Menotti: Real Madrid must play better

César Luis Menotti

César Luis Menotti / Getty

Former Barcelona coach Cesar Luis Menotti has said Real Madrid should be playing a lot better given the talented squad that trainer Jose Mourinho has at his disposal.

The 73-year-old, who also led Argentina to the 1978 World Cup, believes that Mourinho’s team should be performing much better in La Liga after an inauspicious start to the season.

I do not like how he [Mourinho] plays the Madrid team, which does not mean he is doing it wrong,” he told Marca.

“They play well because you cannot play poorly with those players. With great musicians you cannot not have a tune.

Madrid could play much better than they do. And I say this with respect for Mourinho, of course. Madrid wins from the strength of their playing squad; one day it’s Di Maria, another day it’s Benzema.”

The former Atletico Madrid coach also claimed Lionel Messi is miles ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Ballon d’Or.

He added: “The difference is that Messi has scored so much more than the person second. There was never as much difference between the top player and the next. Neither with Di Stefano, Maradona nor anyone else. There is a very great superiority of Leo.”

Menotti, who played for Boca Juniors in his career, also admitted Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona are slightly less defensively stable due to injuries than Pep Guardiola’s side.

He said: “[Dani] Alves, Pique, [Carles] Puyol and [Eric] Abidal were perfect, with Busquets in front of them. Now they have many injuries. The idea survives, but the defensive efficiency is not the same as it was.”

Nike wins lawsuit against Real Madrid's Ozil

Real Madrid man Mesut Ozil faces an €150,000 daily fine if he continues to wear Adidas branded boots on the pitch, a Dutch court ruled on Tuesday, as it interferes with fine-print in his last contract with Nike.

The attacking midfielder has been spotted multiple times this season wearing Adidas football boots, but without the iconic three stripes on the side.

Although Ozil is no longer being endorsed by Nike, they have the right to equal any offer made by potential rival sponsors before the Germany international can legally switch brands.

According to the 24-year-old and his representatives, no contract has been agreed with Adidas. However, the court in Amsterdam has questioned Ozil‘s motives to start wearing Adidas, finding it unlikely that he would switch boot brands without another deal already being in place.

The court has ruled in favour of Nike and decided that the Los Blancos star must outline any offer presented to him, which would allow Nike to come back with a new offer in return. Failure to do so would result in a €150,000 daily fine.

La Liga Team of the Week: Messi, Ronaldo & Falcao all included

The eighth round of the Primera Division produced a great spectacle, full of goals, drama and excitement. Barcelona’s 5-4 win at Deportivo La Coruna was a game which had everything, but there was plenty of action elsewhere, too, with Atletico Madrid winning in the last minute at Real Sociedad and Espanyol doing the same in a five-goal thriller at home to Rayo Vallecano.

Here, looks at the pick of the players from the latest round of games in La Liga.

In goal, we find Gorka Iraizoz. Despite conceding three at Mestalla as Athletic Bilbao lost 3-2 to Valencia, the Basque keeper produced a heroic display and denied the home side on a number of occasions with some superb stops.

With many goals and red cards, it has not been an easy week for the defences in La Liga, but Sergio Ballesteros overcame illness to star for Levante in their 1-0 win at Getafe, while Sergio Ramos defended impeccably and got forward well at right-back in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo. Paulao is also included following another fine display for Betis as the Andalusians drew 0-0 at Osasuna.

Leo Baptistao and Joan Verdu both scored twice in an entertaining encounter at Cornella, which Espanyol won 3-2 against Rayo Vallecano. Meanwhile, Isco led Malaga to victory over Valladolid and Cesc Fabregas arguably enjoyed his finest game in a Barcelona shirt, setting up three goals in the 5-4 win at Deportivo.

There are many candidates for the attack, but Lionel Messi, Radamel Falcao and Cristiano Ronaldo make up a dream forward line. The Argentina scored a brilliant hat-trick in the win at Riazor, while his fellow South American scored the first free kick of his professional career to seal a vital victory for Atletico Madrid at Real Sociedad. The former Manchester United winger was also on target, hitting home a penalty in Madrid’s 2-0 success at home to Celta.

Papin criticises Benzema's positioning

Jean-Pierre Papin has criticised Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema’s positioning on the pitch, claiming the 24-year-old does not get into dangerous areas often enough.

The former Olympique de Marseille star believes Benzema’s tendency to drift wide prevents him from making an impact, as it leaves him struggling to find clear goalscoring opportunities.

“I’m a bit surprised with the way Karim plays for France and Real Madrid. He’s a striker, but I never see him in front of goal. [Olivier] Giroud only played three minutes against Spain, but got in front of goal three times and scored,” Papin told RMC.

“You’re either a player like Cristiano Ronaldo who drops deep to collect the ball and then dribbles past a number of opponents before scoring, or you’re a real striker and in front of the goal is where you are at your best.

“You can’t drift out wide all the time, that’s simply impossible. The more I see him play for France, the less he gets into dangerous position. That kind of annoys me.”

Benzema has scored only once in eight La Liga appearances for Madrid so far this term.

Borussia Dortmund – Real Madrid Preview: Champions of Germany and Spain collide in high-stakes showdown

Borussia Dortmund are sweating on the fitness of Ilkay Gundogan, Mario Gotze and Marcel Schmelzer ahead of their Champions League encounter with Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Midfielder Gundogan has been missing from action with a back problem and is unlikely to return, while Gotze (hamstring) and Schmelzer (foot) will be handed late fitness tests.

Real Madrid welcome Sami Khedira back into the squad after he missed the win over Celta Vigo because of a leg injury sustained on international duty with Germany.

Full-backs Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao remain sidelined, so Sergio Ramos and Michael Essien will continue at right and left-back respectively.

  • The Bundesliga giants have never beaten Real Madrid in European competition in four attempts (D2, L2).
  • Dortmund have failed to win any of their last five home encounters with Spanish clubs.
  • Real Madrid have won five of their last six matches across all competitions.
  • The Castilian side have won just one of their 23 previous away games against German opponents (W1, D6, L16).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) has scored four goals in the Champions League; more than any other player this season. He has also had more attempts on target (14) than any other player.