Real Madrid have sacked Santiago Solari and replaced him with Zinedine Zidane, the club confirmed on Monday. Zidane, 46, has signed a three-year contract that will keep the former Los Blancos star at the Bernabeu until June 30, 2022. He will take over at the club immediately.
Real Madrid's Luka Modric claimed FIFA's The Best award for 2018 to end Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's decade-long hold on world football's top player prize. The Croatia midfielder won with 29 percent of the votes, coming in ahead of Ronaldo (19 percent), Mohamed Salah (11.2 percent), Kylian Mbappe (10 percent) and Messi (9 percent), who along with Ronaldo skipped the ceremony.
As riot police clashed with huge crowds in Barcelona during last weekend's banned Catalonian independence referendum, the city's soccer team played a game in front of 98,000 empty seats after closing its Camp Nou stadium amid safety fears. Hours later, Real Madrid kicked off another game to the cheers of supporters waving Spanish flags and placards declaring “Todos somos España” (We are all Spain) and “Viva España!” (Long live Spain!). This collision of identity politics and sport — an echo of President Donald Trump's culture war against kneeling in the NFL — illustrates the importance of soccer in the psyche of the Iberian peninsula.
Bayern Munich have signed Real Madrid star James Rodriguez on a two-year loan deal with an option for a permanent transfer, subject to a medical. Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Juventus were among the clubs linked with Colombia international James, 25, in recent weeks as Madrid president Florentino Perez reportedly held out for a fee of at least €70 million. However, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti has made a successful bid to be reunited with a player he coached while at Madrid in 2014-15, with the two clubs agreeing a two-year loan with an option to buy in June 2019.
The prospect of Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, back in his homeland’s capital to put Juventus to the sword in Saturday’s Champions League final, was the perfect script. But while the top club competition in international soccer has a habit of providing alluring story lines, the romance on Saturday is likely to come from elsewhere. The mundane impact of injury means Bale is likely to start on the bench for the Spanish champion.
Real Madrid has been in each of the past six Champions League semifinals, and Bayern Munich in each of the last five, but this season something has to give. Each sits atop its respective domestic league, yet there is a strange sense that neither is quite at its best. Real Madrid, the defending European champion, has already lost more games this year than it did in all of 2016 and had fallen behind in five of its last six games (although it has ended up winning four and drawing and one of them). There are issues with the balance of the midfield (and with Gareth Bale’s ankle) and few reasons to feel confident of it defensively. Sergio Ramos’s main gift these days, and it is a considerable one, seems to be his ability to meet Toni Kroos deliveries with powerful headers in key situations.
Gareth Bale has boosted Real Madrid by returning to training. Bale has not played since November after having ankle surgery, but Real Madrid tweeted a photograph of the 27-year-old training at their headquarters on Sunday.
Zinedine Zidane has urged Real Madrid's fans to stick with the team after the latest instance of Cristiano Ronaldo being whistled at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid ended a winless run of three matches by edging to a 2-1 home victory over Malaga on Saturday to preserve their slender advantage over Sevilla and Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.
Real Madrid beat Mexican side Club America 2-0 to reach the Club World Cup final on Thursday and extend its unbeaten run to 36 games. Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored to help the European champions reach the final on Sunday, when they will face Japanese champions Kashima Antlers.
Why Cristiano’s personality and playing style always leave us demanding more.
Zinedine Zidane's side celebrated their penalty shootout win over Atletico by showing off the trophy to thousands of fans on the streets of the Spanish capital
Amidst conflicting reports in the media regarding a Chelsea board meeting to discuss José Mourinho's future, we're also apparently lining up candidates to take over from The Special One, should it come to that. The latest report from The Times - reproduced by Eurosport, among others - claims that former Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Tottenham and Real Madrid manager Juande Ramos is under consideration as a potential interim replacement.