Can Real Madrid win the La Liga title next season?

santiago-bernabeu2

Santiago-Bernabeu1” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ungry Young Man 

Last season, Zinedine Zidane masterminded Real Madrid to a record eleventh European Cup triumph as they emerged victorious on penalties against city rivals Atletico. But now Los Blancos will turn their attention to the upcoming La Liga campaign as they look to break Barcelona’s grip on the Spanish title. Luis Enrique’s men have finished top of the tree in six of the last eight years but Zidane’s Real could pip Barca to the crown next season if they can maintain momentum throughout the summer.

Real will be looking to build on their recent Champions League success and Zidane will be quietly confident ahead of what could be a very positive year for his Madrid side. At the time of writing, Betway Bookmakers are offering 5/4 on Zidane’s men to win a 33rd league title next season – an achievement that would see Los Blancos extend their record as Spain’s most successful club. If nothing else, Real have the potential to challenge on multiple fronts in the 2016-17 campaign and it is certainly an exciting time to be a Madrid supporter.

The Spanish giants have been very quiet in the transfer window so far but it is only a matter of time before Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane start making moves. Los Blancos still haven’t given up on signing Juventus midfielder and Manchester United target Paul Pogba and the Frenchman would be the perfect addition to Real’s squad. The youngster is widely regarded as one of Europe’s top prospects and Madrid should do everything in their power to convince Pogba to move to the Bernabeu before the transfer window slams shut.

If Real manage to sign Pogba, they suddenly become favourites for the La Liga title – that’s how good the Frenchman is. Zidane’s side are still capable of winning the league without him but the Juve man would give them a completely new dimension in midfield. Just imagine Pogba lining up next to Luca Modric and Toni Kroos in midfield? It’s almost unfair. Real’s aspirations don’t lie purely on whether they sign the dominant Juventus star or not but he certainly couldn’t hinder their chances of pipping Barcelona to the crown.

Reports in the media suggest that Real have pulled out of the race to sign Pogba but you can never be too sure with Perez – he’s a wily old fox. Having said that, Real’s current crop of midfielders are competent footballers and they are all capable of playing a crucial role for Madrid as they hunt yet another major crown. There are plenty of emerging stars coming through the ranks and Zidane may look to trust his younger players – especially as he trained with a handful of them during his tenure with the Real Madrid B team.

But Zidane’s men cannot afford to slack in the Champions League. Madrid have an obvious affinity with the European Cup and their supporters view this competition above all others. Whilst it would be nice to finally get their hands back on the La Liga title and end Barcelona’s era of dominance, defending the Champions League crown has to remain the number one priority next season. The board and club hierarchy may think differently but for Real Madrid’s fans and entire ethos, European success is absolutely vital.

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El Real Madrid gana la Undécima Champio” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  El Coleccionista de Instantes 

The La Liga title is within touching distance and Real are well set to challenge Barcelona once again but Los Blancos should be wary of slipping up in the Champions League. After all, a 12th European Cup triumph would almost certainly keep Madrid at the summit of world football…

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07 2016
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'They told me I would die' – Cicinho reveals battle with alcoholism

The Brazilian was frank about his previous problems with addiction during an interview, stating that he almost lost his life after a heavy drinking session before recovering

Former Real Madrid full-back Cicinho has revealed how he was warned he was putting his life in danger due to excessive drinking.

The 36-year-old, who most recently played for Turkish club Sivasspor, was part of Madrid’s LaLiga title-winning side of 2006-07 before he joined Roma, but his career tailed off after an initially promising spell in the Italian capital.

Unsuccessful loan deals with Sao Paulo and Villarreal followed before he spent a year back in Brazil with Sport Recife, prior to his move to Turkey.

The defender has now described the extent of his problems with alcohol, telling ESPN Brasil: “I’m a guy who can’t sit and have one or two glasses. I have to drink until I fall over.


GOALREAD MORE  | ‘Mou can be new Sir Alex’


“They said to me: ‘if you keep going with this life, you will die’. And I had an encounter with Jesus after 18 caipirinhas and 14 ‘long necks’ [of beer].”

Cicinho, who won the Confederations Cup with Brazil in 2005, went on to criticise the attitude of players within the national team following their disappointing performance at the Copa America Centenario, where they were knocked out in the group stage with just one win from three games.

“These days, we’re all concerned with selfies, with hair and all these things,” he said.

“There’s style all right, but the Brazilian team needs more attitude. You see players asking not to play in the Copa America. That shouldn’t be!”

19

07 2016
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Cristiano Ronaldo vows to come back stronger after knee injury

The Blancos forward was forced off during the first half of the Euro 2016 final which ultimately went in his team’s favour, and insisted his recovery was going well

Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has vowed to return bigger and better for the 2016-17 season after suffering a knee injury at the European Championships earlier in July.

A tearful Ronaldo was carried from the field after sustaining a knee problem in the first half of Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph over host nation France in Paris.

Ronaldo suffered the injury following a crunching tackle from Dimitri Payet, with reports claiming the 31-year-old could miss Madrid’s start to the LaLiga season.

But Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer took to Instagram to insist he is on the comeback trail.

 

 

A video posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

“Hi everyone! I just wanted to thank all my fans,” Ronaldo said in the video, having been seen on holiday with his left knee in a brace.

“I wanted to tell them that all is well and that I will come back much stronger.

“Thank you, long live Portugal!”

Ronaldo and a robust Payet collided early at the Stade de France, with the former’s knee bearing the brunt of the force.

After limping off the field, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner tried to continue playing but he was unsuccessful, though Portugal still managed to go on and win thanks to substitute Eder’s 109th-minute strike.

19

07 2016
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Madrid squad size makes James situation complicated – Zidane

The former Porto and Monaco playmaker has been rumoured to be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, and his boss cannot guarantee he will take a first XI role next season

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says the size of his squad makes the subject of James Rodriguez’s future “complicated”.

Rodriguez has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in recent weeks, even reportedly attracting the interest of ambitious Premier League outfit West Ham.

Zidane appears reluctant to allow the Colombia international to leave but concedes he may not be able to offer him regular first-team football.

“The idea with James is the same as with everyone else – he’s a Real Madrid player,” said Zidane.

“I’m not going to tell you that James is a starter. He’s an important player. We’ll see what happens this year, I have a big squad and it’s complicated.”

Madrid bolstered their attacking ranks by re-signing Alvaro Morata from Juventus last month, but Zidane was just as cautious about talking up the returning striker’s role in the team.


GOALREAD MORE  | Real Madrid’s friendlies this summer


“He [Morata] is one more player in the team,” he added. “He knows what Madrid is and we’re happy to see Alvaro with us.

“We’re going to have a much bigger squad and everyone will be important. He’ll be one more.”

Discussing Jese Rodriguez’s first-team prospects, Zidane explained: “Last year he [Jese] didn’t have many minutes.

“I like him, I like him a lot as a player. He can have minutes here, he knows his quality.”

Madrid begin their LaLiga season at Real Sociedad on August 21.

18

07 2016
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Madrid squad size makes Jame situation complicated – Zidane

The former Porto and Monaco playmaker has been rumoured to be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu, and his boss cannot guarantee he will take a first XI role next season

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says the size of his squad makes the subject of James Rodriguez’s future “complicated”.

Rodriguez has been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu in recent weeks, even reportedly attracting the interest of ambitious Premier League outfit West Ham.

Zidane appears reluctant to allow the Colombia international to leave but concedes he may not be able to offer him regular first-team football.

“The idea with James is the same as with everyone else – he’s a Real Madrid player,” said Zidane.

“I’m not going to tell you that James is a starter. He’s an important player. We’ll see what happens this year, I have a big squad and it’s complicated.”

Madrid bolstered their attacking ranks by re-signing Alvaro Morata from Juventus last month, but Zidane was just as cautious about talking up the returning striker’s role in the team.


GOALREAD MORE  | Real Madrid’s friendlies this summer


“He [Morata] is one more player in the team,” he added. “He knows what Madrid is and we’re happy to see Alvaro with us.

“We’re going to have a much bigger squad and everyone will be important. He’ll be one more.”

Discussing Jese Rodriguez’s first-team prospects, Zidane explained: “Last year he [Jese] didn’t have many minutes.

“I like him, I like him a lot as a player. He can have minutes here, he knows his quality.”

Madrid begin their LaLiga season at Real Sociedad on August 21.

18

07 2016
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