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Sacking Julen Lopetegui won't save Real Madrid from rot stemming from squad in decline

Sun, 21 Oct 2018 01:50:00 PDT

Steve Nicol sees Antonio Conte as a good short-term solution for Real Madrid should the club decide to part ways with Julen Lopetegui. ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Ross Dyer look at how Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui can turn things around after a fifth-straight game without a win. Julen Lopetegui insists he doesn't fear being sacked as Real Madrid manager after they suffered another loss to Levante. I was one of those in Krasnodar, Russia, who lived through the 24 hours of "What's happening to Julen Lopetegui?" when the Spanish FA president decided whether to back or sack La Roja's coach last June. Now, four months later, here we are again. Chaos reigns, short-term criteria will dominate over either mid- or long-term planning, egos are to the fore and Lopetegui must be very unsure indeed whether he's got several hours or several days to alter his fate at Real Madrid. Back in Krasnodar the...

Real Madrid axe swinging over Julen Lopetegui as crisis deepens with Levante defeat

Sat, 20 Oct 2018 10:24:00 PDT

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Ross Dyer look at how Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui can turn things around after a fifth-straight game without a win. ESPN FC's Craig Burley has his say as to who should become Real Madrid's next Galactico signings. Are Real Madrid preparing to swap managers? Gab Marcotti and Sid Lowe weigh in on the reports linking Antonio Conte to the Bernabeu. MADRID -- After the embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Levante at the Bernabeu, the final whistle was followed immediately by prolonged whistles from those angry supporters still left inside the half-empty stadium and traditional white handkerchief protest calling for the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui. Lopetegui has lost five games in all competitions since taking over this summer -- including the past three in a row -- and has presided over the club's second-worst goal drought of 481 minutes, broken...

Real Madrid defence suffer as Raphael Varane 3/10, Sergio Ramos 4/10 stand out

Sat, 20 Oct 2018 06:28:00 PDT

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner and Ross Dyer look at how Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui can turn things around after a fifth-straight game without a win. ESPN FC's Craig Burley has his say as to who should become Real Madrid's next Galactico signings. Are Real Madrid preparing to swap managers? Gab Marcotti and Sid Lowe weigh in on the reports linking Antonio Conte to the Bernabeu. Another embarrassment for Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui as his team went 2-0 down and made the second longest run without a goal (481 minutes) in their entire 116 year existence before Marcelo's late consolation. Madrid could claim some bad luck: two VAR decisions went against them, they hit the woodwork three times and had a late possible equaliser ruled out for offside. But this was a shambles of a performance, and president Florentino Perez could pull the trigger on Lopetegui even before...

LIVE Transfer Talk: Antonio Conte to replace Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid?

Thu, 18 Oct 2018 03:59:00 PDT

ESPN FC's Ale Moreno assesses the latest transfer rumours surrounding Raheem Sterling, Dejan Lovren, Arturo Vidal and many more. France captain Hugo Lloris believes Paul Pogba gets judged unfairly because of the record transfer fee Manchester United paid for the midfielder in 2016. The transfer window for all of Europe's big five leagues is closed, but that doesn't stop Transfer Talk from rummaging around about who will be moving where come January. TOP STORY: Conte to replace Lopetegui at Real Madrid? Transfers Revealed: How FIFA wants to fix transfers ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti obtained a FIFA report revealing the biggest overhaul to the transfer system in decades. Are they finally serious about cleaning up football? How a transfer works With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football, Damien Comolli, we show you how a transfer works through Iain Macintosh's tale of fictional rising star Dave Thumper. FC Exclusives - Everton check on Liverpool's Origi - Loftus-Cheek won't be sold - Ramsey open to top six move - PSG want Wenger on transfers - Real Madrid monitoring Sterling Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has reportedly phoned former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte recently to sound out his availability, so say Il Corriere dello Sport. The paper reports that Conte, who has been out of work since leaving Stamford Bridge this summer,...

Real Madrid and Barcelona would only be interested in Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling from England's squad

Mon, 15 Oct 2018 03:00:00 PDT

In spite of speculation that Real Madrid are interested in the talented winger, Craig Burley doesn't think Raheem Sterling is quite at the level of a Galactico. Real Madrid and Barcelona don't settle for second best when it comes to box office moves in the transfer market, so given that England reached the World Cup semifinals during the summer and the Premier League is the biggest league in the world, surely any Englishman flourishing in his domestic competition would be a contender for a move to the Santiago Bernabeu or Camp Nou, right? But as Gareth Southgate's men prepare to face Spain in Seville on Monday night, the reality is that only Harry Kane...

Barcelona supporting nun trolls Real Madrid over recent scoring drought

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 07:35:00 PDT

ESPN FC's La Liga correspondent Sid Lowe digs deeper into what's plaguing Real Madrid and Barcelona during their respective winless streaks. In spite of speculation that Real Madrid are interested in the talented winger, Craig Burley doesn't think Raheem Sterling is quite at the level of a Galactico. ESPN FC's Paul Mariner agrees with Antoine Griezmann saying Kylian Mbappe needs to leave PSG, just like Cristiano Ronaldo needed to leave Man United. Real Madrid have been trolled over their scoring drought ... by a Barcelona-supporting celebrity nun. Los Blancos have endured a difficult past month under new boss Julen Lopetegui. As well as failing to win any of their past four matches, they have failed to even register a goal in those encounters, with their last strike coming on Sept. 22. Hola, alguien que entienda de móviles me podría ayudar.Hace diez dias que activé las notificaciones del móvil para que me avisara de los goles del RMadrid, y nada, que no funciona, no hay manera...Con humor #DesdeClaustro— Sor Lucía Caram (@sorluciacaram) October 9, 2018 Rival fans are enjoying the plight of a team which has been crowned champions of Europe for the past three seasons. And among those is Sister Lucia Caram,...

Transfer Rater: Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid, Matthijs de Ligt to Barcelona

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 04:32:00 PDT

Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the Whisper. Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip. Lucas Paqueta to AC Milan AC Milan have beaten Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain to the £30.5m signing of Flamengo playmaker Paqueta with...

Real Madrid fans may turn on Karim Benzema by Florentino Perez has share of blame for slump

Thu, 11 Oct 2018 12:20:00 PDT

ESPN FC's La Liga correspondent Sid Lowe digs deeper into what's plaguing Real Madrid and Barcelona during their respective winless streaks. Three minutes isn't a very long time in football, as Karim Benzema can attest. That was how long it took during a home game last season for the Bernabeu to leap on the Frenchman's back, his heavy touch eliciting a cacophony of jeers from the stands. For Benzema it was nothing new; it's been the soundtrack to his Real Madrid career. In Spanish football's most exacting arena, the Madrid No. 9 has never won the crowd despite posting a higher goals-per-game ratio than Raul. The shirt weighs heavily...

Real Madrid need to keep Julen Lopetegui for painful, necessary rebuild

Tue, 9 Oct 2018 12:16:00 PDT

The guys react to Eden Hazard's comments about playing for Real Madrid and wonder if Chelsea should begin to make preparations for his departure. It doesn't matter how much the headlines splashed across Spain's football papers scream for it. Real Madrid's solution is not to sack their coach, Julen Lopetegui. At least, that's not the solution to what truly ails Los Blancos. Might current form become an excuse for Florentino Perez to feel his trigger finger getting itchy? Likely, yes. Is the near-record goal drought perfect fodder for the short-attention-span, agenda-driven hawks who permeate Spanish football's print, radio and television...

Julen Lopetegui 0/10, Karim Benzema's struggles continue as Madrid lose to Alaves

Sat, 6 Oct 2018 02:22:00 PDT

Manu Garcia struck true and left no time for an answer, as Alavés knocked off Real Madrid at a rowdy Mendizorrotza Stadium. Julen Lopetegui is well aware of the pressure he faces being manager of Real Madrid, who've struggled for goals in their last three matches. Alaves pulled off a textbook smash-and-grab in Mendizorrotza to beat Real Madrid on their own turf for the first time since 1931, as Manu Garcia profited from a 95th-minute melee to nod home the 1-0 winner and condemn Julen Lopetegui's side to a third defeat in four games. Positives Absolutely none, unless Karim Benzema managing two shots on target after a run of six games without warming an opposition keeper's gloves is Lopetegui's idea of progress. Gareth Bale, who looked like the player...

Transfer Talk: Real Madrid line up Tottenham's Harry Kane to solve goal drought

Fri, 5 Oct 2018 01:24:00 PDT

Mark Donaldson and Paul Mariner dissect the latest transfer rumours surrounding the world's biggest stars. The transfer window for all of Europe's big five leagues is closed, but that doesn't stop Transfer Talk from rummaging around about who will be moving where come January. Real Madrid back in for Harry Kane to solve goal drought Transfers Revealed: How FIFA wants to fix transfers ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti obtained a FIFA report revealing the biggest overhaul to the transfer system in decades. Are they finally serious about cleaning up football? How a transfer works With help from former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football, Damien Comolli, we show you how a transfer works through Iain Macintosh's tale of fictional rising star Dave Thumper. FC Exclusives - Everton check on Liverpool's Origi - Loftus-Cheek won't be sold - Ramsey open to top six move - PSG want Wenger on transfers - Real Madrid monitoring Sterling Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ready to make a move to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur during the January transfer window should Spurs fail to reach the Champions League's knockout stages, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Catalan publication says that...

Champions League: Lionel Messi, Neymar and Paulo Dybala in team of the week

Thu, 4 Oct 2018 03:32:00 PDT

The ESPN FC crew were full of praise for Barcelona's offense, led by captain Leonel Messi, in their win over Tottenham Hotspur. ESPN FC's Steve Nicol explains why Napoli were deserving of their late victory, despite Liverpool's best efforts to hold on for a draw. Stevie Nicol says while PSG eased past Red Star, he's looking for Neymar and company to show up in the knockout rounds. The Champions League saw goals, goals and more goals this week, but who were the stars? Here's the best XI from Matchday 2. Goalkeeper - Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) Neuer cannot have expected to be the busier goalkeeper when Ajax visited the Allianz Arena, but had he not been at his sharpest then the Dutch side could have come away with a famous win. He made a number of important stops, none more so than at the very end when he tipped a rasping Lasse Schone free kick onto the crossbar to ensure...

Real Madrid aren't in 'crisis' despite five-hour scoring drought, CSKA defeat

Wed, 3 Oct 2018 05:52:00 PDT

The sky is falling. Real Madrid have two defeats and one draw in their last three games. They have gone 329 minutes without scoring; if you frame it as being more than five hours (which it is), the run sounds even worse. The last time they went this long before celebrating a goal was in 2007, when Fabio Capello was in charge and David Beckham had yet to move to Los Angeles. Furthermore, Real failed to score in a Champions League game for the first time in nearly two years, a run of 29 games,...

Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema fall flat as Real Madrid find no joy in Moscow

Tue, 2 Oct 2018 03:10:00 PDT

Sid Lowe explains that Real Madrid's recent results are normal individually, but they have prompted reminders of Cristiano Ronaldo's absence. Real Madrid failed to trouble the scoreboard for the third game in a row against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night at the Luzhniki Stadium. The only goal of the match came via Nikola Vlasic in the second minute, as Real Madrid tried but failed to break through the home side's rearguard. Positives Fantasy Play ESPN Fantasy Soccer Pick your eight-man team and compete in the Champions League, Premier League, La Liga or Liga MX, then go head-to-head in leagues against your friends or people around the world. Sign up for free! How to play ESPN Fantasy Soccer Your team will be made up of eight players, at four different positions: two forwards, three midfielders, two defenders, and a goalkeeper. Find out more here. - Newcomers to pick and avoid - Champions League names to know - La Liga names to know - Breaking down ESPN's scoring system There are none. Real Madrid have gone more than 300 minutes without scoring, and while they dominated possession, the fact that they couldn't score makes it even worse. They won't play a worse attacking team...

Diego Godin's sudden loss of form is Atletico Madrid's biggest headache yet

Sun, 30 Sep 2018 12:15:00 PDT

MADRID, Spain -- On Saturday night, Diego Simeone extended his unbeaten La Liga record in the Santiago Bernabeu to six years. His Atletico side took a point from the European champions, stayed in touch at the top of the table and kept a clean sheet: his teams have now conceded a miserly three goals in their last six Liga visits to the Casa Blanca. Yet the Argentinian left enemy territory with a major headache, one caused by a problem that might be one of the most surprising and troubling he...

Thibaut Courtois' best performance yet in short Real Madrid career comes in derbi

Sat, 29 Sep 2018 02:48:00 PDT

Another Madrid derbi and more points lost for Real Madrid in a 0-0 draw with Atletico, but they certainly did enough to win the game. After Barcelona's draw with Athletic Bilbao earlier on Saturday, it remains as it was at the top of La Liga after seven games. Positives Real Madrid needed a response after their failure to show up in Seville. They started off a little wobbly, which is understandable, but grew into the game and dominated the second half. Some bold substitutions from Julen Lopetegui...

Atletico content with derbi draw as Thibaut Courtois rescues Real Madrid vs. former side

Sat, 29 Sep 2018 02:09:00 PDT

MADRID -- Three thoughts from the Bernabeu after Real Madrid's 0-0 La Liga draw with Atletico Madrid: 1. A point apiece but Atletico leave happier Goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak were unexpectedly to the fore as Saturday's Madrid derbi finished scoreless, with Atletico Madrid leaving the Bernabeu having deserved at least a point after carving out the better chances, and Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui's worries mounting. Atletico edged the opening stages and could have gone ahead...

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois knows better than most what the derbi means to Atletico

Fri, 28 Sep 2018 01:05:00 PDT

The ESPN FC crew break down why Real Madrid couldn't take advantage of Barcelona's upset loss against Leganes, instead losing themselves to Sevilla. Real Madrid and Belgium's Thibaut Courtois has been named the Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper in 2018 after winning the Golden Glove award at World Cup in Russia. Real Madrid's goalkeeper leaps through the most significant moment in the club's history. Take any photo, watch any video, and there he is, right in the middle of the most viewed and perhaps the most iconic image in their 116-year existence, the climax on a night of drama, suspense, nerves and then explosion, joy unbound. The long wait over, an obsession for more than a decade, there was glory at last. For them. For him, it was bloody awful -- and they're not slow to remind him of that. Sergio...

Marcelo, Karim Benzema anonymous as Real Madrid get smashed by Sevilla

Wed, 26 Sep 2018 05:19:00 PDT

The ESPN FC crew break down why Real Madrid couldn't take advantage of Barcelona's upset loss against Leganes, instead losing themselves to Sevilla. Real Madrid's Sanchez Pizjuan curse deepened as the European champions were thoroughly outplayed and lucky to escape without further humiliation as Sevilla deservedly beat Julen Lopetegui's side 3-0 on Wednesday. Andre Silva (two) and Wissam Ben Yedder provided the goals in a first-half attacking masterclass from Pablo Machin. Positives "Black Wednesday" has already been coined by a different kind of crash and Barcelona were beaten at Leganes, which is about all the comfort Lopetegui will take from...

Isco's surgery leaves Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid scrambling for answers at a difficult time

Tue, 25 Sep 2018 04:47:00 PDT

Shaka Hislop breaks down the latest transfer buzz, including Nabil Fekir, Leroy Sane, Yannick Carrasco and more. It was almost inevitable, given Isco's Real Madrid career. So often the right player for the wrong manager, the Spain midfielder's enforced absence after undergoing an appendectomy has come at precisely the wrong moment for the right manager. Isco is likely to be out for a month, with a return date tentatively slated for the Camp Nou Clasico on Oct. 28. The unpredictability of it all will smart more than the scar over the next few days, as Isco ruminates on yet another setback. It has always been...

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