Callejon: I will defend Real Madrid badge to the death

Jose Callejon has insisted that he will always give his all for Real Madrid as the Blancos have been his favourite team ever since he was a child.

The 25-year-old attacker is a product of the Madrid youth academy, but lived in Barcelona for three years during his time at Espanyol. However, Callejon never stopped supporting his boyhood club.

“I always say the same thing: I am a Madrid fan and I will defend this badge until the death because it’s the club I love the most,” Callejon told Bwin.

“I have always been a Madrid supporter. Ever since I was little I have followed Madrid. I grew up in the youth team and I have been fortunate enough to be able to return to the first team.

“These colours mean a lot to me and I will always give everything to defend this badge.”

He then went on to dismiss rumours that the relationship between a number of Madrid players has turned sour.

“The dressing room is united and we all have a lot of faith in every player in the team. It’s crucial that we all trust in ourselves and each other.” 

Madrid are currently preparing for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash against Alcoyano.

Lionel Messi 8/13 favourite ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or crown

Despite a shortlist being announced, it appears the bookmakers believe the award of the 2012 Fifa Ballon d’Or is already a three horse race.

Three Liga superstars lead the way, with Lionel Messi the odds-on favourite at 8/13 (1.62) to collect the award for a fourth consecutive season .


Cristiano Ronaldo is seen as one of the two legitimate candidates that could challenge Messi, with the Real Madrid man having finished second behind the Argentine in both 2011 and 2009. Ronaldo is available at 5/2 (3.50) with the same firm.

Andres Iniesta is a 5/1 (6.0) chance and following that, the likes of Andrea Pirlo (50/1), Iker Casillas (66/1) and Xavi (66/1) are deemed long-shot outsiders.

Messi scored 73 goals in all competitions in the 2011-12 season, as Barcelona finished runners-up behind Real Madrid, with Ronaldo playing an important role in the victory and scoring an impressive 60 goals for his club in all competitions.

His contribution to Los Blancos‘ title winning season, and pivotal role in Portugal’s Euro 2012 campaign, could make this the 27-year-old’s best chance to win the award since he did so in 2008 and punters could profit from the 5/2 (3.50) quote.

Iniesta finished second behind his Barcelona team-mate in 2010, during Spain’s World Cup winning year, and the defence of their European crown in Poland and Ukraine this summer sees him rated as the only other player who has a realistic chance of winning the award at 5/1 (6.0).

Once again though, it looks to be a choice between the two players that have dominated the top places in recent years.

Messi and Ronaldo have finished in first and second in three of the last four seasons and despite an impressive year for Iniesta, it seems unlikely that the 28-year-old midfielder will stop that statistic being extended.

The three finalists will be announced on November 29th in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The final show will take place on January 7th in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast

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Gullit: People criticise Cristiano Ronaldo because they are jealous

Ruud Gullit thinks that people criticise Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo because they are jealous of him.

The Portugal international often gets a hostile reception at away games, while has has also been targeted by a number of opponents throughout his career.

Gullit, however, has nothing but praise for the 27-year-old and compared his situation to another former Manchester United star.

“I think Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon. The same thing happens to him as it did to [David] Beckham; people criticise them because they are envious that they’re very good-looking,” Gullit said to ESPN.

“For me, he’s the ideal player. He’s fast, tall, is good with his head, is technically good, shoots penalties, takes good free kicks and he’s a leader.

“I think that Real Madrid love having Cristiano Ronaldo as a player.”

Ronaldo has netted 18 goals in 14 appearances for Real Madrid so far this term.

Cristiano Ronaldo needs to show more humility, says Caparros

Joaquin Caparros has criticised Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo in the wake of his side’s 5-0 Liga defeat to the reigning champions on Sunday, as he feels the forward showed a lack of respect.

The Portugal international angered Mallorca fans by cupping his hand to his ear after scoring, and Caparros was not impressed by the former Manchester United star’s behaviour.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has it all as a footballer, but he must show a lot more humility and a lot more ambition in other areas,” Caparros said to Punto Pelota.

“His statistics are proof of what he can do, but he throws it all away with his behaviour.

“It would not surprise me if he doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or. It’s not just about footballing qualities, but a sum of a number of values. It’s the sum of a lot of things on and off the pitch.”

The shortlist for the Fifa Ballon d’Or will be revealed later on Monday.

Ronaldo keeps climbing Real Madrid scorers list as Mourinho's men match Barcelona

COMMENT
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

It was almost too easy. Real Madrid thumped a mediocre Mallorca on Sunday to match Barcelona’s 5-0 win at Rayo Vallecano and return to winning ways after losing at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday but, as Jose Mourinho admitted afterwards, there was still something missing.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is that, this time last year, it was Madrid – and not Barca – who were in control of La Liga. This term, however, it is the Catalans out in front following a superb start to the season and Atletico hanging on in second, with Madrid eight points adrift in fourth place.

“We are on a positive track,” Mourinho said. “Even though we lost in the Champions League. We are winning games, but we are not playing as well as we did last season.”

At the moment, that matters little. The important thing for Madrid is to remain in touch with Barca and that was all but assured from the moment Gonzalo Higuain made it 1-0 after seven minutes following a monumental mix-up in the Mallorca defence – the Argentine making a timely return to form following a frustrating few weeks.

Cristiano Ronaldo then scored the second with just 21 minutes gone with a low angled shot into the bottom corner and it was all too easy. Madrid were not playing that well, they did not need to.

Ronaldo chalked up his first assist of the season as he created Higuain’s second midway through the second half and added another minutes later as he raced through the locals’ defence before producing a slick finish to move up to joint seventh on the club’s list of all-time Liga scorers with 123 goals, alongside both Pirri and Emilio Butragueno.

There was still time for another, too, as substitute Jose Callejon became Madrid’s first Spanish scorer of the season with his last-minute strike for 5-0, a scoreline identical to Barcelona’s at Rayo Vallecano the night before.

THE TOP 10 LIGA SCORERS FOR REAL MADRID

But Madrid are still playing catch-up in the Primera Division and must now wait until the Catalans hit a rocky run of results in order to close some ground on their fiercest rivals. And that may be easier said than done because Barca have come through a defensive crisis unscathed to register their joint-best start to a season.

In order to beat Louis van Gaal’s record from 1997-98, Barca must avoid defeat at home to Celta Vigo next weekend – and will be expected to win that one comfortably against the promoted side. Madrid, meanwhile, face Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabeu and must keep pace, even if they remain below their best.

After another goal-packed weekend in La Liga, there is no change at the top and as long as things stay as they are, Barca will be just fine with that.

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