'Benzema is harder to play against than Luis Suarez'

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has explained why the Real Madrid striker is trickier to defend against than the much-lauded Barcelona forward


Rio Ferdinand claims Karim Benzema is a harder striker to defend against than Luis Suarez.

Suarez ended the season with 59 goals in 53 appearances this season, while Benzema, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday, has scored 28 times in 36 games.

But Ferdinand believes the France international’s movement is what sets him apart against the Barcelona forward.

“From personal experience playing against both of those players, I found it harder to play against him [Benzema],” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“Because he was very cute, he was very efficient in all areas, off his right and left foot, his movement was cute.

“And sometimes you don’t see it glaringly, but he does cute little things that take you out of position that other players can exploit. And when he gets the ball he’s got a quick trigger.

“Suarez is equally as difficult but I just found him [Benzema] a little bit more.”

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05 2016
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Emerson warns Morata against Real Madrid return

The Spanish striker has enjoyed great success since leaving the Bernabeu, and Emerson believes moving back at this time could prove a big mistake

Former Brazil international Emerson has warned Alvaro Morata to think twice about leaving Juventus for a return to Real Madrid.

Spain international Morata has won back-to-back domestic doubles since joining the Italian champions from Madrid for a reported €20million fee in 2014.

The striker’s contract contains a release clause which would allow Madrid to buy him back, however, and widespread reports in Spain suggest the newly crowned European champions could exercise the option before either integrating him back into the squad or selling him on..

But Emerson, who left Juve for Madrid in 2006 but returned to Serie A with AC Milan just a year later, says Morata may well be better off fighting to stay in Turin.

“I’d tell Morata to think twice before leaving Juventus for Real Madrid,” he told Tuttosport.


GOALREAD MORE  | Zidane & Ronaldo can take Real forward


“Real Madrid are a team that every player dreams of. I lived that dream, so I know the environment and how difficult it is to play there.

“It was very different to Italy in terms of mentality and that made me struggle in the first few months.

“This is why I tell Morata to think twice and carefully consider the situation. Real Madrid are the top, but Juve have found a calm about them, with an atmosphere around the club that helps to protect the players.

“In Madrid, if you don’t score for two games, you are considered unimportant, some kind of pointless extra. Morata would not be given the kind of consideration he receives at Juve.”

Juve have been heavily linked with deals for Barcelona defensive duo Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano, but Emerson believes his compatriot could find it tough to adapt to Serie A if he chose to move.

“Dani has done stratospheric things with Barca, but Serie A and La Liga are two very different leagues,” he said. “Of course he has great quality, but playing for a team like Barca, who are at the top of Europe, is perhaps easier than in other realities.”

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05 2016
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Tiago has 'no doubt' over Simeone's Atletico future

The Argentine said he will think about his future at Vicente Calderon, but Tiago is confident that he will ultimately stay for the 2016-17 campaign

Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago says he is certain Diego Simeone will stay on as head coach next season.

Former Argentina international Simeone acknowledged after Saturday’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid he will be forced to consider his position at the Vicente Calderon.

Midfielder Koke said Simeone’s admission came as a surprise but expressed his confidence the coach will not look to move on before the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

And Tiago gave short shrift to suggestions Simeone’s exit could be hastened in the wake of a second Champions League final loss to Madrid in three seasons.


GOALREAD MORE  | Simeone’s soldiers will battle back


“I have no doubt,” he replied to the media when asked if Simeone will stay.

Atletico defender Diego Godin, meanwhile, claimed his team-mates will respond from the disappointment of San Siro and fight for further success next year.

“It’s a tough blow to take but we will pick ourselves up. We always do,” he said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done this year.

“That’s football, it happens, so we look for another opportunity.

“This is a winning group. I’m so proud of my team-mates, we’re going to keep fighting for our objectives and those of the club, the things that we dream of.”

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05 2016
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Ben Arfa wants to match Messi

The forward says he wants to keep improving as a footballer and feels he can reach the level of the Barcelona and Real Madrid stars if he keeps maturing and developing

Nice attacker Hatem Ben Arfa is confident he has what it takes to reach the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ben Arfa enjoyed an impressive 2015-16 campaign, leading Nice to fourth place in the Ligue 1 table with 17 goals in 34 games.

It was not enough to earn him a berth in the France squad for Euro 2016 on home soil, but that disappointment has not stopped the former Lyon, Marseille and Newcastle man from setting some lofty targets.

“I am far away from reaching the level of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but I still have a number of years to catch them. That is my goal,” the 29-year-old told Le Parisien .

“I am not at my best just yet. Everything is possible for me. I feel like I am 24 or 25. I am at an age where I have matured. I have developed and I am ready to take the next step.


GOALREAD MORE  | Ibra has not decided his future yet – Raiola


“I have found a new strength. I have found peace and tranquillity. I am still getting better and working hard to get there. I am convinced that I will get there.

“There are a lot of similarities between Messi and me, the way we dribble and look out there on the pitch. But we each have our own game.

“I am fully focused on football right now. I had a different focus before. This is all part of my development.”

Barcelona and Lyon among the clubs rumoured to interested in signing Ben Arfa on a free transfer when his contract with Nice expires at the end of June.

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05 2016
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Isco: I'll stay if Real Madrid want me

The midfielder says he hopes he will remain at the Santiago Bernabeu following Saturday’s Champions League win but admits the decision lies with the club

Real Madrid midfielder Isco says he wants to stay at the club following their dramatic Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Isco impressed as a substitute in a tense final at San Siro, which Madrid eventually won on penalties after goals from Sergio Ramos and Yannick Carrasco ensured the match finished 1-1 after extra-time.

The Spain international fell out of favour under former coach Rafael Benitez and came close to leaving Santiago Bernabeu in the mid-season transfer window, but he has enjoyed a more sustained first-team role since Zinedine Zidane took charge in January.


GOAL READ MORE  | Zidane and Ronaldo can take Real Madrid forward


And the former Malaga man says he is keen to enjoy more success in the capital as long as the club want him to stay.

“I am very proud of my team. We had a difficult season, but we have never given up, so we deserve it,” he said after the match.

“I hope to stay. If the club wants me here, I will stay. I am very happy here and I hope to keep winning trophies for this club. Zidane has done an amazing job with us.
 
“It is in our DNA to fight to the very last minute. We showed that in La Liga and right now in the Champions League. We have played against a very competitive opponent who made things very difficult, but thank God we can bring the trophy to the Bernabeu.”

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05 2016
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