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Eden Hazard reviews debut Real Madrid season and how he’ll use break enforced by coronavirus pandemic

Eden Hazard admits his first season at Real Madrid has been “bad” but insists he will prove his worth once fully fit.

The Belgian has endured an injury-ravaged debut campaign since a move from Chelsea for £90 million, which could rise to £130m.

The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances, scoring once and assisting five times.

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“My first season at Madrid has been bad but not all of it,” Hazard told RTBF.

“It’s been a season of adaptation. I’ll be judged on the second one.”

Hazard is now focused on using the break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic to get himself fit. 

“It’s up to me to be in good shape next year. The group is good; it’s been a great experience for me. I still have four years on my contract,” Hazard added.

“We’ll have another year in 2021, which is a shame, but my ankle will allow me to get back in shape.

“I think it’s difficult for the fans because they want to see an international tournament every summer, which is a shame for them. But I also think there are priorities in life.”

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Kevin de Bruyne’s ex-girlfriend ‘cheated on him’ with Thibaut Courtois

Kevin de Bruyne snatched a 2-1 win for Manchester City away at Real Madrid tonight by firing a penalty past Thibaut Courtois – the Belgium team-mate who once had an affair with his girlfriend.

City picked up a crucial victory at the Bernabeu, coming from behind to register two away goals in the first leg of their last-16 showdown.

Isco broke the deadlock for Los Blancos on the hour mark, but Gabriel Jesus headed the visitors level with 20 minutes remaining.

And when Dani Carvajal brought down Raheem Sterling in the box after 83 minutes, the referee pointed to the spot and allowed De Bruyne to send Courtois the wrong way from 12 yards.

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De Bruyne managed to get one over on Courtois, then, eight years after the Madrid goalkeeper had an affair with his girlfriend.

Caroline Lijnen spoke out on her fling with Courtois back in 2014, insisting she strayed towards him in 2012 after De Bruyne had his own affair with her best friend.

“Kevin cheated on me,” she told Belgian publication Story Magazine.

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“I did not say anything for months because I couldn't say anything, as Kevin's parents said they would take legal action if I gave my story

“I was under pressure and I could not have contact with Kevin.

“I respected everything. But in his book Keep it Simple Kevin wrote a passage about my affair with Thibaut. So, I decided to remain silent no longer.

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“In the summer of 2012, Kevin told me that he had an affair with my old best friend. I gave him the choice: her or me. I was ready to give him another chance, but our relationship was never the same afterwards.

“[I then went to Madrid, and even] Kevin thought that this trip was a good idea. I asked him beforehand. But then something happened that should never have happened.

“That evening, Thibaut offered me what I had not received during a three-year relationship with Kevin. With Thibaut, I could talk about anything and everything and he had even prepared me a delicious meal. Kevin never did it for me.

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“Kevin had deceived me and I thought ‘Why shouldn't I do that too?’”

De Bruyne was said to have been ‘devastated’ after the incident, but the midfielder has seemingly patched up his differences with Courtois.

The pair were on the same books at Chelsea at the time in 2012, although Courtois was out on loan at Atletico Madrid.

  • Manchester City FC
  • Real Madrid FC
  • Chelsea FC

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Man City’s comeback at Real Madrid banishes doubt over Pep Guardiola’s selection

Just when Manchester City needed a miracle it duly came from the man called Jesus on a biblical night for Pep Guardiola at the Bernabeu.

Garbriel Jesus inspired Guardiola's men to a thrilling second half comeback to secure a stunning 2-1 triumph over Real Madrid and take full control of this Champions League last 16 tie.

Kevin De Bruyne notched the winner from the penalty spot after substitute Raheem Sterling had been tripped, to leave the Spanish giants in disarray and ending the clash with 10 men following the dismissal of captain Sergio Ramos.

But after an hour it all looked quite bleak for the visitors, who fell behind to Isco's first goal of the season following a horrendous mistake by Kyle Walker.

Guardiola's men were made to pay for wasting a glut of chances to leave the City boss bracing himself for some pain on his return to Spain – until two goals in five mad minutes turned the tie on its head.

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Guardiola's team selection before kick off did nothing to dispel the theory he tends to overthink things in big European games like these.

The Spaniard, who made two changes, left Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Sterling on the bench for what was without doubt the biggest game of City's season.

The last team to leave Sterling on the bench for a game in the Bernabeu, Liverpool, saw him leave them that summer to join City in a £50m deal.

City might have arrived in the Spanish capital in confident mood, but the size of their task was huge.

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Real had not lost to an English side on home soil since going down to Liverpool 11 years ago, Zidane had won all 12 of his knockout ties as boss while the 13-time winners had scored at least one goal in their past 22 knockout matches in the Bernabeu.

Ironically the last boss to stop them finding the back of the net was Guardiola when in charge of Barcelona in 2011, the year he last lifted the trophy with the big ears.

Guardiola might have delivered five trophies since taking charge, including five of the last six domestic ones available, but landing the biggest one of all was what he was hired for and it has eluded him, piling the pressure on like never before.

Throw into the mix the European ban and fact he has given no indication he will extend his contract beyond the end of next season and this could well prove to be his last crack as City boss.

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It was City who threatened first on 21 minutes when De Bruyne picked out Jesus in space, but his powerful strike was well blocked by Thibaut Courtois before De Bruyne blazed high and wide himself.

But Real should have gone ahead on 31 minutes when Karim Benzema's downward header was parried straight into the path of Vinicius Junior by Ederson, but the Brazilian international slipped at the crucial moment and a glorious chance had gone.

Casemiro hacked Jesus's shot off his own line on the stroke of half-time and City continued the pressure after the break when Mahrez shot wide and was twice denied by the excellent Courtois.

The saves were to prove costly when the stalemate was broken on the hour mark by Isco, who produced a clinical finish to punish City after Kyle Walker's defensive error had gifted the ball to Viniscus Junior.

But City climbed off the canvas to stun home fans when Jesus rose above Ramos to head in the equaliser before Dani Carvajal felled Sterling and De Bruyne made no mistake from the spot.

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REAL MADRID (4-3-3): COURTOIS 8; Carvajal 6, Varane 7, Ramos 7, Mendy 7; Valverde 6, Casemiro 7, Modric 6 (Vazquez 82); Vinicius Junior 7 (Bale 75); Benzema 6, Isco 6 (Jovic 82). Subs: Areola, Militao, Kroos, Marcelo.

MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): Ederson 7; Walker 6, Otamendi 7, Laporte 7 (Fernandinho 32, 7), Mendy 6; Mahrez 7, Gundogan 7, Rodrigo 8, JESUS 9; De Bruyne 8, Bernardo 8 (Sterling 74). Subs: Bravo, Aguero, Silva, Cancelo, Foden.

REFEREE: Daniele Orsato (Italy) 7

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Arsene Wenger outlines how much Real Madrid are missing Cristiano Ronaldo goals

Arsene Wenger has outlined just how much Real Madrid are missing Cristiano Ronaldo 's goals in attack.

The Portuguese superstar spent nine trophy-laden years at the Bernabeu, netting 451 goals for the club.

His 2018 departure for Italian champions Juventus rocked the footballing world and left Madrid with a huge void to fill up front.

Ronaldo has never really been replaced in Spain, as Wenger pointed out this evening.

"The last time Real Madrid won La Liga, 2016/17, they scored 106 goals," the Frenchman said on beIN Sports this evening ahead of Madrid's clash with Manchester City.

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"[In] 17/18, they scored 94 goals.

"2018, Ronaldo went and last year they scored 62 goals.

"This year, on the model they are expected to score 69 goals. So they have a deficit of 40 goals.

"Because their best goalscorer today is Benzema today, with 13 goals. And their second best goalscorer is Ramos. The central defender with five goals.

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"Hazard, one goal. Vinicius one goal. They have no goals from the flanks.

"They have improved their defensive record, they currently have the best defence in La Liga.

"But offensively, Madrid, you expect them to score between 80 and 100 goals.

"And at the moment they have a deficit of 30 goals and that's what it is at the moment."

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Ronaldo has enjoyed a fantastic start to life in Turin.

The attacker has netted 53 times in 71 appearances for Juventus.

And Ronaldo has bagged in 11 consecutive Serie A games for the club, matching a record set by David Trezeguet.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Real Madrid FC
  • Arsene Wenger
  • Pep Guardiola
  • Sergio Aguero
  • Champions League
  • La Liga
  • Serie A
  • Spain

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Real Madrid v Man City prediction: How will Champions League fixture play out tonight?

Premier League reigning champions Manchester City face 13-time European champions Real Madrid tonight in one of the heavyweight contests of the Champions League round of 16. 

These two teams last met in the Champions League semi-final back in May 2016, where Real advanced to the final after a 1-0 aggregate win, courtesy of a Fernando own goal.

The pressure for City to do well in the Champions League this season has increased in recent days after it was announced that they are set to face a ban from the competition for the next two years. 

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City come into the game on the back of an impressive 1-0 win away to Leicester after Gabriel Jesus’ late winner, while Real were stunned in a 1-0 defeat against Levante at the weekend. 

Here’s our prediction for the first leg and everything else you need to know about the game. 

What time is Real Madrid v Manchester City? 

The match kicks off at 8pm GMT at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. 

How can I watch on TV?

The game will be shown live on TV in the UK, and can be watched on BT Sport 2 – coverage starts at 7pm. 

Can I stream it online?

Yes, BT Sport subscribers will be able to stream the match online via the video player and BT Sport app. 

Team news

Raheem Sterling is expected to be available for selection, while Leroy Sane, who damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in City’s Community Shield win over Liverpool is unlikely to be risked. 

Belgian star Eden Hazard will be unavailable after fracturing his ankle for the second time in Madrid career at the weekend. Marco Asensio is still recovering from a serious knee injury which he suffered during pre-season, whilst Gareth Bale is likely to feature after missing the Levante game through illness. 

Predicted line-ups

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modrid; Isco, Bale, Benzema. (4-3-3). 

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; B.Silva, Sterling, Aguero. (4-3-3). 

Prediction? 

Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester City. Real always seem to find a way in Europe and therefore it is expected that they will take a narrow advantage to the Etihad for the second leg. 

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Real Madrid vs Man City: Zinedine Zidane hails Pep Guardiola before Champions League tie

The big Champions League meeting on Wednesday night sees Real Madrid host Manchester City in their round-of-16 first leg, where two of the most successful modern managers will go head to head for the first time.

Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola were rivals on the pitch in their playing days with Real and Barcelona, but this will be a first meeting for the pair in the dugout.

The Premier League team are among the favourites to win the European crown this season, while Real won three successive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018.

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Both teams have habitually spent big in the pursuit of domestic and Continental success, but both have also looked to their inspirational head coaches to gain an advantage over rivals.

Despite having won more European titles – three to Guardiola’s two – Zidane feels Guardiola who is the best in the game.


Ranking net transfer spending in world football





1/20 20. VFB Stuttgart

2/20 19. AS Saint-Etienne

3/20 18. Girondins Bordeaux

4/20 17. Genoa

5/20 16. Atalanta

6/20 15. KRC Genk

7/20 14. Swansea City

8/20 13. Dinamo Zagreb

9/20 12. Crystal Palace

10/20 11. CA Paranaense

11/20 10. Empoli

12/20 9. PSV Eindhoven

13/20 8. Sampdoria

14/20 7. TSG Hoffenheim

15/20 6. LOSC Lille

16/20 5. RB Salzburg

17/20 4. Sporting CP

18/20 3. Ajax

19/20 2. SL Benfica

20/20 1. Chelsea

1/20 20. VFB Stuttgart

2/20 19. AS Saint-Etienne

3/20 18. Girondins Bordeaux

4/20 17. Genoa

5/20 16. Atalanta

6/20 15. KRC Genk

7/20 14. Swansea City

8/20 13. Dinamo Zagreb

9/20 12. Crystal Palace

10/20 11. CA Paranaense

11/20 10. Empoli

12/20 9. PSV Eindhoven

13/20 8. Sampdoria

14/20 7. TSG Hoffenheim

15/20 6. LOSC Lille

16/20 5. RB Salzburg

17/20 4. Sporting CP

18/20 3. Ajax

19/20 2. SL Benfica

20/20 1. Chelsea

Zidane feels Guardiola has “proved” that he is the best in the world with all three of his clubs so far, but rather than being fearful of coming up against a master tactician he says it is a source of inspiration.

“First with Barcelona, then with Munich, now with Man City. That’s my opinion. Some people can think other coaches are better but for me, he is the best.

“Obviously we are inspired by what he’s done. That motivates us even more. We’re not afraid of playing against Guardiola or his teams.”

Before taking over as boss at Real, Zidane spent time monitoring Guardiola’s approach and tactics, particularly with regard to man management – and was left impressed.

“I’ve mentioned before that I’ve spent a few days with him when he was at Bayern, talking about training, how to manage a team, and he was quite honest, quite open, and I learned a lot talking with him.”

Real Madrid sit second in LaLiga and have won only one of their last four games in all competitions, having previously been on a run of eight successive victories.

City are also second in England’s top flight, but the gap between themselves and Liverpool in first is 22 points, compared to just two points between Real and Barcelona.

Last season in Europe, a meeting between Zidane and Guardiola was possible at the semi-final stage, but Real lost in the last 16 to Ajax and City were knocked out by Spurs in the quarters.

A much-anticipated meeting of minds between the two should provide plenty of entertainment and talking points on the pitch, but the respect between them is already evident off it.

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Real Madrid star Toni Kroos opens up on Man Utd and Liverpool transfer talks

Real Madrid star Toni Kroos has reflected on the time he held transfer talks with Manchester United and Liverpool ahead of his move to the Bernabeu in the summer of 2014.

Liverpool were the first Premier League side to make contract with Kroos, who was then setting the world alight for Bayern Munich.

However, the Reds sold their talismanic striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £75million which made them a much weaker proposition.

Some of that cash was to be reinvested in another attacking force and Kroos was touted as a target.

“It wasn’t a straight chat-up line but they offered to tell me more about the club and so on,” Kroos said of his conversation with Liverpool chiefs.

The German was open to moving to Anfield after receiving texts from Steve Gerrard and Suarez – but there was a secret lurking in the shadows.

Kroos added, laughing: “The funny thing was, Suarez was about to leave to Barcelona anyway.”

United, under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, then opened negotiations with the midfielder.

However, results on the pitch were not up to scratch and Moyes was axed with Louis van Gaal brought in as his replacement.

“David Moyes had come to see me and the contract had basically been done,” Kroos added.

“But then Moyes was fired and Louis van Gaal came in, which complicated matters.

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“Louis wanted time to build his own project. I didn’t hear anything from United for a while and started having doubts.”

While all this was bubbling in the background Kroos went on to win the World Cup with Germany.

That led to interest from then-Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti and the rest is history.

“Then the World Cup started and Carlo Ancelotti called,” Kroos reflected. “And that was it.”

Real’s standards have dropped since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in 2018.

“A lot of us didn’t play our best football last season,” Kroos admits.

“After three Champions League wins in a row, you could perhaps expect to lose a bit of sharpness and it took us time to adjust to the loss of the 40 or 50 goals Cristiano Ronaldo guaranteed each year.

“But at Real Madrid, that’s unacceptable. When we were knocked out by Ajax [in the last 16], many suggested that was the end of this team.

“We were written off as over the hill but that only provided extra motivation for us to prove them all wrong.”

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Real Madrid keen on Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne transfers

Real Madrid will be lining up moves for Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne.

That’s according to Premier League legend Alan Shearer, who reckons the Manchester City superstars will be firmly on Real’s wishlist.

The Premier League heavyweights are facing a two-season ban from the Champions League after failing to comply with financial fair play rules.

City’s woes has led to speculation that a player exodus could be on the cards.

Sterling hinted that he’d welcome a move to Real during an interview with a Spanish publication last week.

And with City and Los Blancos set to battle it out for supremacy in Europe’s elite competition on Wednesday, both Sterling and De Bruyne will have a chance to impress.

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“It certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were interested in signing him,” Shearer told The Sun .

“Sterling wouldn’t look out of place in their team – despite the stellar names Zinedine Zidane can call upon.

“His game under Pep Guardiola has gone to another level in the past couple of years.

“He’s added more goals and assists, while his all-round positional play is superb.

“Don’t forget he’s still only 25, so he should have his best years ahead of him.

“I don’t see the Champions League tie as an audition – he will want to put on a show regardless to help City into the quarter-finals.

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“Yet you don’t need to be a genius to work out the impact of City being banned from Europe for two years if they fail with their appeal.

“Whether it is Sterling or another star like Kevin De Bruyne, it doesn’t matter what they may claim – they will want to be playing in Europe. Rival clubs will know that, too.”

City edged past Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

De Bruyne featured in the 1-0 win but Sterling was rested for the crunch Real clash.

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Alan Shearer addresses Gareth Bale saga at Real Madrid with Man City prediction

Manchester City will need to be wary of the threat posed by Gareth Bale should he be passed fit to start in their Champions League meeting.

That is the view of Premier League legend Alan Shearer, who has noted Eden Hazard’s absence as a chance for the Wales skipper to prove his worth amid a period of uncertainty.

Pep Guardiola’s men travel to the Bernabeu this week with the chance to put some of their Premier League disappointment behind them with Liverpool poised to take their crown of two seasons.

Bale could return from illness to replace the injured Hazard in Zinedine Zidane’s front three, and Shearer has earmarked the occasion as a chance for him to shine on the big stage once more.

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The Newcastle hero wrote in his column for The Sun: “I’m expecting a great game and with the number of brilliant players on the pitch, goals are guaranteed.

“It’s a tough match to call but Real have suffered a big blow with the loss of Eden Hazard with a broken ankle.

“He’s struggled with injuries since joining but when one door closes, another one opens – and that brings us to Gareth Bale.

“He came close to leaving for China last year but I totally get why he wants to stay in Madrid.

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“I don’t get the criticism of him. Look at what he’s achieved there and how he’s helped them win all those trophies, including that stunning overhead kick to win the 2018 final against Liverpool.

“If Bale gets a chance on Wednesday night, it is a great chance for him to remind everyone of his talents.

“City’s defence has struggled this season and they would certainly be wary of his goal threat.”

The 30-year-old forward almost moved to China last summer and Zidane was open about his desire for the former Spurs winger to leave his club.

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Bale has failed to recapture the form of his early days in the Spanish capital in recent seasons, with his current tally of three goals set to make it his worse campaign in front of goal in ten years.

With that in mind, Shearer has also predicted a transfer battle over City’s Raheem Sterling, who noted his desire to ply his trade in Spain later in his career.

He said: “It certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were interested in signing him.

“Sterling wouldn’t look out of place in their team – despite the stellar names Zinedine Zidane can call upon.”

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Ronaldo equals Italy goal record in 1,000th game

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo equalled a Serie A record of scoring in 11 consecutive matches against SPAL — a game which is being recognised as his 1,000th career appearance.

Ronaldo put Juve 1-0 ahead against SPAL as he equalled the record set by Gabriel Batistuta with Fiorentina in the 1994-95 season and matched by Fabio Quagliarella with Sampdoria in the last campaign.

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However, it is worth noting that only Batistuta played and scored in 11 consecutive matches, with Ronaldo having missed the 2-0 victory over Brescia last weekend. His last league match without a goal was the 1-0 victory over AC Milan on Nov. 10.

Only one other active player — Juventus teammate Gianluigi Buffon, with 1,088 matches — has notched 1,000 career appearances. Ronaldo’s total, however, includes two games with Sporting CP’s B team in 2002 and 2003, leading to a dispute about their inclusion.

Ronaldo, 35, started his career at Sporting CP, who he appeared for 31 times for the first team, with his debut having come before the first of those two B-team games.

He joined Manchester United in 2003 and made 292 appearances before moving to Real Madrid in 2009, for whom he turned out for 438 times.

The five-time Ballon d’Or-winner has been at Juventus since 2018 and this is his 73rd match. He has 164 caps for Portugal.

Ronaldo has won the Champions League on five occasions — once with United and four times with Madrid. At international level, he captained Portugal to success at Euro 2016.

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