Kepa Ready to Pen New Deal With Athletic Bilbao After Growing Tired of Waiting for Real Madrid

?Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is ready to bring an end to all the talk of a Real Madrid move and sign a new deal with his current club, according to Spanish outlet ?Marca.

The stopper is said to have grown impatient over Real’s lingering and will accept Athletic’s latest offer to effectively put a stop to all of the speculation surrounding his future.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid - La Liga

The club has been at him to sign a new deal for the last 16 months, and Marca report that he could finally put pen to paper this week, on what could be a five or six-year contract that will see him become one of the club’s three highest earners.

The La Liga side recently tied Inaki s down with a new deal and a raise in wages. And Kepa’s extension is likely to see him earn a figure close to that of the attacker’s new earnings.

Madrid were believed to have ?made Kepa their sole target for the January window, yet French boss Zinedine Zidane has reiterated his intention to keep the club’s doors closed this month.

“We will never have a problem between the club and I,” he said during a press conference on Saturday. “We do things together.

“If you ask me, there is no difference of opinion between the club and this coach. We aren’t going to sign in the winter.”


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Zidane also insisted that he isn’t under any pressure, despite Madrid’s poor form this season.

He said: “It doesn’t worry me and we have the solution, so we must show that we are the same as ever and we have the chance to get back to doing it.”

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01 2018
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Real Madrid 7-1 Deportivo de La Coruña: Real Ease Pressure on Zinedine Zidane With Emphatic Display

Real Madrid thrashed Deportivo de La Coruña 7-1 at the Bernabeu to claim a vital three points and ease the pressure on under-fire boss Zinedine Zidane. 

Madrid headed into the game having failed to win any of their last three league games, and it was Deportivo who took a shock lead in the 23rd minute through a Lopez tap in. Real deservedly equalised in the 23rd minute however, thanks to Nacho’s curling effort. Gareth Bale then grabbed two goals, his first a sumptuous left-footed curler (42) and his second a header (58). 

Modric finished off a flowing move with a fine strike in the 68th minute, and Ronaldo scored two (78, 84) to lift his goals tally to six for the season, before Nacho scored his second and Madrid’s seventh minutes from time. 

Following their fourth defeat in five games, Deportivo remain in 18th place two points off safety. Madrid climb up to 4th in the table, but still remain a massive 16 points behind leaders Barcelona. 

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane opted to make one change from the side which lost 1-0 to Villarreal last weekend, with 20-year-old Borja Mayoral coming in for Isco. Karim Benzema made a return to the Real bench having recovered from a hamstring injury, while Sergio Ramos remained out with a calf problem. 

Deportivo boss Cristobal Parralo made two injury-enforced changes from the side who were defeated 2-1 by Valencia last weekend: Raul Albentosa and Sidnei were replaced by Aldo One and Fabian Schar in the centre of the Branquiazuis’ defence. 

Madrid – who were closer to 18th place Deportivo than league leaders Barcelona heading into the game – carved out their first opportunity of the match in the 4th minute. Gareth Bale did well on the right to whip in a dangerous cross which was met by Ronaldo at the far post, but the Portuguese international was unable to direct his header on goal and his effort flew over the bar from eight yards out. 

Ruben Martinez was forced into his first save just a minute later. Modric cut in a low cross which found Mayoral on the edge of the Depor box, the Spaniard hit a powerful shot but it was too close to Martinez and the keeper managed to make a comfortable save to his right.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

After the fast-paced start from Los Blancos, Deportivo had started to grow into the game and it was the 18th-placed side who were to take a shock lead in the 23rd minute of the game. 

Andonde flicked a header on to Perez on the left, the on-loan Arsenal forward drove to the byline and cut the ball back across goal, leaving Adrian with a simple finish at the back post. 

Real were close to equalising just two minutes later. Marcelo’s cross from the left found a leaping Ronaldo at the far post, the 32-year-old powered his header towards goal, but Ruben managed to palm it away.

Los Blancos came even closer to scoring in the 30th minute. Marcelo was again involved, this time the Brazilian’s fierce shot nearly squirmed past Ruben, but the ball bounced off the post and into the hands of the keeper.

deport

Los Blancos did manage to grab their deserved equaliser in the 32nd minute. After a quick corner on the right, Nacho collected a one-two with the heavily involved Marcelo and curled his shot past Ruben and into the far corner. 

Three minutes before half-time and Zidane’s side took the lead. Marcelo got free down the left and his subsequent looping cross found Bale around 10 yards out on the right. The Welshman nudged the ball to past Andone and curled a sumptuous left-footed effort past the helpless Ruben and into the top corner.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

Madrid started off the second-half on the front foot and nearly made it three in the 52nd minute. Kroos played in Marcelo on the edge of the box, the Brazilian powered a low drive across goal which just missed the sliding Mayoral. 

Los Blancos’ intense pressure told eventually, and the 5th-placed La Liga side scored their third goal in the 58th minute. Kroos whipped in a corner from the left, and Bale leapt highest to nod in his second of the game from six yards out. 

Madrid’s fourth goal came in the 68th minute. Zidane’s side countered through Ronaldo, who played in Modric on the edge of Deportivo’s box, the Croatian international curled his effort past Ruben and into the bottom corner.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

10 minutes later and it was 5-1, with Ronaldo on hand to finish at the back post following Casemiro’s cross from the right. The Portugal international then scored his sixth La Liga goal of the season in the 84th minute. The 32-year-old bravely met Vasquez’s cross from the right and looped his header past Ruben from six yards out.  

Madrid weren’t finished there and, having failed to score in their last two games at home, Zidane’s side made it 7-1 in the 88th minute. A corner from the right deflected off a number of bodies before finding Nacho ten yards out, who turned sharply and finished emphatically to claim his second goal of the game.

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01 2018
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Daniel Levy Adamant Harry Kane Will Remain at Tottenham Despite Real Madrid’s Proposed £200m Offer

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is adamant Harry Kane will remain at the club past the summer, even if they receive a world-record bid from Real Madrid. 

Recent reports suggested that Los Blancos were preparing an offer that would eclipse the £200m paid by Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona last summer to secure the services of Neymar in order to take the England international to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium at the end of this season. 

However, the Spurs chief has claimed the club are prepared to resist any transfer attempt that may come their way from the current ?La Liga title holders, and that they will not be forced into selling any of their players come the conclusion of this campaign. 

“I’m 100 per cent confident. Every single player that we want to keep, I can assure you will be playing for ?Tottenham Hotspur next season”, Levy told Sky Sports.

“Mauricio’s strategy has always been that if an opportunity arises that he thinks can improve the squad then we will need to look at it, but January is always a very difficult window.”

There is little surprise as to why Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane have continued to show interest in Kane, with ?Real currently enduring one of their toughest spells in the club’s recent history.

Ahead of matchday 20, Los Blancos have netted 20 times less than that of league leaders ?Barcelona, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Isco and Marco Asensio all sharing the Madrid’s leading goalscorer charts with four apiece. 

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The 24-year-old would certainly offer the struggling Bernabeu outfit some much needed firepower, having become Spurs’ all-time ?Premier League leading goalscorer earlier this month after netting for the 98th time in the top flight. 

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01 2018
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Dubious Spanish Report Makes Claim That Liverpool Are Set to Bid £100m for Real Madrid Star

?An outrageous report from Spain has contended that Liverpool are set to reinvest their fortune acquired from the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in an audacious swoop for Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale. 

Real have endured a torrid La Liga campaign thus far, and the Welsh forward is believed to be eyeing a move back to the Premier League in the near future.

As reported by (ahem) Don Balón, Liverpool will jump ahead of Manchester United and Spurs in the race to sign the former Premier League ace, as ?Real president Florentino Perez looks to form a new attacking trident and sell off the decorated ‘BBC’.

Jurgen Klopp, however, has made no mention of Bale as a potential target, nor has the Welshman made any indication of a desire to join the Reds.

Real Madrid pulled off a dramatic, last minute against Leganes in their midweek Copa Del Rey quarter-final clash. Marco Asensio’s late goal gave the visitor’s a crucial 1-0 first leg lead, as they look to improve on a dire first half of the 2017/18 campaign. Sitting 19 points off league leaders Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane’s side have all but lost any chance of retaining their title.

The last-gasp win led to some drama on the touchlines, as the ?Leganes kitman earned himself an eight-match ban after launching a foul-mouth tirade at the officials, for what he perceived to be a pro-Real bias. Leganes have never won a major cup competition, and their chances of winning the Copa Del Rey this season are remote after losing the home leg to Los Blancos.


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Liverpool will hope to build upon the momentum gathered from last weekend’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester City – which saw the Reds end the league leader’s hopes of finishing the season unbeaten. The Reds travel to relegation candidates Swansea City this weekend, where they will hope to blow away the strugglers with their potent style of attacking football.

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01 2018
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Real Madrid vs Deportivo de La Coruña Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but things aren’t going too well at the Santiago Bernabéu. The Spanish champions are now technically closer to relegation than they are to Barcelona in the current La Liga standings, with a 19-point gap separating the fierce rivals.

After his team lost 1-0 to Villareal last Sunday, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos ?told BeIN Sports that the team’s main priority is to now focus on qualifying for the Champions League next year.

On top of all that, rumours continue to swirl that talisman ?Cristiano Ronaldo is in the midst of packing his bags, which is just another problem Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane can chuck on his ever-growing pile. 

One factor the Frenchman can take solace in is that the visitors to the Spanish capital on Sunday, Deportivo de La Coruña, aren’t faring too well this season either. Depor are currently 18th in the league and have recorded only one victory in their past seven games – a 1-0 win against Leganes back in mid-December.

Can the Galician’s visit to Santiago Bernabéu offer Zidane some much-needed respite? Here are some points to consider ahead of Sunday’s clash…


Classic Encounters

RC Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

The last time the two teams met made for an eventful encounter, with Madrid picking up a 3-0 win back in August – the first game of the 2017/18 campaign. 

Gareth Bale scored Los Blanco’s first goal of the season for the third campaign in a row on the day, with Casemiro and Kroos bagging a goal a piece as well.

However, jubilation was ceased to a halt when Sergio Ramos earned himself a red card in extra time, which perhaps proved a harbinger for Madrid’s subsequent La Liga downfall.

Another meeting between the two that was definitely one for the goal fest enthusiast – or Real Madrid fan, really – would be when Madrid dished out an 2-8 drubbing back in September 2014. The Madrid goal scorers on the day consisted of Ronaldo, with a hat-trick, Bale and Javier Hernández with a brace respectively, and James Rodríguez with a trademark peach from outside the area.


Key Battle

Gareth Bale vs Lucas Pérez

Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid - La Liga

Madrid have failed to find the back of the net in four of their last eight games, suffering from their usual reliable goal scorer, Ronaldo, enduring a dip in form. The Portuguese striker has found the back of the net just four times in the league this season.

With that in mind, Los Blanco’s famously goal-hungry home fans will be demanding that second-in-command goal threat, Gareth Bale, gets on the score sheet. Zidane left Ronaldo, Bale and Karim Benzema out of the Real Madrid squad for Thursday’s 1-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final win against Leganes. 

This should mean the Welshman will be well and rested, although he is still finding his feet since being sidelined through injury for most of the season.

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Premier League fans will be familiar with Lucas Pérez, who currently plays up top for Deportivo

The 29-year-old Arsenal man, who is currently out on loan, scored only one goal in 11 league appearances for the Gunners last year, but the Spanish striker has clocked four goals and one assist for Deportivo in La Liga – on par with Ronaldo goal-wise. 

While those stats may not strike fear into the hearts of Real Madrid fans, if their team continues to fail to find the back of the net, perhaps the one goal from the Depor forward could clinch a momentous win for the team from the north of Spain, despite Deportivo having won just one of their last 32 La Liga games at the Bernabéu.


Team News

Deportivo La Coruna v Real Madrid - La Liga

All being well, skipper Sergio Ramos should make his return to the starting line-up after being ruled out for a few weeks due to a calf problem. Should he still be injured, fellow Spaniard Nacho Hernandez will be expected to deputise.

With Zidane choosing to rest the BBC during the 1-0 midweek Copa Del Rey win against Leganes, and Karim Benzema reportedly set to return after a hamstring injury, it’s looking like the star-studded front line could be back in full force.

Deportivo manager Cristobal Parralo has no fresh injury concerns heading into the fixture. However, he will be without midfielders Fede Cartabia (long-term injury) and Federico Valverde (ineligible to play due to being on loan from Real).


Prediction

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-VILLARREAL

In all seriousness, while Real Madrid are currently enduring a well-documented rough patch – well, it would have been tough to out-perform last year’s trophy-laden season – it is to be expected that they’ll get that dastardly monkey off their back any match now.

Although Los Blancos lost to Villareal last weekend, it wasn’t for want of trying. Madrid had 28 attempts at goal on the day, more than any other team in La Liga has in a single game this season. 

This reassuring factor, paired with the fact that Depor are floundering at 18th place in the table and have picked up just one win in their last 10 games, means that this could provide a promising opportunity for Zidane’s men to get themselves a vital victory. However, should they fail to win, there will no doubt be sightings of the dreaded white handkerchiefs fluttering at the Bernabéu.

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Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Deportivo

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01 2018
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