Posts Tagged ‘ Real Madrid ’

Ronaldo Must Be at His Best for Real Madrid to Beat Borussia Dortmund

Ronaldo Celebrating

 

When Real Madrid faces Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinals, you might think that the Spanish side is the prohibitive favorite to advance to the final.

You would be incorrect, I’m afraid.

Borussia Dortmund still hasn’t lost a single game in this year’s Champions League, beat Los Blancos 2-1 in Germany during the group stage in November and tied them 2-2 in Madrid two weeks later, after Mesut Ozil tied the game for Real Madrid in the 89th minute. For that reason, it will be up to Cristiano Ronaldo to lead his side to victory.

Again.

It may seem obvious that Ronaldo must be on his form against Dortmund, but generally Los Blancos have enough talent to beat opponents even if he isn’t the man of the match. Against Dortmund, I’m not so sure that’s the case.

While Bayern Munich has already wrapped up Bundesliga, Dortmund has lost just once in all competitions since the beginning of March and has proven to be one of the elite sides in Europe this season. Players like Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski would start for most clubs in the world.

Plus, Dortmund has the look of a charmed team after scoring two goals in stoppage time against Malaga to advance to the semifinals. Sometimes, nothing in sports is more insurmountable than a team with a bit of luck on its side.

And seeing as they would have moved forward on aggregate had the team’s group stage meeting been a semifinal, some folks might even consider Dortmund the favorites.

Real Madrid is the more popular squad, however, so it’s no surprise that over at Bovada Los Blancos are considered the favorites to reach the final. The fact that Ronaldo is the best player in the game might alone be the reason Real Madrid is favored.

And Ronaldo will have to play like the best player. He’s once again having an epic season, with 50 goals and seven assists in all competitions for Los Blancos. He’s been particularly dangerous of late, scoring in seven straight games for Real Madrid (with nine goals during that time).

With a league title pretty much out of the question at this point, winning a Champions League title is now the top priority for Real Madrid. And you have to think Ronaldo would like nothing more than leading his team to that title rather than seeing it go to Lionel Messi and Barcelona.

Not that it’s a given that Barca can get past Bayern Munich, of course. In fact, I think it’s the German side that will win that tie, but that’s just me.

In the end, must like Messi must come up huge for Barca against Bayern Munich, Ronaldo must be at his very best against Dortmund. Barcelona and Real Madrid might be considered the top superpowers in European football, but these German sides are the real deal and aren’t about to be intimidated.

Advertisements

Galatasaray vs Real Madrid 2nd Leg Preview: Terim’s side face mammoth task after first-leg mauling

Ronaldo Celebrating

 

Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz is ruled out of the Champions League quarter-final second leg clash against Real Madrid through suspension.

Centre-back Dany Nounkeu also misses out after picking up a yellow card in the first leg, but Albert Riera and Selcuk Inan return to the side after being suspended for Saturday’s win over Mersin Idman Yurdu.

Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso are both banned for the trip to the Turk Telekom Arena.

Boss Jose Mourinho has no fresh injury concerns and is likely to field his strongest possible line-up as he looks to build on a 3-0 advantage from the first leg.

  • Galatasaray have won just once at the Turk Telekom Arena in the Champions League this season but have suffered only two defeats in their last 13 European home outings.
  • The Turkish outfit’s home record against Spanish opposition is W5, D2, L5, with the most recent victory being a 3-2 success against Real Madrid in the 2000-01 Champions League quarter-final first leg.
  • Galatasaray have scored fewer goals (11) and conceded more (12) than any other side still involved in the Champions League.
  • Real Madrid are on a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W10, D2).
  • Los Blancos have progressed in 41 of 54 European ties in which they have won the first leg at home, including all seven when they initially triumphed 3-0.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo  is the Champions League top scorer with nine goals in as many games.

Real Madrid vs Levante LaLiga Preview: Merengues out to notch seventh straight home Liga win

Ronaldo Celebrating

 

Real Madrid have a full squad to choose from for Saturday’s Primera Division encounter with Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Boss Jose Mourinho is likely to make changes to the side to conserve energy for the midweek Champions League trip to Istanbul to face Galatasaray, with Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo, Pepe and Kaka all in line for recalls.

Midfielder Valdo has recovered from a knee injury and is poised to start on the bench for Levante.

David Navarro is suspended but Sergio Ballesteros, Pedro Lopez and Nabil El Zhar all return after serving one-match bans.

  • Real Madrid have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions.
  • The Castilian giants have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight outings in La Liga.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo  has scored 106 goals in 94 appearances for Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
  • Levante ended a seven-match winless run in La Liga with a 1-0 home win over Sevilla.
  • Los Granotes have lost their last four away encounters against Madrid by an aggregate score of 19-4.
  • Levante’s last win at the Bernabeu was a 1-0 success in February 2007.

Cristiano Ronaldo Can Power Real Madrid to UEFA Champions League Title

Ronaldo Celebrating

 

Real Madrid hasn’t hoisted the European Cup in over 10 years, but superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo is determined to change that as he’s poised to lead Los Blancos to their 10th UEFA Champions League title in 2013.

Never mind the debate over who the best player in the world is—Ronaldo is the best player for Real Madrid. Following his sensational ninth-minute goal against Galatasaray in the first leg of Madrid’s quarterfinal tie with the Turkish club on Wednesday, it seems losing is no longer an option for Ronaldo, as Madrid is now unbeaten in its last 11 matches, dating back to early February.

Ronaldo’s early goal also extends his UEFA Champions League goal streak to four straight matches.

As far as the squad is concerned, Madrid looks like a safe lock for the semifinals, barring an away collapse next week. Ronaldo and company lead comfortably on aggregate and will advance to the next stage even with a 2-0 defeat on April 9.

But the better news for Madrid supporters is that Ronaldo is firing on all cylinders heading into the most critical stages of the UEFA Champions League.

If his match-winner at Old Trafford last month wasn’t enough to prove it, his electrifying go-ahead goal at Bernabeu certainly serves as overwhelming evidence that the 28-year-old forward is in his physical and mental prime.

Plus, Madrid currently has rival Barcelona’s number, having defeated Barca three times out of the two clubs’ last five meetings and earning draws in the other two. Barca is one of the favorites to reach the semifinals and perhaps the UEFA Champions League final in May.

Ronaldo certainly wouldn’t mind matching up again with the world’s top player in Lionel Messi, especially considering he has scored a combined five goals in Madrid’s last five meetings with Barca.

Other contenders like Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich pose threats to Real Madrid, sure, but neither club possesses an individual go-to talent quite like Ronaldo. Dortmund gave Madrid problems in the group stage earlier this season, but was severely out-shot (36-23) and out-possessed (61-39 percent on average) in two meetings. Surely Madrid will love its chances going up against them again in a potential knockout stage.

As for Bayern, winning the UEFA Champions League has proven nearly impossible as of late. The German powerhouse has finished as runner-up in two of the past three years, scoring just one goal in two final defeats in 2010 and 2012.

The difference?

Bayern lacks a go-to talent like Ronaldo—a player that not only rises above the pressure match after match, but also often delivers in the biggest moments.

Cristiano Ronaldo is surging right now, playing some of the best football of his career, and so is Real Madrid. Behind the strength of that superstar talent, Los Blancos are the hands-down favorite to hoist the UEFA Champions League crown next month.

Real Madrid vs Galatasaray 1st Leg UCL Preview: Los Blancos target first-leg advantage in Bernabeu clash

Modric celebrating

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

REAL MADRID

Lopez
Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao
Khedira, Alonso
Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo
Benzema
GALATASARAY

Muslera
Eboue, Semih, Nounkeu, Riera
Altintop, Melo, Selcuk
Sneijder
Drogba, Burak

Real Madrid have a fully-fit squad at their disposal for the Champions League quarter-final first-leg meeting with Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Defenders Raphael Varane (back) and Fabio Coentrao (foot) have recovered from injuries and are set to start, while Diego Lopez is expected to keep his place in goal ahead of the fit-again Iker Casillas.

Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria should all return to the starting line-up after being rested on the bench for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Zaragoza.

Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim could field the same starting XI that overcame Schalke in the round of 16 second leg in Germany.

The 59-year-old has a virtually full-strength squad to choose from, with Tomas Ujfalusi (knee) the only absentee.

  • Real Madrid are on a 37-match unbeaten run at the Santiago Bernabeu in all competitions, stretching back to January 2012 (W30, D7).
  • Los Merengues have won 13 and lost just one of their 16 European home matches under Jose Mourinho.
  • Madrid have scored 18 goals in the Champions League this season, the joint highest total along with Bayern Munich.
  • Galatasaray have won 10 of their last 18 away outings in European competition, losing just two.
  • The Turkish giants have emerged victorious in two of their three previous meetings with Real Madrid, including a 2-1 Uefa Super Cup triumph in 2000-01.
  • Burak Yilmaz  is the joint top scorer in this season’s Champions League with eight goals, level with Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

 

Zaragoza vs Real Madrid LaLiga Preview: Los Blancos resume title chase at La Romareda

Modric celebrating

 

Zaragoza playmaker Apono is available for the Primera Division encounter against Real Madrid after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Romaric (thigh) also returns following a three-month absence but Stefan Babovic is suspended.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas has recovered from a hand injury and could make his first start in goal since January.

Boss Jose Mourinho has no injury worries but is likely to rotate his squad in order to prioritise Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg clash against Galatasaray.

  • Zaragoza are on a 12-match winless run in all competitions and remain the only team in La Liga to have not won a game in 2013.
  • The Aragonese side have lost six of their last seven encounters against Real Madrid.
  • Zaragoza’s last victory came against Levante in the Copa del Rey on January 9.
  • Real Madrid are on a seven-match winning run in all competitions – their best sequence of results since January 2012.
  • Los Merengues need one more point to become the first club in Liga history to accumulate 4,000 points in 82 seasons of the Spanish top division.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo  has scored 21 goals in 20 appearances for club and country in 2013.

 

Can Ilkay Gundogan Replace Xabi Alonso for Real Madrid?

Ilkay Gundogan

 

Real Madrid will have a very important decision on their hands this summer. Arguably the most important player in the Madrid squad, Xabi Alonso, has yet to sign a contract extension, and the powers that be have begun to search for his replacement, according to the Daily Mail.

Alonso plays a vital role in the Merengue style. The Spaniard possesses the incredible ability to read the game, hold possession and play long passes in attack.

According to Marca, Ilkay Gundogan has arisen as the ideal replacement, but the real question is if the German is ready for such a role. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder plays an identical game to Alonso. In fact, Gundogan can even be considered a German version of the current Madrid midfielder. Gundogan was brought to Borussia Dortmund last summer to replace Nuri Sahin and has since become one of the most important players for the German outfit.

At just 22 years old, Gundogan possesses the football brains far beyond that of most players his age. His ability to read the game and physical play have made Gundogan the engine of Jurgen Klopp’s squad. But fans must remember that Gundogan is just now entering the most important time of his development.

Whether or not the German is ready for the move is yet to be determined. But if Real Madrid does bring the 22-year-old to the Bernabeu, it would certainly be a gamble. Borussia Dortmund is making a great showing in the Champions League and is among the best clubs in Europe. However, though Gundogan may be thriving for Die Borussen, a move to Madrid would definitely be a huge step.

The German actually played against Real Madrid in the Champions League this season. But playing with the Spanish giants would be the biggest step of his career. Current teammate Nuri Sahin made the same jump to Madrid last season, and it ended dreadfully. In fact, Madrid does have something of a reputation for stunting the growth of new players.

Gundogan has the talent to be the ideal replacement for Alonso if he does leave Los Blancos. But until he puts on the white shirt, there is no way to determine if Gundogan is in fact the answer for Real Madrid.