Liverpool Target Nabil Fekir Reveals His Marginal Champions League Final Allegiances

?Lyon’s attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir could be set with for a move to Liverpool later this summer, with ?the Frenchman refusing to rule out a move to the Merseyside club.

However, despite the 24-year-old Frenchman’s apparent, impending move to join Jurgen Klopp’s men, he would not be disappointed if Real Madrid were to claim their third successive final win on Saturday, as reported by the ?Liverpool Echo.


Speaking at a press conference with the French national team ahead of the upcoming World Cup, Fekir said: “Do I have a personal favourite between Liverpool and Real for the Champions League final? No, no really not!

“We have two team-mates who will be playing tomorrow, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema. May the best win! If Real could win we would be happy for them!”

Regarding his future, Fekir added: “For now I am in Clairefontaine. Games are coming and I really don’t have my situation in my mind. I let things happen but nothing is done. I have to discuss with the Jean-Michel Aulas and we’ll see what happens next.”

Following their Champions League clash against Real Madrid, Liverpool are planning on intensifying their pursuit of Fekir, with the goal scoring midfielder viewed as an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho who departed the club in January to join Barcelona.


Why Real Madrid’s Galacticos Don’t Deserve to Be Remembered as One of Europe’s Greatest Ever Sides

Not since May 1960, when a 127,000-strong Hampden Park watched on as ?Real Madrid demolished Eintracht Frankfurt to continue the trend of being the only side to lift the European Cup – a stretch which had lasted five consecutive years – has Spanish football, more so the capital had such a stranglehold over the continental game. 

During that period, the Los Blancos XI were undeniably one of the greatest sides in history, with such names as Raymond Kopa, Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo di Stéfano leading the line in a top-heavy 3-2-5 formation masterminded by José Villalonga and Luis Carniglia. 

“We just had the misfortune to be around at the same time as that incredible Real Madrid team,” reflected Stade de Reims goalkeeper Dominique Colonna in 1959 after his side’s second European Cup final defeat to Madrid. “If it wasn’t for them, Reims might have dominated Europe for years.”

Of course, however, Los Vikingos’ time at the summit of European football indeed did come to an end; crashing out of the competition in the first round at the hands of ?Barcelona just months after claiming their fifth straight crown. However, Madrid’s demise opened the door for other legacies, ones which, still to this day, prove to be the cornerstone of footballing institutions. 

The Ajax collective of 1970-1973 – a side which continues to define the best of today. Barcelona and ?Manchester City, most famously, have kept Rinus Michels’ philosophy alive. But instead of Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens, Piet Keizer, Sjaak Swart and Wim Suurbier, names such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Kevin De Buryne, Xavi and the one constant; Pep Guardiola, have adapted the 4-3-3 ‘Total Football’ methodology into a much greater beast. 

Bayern Munich of the mid 70s, an outfit built upon West Germany’s international success and one which restructured the meaning of defensive football. Although a similar formational structure to that of Ajax during the three years prior, a much greater emphasis on solidity proved to be the overriding aspect. 

The security Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier provided allowed the likes of Gerd Müller to score with such efficiency, despite other sides maybe possessing the aesthetically pleasing flair which seems to be most important today. 

“I will always cherish the memory of the first European title,” Beckenbauer claimed years later. “It was the most important one and the feeling of victory changed in the next two years. We were already past our peak at that point, and the performances dropped. But due to our experience, we had the energy to focus in the most important matches.” 

Since then, England has enjoyed long spells of uninterrupted success in the pinnacle of club football – with Real Madrid’s opponents on Saturday, ?Liverpool, leading much of that, particularly during the transition of the late 70s and early 80s. However, not until the present day has such dominance been held by one particular nation, and Los Blancos have the opportunity to continue their incomparable glory this weekend.  

But, with that, a question is presented. Does Zinedine Zidane’s squad deserve to be held in the same regard as the aforementioned heroes of history? 

From one to eleven, superstar names of the present and the future are displayed across the shoulders on the famous all white of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Isco, Marco Asensio; the list continues. In the dugout, a former Ballon d’Or and World Cup-winner watches on as his men attempt to replicate the trailblazing achievements of years gone by. 


Yet, with all their power both on and off the pitch, they do not. 

To claim Real Madrid are a one-man team would be disingenuous, to say the least; however, their lack of capability without an in-form Ronaldo, as has also been evident at Barcelona with Messi in patches this year, shows cause for concern. There is little coincidence that Los Blancos’ woeful opening half of the campaign domestically, as well as, in some instances, in Europe coincided with the crisis of confidence the Portuguese was suffering. 

50% of Los Merengues’ 30 Champions League goals this season have come from the 33-year-old, with Benzema (four) and Marcelo (three) the only other two players to have more than a solitary strike to their name. And as was evident during Real Madrid’s trip to Wembley late last year, an off night for the poacher can spell disaster. 

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

Also unlike their history-making predecessors, the Spaniard’s do not possess a clear identity. Ajax had ‘Total Football’, Bayern Munich defensive stability. Real Madrid don’t really have anything besides the trophies themselves. 

In truth, it is hard to evade the overwhelming success Zidane’s XI have achieved over the past five years, and it should not be discounted. As already stated, no team since the 1970s has had the chance to assert themselves as the undisputed ‘Kings of Europe’. 

But when looking back over this period in years to come, to see today’s Los Blancos squad hailed in the same regard as Villalonga, Carniglia or Michels’, it will be both undeserved and unjustified. 


Cristiano Ronaldo Names Former Chelsea Star as Toughest Defender He’s Ever Faced

?Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed former Arsenal, Chelsea and England full back Ashley Cole as the toughest defender he’s ever had to face. 

Ronaldo came up against Cole on a regular basis in the early stages of his career while playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. The Portuguese superstar joined the Red Devils from Sporting CP in 2003, having impressed the Scotsman in a previous Champions League encounter between the two sides. 

Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, back when the Premier League trophy was contested mainly between United, Arsenal and Chelsea. 

Cole and Arsenal triumphed in the 2003/04 season, before the 107-cap England star moved across London to Chelsea, where he secured league titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons, ahead of Ronaldo’s United.

Speaking to Spanish talk show El Chiringuito TV (via the ?Daily Ma?il), Ronaldo recalled his early duels with Cole, when asked by the presenter to name his toughest defensive opponent.

Cole controversially signed for Chelsea in 2006 from London rivals Arsenal. He made a total of 229 appearances for the club before he left to join Roma as a free agent in 2014. 

The former England international spent two seasons in Rome and then left to Los Angeles in 2016 to play for MLS side LA Galaxy, where the 37-year-old is still playing. 

Ronaldo, on the other hand, has continued to dominate European football. The 33-year-old has scored 43 goals for Real Madrid this season and will be looking to further add to his tally on Saturday when Los Blancos face Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev. 


Guillem Balague Makes Bold Prediction Ahead of Liverpool UCL Final Meeting With Real Madrid

?Ahead of the highly anticipated Champions League final between ?Real Madrid and ?Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, Spanish Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague has predicted Los Blancos will be incapable of handling Jurgen Klopp’s mercurial Reds’ attack.

While Real Madrid will be looking to make this Saturday their third Champions League triumph in a row, and their fourth in five years, Liverpool are gearing up to claim their first piece of European silverware since their dramatic victory over AC Milan in 2005.


And although there’s a significant contingent of Madrid supporters who believe their 13th European Cup is all but secured, the Reds’ attacking triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will not make it easy for La Liga outfit.

In fact, Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague believes that, despite their experience and winning track record, Real Madrid will find it ‘impossible’ to deal with Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, as reported by the ?Daily Star.

Speaking to Liverpool fan channel, Redmen TV, Balague said: “I was with Rafa Benitez a couple of days ago. We were going through the final, and he came out with something that made me think. It was a very good analysis.

Previews to the UEFA Champions League Final

“It was about intensity versus knowledge and control, particularly the intensity of Liverpool. If they go from minute one, it’s impossible to be matched by Real Madrid.

“By controlling the game in a conservative way, they are just trying to stop Liverpool going at that rate and pace.

“That’s all they’ll be able to do. It could well be that they just go aggressive from minute one on the front foot and surprise Real Madrid that way. If that happens, Real are not used to that intensity.” 

Following an immensely impressive Champions League campaign, ?Liverpool have notched 46 goals in the competition so far (including qualification against Hoffenheim), besting Los Blancos’ tally by 16 goals, as well as setting an impressive precedent of scoring at least five goals against each side they’ve faced thus far.


5 Classic Clashes Between Liverpool & Real Madrid as They Prepare to Meet in Saturday’s UCL Final

Two giants of European football, Real Madrid and Liverpool, will lock horns once more as they face off in the biggest game in club football in Kiev this weekend, in the 2017/18 Champions League final.

It will only be the sixth time that they’ve come up against one another in competitive matches, all of which have been in European Cup competitions.

Both sides have had their fair share of successes over one another over the years. So with that in mind, and ahead of the game, take a look into the archives to find out how previous encounters have turned out.

1. Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid (European Cup Final, 1981)

The first time the Reds faced off against the Galacticos was on the biggest stage of them all;  the European Cup final.

In 1981, the match took place at the Parc des Princes in Paris, and Liverpool’s Alan Kennedy got the only goal of the game eight minutes from time.

His goal gifted the Merseyside outfit with their third European Cup in four years.

2. Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool (Champions League Last 16 First Leg, 2009)

Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun got the only goal of the game in the first leg tie of this last 16 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, in 2009.

The the Reds’ smash and grab performance secured them a 1-0 victory to take back to Anfield, ahead of a game that will live long in the memory of Liverpool fans…

3. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, 2009)

It was one of the greatest European nights at Anfield, as Liverpool demolished Los Merengues with a stunning 4-0 victory in the second leg.

Goals from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Dossena piled on the misery for Real, who were unceremoniously dumped up 5-0 on aggregate.

4. Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Group Stage, 2014)

Real Madrid got their long and overdue victory over Liverpool in Europe with dominating display at Anfield in 2014.

The reigning champions showed their style and class on the night and their effortless nature of their passing and control of play left Liverpool looking at each other wondering what to do. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, and a brace from Karim Benzema, did the business.

5. Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (UEFA Champions League Group Stage, 2014)

Liverpool’s starting lineup stole the headlines on this occasion as opposed to Real Madrid’s victory. 

The Reds decided to start with players like Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Lazar Markovic, Fabio Borini, Alberto Moreno and Lucas Leiva, while Brendan Rodgers opted to leave left star players such as Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli on the bench.

It was a shock move, and proved to be the end of his reign for the Northern Irishman.