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Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 7, 2015

Jese Rodriguez, Nacho and Casemiro all vital for Benitez's squad rotation

Rafa Benitez has not shied away from the fact that he will place big importance on Real Madrid as a squad and not just Real Madrid as a team this season. The former Napoli and Liverpool coach was one of the modern pioneers of squad rotation and that is something he will continue in the Spanish capital.
The Madrid-born coach has been criticised for his rotation policy in the past but, in contrast, former Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was questioned over his stubborn approach in failing to give a rest to some of his star names last season. While Barcelona flourished under Luis Enrique's clever rotation, Madrid suffered from tired legs.
Managing a squad with the talent of Madrid's will be tricky but rotation will be required if Los Blancos are set to experience success on more than one front this season, something that is always demanded. That means those players who perhaps would not command a regular first-team place will be crucial in Benitez's plans. Ronaldo and company will need some help if they are to return to winning ways in 2015-16.
Here are five Madrid players who may not be first-team regulars next season but who will be crucial pieces in Benitez's jigsaw.
The 25-year-old progressed through the club's youth ranks but has never managed to secure a regular place in the first-team. However, he has proven to be more than useful on a number of fronts for Madrid in recent seasons.
He made just five starts in La Liga last season and nine more from the bench but on most occasions the defender has been an extremely handy back-up when called upon. He can play across the back line, on the right, left and in the centre, and his versatility should prove useful again for his latest coach.
Nacho was part of the Madrid team that came unstuck with a 4-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid but that poor performance was the exception rather than the rule last term. In that match he played alongside a talented but still young Raphael Varane. next to a more senior member of the Madrid defence, such as Sergio Ramos or Pepe, he looks more comfortable.
Madrid have bolstered their competition for places in defence with the arrival of Danilo but Nacho should still play an important role this season.


The Brazilian's future looked to be elsewhere when he moved on loan to Porto last season with a view to a permanent deal. The Portuguese giants activated the clause to buy him after a successful season but Madrid also included a clause to deactivate it and bring him back to the Spanish capital for a cost.
That cost, at €7.5 million, shows the midfielder's worth to Madrid and Benitez, who is said to have had a say in his future. That he also takes up a non-EU place, which means a likely loan away from Madrid for fellow countryman Lucas Silva, indicates he will not just be a Bernabeu bench-warmer.
Madrid were lacking depth in the central midfield department last season, especially on the defensive-side, and Casemiro will be able to give rest to the legs of Toni Kroos, who complained of tiredness early last season, and Luka Modric.
He will not just provide rest and recovery time for Madrid's midfield pair, however, he will also provide something different. The German's role sitting deeper in front of the back four last season was a new one for him and although his first season was a success on a personal level, the Brazilian offers a more natural tackling nature in breaking up the play and a more rounded defensive output.

Lucas Vazquez

Another player in the same mould as Casemiro, in that he was loaned elsewhere, to Espanyol, and bought back by Madrid for a fee this summer, the midfielder has returned to the Bernabeu at the request of his coach.
Madrid's 'BBC' of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo were "non-negotiable" last season under Ancelotti but by the end of the season the trio needed a rest. On top of Jese, Benitez asked for more options in attack and Vazquez gives him that option.
With a preference of playing wide on the right, Vazquez could act as a replacement for any of the three attackers Benitez has been using behind a sole striker in his probable 4-2-3-1 formation. He can replace Bale, who has been used in the middle and as a striker in pre-season, on the right and in-turn allow a rest to either Ronaldo or James Rodriguez, who are likely to line-up alongside Bale when Benitez fields his strongest XI.
Vazquez came through the Madrid youth set-up and honed his skills in Catalonia with Espanyol, being one of Sergio's key players last season. He could be a handy substitute or a viable alternative from the start for Madrid this season.
Rather than Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema, it could be Jese Rodriguez, Nacho and Casemiro that dictate the fate of Real's season.

Jese Rodriguez

After a long spell on the sidelines through injury, the Las Palmas-born attacker slowly returned to form and fitness last season and will be hoping to return to the kind of form that got Madrid fans on the edge of their seats in his breakthrough season with the first team in 2013-14.
Jese has been linked with a loan move away from the Bernabeu in search of more regular minutes but after scoring in Madrid's 3-0 friendly victory against Inter Milan he told the gathered press that he wants to stay at the club and fight for his place.
If that burst of speed that saw him stand out two seasons ago returns, Madrid will have a top young player on their hands this season and one who will cause La Liga defences plenty of problems.
He can play as an out-and-out forward or on either flank and admitted after that friendly win that he likes playing in every position across the forward line -- something that will be music to Rafa Benitez's ears.

Denis Cheryshev

Cheryshev's immediate future is still up in the air but Benitez has kept a watchful eye over the Russian during preseason, featuring him in every friendly match so far.
The midfielder played 45 minutes in matches against Inter Milan and Roma and he scored a goal in the 25 minutes he played in during Madrid's 4-1 victory over Manchester City in Melbourne.
Like Jese, Cheryshev says he wants to stay at the club and fight for minutes on the pitch and although his task of doing just that may be tougher than the Spain U21 international, he is being handed every chance to prove his worth by his new coach.
With his skills being honed at loan spells with Sevilla and Villarreal, it's a case of now or never for the 24-year-old. His presence at Madrid this season will be a bonus for Benitez but if the right price comes in for the player, who has been linked with Liverpool and a return to Villarreal, Madrid may cash in.

Real Madrid Transfer News: Cristiano Ronaldo To PSG Or Manchester United? Gareth Bale Staying At Bernabeu?

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2015
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Getty Images
It's of little surprise that big questions loom over the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Major changes to Real Madrid's roster were widely expected with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale’s fates both intertwined and in doubt with the arrival of new manager Rafael Benitez after a disappointing 2014-2015 season under Carlo Ancelotti. The query most often put to Los Blancos supporters is: Should Ronaldo or Bale leave? And at certain points this summer it appeared Madrid president Florentino Perez was close to ending one or both of the player’s stays at the Bernabeu.
For now, it appears Ronaldo’s transfer speculation fire continues to burn while Bale’s future seems more intact with the Spanish giants.
Over the weekend, reports surfaced in the Middle East that Paris Saint-Germain, owned by Qatar Investment Authority, placed a £85.5 million bid on Ronaldo only to have Madrid reject the attempt,according to AS.
Evidently, Perez met with PSG’s ownership on July 4 and the bid was made while questions arose over whether Ronaldo was happy with the switch of managers from Ancelotti to Benitez. Furthermore, Madrid’s perceived favoritism towards Bale was also viewed as reason enough for Ronaldo to desire a new club.
However, Perez staunchly turned down what would be a new record transfer fee and the speculation surrounding Ronaldo’s future continues to swirl in Madrid. Most recently, the possibility of Ronaldo returning to Manchester United keeps rearing its head. United manager Louis van Gaal once again stoked the transfer fire in his comments to Express.
“He may come,” Van Gaal said, “Yes, of course the fans would love it and so would I. But it’s not possible. Why not? Because you have his club Real Madrid, you have Ronaldo and then you have Manchester United – and how much Manchester United want to spend.
“Of course, we are still looking. When it is possible to buy players from that level at a reasonable price then we shall do that because they can contribute and make us better. We are looking for much more creativity.”
The Dutch coach has scoured the globe for more attacking talent, and Ronaldo could certainly help the Red Devils make a run back atop the Premier League table after coming in fourth last year. Ronaldo has spoken very fondly of his time at Old Trafford, but as Van Gaal mentioned, the price would be very high even for the likes of United. Though Van Gaal spoke in a roundabout way, and didn’t really nix the chance of what would be the biggest transfer of this or perhaps the last five summers.
At no point has it been suggested that Ronaldo’s handed Madrid an ultimatum with himself and Bale at the center, but it certainly appears like Los Blancos are weighing the possibility of letting at least one go.
The 30-year-old Ronaldo is coming off one of his greatest seasons, totaling 61 goals, and he is under contract until 2018. However, Madrid may question whether or not Ronaldo has enough left in his legs to guide the squad deep into Champions League at least one more time. There might be the perception that if there was a time to let Ronaldo go, this might be the best time.
Bale is four years Ronaldo’s junior, and though his form fell off in his second season with Madrid, much of the lag in play was attributed to Ronaldo’s perceived ball hogging and Ancelotti’s insistence on playing Bale away from his desired position on the pitch.
And for what it’s worth, Wales manager Chris Coleman believes his star will remain in Madrid despite the interest from such top clubs like United, Chelsea, and Manchester City.
“There is pressure in playing for  Real Madrid  but Gareth is one of those players who can handle that,”Coleman told The Guardian. “The demands of playing in the Premier League and the demands of playing in La Liga are different. From our point of view we get a fresh Gareth Bale – if he’s in the English Premier League physically it’s more demanding.”
The likelihood of both players leaving Madrid seems all the more unlikely given the heavy speculation surrounding forward Karim Benzema. Daily Telegraph reported Arsenal are preparing to up their bid to £35 million for the masterful French scorer, and his exit would almost certainly cause Madrid to reconsider any move for Bale or Ronaldo.

Man City 1-4 Real Madrid: 6 things we learned as Ronaldo, Bale and co sweep past City

Raheem Sterling was one of the few positives in a poor City display, which also saw former Aston Villa man Fabian Delph stretchered off just 18 minutes into his debut as a blue

Real Madrid outclassed Manchester City in the International Champions Cup, running out 4-1 winners at the MCG in Melbourne.
Ronaldo and Benzema were both on the scoresheet for Los Blancos as they cruised to victory over Manuel Pellegrini's side, who fielded an inexperienced defensive pairing at the heart of their defence.
Raheem Sterling was one of the few positives in a poor City display, which also saw former Aston Villa man Fabian Delph stretchered off just 18 minutes into his debut as a blue.
Pepe put Rafa Benitez's side three ahead following poor City marking from a corner before Yaya Toure replied with a penalty won by new boy Sterling just before half-time.
Dennis Cheryshev sealed the win for Madrid with a smart finish, on what was a miserable day for the Citizens in Melbourne.
Here are five things we learned from the match:

Sterling shines again

Raheem Sterling fights for the ball with Sergio Ramos
Raheem Sterling: The new signing was one of few bright spots for City
New Manchester City poster boy Raheem Sterling was one of the only shining lights in a poor performance from Pellegrini's men, causing problem after problem for this first choice Real Madrid back four.
Everything positive from a blue point of view seemed to come through the England International as he glided past defenders with ease, won a penalty just before halftime and just generally made a nuisance of himself throughout.
The £49million summer signing has shown good form in both of his pre-season appearances so far, and his new Boss as well as the City faithful will have been impressed with what they have seen so far from their new man.

City's defensive fragilities exposed

Cameron Humphreys in action for Manchester City during their pre-season tour
Cameron Humphreys struggled against Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale - but who wouldn't?
City can be excused to a certain extent with their young and experimental centre half partnership, however we cannot pin all of the blame on young Cameron Humphreys and Jason Denayer.
With a combined age of just 36 the youngsters at the back may have been slightly out of their depth against a strong Madrid side, who simply blew them away in the first half. They can not be excused however, for their poor defensive line for the second goal, and the lack of marking for the third which really ended the contest before half time.
On the whole City were poor in midfield and even worse at the back, with their failure to do the basics costing them here. Lucky its only pre-season eh?

Benzema, Bale, Ronaldo: frightening

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates
Cristiano Ronaldo: Back among the goals against City
Possibly one of the most formidable attacking trios in European football for as long as many of us will be able to remember, and they look as sharp as ever. If it wasn't for a just as remarkable forward three over at their rivals Barcelona, this particular strike force would have received a great deal more praise last year.
Two quality goals from Benzema and Ronaldo respectively combined with a high intensity performance from Bale was simply too much to handle for Manuel Pellegrini's men, who in truth, were outclassed by Madrid's forward three.
Los Blancos simply tore an inexperienced City back line to shreds in this pre-season tie, with every siege on Joe Hart's goal looking like it would result in a healthier lead for Rafa Benitez's side.

Fabian Delph faces a race to be fit

Fabian Delph in action
Fabian Delph: His debut did not last long before he had to come off injured
After his controversial switch from Aston Villa to the Etihad England International Fabian Delph had a debut to forget, lasting just 18 minutes before being stretchered off at the MCG.
In a extremely unlucky start to his career at City the 25-year-old is now surely a huge doubt for the start of the new Premier League season, by picking up what looks to be a hamstring injury.

Isco a future great

Isco and Yaya Toure compete for the ball
Isco is often outshone in this Real Madrid team, with Ronaldo and co soaking up the majority of the media praise and attention.
However on this particular occasion the little Spaniard really stood out, slaloming past challenges and linking up wonderfully with his teammates around him.
He was at the heart of many of Madrid's key attacking moves before being subbed on 76 minutes, hanging on to possession for his side whenever they were under pressure and really kept them ticking over throughout.
The 23-year-old has reached a stage in his career in which he could either kick on and become a real star or fade away beneath the countless other world beaters in this Los Blancos team, but based on this performance alone he could well grow into a Superstar under the management of Rafa Benitez.

Some fans just want a hug

One over-excited fan was tackled by a steward after he stormed onto the pitch and tried to reach Gareth Bale during the match.
Sporting a bright pink top, he held out his hand, seemingly desperate to touch the former Tottenham man, but he was quickly tackled by a steward who had run on to follow him.
Bale did not appear to be shaken up by the incident and continued the match as normal after the pitch invader had been removed.
A pitch invader is tackled by security as he tries to reach Gareth Bale
Nearly! A pitch invader is seems desperate to reach Gareth Bale
A pitch invader is tackled by security as he tries to reach Gareth Bale
Almost there: He nearly gets to the Welshman, but...
A pitch invader is tackled by security as he tries to reach Gareth Bale
... a steward catches him and grabs him around the waist
A pitch invader is tackled by security as he tries to reach Gareth Bale
Bale was unmoved by the incident


Man City: Hart, Sagna, Denayer, Humphreys, Kolarov, Toure, Fernando, Delph, Nasri, Silva, Sterling.
Subs: Caballero, Wright, Horsfield, Clichy, Evans, Zuculini, Garcia, Lopes, Navas, Pozo, Unal, Roberts, Iheanacho, Barker, Jovetic, Dzeko.
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Subs: Arbeloa, Llorente, Nacho, Casemiro, Lucas Silva, Jese, Danilo, Cheryshev, Lucas Vazquez, Varane.

Watch highlights of Real Madrid's resounding 3-0 win over Inter Milan in China

Jese, Raphael Varane and James Rodriguez were all on the scoresheet as Rafa Benitez's men secured the.

Real Madrid continued their fine pre-season form with a resounding win over Inter Milan on Monday.

Los Blancos fired three goals past a helpless Samir Handanovic as they brushed aside Roberto Mancini's men during an exhibition game in China.
Jese fooled the goalkeeper to slot home at the near post to open the scoring, before defender Raphael Varane doubled the score with an uncharacteristic poachers' finish.
But the goal of the game was saved for the dying moments, when James Rodriguezwas placed on free-kick duty with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both already taken off.
The Colombian smashed the free-kick over the wall and just out of reach of the helpless Handanovic to round off the scoring.
Check out all the highlights from the game above.

Thứ Hai, 20 tháng 7, 2015

A bad week for Gareth Bale – he upsets Cristiano Ronaldo again, and not even birthday wishes from Real Madrid fans can cheer him up

Welshman frustrates his Bernabeu teammate by failing to pass in pre-season friendly, but looks just as annoyed when serenaded by young Madrid supporters

After a difficult second season as a Real Madrid player, Gareth Bale has many to win over at the Bernabeu  – and if one of those is Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s going the wrong way about it.

Bale suffered the ignominy of boos from his own supporters back in January when, during a home match against Espanyol, he chose to shoot instead of passing to his goal-crazy teammate.
And old habits are proving to die hard if the video footage of Real’s pre-season friendly with Roma in Australia is anything to go by.
During the goalless draw at the MCG, Ronaldo is shown to call repeatedly for the ball while sprinting into the box only to be ignored by Bale. The manner is which the Portuguese star looks exasperatedly to the sky as the attack breaks down is the very essence of a man who has run for a bus and missed it.

The evening did not get much better for Bale, Ronaldo and co. either as Roma prevailed in a penalty shootout at the final whistle in what was Rafa Benitez’s first game in charge of Los Blancos.
But if Bale is struggling to match Ronaldo’s exploits on the pitch, he’s having no trouble replicating his surly demeanour off it.

The Wales forward celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday, but looked less than impressed when some knowledgeable Madrid fans decided to serenade him with the old favourite “Happy Birthday” as he signed autographs outside the stadium

Gareth Bale misses Real Madrid training after picking up strain in Roma friendly

Gareth Bale was forced to spend Monday in the gym after Real Madrid doctors ruled him out of training on the Spanish club's pre-season tour.
Only full-back Danilo played more minutes than the Welshman in Madrid's friendly defeat to Roma in Melbourne on Saturday, and the winger paid the price with a hip problem that prevented him from joining in with his teammates on the training pitch.
The word out of the Bernabeu club is that his absence was only precautionary, and that he is still in line to face Manchester City at the MCG on Friday.
Bale needs to bounce back after a tough campaign last year, with his struggles partially attributed to a frosty on-field relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo .
And the game with Roma appeared to show that their bond hasn't grown any stronger during the off season.
During Los Blancos' pre-season clash with the Serie A giants, Ronaldo was visibly frustrated with Bale for not playing him in for a shot at goal.
Bale's decision not to pass to the Portugal star came back to bite him and the team as Roma ended up taking home the spoils .
The two sides played out a 0-0 draw at the MCG - before the Italians won the game on penalties.
In pictures - Roma beat Madrid on penalties:
It was an uninspiring first game in charge for Rafael Benitez - who saw his side look pretty rusty as they shook off some cobwebs ahead of the new season.
Martin Odegaard was the shining light for Los Blancos - the teenager starting the game alongside Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale has also been criticised in Spain for appearing to ask Francesco Totti for an autograph post-match.

Real Madrid Transfer News: Latest Gareth Bale and Asier Illarramendi Rumours

Real Madrid Transfer News: Latest Gareth Bale and Asier Illarramendi Rumours
Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press 
The rumours linking Real Madrid star Gareth Bale with a transfer move to Manchester United just won't go away, with Steve Bates of the Sunday People reporting Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal is planning a swoop potentially worth £95 million to complete his club's impressive spending spree:
Wales winger Bale, who cost the Spanish giants £85million from Tottenham two years ago, had a tough time in La Liga last season, was repeatedly barracked by Madrid fans on and off the pitch and has struggled with the learning the language.
And with Van Gaal now hinting United could do something special in the remaining 44 days of the transfer window, Old Trafford sources have confirmed Bale—now valued at £95m by the Spaniards—is still on their radar.
Bale has been the subject of transfer rumours for months now following a disappointing 2014-15 season, with United often mentioned as the most likely destination. While it seems unlikely the Wales international will leave Madrid after just two seasons, that hasn't stopped the media from speculating.
Despite the constant scrutiny, Bale remains adamant he's committed to Los Blancos, and he recently took to Twitter to express how glad he is to be wearing the Spanish giants' iconic kit:
The 26-year-old impressed during his first season with Real, playing a vital role during the squad's run to the Champions League final. Last season, Los Blancos struggled to close out the season as a group, and while Bale was often isolated by the fans as one of the main culprits, he was hardly the only one at fault.
Real's supporters can be a fickle bunch at times, and the fanbase has gotten so used to winning that it's not afraid to voice its displeasure as soon as things go wrong. When the wins return, so does the fans' faith. And per Real Madrid TV's Phil Kitromilides, they've started the 2015-16 campaign by supporting the winger, instead of booing him:
Los Blancos don't often sell their top stars unless they have a star ready to replace them, and in the case of Bale, it would be hard to find a player who can match him both in terms of popularity and football ability.
His raw pace makes him an excellent partner for Cristiano Ronaldo, and given his young age, it's fair to assume he'll be among the world's best for years to come. Unless manager Rafa Benitez has absolutely no interest in continuing with the winger, it's hard to imagine Real selling Bale at this point in time.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson believes Benitez's arrival will have a big impact on his output:
That said, £95 million is a ton of money, and if United do in fact make such a gigantic offer, it will be interesting to see how Los Blancos react.

Liverpool Improve Asier Illarramendi Offer

Paul White/Associated Press
According to (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson) Liverpool are willing to increase their offer for Asier Illarramendi from £10 million to £13.8 million in an attempt to sign the midfielder quickly following reports Benitez was less than impressed with the former RealSociedad man during pre-season:
The Reds apparently made a £10m offer for Real Madrid manIllarramendi last month, but his club put the breaks on the switch with new manager Rafael Benitez keen to take a look at him in pre-season.
Benitez isn’t thought to have been impressed, and now reports in Spain Liverpool are increasing their offer to £13.8m to get this move sorted.
The 25-year-old hardly played for Los Blancos last season and is in dire need of some regular playing time, something he likely won't find at the Bernabeu. Steven Gerrard's departure from Anfield has opened a spot in Liverpool's midfield, so all the ingredients appear to be in store for a move.
Bleacher Report's Andy Brassell thinks a deal will come to fruition:
Price may be the biggest issue standing in the way of a deal.Illarramendi cost the club a hefty chunk of money, but his value has dropped tremendously in the past two years. Per Sky Sports, LosBlancos paid £32.8 million for his services―and there's no way the Reds will cough up a fee even close to that.
Perhaps a buy-back option inserted in the contract could make the deal work, with a fee in the region of £15 million. Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe thinks it would present a huge coup for the Reds, but if the midfielder fulfils his potential at Anfield, it could also pay big dividends for Real down the road:
Unless Benitez can find a use for Illarramendi, a summer move seems likely. It makes no sense for the club to keep the player sitting on the bench while other depth options are preferred, so they may as well try and recuperate at least part of their initial investment

Manchester United transfers roundup: Bale targeted, Di Maria plans, Fellaini future

United target Gareth Bale endured a miserable second season in Madrid
Gareth Bale
Louis van Gaal suggested he could sign another "surprise" striker this summer. And the Sunday People believe that Manchester United are still targeting Real Madrid galactico Gareth Bale.
If Angel di Maria wants to leave Old Trafford, he will have to formally hand in a transfer request. The Mail write that Van Gaal still sees the Argentine as part of his first-team plans , so it will be up to Di Maria to force a move if he wants one.
Could Marouane Fellaini's future at United be in doubt? The midfielder enjoyed a resurgence last season but the Mirror report he faces a fight to prove himself again to Van Gaal, having been left out of United's first friendly.
Aston Villa are the latest club to show an interest in James Wilson . The Mail report that Tim Sherwood is looking at loan moves to replace Liverpool-bound Christian Benteke
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