Reports Reveals Real Madrid Won’t Sign Hazard, Mbappe or Neymar to Replace Ronaldo for Key Reason

?Real Madrid will reportedly not be splashing enormous amounts of cash on any individual player in the transfer market as the reigning European champions reportedly have no plans to resurrect the long dormant Galacticos policy, despite selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus for €100m.

Real have been heavily linked with Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. But, If the latest gossip from Spain is to be believed, the Ronaldo-sized hole in the side that won four Champions Leagues in five years will be filled in ways other than throwing €200m or more at a single player.

Belgium v Tunisia: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

In previous years, Real have been no stranger to breaking the world transfer record under the leadership of president Florentino Perez, doing so to sign Gareth Bale (2013), Cristiano Ronaldo (2009), Zinedine Zidane (2001) and Luis Figo (2000).

But, according to Spanish outlet Libertad Digital, Los Blancos will simply not spend that much to buy just one player, meaning no deals for Hazard, Mbappe or Neymar unless the selling clubs are willing to accept much lower prices – and that seems virtually impossible.

At this point it is worth noting that, despite their ongoing representation in the transfer-hungry global media, Real have not completed what might be considered a ‘Galactico’ signing since spending €80m on James Rodriguez in 2014.

James Rodriguez Officially Unveiled At Real Madrid

The Colombian failed to justify that enormous price tag and since then Real have focused their attention in the transfer market on buying younger talents to develop.

At €45m apiece, Brazilian teenagers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes are the only players that Real have spent more than €30m on since the summer of 2014. Those who have arrived at the club during that time include Marco Asensio, Mateo Kovacic and Alvaro Odriozola.

A Bernabeu source even told Libertad Digital, “We decided a few years ago that the transfer policy was different and Cristiano’s departure is not going to change our plans.”

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Certainly, while Real look to be pushing ahead with a €40m deal to sign Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea, any substantial progress on a possible move for Hazard has been conspicuously absent, despite the player’s apparent desire for it to happen.

Chelsea are thought to want an enormous fee for Hazard and so now it all seems clearer.

It has also been recently suggested that Real pulled out of a deal for Roma goalkeeper Alisson because they refused to meet Roma’s steep asking price, something that Liverpool are doing. The proposed Courtois deal will only cost them around half the amount.


Keylor Navas: The Gala Tico Who Was Never Quite a Galactico

“I already know what a Champions League final is like, but the stairs today are new. They make me a little nervous,” said Keylor Navas, back in mid May.

The stairs in question were the famous red carpeted set at the Cannes film festival, where the ?Real Madrid goalkeeper was promoting his own biopic, a few days ahead of another Champions League final – his and Los Blancos’ third in a row. A few weeks after that would follow the World Cup in Russia, where Navas would once again be the standout star of the Costa Rica side.

Hombre de Fe tells the story of young Keylor’s unlikely rise, fuelled by his faith in God, from rural Costa Rica to professional football, the World Cup quarter finals and transfer to the world’s biggest and most successful club side.

Not many players, not even Real Madrid ones, get their own biopic at Cannes. Yet, despite near unparalleled levels of super stardom in his homeland, Navas, the ‘man of faith’ as his film title translates, has never really had his own belief reciprocated by Real Madrid’s own executive producer Florentino Perez, who will settle for nothing less than a Galactico cast.

Thibaut Courtois is the latest A lister linked with Navas’ role at the Santiago Bernabeu, with reports indicating Chelsea have accepted a €35m? bid for the Belgian, who, although lacking in his own motion picture, won the Golden Glove at the 2018 World Cup and has the stature and pedigree of very few in his position.

Navas, who joined Real Madrid from unfashionable Levante for €10m after the previous World Cup in 2014, has seen the links to other keepers come and go almost since his arrival. However, this time it really does look to be the end for the Tico who was never quite accepted as one of the Galacticos; the unceremonious fade to black at the end of his Real Madrid story.

Few will be surprised to see Navas moved on by Perez and new manager Julen Lopetegui this summer, but perhaps they should be. 

The Costa Rican has not been a cameo figure, but central to Real Madrid’s three Champions League titles in a row from 2016 to 2018 (during which he missed just two games across the three tournaments), proving himself worthy of the same pitch as Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo, with his agility, reflexes and composure.

Although signed under Carlo Ancelotti and trusted by Zinedine Zidane, Navas perhaps owes his Real Madrid career to a dodgy fax machine connection between Manchester and Madrid. But for an embarrassingly missed deadline, he would’ve been a makeweight in the deal to bring David De Gea to the Spanish capital back in 2015, after just one season as Iker Casillas’ understudy at the Bernabeu.

Navas, as his film is keen to show, is used to dealing with hardship and triumphing over adversity – he was rejected by his local team in Costa Rica for being too short. However, his dream club attempting to sell him after a single season was too much and ??he ?admitted to shedding tears after the ordeal.

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

His skin has thickened under the lights at the Bernabeu however and although as uncomfortable talking about his own future as he is on the red carpet, Navas has continued to dutifully bat away speculation every transfer window, as journalists pepper the stopper with (not unfounded) rumours about the seemingly inevitable arrivals of: De Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Alisson Becker and Courtois.

Navas found an ally in Zidane, whose own success as manager allowed him to push back against Perez’s desire for a new marquee name keeper and stick with the Costa Rican as the trusted number one for his glorious reign. 

If there were still any doubters left (other than Perez) they were converted as Navas made a string of impressive saves to see Real Madrid past Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final second leg this year. There was no trademark celebration, or self-aggrandising post match comments and not too many column inches (outside of Costa Rica) dedicated to his performances, but the 2018 Champions League was as much about Navas as any other Madrid player.

However, in this now post-Ronaldo Madrid, the need for statements in the transfer market is as great as ever for Perez and the board. With Zidane now gone, as well as goalkeeping coach Luis Llopis, (known as Navas’ ‘guardian angel’ for his part in the keeper’s development), it seems no number of saves, or even Cannes appearances, will convince Perez that Navas is anything more than a placeholder for his true Galactico number one.

Where Navas will go next and how much he will go for (he is 31 years old and holds a contract with Madrid to 2020) remain to be seen. At least publicly, he continues to maintain that he wants to see out his contract and is looking forward to working under new boss Lopetegui. Working, as he started at Madrid four years ago as an understudy, is surely not option, however.

Real Madrid have a long history of granting the rest of Europe with the bargain of the summer, from Claude Makelele to Arjen Robben. 2018’s bargain summer castoff might well turn out to be Navas. Whoever does take him on, may not get a true Galactico, but they will be getting one hell of a goalkeeper.


Neymar Gives Conditional Promise to Remain at Paris Saint-Germain Despite Real Madrid Rumours

??Neymar is set to frustrate ?Real Madrid and remain at Paris Saint-Germain after months of speculation, according to reports from Spain.

According to El Pais (via ?Globo Esporte), Neymar will overcome his reservations about playing in Ligue 1 and continue with Les Parisiens, as long as he is the centre of attention at the Parc des Princes.

Brazil v Mexico: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The newspaper claims that Neymar’s father has told the French club that his son ‘is well in Paris, thanks the support of the club and the only thing that he considers non-negotiable is to feel the most important player’.

In other words, he must feel that he is the main man at the club, which may be increasingly difficult as some would argue that he is no longer PSG’s greatest asset.

Last season he was outscored by compatriot Edinson Cavani – albeit after being hindered by injury – and some stellar World Cup performances from young player of the tournament ?Kylian Mbappe will see him come under the microscope just as much as, if not more than, his Brazilian teammate.

Stade Rennes v Paris Saint Germain - Ligue 1

Indeed, many would say that Mbappe is now ahead of Neymar in the race to become the best player in the world as ?Lionel Messi and ?Cristiano Ronaldo enter their twilight years.

In any case, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi will be relieved at Neymar’s decision and at the lack of a bid from Real Madrid, who have been linked with Neymar for a while without making any formal enquiries.

Real sent a representative to Santos to talk to Neymar’s father about the possibility of a move, but the financial demands of the transfer will convince Los Blancos to look elsewhere in their quest to replace Cristiano Ronaldo.


Why His World Cup Final Appearance Solidifies Luka Modric’s Legacy as an Elite Midfielder

?Croatia’s appearance in the World Cup final was unprecedented. A country of just four million people, viewed as underdogs, dark horses and long shots throughout the competition, had silenced their doubters and reached the most important game in football. 

They were just one game away from footballing immortality, but ultimately fell short to a France side superior in talent, power and flair. Collectively France were quite easily the better team – but they did not have the best player on the pitch at their disposal.


Croatia’s achievement should not be underestimated, and spearheading their unlikely charge was Luka Modric. Often underappreciated despite being one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Croatia’s first appearance in a World Cup final should see Modric established in an elite group of midfielders once his illustrious career winds down to a close.

A World Cup win would have seen Modric’s legacy compared to the likes of Andres Iniesta and Andrea Pirlo – both of whom won World Cups throughout their storied careers, although both did so with a team of a similar calibre to France. 

Modric has shown the world what he can do when surrounded by superstars, and should already be considered among the best midfielders to ever play the beautiful game. A trophy cabinet of four Champions League titles in five years with Real Madrid has seen the Croatia captain receive plaudits – but despite being a fixture in their recent Champions League success, Modric always seemed to be overshadowed by another superstar.

Croatia v Denmark: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

And while Ronaldo was destroying goalscoring records and Sergio Ramos was commanding the defence, Modric was ever-present in midfield alongside Toni Kroos. Modric’s accolades now include a World Cup Golden Ball after his impressive individual performances were finally recognised.

Argentina were outplayed by Modric and Croatia in the group stages, with the midfielder deployed further forward in a number 10 role. Modric’s outstanding performance was capped with a superb goal in a victory that showed that Croatia meant business at the World Cup.

And in the knockout stages of the tournament Modric played 120 minutes against Iceland and Denmark and 119 minutes against England. Pulling the strings from midfield and playing a starring role in every game, Modric almost pulled off the impossible.

Croatia v Denmark: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

He showed no signs of slowing down in the final against France as Croatia were arguably the better team over the 90 minutes, but it was ultimately not enough to pull off a shock victory. 

And although his career will not be capped off with a World Cup victory for his small country, his herculean performances in Russia has solidified his status as one of the greatest midfielders of this generation.  


Report Claims Chelsea Have Accepted €35m Bid for Belgium Star Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea have agreed to let star stopper Thibaut Courtois leave for ?Real Madrid this summer after accepting a €35m bid, according to reports in France.

The Belgian was the standout keeper in this year’s World Cup, capturing the tournament’s Golden Glove following several impressive outings between the sticks. And with Real Madrid having lost out in the chase for David de Gea, who has signed a new deal with Manchester United, they’ve switched their attention to the Chelsea man.

?RMC are now reporting that the transfer to Madrid is a done deal, with the Blues having accepted €35m for the stopper, who will sign a four-year deal with Los Blancos.

“€35m agreement between Chelsea & Real Madrid for the transfer of Thibaut Courtois, 4-year contract, according to RMC,” Get French Football News tweeted on Tuesday.

Courtois recently suggested that Chelsea would likely have to improve their wage offer if they want him to stay as his performances in the World Cup have increased his value.


“I will go back and I will see what they want and how they say it,” he said after the tournament ended. “Obviously, with this World Cup, I think what was on the table is different than what I can have.

“In this World Cup, I have ignored all the speculation, all the rumours. But now, in the next few days, I will have a chat with my agent and see what Chelsea told him, and then we will talk. But I feel happy at Chelsea, it’s not that I necessarily want to leave.”