Benzema vs Villa: Other duel

The excellent goalscorer sequence of Karim Benzema, 10 goals in the final eight games of Real Madrid, has enabled the French to match the scorer record of David Villa. At this point, both added 21 goals in League, Spanish Cup and Champions League. Real Madrid striker has balanced a battle that, not so long ago, seemed almost decanted for the blue and red striker.

Karim Benzema

The gap between Benzema and Villa has gone in a few weeks. The French is, with Messi, the best scorer in the second round of the League (nine goals), while the last goal by Villa came in week 25 in Mallorca. Since then, four matches of League and one of the Champions League without a goal.

Interestingly, the comparison between the two attackers was fueled by José Mourinho. It was October 26, 2010, at the press conference before the visit of Real Madrid to Alicante, while he explained the inclusion in the list of Benzema: "He is called, but is not playing well. But there are teams that have players that also have a hard time and not score a goal against anyone".

Beyond the amounts paid by Madrid and Barcelona, 36 and 40 million euros respectively, the recipient of Mou's dart was evident. At that time, Villa totaled two goals in the League for only one of Benzema. However, the words seemed to spur “Guaje” Villa who, from that time, began to improve his numbers dramatically. In fact, now totals 17 goals in the League, with four doubles and shared the podium with the stratospheric top scorers Cristiano and Leo Messi. 

Benzema takeoff was delayed in time. In fact, after Gonzalo Higuain's injury, Mourinho insisted on signing a striker, considering that Karim did not offer sufficient guarantee for goals. And it was with the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor when Benzema started to score goals more often. The day of Adebayor´s landing in Madrid, Benzema drew a jewel in the first semifinal macth against Sevilla and although 'Manu' seemed to take the lead with two goals, against Sevilla on the second leg and against Real Sociedad in League, Benzema had a chance and took it. Goal against Levante in a minor duel prior to the Champions League visit to Lyon. At Gerland, stadium that saw him become a footballer, reached the definitive turning point. Adebayor was supplied by Karim and in just a minute, he stole the ball and after a great slalom, made the 0-1. Florentino raised his hands to the head.

While in League Villa clearly wins the match by 17-10, Benzema exceeds "Guaje" in Champions 6-3 and Spanish Cup 5-1. The French has only played more minutes than Spanish in the KO tournament: 490-254. In the League the Barcelona player dominates 2305-1406 and in the European competition by 548-357. Which, at this stage of the season, made ​​Benzema a more effective striker: scores every 107 minutes and Villa needs 147.


Pepe: "I have not renewed, but everything is on track"

Pepe, who is concentrated in Obidos with Portugal national team, confirmed yesterday that has not signed his new contract with Real Madrid (now ends in 2012): "I have not renewed, but everything is on track". As was said by people close to the club, the player would earn almost four million euros per season: "The situation is much better than two months ago. I have one year left on my contract and I want to prove myself. I talked with the board and we are very close to reach an agreement. I think I will continue, as was my desire".

Pepe's first day in white

After a year of talks, the renewal of Pepe reached an impasse in which none of the parties was willing to reach an agreement. Pepe did not understand that the club did not assess that he accepted a low salary by how expensive was the transfer Oporto-Real Madrid (30 million). He earns less than other players of lower rank. The club offered the defense, who currently is one of the players with the lowest salary of teamplate (1.8 million), raising his salary to 3.5 million. The player's agent made a first counteroffer of 5 million euros which was quickly rejected by Real Madrid

The Pepe's renewal for the Real Madrid was in dead point and that had made the big European teams were interested in him. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal were interested in the Portuguese central defender.

He also commented the criticism he received after the match against Lyon for his toughness with Lisandro: "I never injured anyone. I dispute every ball with maximum intensity".

Interview: Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas was again displayed, as a great captain, reviewing all topics of national team and Real Madrid. About the tributes that is receiving the members of the Spanish national team, the goalkeeper said: "If Iniesta had not score the goal in that World Cup final, this would not be happening. We have been champions and all that comes is great".

Although Spain has not offered its best performance in recent games, the ambition has not been lost: "After the World Cup it was hard to start and so the negative results we have picked. But we are living the golden age of Spanish football and is the desire to win the next European Championship, something that has never succeeded".

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas

The strike that threatens to Spanish football is a black spot: "At the end there will be dialogue and it will be solved. We know that football has become a business but the views should be approached for the benefit of all". If there's League match against Sporting, it could be played on Friday, April 1: "We have to take into account the fans and I guess Sporting fans will prefer to play on Saturday because they have already planned the trip".

Mourinho is very critical to the development of the schedule and timetables of League: "I do not believe in conspiracies but it is true that there are dates that are a bit illogical. But it is mounted in this way". Mourinho's arrival has changed many things in Madrid: "Before I meet him, he looks weird, but now I'm 24 hours a day with him and I can say is an outstanding person and as coach you only have to see his data. I will stick up for him".

Casillas and Mourinho in Valdebebas during a training
Iker Casillas and Mourinho

A crazy month of April is arriving, with four possible "classics" against a sweeping Barcelona: "It is true that we live a painful 2-6 at the Bernabeu, but that was also marked by the sporting trouble that Real Madrid was living. But we must not forget that Barcelona also went wrong in the first five years of this decade".

Real Madrid continues alive in three competitions: "The season is being good for us and if we win a title, it will be perfect". Tottenham is waiting in the quarterfinals of the Champions League: "I do not trust. Spurs have eliminated Milan and can also give us a scare. We have overcome the psychological barrier of last-16 and it has made us stronger". Spanish Cup final is approaching: "To win this competition has a special flavor. It is a beautiful moment, with both dedicated fan crows. And this time are cited the two biggest teams in Spain. It is the best final".

About the affair of doping, he was blunt: "It bothers me that Real Madrid was acknowledged on a subject as distasteful. I think that in a team-sport like football, players do not need this kind of substances".


Higuain works hard to help Real Madrid

There is no stoppages due to national teams games or days of rest for Gonzalo Higuain. The Argentine, since the beginning of the year, develops a routine apart from the rest of his teammates. "Pipita" is working every day to leave behind the aftermath of a hernia operation. On the horizon there is a date: April 20. And a dream: to be available to Jose Mourinho the day of the Spanish Cup Final.

Higuain in working hard to play the final matches of the season with Real Madrid
Gonzalo HIguain

For Higuain, a simply travel to Valencia (Mestalla Stadium) would be as a prize. Operated in New York on January 11, the striker is now more than four months without being a footballer. Working alone both at home and in Valdebebas, gradually conquering small milestones, which have become big steps for a player in his situation. As the day he turned to walk on the grass, on March 2.

Since then, Pipita has continued progressing. Slowly, patiently, day by day. The challenge of the Cup Final motivates him, more collectively than individually. Because being able to play in that game is very complicated, mainly due to lack of pace. But Higuain dreams to travel, to be part of the group, to encourage his peers in a final full of attractions. When will he play? Surely, in early May.

A possible return against Barcelona, also will close the cycle of Higuain's injury. The first match he could not play was in the league, the first leg against Barcelona, on the famous 5-0. In the previous day, the twelfth, he lent his last service to Madrid, the goal that opened the scoring against Athletic Bilbao. That day, November 20, 2010, his back had enough. It was the beginning of a nightmare whose end is approaching.

Cristiano: "I'm sick of this injury"

Cristiano went yesterday evening to the Portuguese town of Óbidos (10:10 pm) to be reviewed by Henrique Jones, head of medical services of his national team, the relapse he suffered last Saturday at Calderon Stadium. After assessing his physical condition, Paulo Bento decided to release him so he could return to Madrid and continue with the rehabilitation. "I'm very limited. The doctor saw the pictures and the resonance and confirmed that I am not well. I want to recover one hundred percent, I do not want it any longer days because I'm sick of this injury", said Cristiano.

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives to Óbidos to be examinated by the Portuguese doctors
Obidos: Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid star pulled out of the pitch on Saturday, accusing the injury that forced him to miss the games against Racing (1-3) at El Sardinero and Hercules (2-0) at the Bernabeu. After the scan he underwent hours later, it was determined that the Portuguese suffered a grade 1 hamstring injury in the femoral biceps of the left leg with edema and liquid component. The estimated injury time will be two to three weeks, so he will miss two friendlies with Portugal and probably the next league match against Sporting Gijón. At this time, the striker is undergoing physiotherapy.

Carvalho also traveled to Óbidos to be examined by team doctors because he ended the derby with a concussion in the lumbosacral region and a tightness in the right hamstring muscles. However, it was determined that his condition was not sufficiently significant to not recover in time to play the two games, so he was not released.


Real Madrid will pay tribute to Ronaldo Nazario

Real Madrid will pay tribute to Ronaldo Nazario next week in the moments before the match against Sporting. Florentino Perez had long been wishing to pay tribute to one of his galactics and one of the greatest strikers in the history of Real Madrid. Finally, Ronaldo will be in the the Bernabeu next week to receive the love of Real Madrid: "I will go to Madrid because Florentino called me to make me a tribute. It will do in the match against Sporting Gijon. If the match is played on Friday, I will arrive in the morning", said former Brazilian striker.

Ronaldo Nazario
Ronaldo Nazario broke his silence after announcing his retirement from football on 14 February. His first interview in Spain was last night in an evening radio program.

On 14 February, Valentine's Day, announced your retirement. Did it on purpose?
No, then I thought (laughs). I lived other things on 14 February. My second serious knee injury, for example. The no-wedding was on 12 February (laughs) ...

Has your life changed since you left football?
Yes, because I have lived all my life playing football and being a protagonist. Now I'm not going to be more. I shall miss it very much for those moments.

You cried in your farewell. Did you remember many things at that time?
It cost me a lot. Last year I played a few games because I am hurt a lot. Small lesions, but annoying. This year I prepared the season pretty well, but reinjured and always played with discomfort. I was a little tired of suffering, to reach the field without the conditions to be decisive. The head was fine, I thought I had speed, trying the dribble but the defense got before... It was hard because it has been my life.

Professional football has consequences, right?
Requires too much. My knees are bad. Now I attend many meetings, I see the executives who sit and cross their legs and I can not bend them...

Now that you're not going to train, there comes a game day and you are not there, that you do not go with the national team... Do you feel a little dizzy?
The first week I left the game, I tried three times to go to the gym and do some exercise, but at the last minute I decided to stay lying on in the couch. I thought: "I have trained hard in my life". It has been two months and still have not done any training. Sure I will do it again because I'm an athlete.

You just spend a few days in Madrid. Did you see Kaka? Is he sad?
Yes, he is a great friend. We were having dinner together. He had recurrence of the knee, so I gave him encouragement. The important thing is that the club and colleagues are with him. Being injured is already very difficult, and when a club and people do not believe it, is worse. Madrid believes him and gives him all the confidence in the world. He will recover, I do not know when, but will be decisive.

Ronaldo and Kaka

Do you see him the next season in Madrid? Teams in Italy and England want him...
A year ago was the best in the world. It has been a tough year, but he will recover. For me, he will not move becuase he is in the best club in the world.

Where have you been happiest?
I've been happy at all sites. When I was in a team, I wore the shirt and gave my life for it. Where I scored more goals was wearing the shirt of Real Madrid. I celebrated with them many goals.

Your heart is white?
Absolutely. I had a history of respectful relationship with Madrid. Inevitably, I have great esteem and affection.

And what about Barcelona?
I was only a year and it was spectacular, but I went wrong because the president (Nuñez) fool me and I went to Inter. The current team, how it plays, is a spectacle. How touching, how to play each other. And has a little boy who does incredible things...

Mourinho or Guardiola?
Mourinho. We live in Barcelona where he helped to Robson. I knew him well, is a great person, happy and fun.

What player do you like in Real Madrid?
Cristiano. I like players who are killers, if they see a space, shooting and scoring goals.

Do you mind the coincidence of names?
Why? It helps us that Ronaldo is out there in people's mouths.

People love you in Spain. Why he is booed?
People also whistled me, including Raul. The greatest there, the idol of Madrid.

Will Barcelona win the League?
I do not know, Barcelona is going well. Possibly will be champions but there will be many "classics" and that can change everything. I have to go to one...

Now what do you do? Do you work as manager?
I do not want to compete with players' representatives, there are many. My company runs a player's career in advertising and image. An important sector for the future. It will generate a lot of money. With the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, there will be many opportunities.

Who takes your heart right now?
I'm married. Bia is my wife and I have four children. Ronald measures 1.74m (11 years). He is encouraged to start playing. The others are Lex, María Sophia and María Alice.

Mourinho: World's highest-paid coach

Jose Mourinho is the coach who has won more money in 2010, 13.5 million euros in revenue, followed by Barcelona's coach Josep Guardiola with 10.5 million and the Spanish Rafael Benitez, the former Inter Milan coach, with 10.2 million. Fabio Capello (8.5 million), Alex Ferguson (6.9 million) and Arsene Wenger (6.6 million) who training in England, complete the top, but are far from what is paid in Spain.

Mourinho was the world's highest-paid coach in 2010
Mourinho and Guardiola

The best coaches earn, therefore, almost a third part of the best players, but top earners athletes are not in world football. 'France Football' shows that with his 31 million revenue, Messi is the seventh highest paid athlete in the world, a ranking led by Tiger Woods with 53 million euros. The second highest paid athlete is also American golfer Phil Mickelson (40 million) and the third is the Formula One driver Michael Schumacher (39 million).

"France Football" also states that the classification of the highest paid footballers is the youngest since it is produced, with an average of 25.1 years in the top three spots. It also notes a drop in revenue from the podium of the list with 79.2 million compared with 93.4 last year, when there was an absolute record. However, to enter in the "Top 20" of "France Football" this year was necessary to win more money, 11.3 million compared to just over 10 in previous editions.


Real Madrid vs Tottenham: Prices from 60 to 250 euros

Against Olympique Lyon were a good number of people in the Bernabéu (78,500 spectators), but a thousand seats were left unoccupied. Many fans complain about the high price of tickets, but the club argues that it is in the Champions League where Real Madrid should reward the loyalty of the 38,000 subscribers to European parties (they are free access in this competition, having paid their dues in summer).

High price of tickets for the Real Madrid-Tottenham match
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

The fact is that for the great match on April 5, Tuesday, Tottenham (first leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions), the club has set prices that will discourage those with less purchasing power. The cheapest ticket, for the Fourth Amphitheatre, costs 60 euros. Also, the most expensive, located in the east and west side galleries, goes up to 250. However, these are just the tickets that are often sold before, becuase go to requests from sponsors and healthy companies that pay those prices. If you get into the website of Real Madrid and you click on the VIP tickets, prices go up to 1,000 euros.

The club has been sighted and you can buy tickets for the Real Madrid-Tottenham, despite the fact that there are still 16 days to the meeting. New technologies allow people to buy tickets from the home computer, but the club will also facilitate the purchase of tickets at the box office, which will be open every day at the Bernabeu until 5 April. (Open at 10:00 am and close at 7:00 pm)

Cristiano Ronaldo: Out for two or three weeks

Mourinho had warned of the risk if Cristiano played against Atletico and his worst fears have come true. Cristiano has fallen from the injury he suffered last March 3 against Malaga and in the medical examination was diagnosed that "He should remain out two or three weeks, depending on the clinical course". So that he will miss the two games that should play with Portugal against Chile and Finland, and surely not arrive in time for the visit of Sporting Gijón to the Bernabeu. In any case, it seems that Potuguese player will be in top condition for the Champions League tie with Tottenham (1st leg, Madrid on 5 April).

Cristiano has fallen from the injury he suffered against Malaga
Cristiano has played injured the last games

Cristiano has stopped playing only 3 games of 45 of the season. He rested against Levante in the Spanish Cup and missed Racing and Hercules mathes due to injury. Should he play the last derby match? "The final decision is taken by the player" Mourinho and Cristiano cleared, then he added: "I'm not good ... and it shows".

The forward words came after displaying a distant level than usual against Lyon and Atletico."We reached the limit of risk, would have been better a day between games. But he had to play for the League not finished here", said Mourinho. Playing some games injured (as Mourinho admitted) achieved in January an average of 22 League goals in 18 games, approaching the record of Hugo and Zarra.

Whether by necessity or the desire to overcome Messi goals (37 vs 42 from Argentina player),Cristiano has tempted fate too much. His worst run since he came to Madrid, 458 minutes without scoring, between Espanyol and Deportivo including the first leg against Lyon, is explained in a couple of ailments. Against Espanyol received a hard tackle (did not train the next day and played with sore muscles against Levante) and then Cris fell on his left ankle in Lyon.

But Cristiano did not stop and neither did in the derby, where in 62 minutes Mourinho asked him if he wants to go out of the field. Portuguese player said "No". Nine minutes after, came out injured and without scoring his goal. But the most important are yet to be scored.


League (Day 29): Cristiano and Casillas reactions


"The team played very well in a complicated match, especially in the second half, during which we felt exhaustion. I was very nervous while watching the game from the bench when the score was 2-1 because I'm not used to following a game from there."

"I'm not 100% fit and it was a difficult game for me. Those who know me could tell I wasn't myself during the match, especially in the second half. I think I've got an injury of some sort. We'll see what shows up in the scan."

Cristiano Ronaldo was relevated by Adebayor on the match against Atletico Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo visited today the clinic "Sanitas La Moraleja" where has undergone an MRI to check the status of his left hamstring, the muscle that is giving him problems in recent days.

Ronaldo ended the derby with pain and swelling in the affected area as the club announced in a medical report published on its website. The player's physical condition makes him doubtful for the call to Portugal, like Carvalho, although in principle they will travel with the medical report.


"We'll lose against Atletico some day, but I hope it arrives as late as possible. Atletico pressurised much more and had more chances on goal. The final score may be unfair."

"Goalkeepers are there to make saves. I managed to pull off most of them due more to positioning than to concentration. They weren't very spectacular. Atletico didn't capitalise on their chances and we did. We are good at scoring goals and used this to our advantage. Benzema has changed radically and we are all delighted about it because he is a phenomenal person. I hope he keeps it up for a long time."

"The team feels slightly tired after playing so many important games. We've earned numbers worthy of a champion side. We're solid and firm. We have to keep this up. Complicated away games against Sevilla, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao wait in store for us. Tonight we won and took three points. We must now think about our match against Sporting Gijon."

Spanish League: Day 29


Intense, moving, passionate, great and in some minutes, the first and the last, exciting. This was the derby. Stressful even for those who do not sweat a drop. Glorious for Real Madrid, because enlarges its legend in these games, and honorable for Atletico, which had the final pleasure of feeling the fear of others, something is good, and against Madrid, that is a lot.

Those who wish may find reasons for hope. The visitor is hooked to the League and its pursuit is becoming obsessive. There should not be comfortable feel in the back the breath of the white team. For the host there is a consolation, to have cut a feet of the thousand that still separate the red-white team of the rich neighbor.

But let's go to the match. Now it's easy to say, but people suspect that Atletico did not make a realistic approach to the match. It was launched for the win with its eyes closed, its sword pointed at Cibeles and the horses galloping, putting the favourite application of Real Madrid on tray: the counterattack. With this scenario, every ball that was stolen by Madrid, placed team at advantage, with field in front and its players leading the race.

Contrary to expectations, the white steel trivote not hurt those actions. On the contrary, even better. Khedira joined the attack with unusual courage, to the point of having several scoring opportunities. The coach has a lot of blame for the team has won the spirit, the pressure, greed. Also belong to these four meters that distinguish the extraordinary and standard teams. Wild values when sound in the microphone, but rewarding if placed on the grass.

All the Real Madrid players celebrated the second goal of the match against Atletico
Real Madrid celebrates Özil's goal

 The white team had two chances on goal before scoring the opener on the 11-minute mark: Benzema controlled the ball passed from Khedira, entered the box and defeated De Gea with a slightly lobbed shot. Atletico reacted fiercely and forced Casillas to spectacularly save shots by Aguero and Reyes, amongst others. Ozil scored the team's second strike in the 33rd minute from a strange shot that confused De Gea and forced him to make a mistake.

Atletico tried to breach the gap after half-time. Forlan put Iker Casillas to the test again in the 47th minute and the goalkeeper made a sensational save. Real Madrid kept trying to net another strike to sentence the match and Cristiano came close on the 65-minute mark, but his header went over the crossbar. Ozil devised all of the team's counterattacks in pursuit of a goal. Mourinho decided to bring Adebayor on for Benzema, and two minutes later, Di Maria came on for Ronaldo.

Real Madrid started to show exhaustion from their Champions League exploits in the final 15 minutes of the match. Mourinho made Arbeloa come on for Lass to strengthen the defence (81') and, when everything seemed to be over, Aguero managed to defeat Casillas inside the box, adding tension to the derby. Mario Suarez nearly scored in injury time, but his soft shot was grabbed by Casillas just before the blow of the whistle.


Stadium: Vicente Calderón
Attendance: 53,000
Goals: 0-1, m. 11: Benzema. 0-2, m. 33: Özil. 1-2, m. 84: Agüero
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