December 31, 2009
December 24, 2009
Zinedine Zidane admits he's been "won over" by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Zidane went public in the summer urging Real to sign Franck Ribery ahead of the former Manchester United star.
But he now says: "I was surprised by his play. He is a player that has a lot of self-confidence, a belief in everything he does. He imposes his determination on the rest. He's great in everything he does.
"It's amazing the success he has achieved at his age.
"My favourite type of player is more similar to (Andres) Iniesta, a team player. But Cristiano has won me over, I'm under the influence of his charm.
"He makes a real difference."
CRISTIANO RONALDO admits he is missing life at Manchester United but insists he was right to move to Real Madrid.
The Portuguese winger, who left Old Trafford for a record pounds 80million fee in the summer, said his challenge now is to help Real challenge the dominance of Barcelona as the best club in the world.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side have hit a poor patch of form but Ronaldo, speaking in Zurich ahead of the FIFA world player award, said: "I think United are doing well this season. They have lost the last two games but are second in the league.
"What people think of me is their own opinion but I miss Manchester as I played there for six years and had friends there.
"But even though I miss the club a bit, I'm focused at Real Madrid and really happy."
Ronaldo concedes Barca, whose win in the Club World Cup at the weekend made it a staggering six trophies in the last year, have to be regarded as the best club on the planet. But he is determined to challenge their supremacy.
He said: "They have won everything this year so they have to be the best club.
"They have players who have been together for many years and are an outstanding team. But we will do at our best at Real Madrid to win the league and Champions League.
"It's going to be difficult but in football anything is possible if you work hard."
Campaign Ronaldo, whose Portugal side knocked out England in their last two major tournament finals in 2004 and 2006, also tipped Fabio Capello's side as one to watch in next year's World Cup.
He added: "England have a fantastic team, had a great qualification campaign and have a good coach.
"They can do a great job in South Africa but Spain and Brazil are also strong. Portugal also has a chance - look at Euro 2004 when no one spoke about Greece and they won it.
"I'm looking forward to a great World Cup - I'm really focused."
December 19, 2009
December 18, 2009
Sensational news are out and it has been reported that Real Madrid fans wants former defender, Roberto Carlos, to be re-signed by the club in January.
The Fenerbahce star will be out of contract at the end of the month and has offered to return to Real as they struggle to solve their left-back problems.
Over 100,000 fans voted in favour of the Brazilian’s return in a poll run by Madrid-based Marca.com.
Real Madrid will now have to move quickly as Roberto Carlos already has a verbal agreement with Ronaldo’s Corinthians to join them for season 2010.
"Speaking of Real Madrid now would be wrong", began the Spaniard in an interview with Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Liverpool coach went on to say that Los Blancos' "champions" need time to gel and play as a team, but that "in March they could be unbeatable".
The Liverpool coach also spoke of Barcelona, who he believes to currently be Europe's best and Barca coach Pep Guardiola has a player that Benitez "simply adores" in Lionel Messi.
Liverpool failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League and will dispute the Europa League for their chance at international silverware. They have been drawn against Unirea Urziceni in their first tie in Europe's secondary competition.
December 16, 2009
The Madrid captain has gone from starter to substitute in coach Manuel Pellegrini's first season in charge but believes his role with the club remains as important as ever.
"Since I arrived at 17, my role in the club has always been important and will continue being (that way)," Raul said Wednesday.
Raul's playing time has been curbed under Pellegrini, whose arrival kicked off an offseason overhaul in which the Spanish powerhouse spent more than euro250 million ($365 million) on players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.
Raul scored 24 goals in all competitions last season and is the club's all-time leading scorer. But this season has seen the Madrid captain start from the bench for three straight games for the first time since his rookie season in 1994-95. He has five goals across all competitions.
Questions were raised on Saturday when Pellegrini looked set to bring Raul on in the second half but changed his mind after Madrid went ahead in a 4-2 win over Almeria.
"I understand the coach and I have no problem with that. As a professional, I accept it," said Raul, who described his relationship with Pellegrini as "magnificent."
Raul has spent his entire career at Madrid, like midfielder Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez, who has been eased out of the team by Pellegrini following a heated halftime exchange of the humiliating 4-0 defeat to third-tier club Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey.
While Raul remains in the squad, Guti has been left out for nine straight games.
Florentino Perez's return to the presidency has reshaped the club, with Ronaldo and Kaka joined by Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso.
Following the embarrassing Copa del Rey exit, Madrid has found form to finish top of its Champions League group ahead of AC Milan. The team is also second in the league, five points back of Barcelona with a game in hand.
"The team is playing well," Raul said. "We achieved our goal of finishing first in the group in the Champions League and even though I'm playing less, like everyone's seen, I'm training and fighting to keep playing and to enjoy the profession I love most -- football."
December 11, 2009
According to The Sun, Rovers manager Sam Allardyce would be thrilled to have the ex-Manchester United man return to England while Bolton, Birmingham, Sunderland and Fulham are also reported to be interested in the Dutchman's services.
Van Nistelrooy has endured a difficult year of fitness problems, including a season-ending knee injury last year, and the 33-year-old is seeking regular playing time in his quest to earn a spot in the Dutch national team for next summer's World Cup in South Africa.
The player's agent, Barry O'Connor, has remained diplomatic about the transfer rumours, saying that it is a private issue until Real Madrid decide on Van Nistelrooy's future.
December 08, 2009
December 06, 2009
Cristiano Ronaldo scored before being sent off as Real Madrid made hard work of seeing off lowly Almería 4-2 in an incident-packed match.
Real had gone ahead in the first half through Sergio Ramos' header and appeared to be in control of the game.
But defensive lapses saw Almería stunned their hosts with two goals in three minutes from Fernando Soriano and Kalu Uche.
With Real looking increasingly frantic, Gonzalo Higuaín calmed nerves by stepping round a defender and curving the ball into the bottom right corner to equalize.
Ronaldo then won a penalty when he fell in the area in the 82nd minute as Almería keeper Diego Alves ran out to challenge him, although replays showed the goalkeeper touched the ball.
Some justice appeared to have been served when Alves saved Ronaldo's resulting penalty, but Karim Benzema followed up to slam the ball into the roof of the net on the rebound.
Ronaldo looked distraught to miss that, but his disappointment was only temporary as moments later he slotted home Higuaín's low cross to make it 4-2.
The Portuguese was booked for taking his shirt off to celebrate that goal, and that proved costly as four minutes later he was handed his marching orders after picking up a second yellow following a tussle with Michel.
December 05, 2009
December 02, 2009
When do you train?
We train every morning between 10:30 and 12:30. We then spend 45 minutes in the weights room.
How much do you train on the pitch?
I’d say I spend 60% of the first two hours with my team-mates doing physical workouts and so forth. I do specific goalkeeper exercises the other 40%.
In what are your goalkeeper workouts different from the rest?
You have to take into account that I run an average of 4 km per game while the rest run around 10. We don’t focus on endurance so much, but we work on jumping and on our legs’ reactions.
Saving a shot especially depends on how strong your legs are.
How do you strengthen your legs?
We tackle plyometrics such as jumping with weights, doing a succession of jumps, etc. These are typical exercises one does to strengthen his or her legs. The machine we use exclusively is the leg press.
How many weights do you use?
I think the most we use is 140 kg. You don’t need any more. It’s important to be fast.
What do you to exercise the upper half of your body?
Most goalkeepers exercise the upper half of their bodies and they are stronger than most of the other players on the team. I actually hate doing weights. I don’t like to be ‘big’.
You’ve hardly been injured. Do you do specific exercises to avoid injuries?
No, I don’t. I’ve been lucky so far. I hope I continue to be lucky.
You need excellent reflexes to be a good goalkeeper. Do you do some work on your nervous system?
Not at all.
How do you work on reflexes then?
We do what has always been done: we try to save shots with our backs to the ball and turning in time to grab or clear it. We do other exercises too. It’s the same stuff I did as a child. We don’t use any machine of any sort to boost our reflexes.
Do you do any psychological work?
No, we don’t. I know they can be very useful in other sports, but we don’t have any psychologists. We had one once on the Spanish national team and we were eliminated in the first round.
What do you eat?
I used to eat a bit of everything and my body didn’t react badly to any of it. I now have to watch out; I’ve reached an age in which I must eat better.
What do you avoid?
I don’t have carbohydrates for dinner and I try to eat small amounts of food. I watch out for fats too.
What other sport do you practice?
I like to play padel tennis in the summer and I also play football with my friends, but not as a goalkeeper (laughs).