PHOTO: How Marcelo Reacted When Sergio Ramos Mocked Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp

?Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos had some choice words when responding to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s latest jibe, but it was the reaction of fellow Los Blancos defender Marcelo that has caught the attention of many.

The 30-year-old left back can be seen trying to hold in a cheeky smile as he sat next to the Real Madrid captain, who fired back against Klopp in a recent press conference.

Klopp and Ramos began their battle of words following Liverpool’s somewhat embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Real in last season’s Champions League final.

The Spaniard’s foul on Mohamed Salah, which saw the Egyptian leave the field of play, and rough treatment of goalkeeper Loris Karius has come under criticism from the Liverpool head coach, who ?reportedly referred to it as “brutal” and “ruthless”.

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Ramos fired back at Klopp, stating: “I had no intention of holding Mohamed Salah’s arm, but he grabbed my arm first.

“I already gave my opinion and I reiterate again, it is not intentional. It’s not the first final he’s lost, [maybe] he wants to use that as an excuse for losing.

“There have been many repercussions after what happened to Salah in the Champions League final. Let Klopp worry about his own players. In fact, he’s one of the coaches I voted for as the Best of the Year, so perhaps he can stay a little calmer.”

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

Marcelo, who has been under contract at the Santiago Bernabéu since 2007, couldn’t hold back a small grin in the press conference, as his captain responded to reporters.

The Brazilian international will be part of the squad that face rivals Atletico Madrid in tonight’s UEFA Super Cup final in Estonia. 

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Real Madrid 2018/19 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions

In typical Real Madrid fashion, Los Blancos’ season could begin with a major trophy in their very first official match. Real will take on city rivals Atletico Madrid in their first competitive match of the season, before kicking off their La Liga campaign against Getafe.

Despite unrivalled success, manager and former player Zinedine Zidane decided to leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, replaced in controversial fashion by former Spain boss Julian Lopetegui. 

With a squad of world-class but ageing talent, what can Real fans expect for the new season?

1. Last Season

Normally, when a team wins the Champions League, it is the culmination of years of planning and hard-work, the ultimate achievement in club football. For Real Madrid, it is just like any other season.

Real’s third consecutive Champions League win, their 13th overall, was arguably one of their hardest, having faced PSG, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Liverpool on the road to glory. Undoubtedly, an amazing achievement for a record-breaking side.

However domestically, Real fans were left disappointed – Los Blancos never came near a title challenge, finishing 17 points short of champions Barcelona. Real spent most of the season bouncing between 3rd and 4th position, well below the expectations of their demanding fanbase.

Despite an outstanding season in European football, Real still have much to improve on domestically.

2. Transfers In

Real Madrid have been relatively quiet in the transfer window, with only one new ‘Galactico’ making his debut at the Bernabeu.

After what seemed to be the longest transfer saga of the summer, Real finally managed to get their hands on World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibault Courtois from Chelsea for £35m. The Belgian international will face some competition between the sticks this season, as he must battle Keylor Navas for a place in the starting squad.

Real’s most expensive signing this summer has been Brazilian wonderkid Vinicius Junior. Previously at Flamengo, Real clearly have high hopes for the 18-year-old forward, paying €40.5m for the lad. However, it’s unlikely that the fans will see Vinicius Jr tearing up La Liga just yet as he is more of a prospect for the future.

Other signings include Alvaro Odriozola, a right-back from Real Sociedad, and Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

The Spanish transfer window does not shut until the end of August, so there is still time if Real want to bring in a marquee signing.

3. Transfers Out

It still feels difficult to imagine Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo. Since signing for Real back in 2009, the Portuguese forward has been the ultimate symbol of Real Madrid. Scoring 311 goals and winning four Champions League titles, even at 33-years-old Ronaldo’s departure leaves a huge hole, both on and off the pitch.

Other departures include defensive midfielder Omar Mascarell, Lucas Torro and Philipp Lienhart, but these departures will all go unnoticed when compared to the great CR7.

4. Strengths

Real are strong and balanced in many facets of the game. The strike force of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio has a mix of strength, skill and pace. The midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro is one of the best in the world. In defence, Real possess the most competitive man in football Sergio Ramos, as well as World Cup winning centre-back Raphael Varane, ably supported by Dani Carvajal and Marcelo in the full-back positions.

However, Real’s biggest strength comes through in their experience. The fact that they have won so many of the game’s biggest trophies means that it seems that they never feel any pressure, even the biggest games are just another day’s work for this Real Madrid side.

5. Weaknesses

Real’s biggest weakness lies in the aftermath of CR7’s departure from the club. Los Blancos have lost arguably the biggest winner in football, a source of inspiration and experience. Ronaldo’s rivalry with Lionel Messi in La Liga has seen them both take their level up to new heights, pulling their teams along with them. The fact that Ronaldo is no longer a member of Real’s roster and with no big name to replace him, they might have lost their winning edge – not to mention the 30-odd goals he scored each season.

Another key weakness for Real this year is their ageing side, which possess a lack of stamina for the long league campaign and are far more suited to the short bursts of the Champions League knockout format.

6. Key Man

It’s hard to evaluate Bale’s stint at Real Madrid. On the one hand, Bale has scored in two Champions League Finals and has more than pulled his weight for the team since his record-breaking transfer from Tottenham.

However, under Zidane, Bale was in and out of the first team and has had a difficult relationship with the Real fans, even having his car vandalised after a run of particularly poor performances.

With Ronaldo now gone, Bale finally has the opportunity to step up and fill his boots. Scoring 10-20 goals a season won’t be good enough any more, Bale has to be Real’s talisman if they are to match and improve on their previous season’s success. If the Welshman can raise his game to come close to the level of his former Portuguese teammate, then Real can continue dominating world football.

Potential Breakout: Uruguayan youngster Federico Valverde caught the attention of many as he starred for the national team in last year’s U-20 World Cup, winning the Silver Ball as Uruguay finished fourth. After his La Liga debut on loan to Deportivo La Coruna, the gifted midfielder could potentially see some playing time this year on the big stage. 

7. Predictions

With a new manager at the helm and Ronaldo gone, Real suddenly find themselves in an unexpected transition period. All the indicators suggest that it will be difficult for Real to match their previous success immediately.

Normally a club focusing on short-term success, Real may have to be patient and wait until Lopetegui becomes fully settled at the Bernabeu before seeing the results they expect.

With the likes of PSG, Juventus and Barcelona all getting stronger, the Semi-Finals may be the limit for Real in the Champions League. Lopetegui’s side will aim for a better La Liga season, however seeing as the team has been weakened over the summer it remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to improve on their third place finish.

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Brazil Legend Ronaldo Confirms He’s ‘Back Home’ After 4-Day Stay in Hospital

Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario is back home, having been discharged from hospital after being admitted as a result of pneumonia.

The former ?Real Madrid galactico spent four days at medical facilities, firstly being taken to a hospital in Ibiza, Spain and then getting transferred to the Intensive Care Unit of a private establishment.

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Ronaldo has since taken to social media to thank fans who wished him well, as well as the medical personnel who looked after him during his unfortunate ordeal.

Hello, everyone! I’m home after a few days at the clinic,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “Thank you for your love and comments and many thanks to the team of doctors and nurses for your kindness and hospitality. 

“Thank you @celinalocks for being by my side in every hour. It’s going to be a very nice season and full of magnificent football and surprises.”

The former striker, now 41, helped Brazil win two World Cups. He also won the Ballon d’Or on two occasions and played for five clubs in Europe during a remarkable career that could have been even more illustrious had it not been for serious injuries.

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Sergio Ramos Sticks the Boot Into Jurgen Klopp in Response to Persistent Jibes From Liverpool Coach

Real Madrid defender and Champions League winner Sergio Ramos has responded to Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp’s latest jibes with a few barbs of his own – by digging out his recent record in major finals.

The two have been engaged in a war of words since Real’s 3-1 Champions League final win over the Reds in May, with Klopp taking particular issue with two incidents involving the Spaniard during the game. 

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

His foul on ?Mohamed Salah – which ended the Egyptian’s involvement in the showcase in Kiev – and apparent elbow on Loris Karius, which caused a concussion, have been Klopp’s particular points of contention. The two moments were key to Real winning the game, and while Ramos has claimed both were accidental, Klopp hasn’t seen it that way.

Over 500,000 ?Liverpool fans haven’t either, as they actually signed a petition for the match to be replayed, but Klopp has called out Ramos in two separate press conferences in the last couple of weeks.

?At the end of July, Klopp said: “If you watch it back and you are not with ?Real Madrid – then you think it is ruthless and brutal. If VAR is coming then it is a situation where you have to look again. Not to give a red card but to look again and say: ‘What is that?’ It was ruthless.

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“I’m not sure it is an experience we will have again – go there and put an elbow to the goalkeeper, put their goalscorer down like a wrestler in midfield and then you win the game. That was the story of the game. 

“Ramos said a lot of things afterwards that I didn’t like. As a person I didn’t like the reactions of him. He was like: ‘Whatever, what do they want? It’s normal.’ No, it is not normal. If you put all of the situations of Ramos together then you will see a lot of situations with Ramos. 

“The year before against Juve he was responsible for the red card for [Juan] Cuadrado. Nobody talks about that afterwards.”

Just last week, he carried on to Sport1: “I don’t want to win by any means. Of course I would have liked to become a Champions League winner, and I would not have returned the title if shown various indiscretions.

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“I do not expect that from him, I only expect that he gives more thought to his assessment of certain situations. It may have been a coincidence, but Salah was taken out of the game during an outstanding phase of his footballing life, in the middle of the field.

“Many people will say that these things happen. But if that is the message we are sending to our children, that nothing is out of bounds and it’s all about winning, then I will be glad to leave this planet in 40 years.

“Am I a good loser? No. But during our preparations we had to talk about Ramos because he had influenced the final the previous year with a dive and a red card against Juventus.”

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?Ramos’ actions in that game helped Real win, and they now embark on a UEFA Super Cup clash with local rivals Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night as a result. And ahead of the game, Ramos has responded, via ?Marca, by digging out the German for winning only one of seven major finals he’s competed in as a manager.

He said: “I already gave my opinion and I reiterate again, it is not intentional. It’s not the first final he’s lost, [maybe] he wants to use that as an excuse for losing. 

“There have been many repercussions after what happened to Salah in the Champions League final. Let Klopp worry about his own players. In fact, he’s one of the coaches I voted for as the Best of the Year, so perhaps he can stay a little calmer.”

?Real play Atletico in Talinn on Wednesday night, hoping to win the Super Cup for the third consecutive year.

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