Real Madrid Suffer Worst Home Attendance for Nearly a Decade in First Post-Ronaldo Match

Real Madrid suffered their worst home attendance for nine years during their 2-0 win over Getafe on Sunday night as the aftershocks from the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo were felt for the first time. 

Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale started Julen Lopetegui’s reign at the current European champions off with maximum points, 24 hours after Barcelona had set the bar with their 3-0 Camp Nou victory over Alaves. 

And, also like in Catalonia, the lack of support from the stands was clear to see, with the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu showcasing 33,000 empty seats on Sunday evening – according to ?The Sun, Los Blancos’ lowest attendance for nearly a decade. 

It is unlike the Madridistas to turn out in such small numbers, with the last time crowd levels were so low a period in which Real Madrid suffered an end-of-season collapse and lost five consecutive games; including the El Clasico to Pep Guardiola’s Barça. 

However, the departure of Ronaldo has been labelled as a potential catalyst for the less than 60% full stadium, with the Portuguese’s sale to ?Juventus over the summer not sitting well with large chunks of the Madrid fan base. 

Another aspect to consider, however, is ?La Liga‘s time scheduling, with the fixture kicking off at 10.15pm local time – 90 minutes later than the majority of ties last year – and their recent announcement to take one league game to North America for the next 15 years. 

Although it is both commendable and encouraging to see the Spanish top-flight attempting to compete with the likes of the ?Premier League around the world, certain fans may see it as losing their own game as they are effectively punished by being unable to see every fixture of their own league without travelling abroad. 

Nevertheless, for ?Madrid, the fix last time gate entries were so low came by turning back to their Galactico roots, with the humiliating defeat to Real Mallorca on May 24, 2009, sparking the signings of signing Kaka from? AC Milan, Ronaldo from ?Manchester United and Karim Benzema from Lyon. 

So, it may prove to be an interesting summer for the Madridistas after all. 

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Analysing Who Deserves the Player of the Year Award as UEFA Announce 3-Man Shortlist

UEFA have announced that Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modri? and Mohamed Salah received the most votes during the initial round of voting for the Player of the Year award this year, and all three will be in contention to win the coveted title.

It is unsurprisingly going to be a close call once again between the three contenders, but as only one can be crowned as the winner, here’s a run down of each candidate and why they should be in contention for the award.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo may have ditched life at Real Madrid this summer in favour of a move to Juventus, but it is the Portugal international’s performances in Spain last year which see him once again on the final shortlist.

The 33-year-old averaged a goal a game last season, scoring 44 goals in as many appearances. Ronaldo was also instrumental in the Champions League, finding the back of the net 15 times in 13 appearances as Los Blancos went on to lift a third consecutive title.

Ronaldo also took centre stage at the World Cup this summer, scoring a hat-trick against Spain to rescue a point and also notching one goal against Morocco before Portugal were knocked out by Uruguay.

Major Club Honours Last Season: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.

2. Luka Modri?

There is an argument to be made that Luka Modri? will go down as one of the most underrated footballers of this generation, but a place on the shortlist for the Player of the Year award could show that the Croatian is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Similar to the aforementioned Ronaldo, the 32-year-old midfielder also made in excess of 40 appearances last season as Real Madrid went on to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Most impressively, however, was Modri?’s performances at the World Cup. The tournament in Russia could prove to be Croatia’s current golden generation last major international appearance, and Zlatko Dali?’s side shocked fans across the globe by reaching the final.

Modri? was even awarded with the Golden Ball in recognition for his performances at the World Cup, a trophy last has previously been one by the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo Nazário and the late Johan Cruyff.

Major Club Honours Last Season: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.

1. Mohamed Salah

Last but certainly not least sees Liverpool’s Egyptian king Mohamed Salah round off the nominees for Player of the Year.

Not even the most optimistic of fans at Anfield could have predicted that Salah would have adapted to life back in the Premier League so well. The 26-year-old matched Cristiano Ronaldo’s 44 goal haul across all competitions, one of which came during qualifying for the Champions League, and was the catalyst for the Reds as they reached the final in Kyiv.

On top of that, Salah reached an incredible tally of 32 goals in the Premier League, something which was last matched by Alan Shearer back in the 1994/95 season.

Perhaps most significantly for Salah last season was his ability to single-handedly guide Egypt to the World Cup. Although the Pharaohs failed to claim a sinlge point in Russia, their 28-year wait for a spot in the biggest sporting event on the planet was ended thanks to the Liverpool forward.

Major Club Honours Last Season: N/A

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UEFA Name Mohamed Salah Alongside Real Madrid and Juventus Stars on Player of the Year Shortlist

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has been nominated for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award alongside Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, it was announced on Monday. 

The trio pipped the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne to the three-man shortlist. 


80 coaches of the clubs which participated in the group stages of the 2017/18 Champions League and Europa League, alongside 55 journalists selected by the European sport media group whittled down the final three from 10 names, which also included Raphael Varane, Edin Hazard and Sergio Ramos. 

According to Uefa’s ?official website, those selected were requested to select a shortlist of three players by allocating respectively five points, three points and one point to each of them – although you could not vote for a player in your own team. 


From this process, Salah, Modric and Ronaldo were the three who amassed the most points, with the outright winner to be announced in Monaco on August 30 alongside the draw for this year’s Champions League group stage. 

From the remaining seven, Griezmann came out on top with 72 points – 17 more than that of fellow ?La Liga star Messi and 29 better off than ?Premier League winner De Bruyne. 

Ramos brought up the rear of the field with 12 points, with ?Chelsea’s Hazard three better off and fellow ?Real Madrid centre back Varane finishing up with 28 points. 

For the women’s award, the shortlist of three players was selected by a jury composed of the coaches of the 12 highest-ranked teams in the latest UEFA women’s national team rankings, together with those from the eight clubs which participated in the quarter-finals of the 2017/18 Women’s Champions League and 20 journalists. 

Olympique Lyonnais duo Amandine Henry and Ada Hegerberg reached the final three, as did VfL Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder. 

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Eden Hazard Reveals Final Transfer Window Decision After Months of ‘Nonsense’ Talk

?Eden Hazard has categorically dismissed rumours that he will be leaving Chelsea this summer, citing the Premier League’s transfer window handicap as the reason he will be staying put.

Rumours have been rife that Hazard was a target for Real Madrid and Barcelona this summer, but with the Premier League transfer window now closed, the club would be unable to sign a replacement for Hazard until January.

But the Belgian winger says he is happy at ?Chelsea, and has no desire to leave them short of players.

He told ?RMC after ?Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Arsenal: “Many things have been said – nonsense and everything. For now, I’m happy. I still have two years left on my contract and we’ll see what happens. I will not leave this year.


“The transfer window in England is already closed. We can sell but we cannot sign players. It would be a bit strange for Chelsea to let me go and not recruit another player. We could see that the fans like me a lot. I feel good here. We’ll see what happens in a year or two years.”

Hazard’s words will come as music to the ears of those of a blue persuasion, as the club will have dreaded watching Hazard go in the direction Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois, who ?departed for Real Madrid on deadline day.

Many feared the worst when he was left out of the starting 11 against Arsenal, but he came on to set up the winner, and his post match words indicate in the clearest terms that he is indeed going nowhere this month.

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Real Madrid vs Getafe Preview: Recent Form, Team News, Predictions & More

??Real Madrid will have to quickly get over the disappointment of their defeat in the UEFA Super Cup at the hands of Atletico Madrid as they kick off their La Liga campaign against Getafe on Sunday.

Los Blancos have endured a turbulent summer which saw them lose their talisman ?Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus and, as of yet, the acquisition of goalkeeper Thibaut Coutois has been their only marquee signing during the transfer window.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Super Cup

Despite this, they’ll still be expected to challenge for the La Liga title and under new manager Julen Lopetegui it will be very interesting to see how they will fare.

Getafe aren’t going to roll over easily if last season is anything to go by and after finishing with the third best defensive record in the league in 2017/18, they’ll be looking to kick on again this this season.


Recent Form

For the most part, it was a very successful pre-season for Real Madrid, who won all but one of their matches in the International Champions Cup. They defeated three Italian oponents in the shape of Roma, AC Milan and Juventus, but were undone by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester Unted.

Real Madrid v AC Milan - Pre-Season Friendly

Los Blancos officially started their list of competitive fixtures earlier in the week against bitter rivals Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup. They looked slightly off the pace and ended up being defeated in extra time by ultimately hungrier opposition.

Getafe haven’t played against sides who are anywhere near the same quality, but they have gone the whole summer unbeaten, rounding off their summer with an entertaining 3-3 draw against Girona.


Team News

All the focus will be on the goalkeeping position as it is not yet clear as to whether new signing Thibaut Courtois will be ready to make his debut for Los Blancos. 

The Belgian stopper is set to eventually become the first choice keeper at the Bernabeu, but he sat to watch from the stands against Atletico as Keylor Navas retained his spot in goal. 

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois

Luka Modric started from the bench against Atletico so he is unlikely to start as he looks to get back to full fitness after returning from the World Cup.

Getafe made plenty of signings during the transfer window and there should be a few debuts handed out across the park. 

Nemanja Maksimovic, fresh from joining on a permanent deal from Valencia is likely to start in central midfield, but it may be difficult for new strikers Jaime Mata and Sergi Guardiola to displace Angel Rodriguez and Jorge Molina. 


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Isco, Bale, Asensio, Benzema.

Getafe: Soria, Suarez, Dakonam, Gonzalez, Antunes, Portillo, Maksimovic, Arambarri, Ndiaye, Rodriguez, Molina.


Prediction

Real Madrid already have a serious point to prove this season, despite the fact that they are currently the Champions League holders and are undeniably one of the best sides in the world.

It was strange to watch Real without Ronaldo against Atletico, but Los Blancos will have to get used to his absence from the side pronto. 

Barcelona and Atletico will be fighting tooth and nail to win the title this year, so a slow league start will be the last thing that Lopetegui needs.

Getafe v Girona - La Liga

Getafe proved that they can more than hold their own and they should do well again this season after comfortably finishing in the top half of the league last time around.

However, Real will be coming out swinging after their midweek loss and they should have enough quality to get back to winning ways immediately.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Getafe

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