Benzema Opens up About How Real President Florentino Perez Welcomed Him Back After Prison Ordeal

?Karim Benzema has opened up about his relationship with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and how he was welcomed back to the club after spending a day in jail following his involvement in a blackmail case with France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Back in late 2015, Benzema was ?charged with blackmail for his role as a middle man between Valbuena and a criminal group that had taken hold of a sex tape involving the midfielder.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, as translated by ?Marca, Benzema opened up about the incident and heaped praise on president Perez for the support he showed in what was a very difficult time for the French striker.

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(You may also be interested in ‘We Sell Newspapers’: Karim Benzema Labels Himself a ‘Great’ Player As He Hits Back at Criticism)

Benzema said: ”After spending a day in prison, I returned very sad and Florentino waited for me in Valdebebas. 

“He gave me all of his affection and is with me in both the good and bad times, he is like family to me.”

Perez and Benzema clearly have a very good relationship after working together for nine seasons. However, whether the French striker is afforded a tenth season at the European champions is up for debate in the media, with the club rumoured to be in the market for new stars after an underwhelming domestic campaign in 2017/18.


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30-year-old Benzema has seriously struggled for form this season and has managed a far from impressive five goals in 26 La Liga appearances.

However, addressing the poor goal return of both Benzema and his teammate Gareth Bale, manager Zinedine Zidane dismissed rumours of a summer exit for the pair despite speculation.

I do not think their future is in danger here,” Zidane said, via ?Goal. “They do not make a bad impression on me. They train well. Of course, they would like to play more often, but apart from that, everyone works well.

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“It will always be the case that some players are in better form than others.”

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Fixtures Announced: Man Utd, Real Madrid & Barcelona Among Giants Heading to USA for Huge 2018 ICC

?The International Champions Cup is returning this summer and the fixtures that will pit 18 of Europe’s biggest teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Bayern Munich, against each other across three continents have been released.

Each club will play three times in the competition and all 27 games will take place between 20th July and 12th August in 14 venues across the USA, seven in Europe and one in Singapore.

Among the many huge clashes, Manchester United and Liverpool will meet on 28th July in Michigan’s ‘Big House’, a stadium with a capacity in excess of 100,000 that is sure to sell out.

Three days later, United will be facing Real Madrid in Miami, while there will be a repeat of the 2017 Champions League final when Real meet Juventus in Washington DC on 4th August.

Earlier on, Manchester City are due to take on Liverpool in New Jersey on 25th Jully, with Arsenal set to play both Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in Singapore.

There will be a London derby in Sweden when the Gunners then face Chelsea on 4th August.

Tottenham’s biggest game will see them face Barcelona on 28th July in the famous Pasadena Rose Bowl, the venue that hosted the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy. Spurs will have already faced Roma and AC Milan by that point.

2018 International Champions Cup Full Fixture List

Date? Fixture? Location?
20th July? ?Sevilla vs Benfica Zurich, Switzerland?
20th July? Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmun?d Chicago, USA?
21st July? Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain? Klagenfurt, ?Austria
?22nd July ?Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund Charlotte, USA?
25th July? ?Juventus vs Bayern Munich ?Philadelphia, USA
?25th July Borussia Dortmund vs Benfica? Pittsburgh, USA
?25th July ?Manchester City vs Liverpool ?East Rutherford, USA
?25th July ?Roma vs Tottenham Hotspur ?San Diego, USA
?25th July AC Milan vs Manchester United? Pasadena, USA?
26th July? ?Atletico Madrid vs Arsenal ?Kallang, Singapore
?28th July Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain? Kallang, Singapore?
28th July? Chelsea vs Sevilla? Warsaw, Poland?
28th July? Benfica? vs Juventus ?Harrison, USA
?28th July ?Manchester United vs Liverpool Ann Arbor, USA?
?28th July Bayern Munich vs Manchester City? Miami, USA?
28th July? Barcelon?a vs Tottenham Hotspur ?Pasadena, USA
?30th July ?Paris Saint-Germain vs Atletico Madrid ?Kallang, Singapore
?31st July ?Barcelona vs Roma ?Arlington, USA
?31st July ?Manchester United vs Real Madrid Miami, USA?
31st July? Tottenham Hotspur vs AC Milan? ?Minneapolis, USA
?1st August ?Chelsea vs Internazionale Gothenburg, Sweden?
4th August? Arsenal vs Chelsea? Solna, Sweden?
?4th August ?Real Madrid vs Juventus ?Landover, USA
4th August? AC Milan vs Barcelona? Santa Clara, USA?
7th August? Internazionale vs Sevilla? Lecce, Italy?
7th August? Real Madrid vs Roma? East Rutherford, USA?
?12th August? Atletico Madrid vs Internazionale? Madrid, Spain?

The first games will take place just five days after the 2018 World Cup final, so the football will barely be stopping this summer.

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The various domestics seasons will then begin their 2018/19 campaign in mid to late August.??

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Kaka Admits Feeling ‘Completely Lost’ at Real Madrid & Reveals ‘Worst Defeat’ of His Career

?Former AC Milan and Real Madrid playmaker Kaka has admitted he felt ‘completely lost’ after trading Italy for Spain in a €67m deal in the summer of 2009 and has revealed that he considers the 2005 Champions League final against Liverpool to be the worst defeat of his career.

Kaka had guided Milan to the Champions League title in 2007 and was rewarded with the Ballon d’Or for his efforts later that year – he still remains the last person other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the prestigious individual accolade.

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His status as one of the world’s best saw Florentino Perez take him to Madrid upon returning as Real president for a second spell in office, but the player could recreate the Milan magic in Spain. He later went back to Milan as a returning hero in 2013.

“I was completely lost [in Madrid],” he told UOL. “When I went from Spain [back] to Italy I was Kaka, the best player in the world, and everyone loved me. When I went to Madrid, everyone wanted me to leave.”

Kaka also struggled to work with Jose Mourinho at Real, who arrived as the new boss in 2010.

“He was a very difficult coach for me. When I thought he was going to give me a chance, it did not happen,” the Brazilian explained.

Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

“In my head I could prove to him that I was in a position to be better at that time. But it did not work. I trained, I fought, I prayed.

“Without getting satisfaction on the pitch, the joy I had with him was getting a message when he left Real Madrid. He said I was one of the most professional players with whom he worked.”

For Kaka, the journey to becoming the best in the world had seen highs and lows. Before he was even a star, the player had recovered from a spinal injury that threatened to end his football career after a freak swimming pool accident.

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool

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With a few short years he had won the World Cup with Brazil and moved to Europe. But the 2005 Champions League final was another low, albeit a very important moment.

“I think it was the worst defeat, one of the most difficult and at the same time one of the biggest lessons I’ve had in football,” he said of Milan being beaten by Liverpool in Istanbul, a game which saw the Rossoneri throw away a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead.


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“I learned that I had no control over victory, even with the experience that the team had. That [Milan] team was one of the best teams in history, one of the best defences that ever existed, yet conceded three goals in six minutes.”

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Real Madrid Circle Paul Pogba After Details Emerge of Jose Mourinho Bust-Up During Derby

Real Madrid are waiting in the wings to nab Paul Pogba, after it emerged the Frenchman rowed with Jose Mourinho during the half time interval of the recent Manchester Derby.
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United were 2-0 down in the match at the Etihad Stadium, with Pogba having put in a particularly poor performance over the first 45 minutes.

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A number of things were said between players at the break, with experienced heads Ashley Young, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera the ones to issue the rallying cries.
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It turns out that tempers flared between Pogba and Mourinho, as claimed by the ?Sun. The former Juventus star came under fire from his manager in front of the whole team, and the player supposedly muttered under his breath as he spoke, which angered the Portuguese.

Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

To everybody’s shock, United and Pogba turned things around in the second half. The Red Devils were a completely different proposition, and Pogba’s brace helped the team to win 3-2 to delay the home side’s title victory.
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Mourinho then performed a very public U-turn, and complimented Pogba by telling him he’d have been his man of the match even without his goals.
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That said, Pogba is understood to be bemused by the whole affair and the relationship between the pair is thought to be extremely fragile at this point – and Real Madrid are keeping a close eye on the matter.


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The Spanish giants narrowly missed out on signing Pogba before his 2016 switch to Old Trafford, and could be tempted to test the waters this summer, ?especially given the reports that the 24-year-old is not safe from being sold.?

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Picking the Best Potential Real Madrid Lineup to Face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday

?Real Madrid will look to extend their unbeaten league run to seven games, when they play host to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday evening at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes to the squad in Los Blancos’ 2-1 defeat of Malaga, and the Frenchman could decide to stick to a similar team as he focuses on the Champions League semi final clash to Bayern Munich.

Torhüter

  • Navas

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As he has done so all season, ?Keylor Navas will start between the sticks. 

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  • Carvajal

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  • S. Ramos

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  • Vallejo

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  • Theo

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At left back, Zidane could decide to hand youngster Theo Hernandez ?his eighth La Liga start of the season, in place of usual starter Marcelo. With limited options to pick from, Dani Carvajal is likely to keep his place at right back for his 24th league start. 

There are a number of options available to Zidane in central defence, but he is likely to stick with the partnership of veteran Sergio Ramos and youngster Jesus Vallejo after a reassuring performance from the duo at La Rosaleda Stadium on Sunday. 

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In midfield, central defensive midfielder Casemiro will start just in front of the back four. Croatian international Mateo Kovacic will probably play alongside the Brazilian international for his ninth league start of the campaign. 

Further forward in midfield, Lucas Vasquez, who controversially won the last-minute penalty which decided Los Blancos’ Champions League progress, will start towards the right side, while fellow youngster Marco Asensio is likely to start towards the left. 

Isco will take up the number 10 position. 

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  • Ronaldo

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Zidane started Karim Benzema at the weekend in the 2-1 victory – but the striker, who has scored just eight goals in 36 appearances across all competitions, once again failed to get on the scoresheet. 

Ronaldo, on the other hand, wasn’t part of the squad who travelled down to Spain’s Costa del Sol but will be itching to get back into the starting squad on Wednesday. 

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