Ronaldo is 'extraordinary' – Bento hails Real Madrid man ahead of Panama friendly

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has admitted that he did not foresee Cristiano Ronaldo’s meteoric rise to the top ahead of his side’s friendly with Panama on Wednesday.

The Real Madrid attacker is considered one of the frontrunners to win the 2012 Ballon d’Or, after helping Real Madrid to the Liga title and leading Portugal to the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

“A few years ago we saw that he was a great talent,” he told Marca.

“However, perhaps we did not see him becoming what he is now for both his club and his national team. He is extraordinary.”

Bento went on to bemoan the current schedule of international matches and claimed that the footballing authorities are more concerned about making money.

“To me it seems like common sense to have a match with 11 substitutions at a moment like this in the season, after a major international competition.

“The problem is that Uefa and Fifa think about advertising and marketing less than they do about sport. The welfare of players is at stake.”

Kaka has '0.001%' chance of moving to AC Milan, says Ernesto Bronzetti


Kaka will almost certainly not move to AC Milan, says high-profile football representative Ernesto Bronzetti.

The Fifa agent has been influential in bringing players to and from Spain and Italy, especially in moves involving Real Madrid. However, he has warned that Kaka will be all but impossible to bring back to Italy.

Speaking on rumours that Milan are bidding for former fans’ favourite Kaka, the agent told Sky Sport Italia that, “Adriano Galliani was right in saying he did not want to give the fans false hope.”

“In Italy it’s impossible to pay €10m net wages,” he continued.

“When Real Madrid absolutely has to give him away, then they might have a chance, but unfortunately right now Kaka is a prisoner of his wages.”

The Brazilian attacking midfielder made 260 appearances for Milan and scored 95 goals during his time at San Siro, becoming a football icon for the Rossoneri supporters. But he is yet to make the same impact with Real Madrid.

Since his move to Spain in 2009, he has only made 93 appearances.

Bronzetti has also warned fellow Serie A club Juventus about the dangers of trying to sign players from Spain, as he feels many struggle to adapt to the game in Italy.

“You saw at Roma that Bojan Krkic and Jose Angel did not impress, while going further back Gaizka Mendieta was a flop at Lazio. It will not be simple to negotiate with Athletic Bilbao, as their President is tough,” he explained.

“Other Spanish clubs are not behind Llorente’s decision not to sign a new contract, as they’ve got even less money than the Italians at the moment.”

Modric move from Tottenham to Real Madrid will happen, says Croatia coach Stimac

Croatia head coach Igor Stimac expects Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric to complete his move to Real Madrid before the end of the summer.

Stimac acknowledged that the situation the 26-year-old finds himself in is not ideal, and that his lack of pre-season gametime will have left him lacking sharpness.

However, the 44-year-old is  convinced that Modric will sign for Los Blancos by the time the Spanish transfer window closes on August 31.

“I don’t like the situation that he is in at all, he has not played any matches at all this summer,” he told AS.com.

“He will end up signing for Madrid before the market shuts.”

The Spurs No.16 has scored 13 goals in 127 appearances for the north London side but after missing out on a move to Chelsea last summer, looks set to be granted his wish to depart.

Former West Ham defender Stimac was speaking ahead of Croatia’s game against Switzerland in Zagreb, his first in charge since replacing Slaven Bilic at the helm. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Iniesta & Messi shortlisted for Uefa Best Player in Europe award


Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta have been shortlisted for the Uefa Best Player in Europe award.

The trio gained the most points in a vote among 53 sports journalists representing each of the European football governing body’s member associations.

Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo came in fourth in the election, while Barcelona’s Xavi, who finished second in last year’s edition of the award, completed the top five.

The remaining three players will now go into a deciding vote in Monaco during the Champions League group stage draw on August 30.

The individual award, created in partnership with European Sports Media (ESM), recognises the best player, irrespective of his nationality, playing for a club within the territory of a Uefa member association during the previous season.

Messi won the inaugural edition of the accolade in 2011.

Dembele confirms Real Madrid approach


Moussa Dembele has confirmed that Real Madrid have approached his agent to discuss his availability.

The Fulham striker’s representative recently revealed that the Blancos had made an enquiry, and the versatile attacker has now admitted that there has indeed been contact.

“There has been contact between Real [Madrid] and my agent. They have made an enquiry, but have left it at that so far,” Dembele was quoted as saying by Het Nieuwsblad.

“I don’t really know [whether I will stay with Fulham]. I can’t say much about it at this point. Everything is still possible.”

Dembele, 25, has a contract with the Premier League side until the summer of 2013, and is continually being linked with a move to a bigger club.

Goal.com revealed earlier this summer that Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur are all interested in signing the former AZ star.