Thibaut Courtois Claims Real Madrid Teammate Gareth Bale Has Not Adapted to Spanish ‘Way of Life’

Thibaut Courtois has criticised his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale for not adapting to the Spanish way of life during his time with Los Blancos, revealing that his nickname is “the Golfer”.

Bale made the move over to the Spanish capital back in 2013 and has gone on to make over 200 appearances in all competitions, registering 100 goals in the process. However, he has struggled to nail down a starting XI spot under Santiago Solari so far this season, sparking rumours of a potential exit in the summer transfer window.

Gareth Bale

?Courtois, who is himself enduring a troublesome debut season for ?Real, discussed ?Bale’s current situation with Belgian newspaper HLN, stating, as per ?Sky Sports: “It is very hard to describe Gareth in one word.

“I would say he has so much talent, but that it is such a shame that so often that talent is blocked from shining.

“I live like somebody who is born and bred in Madrid. I eat late, I go bed late… it is their way of life.”

Gareth Bale

The former ?Chelsea keeper then went on to share a recent incident where Bale snubbed his fellow teammates when they went for a group meal, revealing: “The other night we had a dinner with the entire squad.

“But Bale and (Toni) Kroos did not turn up. They reckoned the dinner was too late at night.

“We had arranged to be in the restaurant at 9.30pm and we started out meal around 10.15pm and by midnight we were having coffee.

“But Bale had told us ‘I am not coming to join you, guys. I go to bed at 11.'”

Courtois is not alone in his criticism of Bale, with left-back ?Marcelo recently claiming that the Welsh winger still struggles to communicate in Spanish.

“Bale does not speak [Spanish] as he only speaks English and we talk with gestures.”

Let’

Wanda Nara Blasts ‘Completely False’ Rumours Real Madrid Rejected Mauro Icardi Because of Her

?Wanda Nara has dismissed rumours that Real Madrid rejected her client and husband Mauro Icardi because of her involvement in the deal.

Nara has forged a reputation as a challenging negotiator and is currently in the midst of discussing a new contract for Icardi with Inter. However, after having been stripped of the club captaincy and dropped from the team, Icardi’s future at the club has come into question.

Mauro Icardi,Wanda Nara

Spanish outlet ?Marca claimed that long-term admirers ?Real Madrid declined to pursue a deal for ?Icardi as they simply refused to deal with Nara, but the Argentine took to Twitter to dispute the report in posts which she has since delighted.

According to ?Football Italia, Nara wrote: “This version is completely false (RM). Perhaps time will prove me right, just as it did when I said there was STRONG interest from an Italian team [?Juventus]. 

“They treated me like a liar and a month later their director of sport confessed it too.”


She also followed this up with a post which contained several images of Icardi crying after an ?Inter defeat, as well as several more posts of his highlights for the club, including his best goals against the likes of ?Barcelona and ?AC Milan.

As well as Real, Icardi has been linked with monumental moves to the likes of ?Chelsea and Juventus, and it is expected that several other sides would enter the fray if the forward was made available for transfer in the near future.

Mauro Icardi

Widely regarded as one of the world’s finest strikers, Icardi has racked up 122 goals in his 210 appearances for Inter, including 15 strikes already this season.

His contract is thought to contain a release clause of around €110m, but the reported breakdown in talks at the club could drastically lower any potential asking price for Icardi. With so many big sides keen, this transfer saga could be one of the most exciting of the season.

Let’

FIFA 19 Winter Upgrades: Premier League Ratings, Ones to Watch & Prime Icon Moments

?EA Sports have released their annual winter refresh for FIFA 19 Ultimate Team, which has seen an increase in the ratings of 23 Premier League players, as well the release of new special cards.

The popular video game franchise has rewarded a number of players who have shown impressive form over the first half of the season, with a number of high-profile stars receiving boosts to their already impressive ratings.

The update from EA Sports also contains new special cards, such as ‘Winter Ones to Watch’ and ‘Prime Icon Moments’, both of which will be highly sought after by players looking to add limited edition items to bolster their Ultimate Team.

Here is 90min’s breakdown of the FIFA 19 Winter Refresh.


Premier League Ratings Refresh

To keep the game as up-to-date as possible and to reward the recent form of many of the Premier League’s established key players and new breakthrough stars, there are 23 upgrades entering the game.

?Liverpool’s defensive solidity this season has seen goalkeeper Alisson, Virgin van Dijk and Andy Robertson all rewarded with improved in-game ratings. Alisson has jumped from an 85 to an 87, Van Dijk from an 85 to an 88 and Robertson has moved from 81 to 83.

?Manchester City’s ?Fernandinho and ?Raheem Sterling are both now 87 rated players thanks to their respective performances in City’s title defence, while Manchester United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not gone unnoticed from EA, as pacey attackers ?Anthony Martial and ?Marcus Rashford are now 84 and 82 rated respectively.

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-WOLVES

?Tottenham attacking duo ?Harry Kane and ?Son Heung-min have been rewarded for their fine attacking displays, with Kane now 90 rated and Son an 85. Meanwhile, across the north London, ?Arsenal strikers ?Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and ?Alexandre Lacazette have both been rewarded with increased ratings – with Aubameyang now an 88 and Lacazette an 85.

The biggest improvement however is at ?Crystal Palace, where right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka has leapfrogged from a silver 70 to a gold 76.


Winter Ones to Watch

This update covers the most notable transfers to take place during the January transfer window, celebrating the moves with new special cards.

Anyone trying to build a Ligue 1 team should look for new Monaco pairing ?Cesc Fabregas and Naldo, who both have 86 ratings. New Marseille forward ?Mario Balotelli also has a new 83 rated special card after his switch from OGC Nice.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONACO-TOULOUSE

Premier League new boys ?Michy Batshuayi, Nathaniel Clyne, Denis Suarez and Ryan Babel also feature with new cards in the update.


Prime Icon Moments

FIFA 19’s ‘icon’ players have also received an increase in their ratings, coupled with the introduction of new ‘Icon Moments’ cards.?

The new cards have been created to commemorate a special individual moment in the career of an existing FIFA ‘Icon’.

Not every ‘Icon’ has received a new special card, as they will be released in groups, with only group one being revealed so far. There will be a total of 34 special cards released, with group two set to be revealed at a later date – giving Ultimate Team players plenty to look forward too over the coming weeks and months.

Arsenal's Captain, Thierry Henry gesture

For fans of the Premier League, ‘Icons’ to look out for from group one include 92 rated Steven Gerrard, an extremely quick 94 rated Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is 93 rated.

Let’

Real Madrid vs Girona: Santiago Solari’s Best Available Los Blancos Lineup

Back in La Liga action after their Champions League exploits, Real Madrid will be hoping to continue their fine form and keep the pressure on Barcelona when they host Girona on Sunday.

Los Blancos’ 2-1 win away at Ajax means they are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions – as the club continue to improve under Santiago Solari.

With no real injury concerns for the Madrid manager, he could opt for a strong lineup at the Bernabeu. Here’s how they could line up.

1. Goalkeeper and Defenders

UEFA Champions League'Ajax v Real Madrid'

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – The Belgian has seemingly cemented his place in the Madrid starting XI ahead of Keylor Navas after a string of impressive performances.

Dani Carvajal (RB) –  A combination of injury and form has seen the 27-year-old feature only 15 times in the league this season, yet when fit, he is a certain to feature for Solari’s men.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – The mercurial centre half notched up his 600th appearance for Los Blancos in the club’s recent 2-1 victory over Ajax, putting him seventh in the all-time appearance records for the club. Ramos will go level fifth and sixth if he features on Sunday.

Nacho (CB) Likely to fill in for Raphael Varane at centre-back, with the World Cup winner doubtful after sitting out training. Nacho is a more than capable replacement though, and can be relied upon to put in a solid shift.

Marcelo (LB) – The flamboyant Brazilian has lost his place in the side during recent weeks, but may find himself back in favour this week after sitting out the Champions League clash with Ajax – meaning his greater level of fitness could give him the nod.

2. Midfielders

Casemiro

Toni Kroos (CM) – Acts as the link between attack and defence in the Madrid midfield, spraying the ball from left to right with either foot at ease. His range of passing is second to none and he will see plenty of the ball on Sunday.

Casemiro (CDM) – His robust performance against Ajax earned him the man-of-the-match accolade. His ability to break up opposing attacks allows his side’s forward players to focus on their duties up front, knowing they’re secure at the back.

Dani Ceballos (CM) – With Luka Modric suspended and Marcos Llorente injured, it means Dani Ceballos could get the nod in the midfield three on Sunday. It will be the 22-year-old’s 30th appearance of the season.

3. Forwards

Karim Benzema

Marco Asensio (RW) – Will likely get the nod over Gareth Bale due to his goalscoring cameo appearance against Ajax. Has only scored once in La Liga this season, but the Welshman may be axed regardless.

Karim Benzema (CF) – Notched his 450th club appearance in the recent victory over Ajax and has been in excellent form for Solari’s side this campaign, averaging a goal every two games.

Vinicius Jr. (LW) – At the tender age of 18, the Brazilian demonstrates the confidence of someone ten years his senior. His skill on the ball and blistering pace will cause Girona all sorts of problems on Sunday.

Let’

Real Madrid vs Girona: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Real Madrid return to La Liga action after their Champions League exploits, looking to keep the pressure on league leaders Barcelona when they take on Girona on Sunday.

Los Blancos secured a 2-1 win over Ajax in the first leg of their last 16 tie thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio, handing them the advantage ahead of the second leg in March.

Santiago Solari’s side leapfrogged ?Atletico Madrid in their last league outing after their 3-1 triumph at the Wanda Metropolitano saw them overtake their bitter rivals and take second place in ?La Liga.


Here’s 90min’s preview of everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s encounter.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 17 February
What Time Is Kick Off? 11:00 (GMT)
Where Is It Played? Santiago Bernabeu
TV Channel/ Live Stream? Eleven Sports 1 UK
Referee? TBC


Team News?

The hosts have a couple of selection headaches ahead of this one, with Luka Modric ruled out through suspension and Raphael Varane unlikely to feature after missing training late on in the week.

Luka Modric

Los Blancos will be definitely be without Marcos Llorente and Luca Zidane, with both youngsters out injured for ?Madrid, while Isco remains a doubt with a back complaint.

Girona meanwhile are set to be without a whole host of first team regulars for their trip to the Bernabeu. Johan Mojica, Aday, Patrick Roberts, Seydou Doumbia and Marc Muniesa will all miss out on the trip to the capital. Furthermore, Bernardo Espinosa received a red card in their recent outing against Huesca, leaving the central defender suspended for the match.


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Ceballos , Kroos, Casemiro; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Girona Bono; Juanpe, Ramalho, Garcia, Porro, Garcia, Pere Pons, Fernandez, Portu, Garcia, Stuani

Head to Head Record

The previous five encounters between the sides have produced a staggering 26 goals, ten of which came in the two-legged Copa del Rey quarter final matches between the sides a few weeks ago.

Marcos Llorenta

Girona have a track record of being able to score against the hosts, netting in each of the last five? meetings against Madrid, yet their only three point scalp came in the first ever meeting between the sides back in late 2017. Since then it has been goals galore as Los Blancos rarely falter against the Catalan side.


Recent Form

It has been something of a revolution under Solari since the Argentine took the reins, with the club currently on an unbeaten run of eight matches. A win in the ?Champions League over Ajax was preceded by an impressive 3-1 success away at bitter rivals Atletico, a result that lifted them into second in La Liga at the expense of Los Rojiblancos.

?Sitting just six points adrift of league leaders ?Barcelona, Madrid have found their magic touch, with the likes of ?Karim Benzema in fine goal scoring form ahead of the visit of the league’s 17th place side.

On the other hand Girona find themselves in free fall. The club have lost their last six matches in all competitions, a slide which has seen them fall perilously close to the La Liga relegation zone.

Their most recent outing was a demoralising 2-0 home defeat to basement club Huesca, with Eusebio Sacristan’s side in dire need of crucial points on Sunday.

Here is how each team has performed in their last five matches.

Real Madrid Girona
Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid (13/2) Girona 0-2 Huesca (09/2)
Atletico Madrid 1-3 Real Madrid (9/2) Eibar 3-0 Girona (03/2)
Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (6/2) Girona 1-3 Real Madrid (31/1)
Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves (3/2) Girona 0-2 Barcelona (27/1)
Girona 1-3 Real Madrid (31/1) Real Madrid 4-2 Girona (24/1)


Prediction

On one hand you have a team unbeaten in their last eight matches, including Champions League scalps, an away victory at Atletico and a credible draw at Camp Nou. While on the other hand, you have a team staring down the barrel of potentially a seventh straight defeat.

Karim Benzema

The odds are stacked somewhat in the favour of the hosts on this one, who will be beaming with confidence after their last three results, and on home turf anything other than a comfortable victory would be deemed disappointing.

No shocks here.

Prediction: Real Madrid 4-0 Girona

Let’