Valencia hand Zidane first defeat after returning as Real Madrid manager

Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 by Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday night.

In a low key first half of few chances, Goncalo Guedes scored only his second La Liga goal of the season, collecting Carlos Soler’s pass and firing home from the edge of the area on 34 minutes.

Zidane looked to change things after the break, introducing Gareth Bale and Isco, but Valencia goal keeper Neto was in good form – making saves from Marcelo and Marco Asensio.

Los Che secured all three points with just four minutes left, a Ezequiel Garay powered home a header from Dani Parejo’s cross.

The visitors did pull a goal back in added time as Karim Benzema nodded home a corner from Croatian midfielder Luka Modric.

HT: Chelsea 1-0 Brighton… Giroud, Hudson-Odoi, Hazard make the difference

Chelsea have dominated the ball and probably deserve their lead, despite looking a bit laboured in possession at times.


Giroud’s goal separates the two sides with Brighton still believing they could salvage something from this match.

There have been bright moments from Hazard and Hudson-Odoi on the flanks in particular, and the latter’s skill saw him set up Giroud for the game’s only goal so far.

Chelsea lead 1-0 at the break.

Brighton looked to be containing Chelsea fairly well with their deep, compact shape, and a glaring Hazard miss aside, there have not been too many clear-cut chances for the hosts.
Having gone behind, however, they will surely have to alter their game-plan at some point and be more aggressive.

Manchester United set to hijack Manchester City move for Atletico Madrid star

Reports in England claim Manchester United are set beat Guardiola’s Manchester City to Atletico Madrid’s star Saul Niguez.

According to ESPN FC, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side see Saul as a good fit to partner Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba in midfield.

United scouts, the reports add, have been closely monitoring the development of Saul since his impressive loan spell at Rayo Vallecano in the 2013-14 campaign.

Old Trafford officials are aware about the difficulty of the negotiations with Atletico set to demand Saul’s full €150 million release clause, part of a deal the 24-year-old midfielder signed in 2017 which commits him to Atletico until 2026.

Los Colchoneros have already sold defender Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich for €80m and are preparing for a busy summer transfer window with Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Antoine Griezmann and Rodri facing uncertain futures at the club.

City have also considered the signing of Saul as officials at the Etihad Stadium value his versatility to adapt to different roles in midfield and defence.

Guardiola is said to believe Rodri would be more suited for the position as the 22-year-old is the real holding midfielder at Atletico Madrid with Saul playing in a more advanced role and even as a full-back and a centre-back.

Although Atletico want to keep Rodri they will be unable to stop City triggering his €70m release clause, which the Premier League side view as affordable for a player his age.


Frenkie de Jong: Why I signed for Barcelona and rejected Tottenham

Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong has revealed the rationale for signing for the Catalan club and rejecting Tottenham’s offer last year.

The Dutch international will join the Catalan giants in an €86m deal from Ajax this summer after prolonged speculation regarding his future.

“It was not the right moment, I was injured and I thought ‘not yet’, I felt that I had to stay at least one more year in Ajax,” De Jong told Four Four Two, as cited by El Mundo Deportivo.

“I considered the offer long and hard. It’s a very stable club and it’s going to be better. They also have a manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who is committed to young people and makes them better.

“I like the kind of game they play with and I think it would have been right for my game.

“I always wanted to play in Barcelona and the amount they were willing to pay to Ajax for me showed me this seriousness. I felt I had to take the opportunity because I would not have it again.”


Cristiano Ronaldo identifies key reason why Zidane Real Madrid’s perfect manager

Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has disclosed the key reasons why Zinedine Zidane is the Real Madrid’s best manager.

The Frenchman made a dramatic return to the Spanish giants last month, having walked out on the club last summer, after being handed more power by president Florentino Perez.

According to Ronaldo, the man management skills of Zidane stands him out as the perfect Real Madrid manager.

He led Madrid to back-to-back successes in La Liga, and is expected to make major changes this summer.

Now Ronaldo – who left the club for Juventus shortly after Zidane’s departure last summer, having won three Champions League titles together – has spoken on his former manager, reports, the Mirror.

“I think Zidane knows how to handle the team in an intelligent way,” said Ronaldo , speaking in a documentary to be broadcast on Wednesday called ‘Zidane, Realement Madrid’ that RMC Sport 1 .

“It’s not an easy situation because all the players like to play a lot.

“But he knows how to work intelligently and he manages to involve all the team.”

Messi, Suarez’s quick-fire goals rescue Barcelona at the death

Two goals in the last three minutes from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez secured an incredible point for Barcelona in a thrilling 4-4 draw away at Villarreal on Tuesday night.

Messi came off the bench to turn the game in Barcelona’s favour in the final stages, but the finale was unlike anything witnessed in La Liga this season, as Villarreal were left heartbroken.

In an action packed game in Castellon, Barcelona flew out of the blocks and into a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes with Philippe Coutinho slotting home from close range on 13 minutes – following a flying run and cross from Brazilian compatriot Malcom – before the former Bordeaux man nodded home his first La Liga goal three minutes later.

The hosts looked shell shocked, but Nigerian teenager Samuel Chukwueze, who was impressive throughout, reduced the deficit before the break, after his initial shot hit the post.

The game continued at a high tempo after the break, and Toko Ekambi hauled Villarreal level shortly after the restart, catching out Barcelona keeper Marc Ter Stegen with a composed finish from a tight angle.

Former Leicester City midfielder Vicente Iborra made it 3-2 with a fine finish on 62 minutes, stealing in behind a static Barcelona defence, before with substitute Carlos Bacca raced onto Santi Cazorla’s pass on 80 minutes, to round Ter Stegen, and make it 4-2.

However Messi, who only came on with half an hour remaining, netted an excellent free kick on 89 minutes after he was upended by Victor Ruiz, to set up a tense finale.

With just seconds remaining, Villarreal failed to clear a corner properly, and Suarez fired home a superb half volley from the edge of the area with the last kick of an incredible tie.