeu side so far this campaign. They will certainly have to bring their A game if Madrid are to achieve their first victory at the Nou Camp since 2012. Head to https://sports.betway.com/ where Zidane’s men are 5/1 on to close the gap on Barcelona come Saturday night.

The rivalry between the two teams has only heightened in recent years, with the battles between the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola bringing a whole new element to the historic fixture. Zidane will certainly be hoping to have a long reign with Madrid, and if he does so will no doubt have to improve his side’s recent record against the Catalan giants. The Frenchman will be doing his all to maintain a sense of calm within his team, with past occasions in the past on occasion being dominated by disciplinary issues. Madrid are 3/1 to have a man sent off at the Nou Camp.

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Isco is the new Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

 

If you are a professional footballer and people are comparing you to the legendary Zinedine Zidane when you are only 21-years-old and playing for the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid life cannot be that bad.

Isco’s blistering start with his new club Real Madrid scoring five times in six appearances with two assists while all the time totally dominating the midfield with some tasty dribbling and sharp passing has got people saying that Los Blancos have found the next Zidane.

Even Spanish sports newspaper MARCA has gotten in on the act printing out statistics to show how the star of last summer’s European U-21 European Championships has proved to be more effective in his first few games in a white shirt than the assistant coach to Real Madrid manager Zinadine Zidane was when he first came to play at the Santiago Bernabéu.

When reporters asked the Italian manager about the comparisons with his assistant Ancelotti laughed and said: “I asked Zidane if he agrees and he said ‘No, not yet. But he could be very close in the future’.

“He is very similar in terms of ability and mentality. For Isco to be compared with Zidane is not bad after the few games he has played.”

Isco came to prominence last season while playing for Andalucía side Malaga in the Champions League when the Spanish lost out to eventual runners up Borussia Dortmund after a late offside goal.

His outstanding performances in La Liga won him the Golden Boy award that is given by sports journalists to the young player in Europe, something that had all top clubs in Europe sit up and take notice.

His former manager Manuel Pellegrini took over as coach of Manchester City following the sacking of Roberto Mancini, and the very first thing the Chilean did was try to get Isco to join him in England.

The president of Real Madrid Florentino Perez also wanted the Malaga star for his new team of Galácticos, and in the end all it took for the youngster to join Madrid was a personal telephone call from Zidane who got the boy from Benalmádena to sign for Madrid for what is now looking a bargain 30€ million.

 

Zidane pleased that Casillas is still Spain’s #1

Casillas, Zidane, Real Madrid, Spain,

Casillas

 

Los Blancos assistant coach former French international Zinedine Zidane is pleased that the 32-year-old Casillas has managed to hold on to his starting place in the Spanish national team despite having being dropped as Real Madrid’s number one goalkeeper.

The Spanish keeper won his 150th cap for Spain in a World Cup qualifying match against Finland at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki last Friday night keeping a clean sheet as Jordi Alba and Alvaro Negredo scored the goals for Spain to give them a 2-0 win and go top of Group I three points above second place France who were held to a 0-0 draw by Georgia in the capital Tiblisi.

The former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho had dropped Casillas from the number one spot after the club captain suffered a hand injury that saw him out for 12 weeks prompting Mourinho to bring in Diego Lopez from Seville.

There was more to it though than just the injury after several members of the team had arguments with the Portuguese manager, which resulted in Casillas remaining on the bench for the remainder of the season.

Now with Mourinho back at Chelsea and Carlo Ancelotti in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu it was though that Casillas would get his place back in nets but that has not been the case with the Italian sticking with Mourinho’s choice Lopez.

Assistant coach Zidane is pleased that Casillas is still national team manager Vicente Del Bosque first choice saying: “I am glad that Iker will be holder. He is a great goalkeeper.”

When quizzed about whether or not Casillas would get his starting job back with Madrid the Frenchman added: “We will see what happens at Madrid.”

Casillas will start for Spain against Chile on Tuesday September 10th in an international friendly to be played in the Stade de Genève , Switzerland.

 

Real Madrid will not give up on Bale

Bale

Bale

 

All the talk in the world of football right now is centered on Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, and the possibility of him signing for Real Madrid.

If reports are correct the Spanish Giants have already made an offer of £85 million for the Welsh international yet Spur’s chairman Daniel Levy who is known to be a tough negotiator is holding out for either more money, or perhaps a couple of players on top of the world record transfer fee.

Yesterday’s daily Spanish sports newspaper and mouthpiece of Real Madrid MARCA reported that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez could offer Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao, as part of the deal.

Today’s British tabloid The Daily Mirror is saying that Tottenham would agree a deal to sell Bale to Madrid for a world record breaking cash fee plus the return of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric  who the Yids sold to Madrid last season for £33 million.

Since talk first emerged that Real Madrid were interested in the 24-year-old, Bale had a meeting with Levy and was said to be furious with the chairman after he was told that he could not have talks with Perez and Zidane.

It could very well be a coincidence but since that meeting Bale has not played in any of Tottenham’s preseason friendlies on their tour of Asia.

The story from the club is that their star player has a slight injury and is responding to physiotherapy.

Real Madrid advisor and  former player and French international Zinedine Zidane was assigned the task of watching Bale all of last season, and has said that the winger is in the world’s top three players, and when talking of his clubs interest in signing Bale said: “We will not stop.”

Zidane said: “We will not give up on Gareth Bale. It is normal that Tottenham want to keep him and make him sign a new contract, but it is impossible to forget a player of his quality.”

“This is modern football. You have to pay to get the best players in Europe.”

“Last season, Gareth was on the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The best players can have not so great games but change a game with a moment of brilliance.

“Those are the sort of players that win you Champions League and league titles.”

Reports today are saying that Levy and Perez will meet in Miami over the 6th and 7th of August to iron out a deal which I think will see Bale in Spain regardless of what Madrid need to pay in order to sign him.