Barcelona and Real Madrid will learn their Copa del Rey fate when the quarter-final draw takes place in the Spanish capital this afternoon. As it stands, Barcelona are still in the competition after coming from a 2-1 first leg defeat to Levante to come out 4-2 winners on aggregate after a brace from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi’s 24th goal of the season on Wednesday. Barca have won the Copa del Rey in each of the past four seasons but a fifth success could now be in the hands of the club’s lawyers. A report by El Mundo claimed Barca fielded an ineligible player, defender Chumi, in last week’s 2-1 defeat away to Levante, with the youngster picking up a suspension with Barcelona B in Spain’s Segunda B. The LaLiga champions however are confident they have done nothing wrong, however, with league suspensions not usually applying in the Copa del Rey. While Levante are pushing for Valverde's side to be booted from the competition, their name - for now … [Read more...] about Copa Del Rey draw LIVE: Barcelona and Real Madrid learn opponents
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VAR is in the spotlight VAR didn't notify Munuera Montero that there was a penalty on Vinicius The halfway point of the LaLiga Santander season will arrive next weekend, yet the entire narrative in Spain has been surrounding the use of VAR. At the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid fans were incensed that the VAR was not consulted after Vinicius Junior was tripped by Geronimo Rulli as he got away from the Real Sociedad goalkeeper; at the Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Perez, however, Getafe felt hard done by as Jaime Mata's goal against Barcelona was incorrectly disallowed for a supposed foul on Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet by Angel Rodriguez. Los Blancos midfielder Luka Modric revealed that he had been told by Melero Lopez, the referee in charge of VAR, that it was not a penalty, while Munuera Montero, the referee on the pitch, claimed not to have seen it. The technology is what it is, but it has gaps; it is there to see what the referee does not and, if Modric's comments are correct, … [Read more...] about Real Madrid explode in opposition of VAR
The top 10 injury-prone players Between January 1 and December 31, 2018, Barcelona picked up 85 points in LaLiga Santander, scoring 101 goals and conceding 40. Those numbers would allow them to finish the year as leaders in a hypothetical league table which only takes into account results in the calendar year. Barcelona are ahead of Real Madrid by 11 points in that 2018 table, with Los Blancos third behind rivals Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone's men have ended the year as the best defence in the league by conceding the fewest amount of goals. From the opening day of 2018 until the last, they have conceded just 26 goals, which not only makes them the best in LaLiga Santander but one of the best in the world. Atletico have scored 58 goals during that time and picked up a total of 77 points. Another team who have impressed this year are Alaves, who would be sixth on 60 points in a 2018 table, tied with Valencia and only one point behind Sevilla, who would occupy the final Champions … [Read more...] about Barcelona earned 11 points more than Real Madrid in 2018
Sunday will see Real Madrid travel to Abu Dhabi as they prepare to face Kashima Antlers in the semi-final of the Club World Cup, but worryingly the club's lack of a clear playing style appears to be affecting performances on the pitch. In Madrid's three previous matches, against Huesca, CSKA Moscow and Rayo Vallecano, Los Blancos have been the overwhelming favourite going into the match, yet they narrowly beat Huesca and Rayo, while their home loss to CSKA was their worst in European history. "We have nine victories from 11 games," said Solari after the Rayo game, looking at the situation with a glass half full. "We have closed the gap to those teams above [in the table], we finished first [in their group] in the Champions League and we are through to the next round of the Copa del Rey." While they may be securing results, the improvement in playing style after Julen Lopetegui's exit has not arrived; instead, the possession-based football played under Solari's predecessor at least had … [Read more...] about How do Solari’s Real Madrid side play?
Isco has been here before. The Real Madrid midfielder may not previously have been booed by his own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu as he was on Wednesday night, but the 26-year-old is once again finding it difficult to get into the Spanish side. For one of the world's most talented footballers, it is a strange situation. Yet it is also nothing new: Isco was frustrated in his first season at a lack of starts for Carlo Ancelotti's side, then again under Zinedine Zidane and now, the pattern is repeated with Santiago Solari. Fans of other clubs would want him in a heartbeat and he would surely be a starter for almost every club in the world. If he becomes available, there would be a long line of top teams interested in his signing. Perhaps even Barcelona and Manchester City. So why is he continuing to find life so difficult at Real Madrid? The arrival of Julen Lopetegui in the summer seemed like great news for Isco. The … [Read more...] about Why is Isco so often not first choice Real Madrid?