Cristiano Ronaldo the reason Ruud van Nistelrooy left Manchester United

A close friend of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that he knows the real reason why Ruud Van Nistelrooy left Old Trafford in 2006.

The Dutchman enjoyed a prolific five years with United, scoring 95 Premier League goals in 150 appearances for the Red Devils, before heading to Real Madrid for €14million.

At the time, Ferguson claimed that Van Nistelrooy wanted to leave the club but according to former PM Tony Blair’s ex-communications officer, Alastair Campbell, it was Fergie who wanted the player out after a spat with Cristiano Ronaldo.

He alleged (via SI.com): “He [Van Nistelrooy] told Cristiano that he had found a new father in Carlos Queiroz (Ferguson’s assistant manager at the time) a little after Cristiano’s real father had died of alcoholism.
“Carlos told him to have some respect but he said that he didn’t have to respect anybody. He then later excused himself but Cristiano did not accept it.
“Ferguson sent Van Nistelrooy home when he heard what happened and he was then moved to Real not long after that. Ruud always put himself first which was a problem indeed…”

Advertisements

FIFA awards: Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar up for Best FIFA Men’s Player Award

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have been nominated as finalists for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award.

Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to a second consecutive Champions League title and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 12 goals earlier this year.

Messi and Neymar claimed the Copa del Rey with Barcelona with the former finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with 37 goals last season.

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon was shortlisted for the Best FIFA Goalkeeper award after leading the Italian club to a sixth successive Serie A title, a third-straight Italian Cup success and a runner-up finish in the Champions League.

He was joined by Real Madrid shot-stopper Keylor Navas and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri were on the shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Coach award.

The women’s player of the year award will be contested between Venezuelan striker Deyna Castellanos, American midfielder Carli Lloyd, and Lieke Martens, who helped Netherlands to the Euro 2017 title.

The awards ceremony will take place in London on October 23.

Player of the year

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Neymar (PSG)

Goalkeeper of the year

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Coach of the year

Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus)

Antonio Conte (Chelsea)

Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

FIFA women’s coach of the year

Nils Nielsen (Denmark)

Gérard Prêcheur (Lyon)

Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands)

FIFA women’s player of the year

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela/Santa Clarita Blue Heat)

Carli Lloyd (United States/Houston Dash)

Lieke Martens (Netherlands/Barcelona)

FIFA fan award

Borussia Dortmund supporters

Celtic supporters

FC Copenhagen supporters

Puskas Award

Kevin-Prince Boateng (Las Palmas)

Alejandro Camargo (Universidad de Concepcion)

Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela U-17)

Moussa Dembele (Celtic)

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Aviles Hurtado (Tijuana Xolos)

Mario Mandzukic (Juventus)

Oscarine Masuluke (Baroka FC)

Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)

UCL: Group H results – Ronaldo scores twice to condemn APOEL; Kane’s brace help Tottenham beat Dortmund and break Wembley woes

Real Madrid 3 – 0 APOEL Nicosia
Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Borussia Dortmund

  • Real Madrid 3 – 0 APOEL Nicosia

Champions League holders Real Madrid beat APOEL Nicosia 3-0 in Group H on Wednesday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo straight back in the goalscoring groove.

Ronaldo is currently serving a domestic ban for pushing the referee after being sent off in the Spanish Supercopa clash with Barcelona last month.

But the Portuguese superstar scored twice on his return – taking his Champions League career goals tally to a record 107 – and Sergio Ramos added a spectacular overhead kick.
The breakthrough came on the counter-attack in the 12th minute as Isco ran past a series of defenders before laying the ball off to Bale, whose low cross through the box came perfectly to Ronaldo, who made the finish look easy.
Madrid were soon dealt a blow however, when Mateo Kovacic injured himself while passing and was replaced by Toni Kroos.
Ronaldo came close to adding a second goal in the 34th minute but couldn’t turn a sliding effort on target, and early in the second half came inches from scoring when his volley hit the crossbar and came down on the goalline.
The Portuguese star pleaded with the fourth official, though goal-line technology showed that only about half the ball had crossed the line.

But his second did come five minutes later after Roberto Lago was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, and Ronaldo despatched the penalty.
Sergio Ramos added a third goal in the 61st minute after Bale’s header took a high deflection, and the defender adjusted his body to put the ball into the net with an overhead kick.

Real Madrid have won their first game of a Champions League season played at Santiago Bernabeu in each of the 11 times they have started the campaign at home.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more home goals (55) than any other player in Champions League history (Lionel Messi, 54).

Ronaldo has scored more penalties (12) than any other player in Champions League history (Lionel Messi, 11).

  • Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Borussia Dortmund

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund to get their Champions League campaign off to a positive start and end their winless run at Wembley.

Kane’s instinct in front of goal was the difference as Spurs were largely forced on the back foot by an impressive German side who dominated territory and possession.

His first goal – a rising angled finish following a determined run down the left – capped a frantic opening 15 minutes in which Son Heung-min’s opener from an angle was cancelled out by a superb curling finish from Dortmund’s Andriy Yarmolenko.

The England forward’s second was a low finish inside the far post on the hour mark to give his side the edge they needed as they overcame the threat of their dangerous and relentless opponent.
However, the home side ended the game with 10 men as defender Jan Vertonghen was shown a second yellow card for catching Dortmund substitute Mario Gotze with a swinging arm.

The visitors can point an accusing finger at the officials, who ruled out a perfectly good goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for offside.

This is just the second win of Tottenham’s tenancy at Wembley, which includes all of last season’s home Champions League group stage games and two Premier League matches this campaign.

The victory leaves them second in Group H behind Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2016/17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award after another impressive campaign for his club and country.

Ronaldo beat off competition from his Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to take the prestigious award at a ceremony in Nyon, Switzerland on Thursday.

Ronaldo’s outstanding performances helped Los Blancos to become the first club to retain the Champions League trophy.

He scored five goals in the quarterfinal victory over Bayern Munich, with a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

Another treble followed in the first leg of the semifinal against Atletico Madrid, and two more goals came in the final success over Juventus.

Ronaldo also helped his country claim an unexpected triumph in the European Championship in France last summer.

Barcelona’s Messi scored 54 goals for his club, but they had only the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey to show for their efforts.

Buffon, 39, was the losing goalkeeper as Madrid beat Juventus in the Champions League final in Cardiff, but helped his club to an Italian Double.

Ronaldo vowed to maintain his high standards after accepting the award from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“Every year is the same challenge – to win everything, if possible,” he said.

“With my club, the international team, we are not qualified [for the World Cup] yet, we have that to do.

“I’m so glad to be here and win this trophy again. I have to say thank you to my team-mates, I’m so happy for them too.”

Lieke Martens was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year after leading the Netherlands to the 2017 Women’s Euro title this summer on home soil.

The 24-year-old Martens, who plays her club football at Barcelona, scored three goals and was named player of the tournament at the Euro.

“This is so amazing,” she said upon receiving the award.

“It’s a big honour. I’m really proud, but I couldn’t achieve this without my teammates. I’m speechless!”

Francesco Totti was the recipient of the President’s Award, which recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities.

The Roma legend, who spent his entire career at the Rome club before retiring at the conclusion of last season, became the third Italian to be given the honour, joining AC Milan legends Gianni Rivera and Paolo Maldini.

“I am honoured — wearing a single shirt my entire career was my dream, and I managed to do it,” he said.

As expected, Buffon was awarded Goalkeeper of the Year after helping Juventus finish as runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Sergio Ramos took home the award for the top defender in Europe.

Luka Modric was named the best midfielder.

Ronaldo was also presented with the Forward of the Year award after claiming his fourth Champions League title.

Awards in full

UEFA Men’s Player of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo UEFA

Women’s Player of the Year: Lieke Martens

Best Goalkeeper of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Gianluigi Buffon

Best Defender of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Sergio Ramos

Best Midfielder of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Luka Modrić

Best Forward of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season: Cristiano

Ronaldo UEFA President’s Award: Francesco Totti

Ronaldo, Messi, Buffon up for UEFA Player of the year

Gianluigi Buffon, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three shortlisted players for the UEFA Player of the Year award.

Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Buffon, Argentina and Barcelona striker Messi and Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo were chosen by a jury of 80 coaches and 55 journalists.

Messi and Ronaldo have won the award twice – Ronaldo winning last season.

Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) and Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) the only other players to receive it.

The award, which was created in 2011, will be presented at the Champions League group stage draw on Aug. 24, with Real Madrid star Ronaldo the favourite to win it for the third time in four years after his outstanding performances helped Los Blancos to become the first club to retain the trophy.

Ronaldo scored five goals in the quarterfinal victory over Bayern Munich, with a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

He scored another treble in the first leg of the semi against Atletico Madrid, and two goals in the final success over Juventus.

Messi scored 54 goals for his club but Barcelona only had the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey to show for their efforts.

Buffon would be a popular choice, but the 39-year-old would have been better positioned had Juventus beaten Madrid in the Champions League final.

Juventus did complete the Italian Double.

The players who make up the rest of the top 10 are:

4: Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)

5: Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid)

6: Paulo Dybala (Argentina, Juventus)

7: Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)

8: Kylian Mbappe (France, Monaco)

9: Robert Lewandowski (Poland, Bayern Munich)

10: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Manchester United)

The UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award complements four new positional UEFA Champions League awards, which will crown the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward of the 2016/17 Champions League season.

These awards will also be presented during the group stage draw on 24 August.

The following day, the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season award will be presented at the competition’s 2017/18 group stage draw in Monaco.

Three players, all from last season’s title-winners Manchester United, have been shortlisted – Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.

Spanish Super Cup – First leg result: Ronaldo sees red as Real Madrid beat Barcelona in Camp Nou

Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo went from hero to villain in the space of two minutes as Real Madrid won the first El Clasico of the season with a 3-1 victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

An incident-packed second half at the Nou Camp saw Gerard Pique’s own goal put Real ahead before Lionel Messi equalised from the penalty spot after Luis Suarez was fouled by Keylor Navas.

Ronaldo, on as a substitute, was booked for taking his shirt off to celebrate his spectacular strike three minutes later.

That was followed swiftly by a second yellow card for diving following a challenge by Samuel Umtiti and an angry Ronaldo appeared to push referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea on his way off the field.

Marco Asensio wrapped up the victory for 10-man Real with a brilliant finish in the 90th minute, condemning new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde to defeat in his first competitive match at the Nou Camp.

The two sides will play the second leg at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo named in Real Madrid squad to face Manchester United in UEFA Super Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in Real Madrid’s travelling squad for Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with his former team Manchester United in Skopje, despite only resuming training at the weekend.

Ronaldo, 32, began preseason training with Madrid on Saturday, having missed their entire International Champions Cup programme in the United States due to an extended summer break following his Confederations Cup campaign with Portugal in Russia, and his appearance in a Madrid court to answer tax fraud charges on July 31.

However, he has been included in Zinedine Zidane’s travelling party for the game, in an extended 24-man squad that also includes senior stars Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos, as well teenage right-back Achraf Hakimi and the coach’s son Luca as third-choice goalkeeper.

On their return, Madrid also face rivals Barcelona in Spanish Super Cup games at the Camp Nou on Sunday Aug. 13 and the Bernabeu on Wednesday Aug. 16, ahead of their La Liga opening fixture at Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday Aug. 20.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku reject comparison with Drogba, Lewandowski and Ronaldo – “i want to create my own history”

Romelu Lukaku insists his best is yet to come after the Manchester United new boy played down comparisons between himself and some of Europe’s elite goalscorers.

The forward has now been working with his new club in the United States for two weeks, opening his account against Real Salt Lake before scoring a superb goal in the 2-0 defeat of Manchester City in Houston.

It was a goal any of Europe’s elite would have been proud of, but Lukaku knows he is a way off being considered in the same bracket as the likes of Robert Lewandowksi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Yeah, of course (I want to reach that level) but winning trophies at the end of the day (is key),” Lukaku said.

“At the end of the day you want to win trophies. “I’m a goalscorer, I’ve always scored goals throughout my career. Also in Europe, when I played in the Europa League, my record is really good.

“Now I think the Champions League is the next stage where I have to prove myself and the club wants to do well in it as well.”

Asked if he was at the level of Lewandowski and Ronaldo right now, he quickly replied: “No, no, no – I’m far from that level. “But it’s the level I want to aim for. But it’s all about the team. I want the team to win trophies and I’ll do everything that I can in my powers to make sure the team wins.

“Keep improving – there is always room for improvement. I just want to become the best player that I can be. “I will never say it’s good enough. I will always say that I can improve. “I’m 24 years of age. I can’t say I’m the complete package. I can’t say I’m in my prime. “There is a lot of work to be done and I’m delighted that there is still work to be done. That means I can become even better than I am now.”

Lukaku on Drogba comparisons

Lukaku may not yet be at his peak, but Mourinho has been pleased by what he has seen, praising the new boy at nearly every public appearance.

The United boss speaks about Lukaku with similar excitement to how he once did about Didier Drogba – a player Lukaku idolised and worked with at Chelsea.

“Not really, I’m different,” the Belgium international said when comparisons to the job Drogba did for Mourinho were brought up.

“Drogba is more of a hold-up player, a target-man. I prefer to have ball to feet and run in behind.

“It’s something we’re totally different at. We might have physical similarities but I think we’re totally different players.

“And I’m Romelu Lukaku – at the end of the day I want to create my own history. I’m at Manchester United, he was at Chelsea.”

Jose Mourinho describes Cristiano Ronaldo’s  Manchester return as “mission impossible”

​Jose Mourinho ruled out any attempt to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford after Man Utd’s 5-2 rout of the LA Galaxy.
United boss Mourinho worked with his compatriot in Madrid and says an Old Trafford reunion was never on the cards.

“We have never thought about it because he is too much of an important player for his club, of great economic power,” he said.

“We have not been able to find for whatever reason anything that could have made us think that Ronaldo could leave.

“I am not a defender of my club once I waste time on players who are mission impossible.”

United have so far brought in Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku, with the latter’s arrival said to have ended their interest in Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.

“He belongs to Madrid,” said former Real boss Mourinho. “Madrid have decided and we have not come to an agreement. It is simple. It is a shame.

“He is a player who made it to the first team with me. We have a special liking for him, he is someone special. I enjoyed watching his evolution at Juventus and Madrid.

“It is like that. I don’t think he can end with us.”

FIFA Confederations Cup – Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo the hero as he saves three penalties to send Chile to final

Portugal 0 – 0 Chile (0 – 3 Penalties)

Chile reached the final of the Confederation Cup after Claudio Bravo saved three penalties as Chile edge Portugal on a 3-0 shoot-out.

The Chile captain denied Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani to send his team into Sunday’s final after the game in Kazan ended 0-0 after extra time.

Chile, who scored all three of their spot-kicks taken by Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez, will face the winner of Germany against Mexico.
Nani missed the decisive penalty as Portugal did not call on Cristiano Ronaldo, who likely was scheduled to take the fifth.

Chile created the better opportunities and were unfortunate not to win the game in extra-time when they struck the woodwork twice in quick succession through Vidal and Martin Rodriguez.

New Manchester City signing Bernardo Silva overcame a foot injury to start, while Cristiano Ronaldo captained his country and Jose Fonte replaced the suspended Pepe. Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo featured for Chile.

FIFA Confederations Cup  – Ronaldo scores his 75th European  international goal as Portugal crush New Zealand 

GROUP A 

New Zealand  0 – 4 Portugal 

​Portugal coasted to a 4-0 win over New Zealand in St Petersburg to secure their place in the Confederations Cup semifinals.

The win, however, came at a cost as Manchester City-bound midfielder Bernardo Silva was substituted because of an ankle injury.

With hosts Russia losing against Mexico in Kazan, Portugal progressed as Group A winners, while the All Whites finished bottom following a third straight defeat.

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo put Portugal ahead from the penalty spot on 33 minutes,  his 75th goal for Portugal, bringing him level with Sandor Kocsis in second place on the list of Europe’s highest international goal scorers.

Bernardo Silva swiftly doubled the lead with a close-range finish, but landed awkwardly on his ankle and was taken off at half-time.

Andre Silva wrapped up a comfortable victory with a fierce angled finish on 80 minutes, and Nani added a fourth in stoppage time.

FIFA Confederations Cup – Ronaldo’s header earn victory for Portugal against host Russia

GROUP A

Russia 0 – 1 Portugal 

Cristiano Ronaldo headed the only goal as Portugal recorded their first win at the Confederations Cup by beating hosts Russia.

Ronaldo connected to Raphael Guerreiro’s cross in the eighth minute as Portugal stay second in Group A, a point clear of the Russians.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, earning his 100th cap, denied Portugal victory by a greater margin as he made vital saves from Ronaldo and Andre Silva either side of half-time.

Russia were poor before half-time and although they improved after it, they were repeatedly hit on the break as they committed men to the search for an equaliser.

The goal was Ronaldo’s 74th senior international goal on his 141st appearance for his country.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho charged with tax evasion in Spain

Jose Mourinho has been accused of tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors investigating his time as Real Madrid’s head coach.

A Madrid prosecutor said on Tuesday that a claim of two counts of tax fraud in 2011 and 2012, when he was manager of Real Madrid, had been filed.

Mourinho owes the Spanish tax authorities £2.9m (€3.3m), according to a statement, which added it had presented a claim to a local court.

The allegations follow those made against Cristiano Ronaldo made by Spanish tax authorities last week, which led to the player disclosing a wish to leave the country and perhaps work with Mourinho again at Old Trafford.
Other footballers accused of tax fraud in Spain include:

  • Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi, who has been handed a 21-month jail term. His father Jorge, who manages his finances, was also convicted.
  • Barcelona defender Javier  Mascherano- also an Argentine – admitted tax fraud, escaping a jail term with a one-year suspended sentence.
  • Barcelona and Brazilian star Neymari s also facing allegations of corruption and fraud over his transfer to the Spanish club in 2013 – a case which also involves his parents. Prosecutors allege the transfer cost much more than publicly declared, and that millions were concealed from authorities
  • Former Barcelona president Sandro  Rosell, was arrested in May as part of a money-laundering investigation.

“I wish he was Argentine” – Maradona on Cristiano Ronaldo 

Diego Maradona says he wishes Cristiano Ronaldo was Argentine, but still prefers Lionel Messi to lead the Albiceleste.

“Cristiano is an animal,” Maradona told TyC Sports. “I wish he was Argentine.

“But I still prefer Messi. He is enjoying playing football and goes by opponents with ease.

“I don’t remember seeing Messi play badly. Even if Messi does not win a World Cup, he will be remembered in football history.

“Leo cannot deliver the World Cup on his own. Even if he does not win a World Cup, we will still remember him.”

Ronaldo beg super-agent for Manchester United return

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told his agent to seal a dream return to Manchester United this summer.

United will offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea, 26, and £183m in exchange for Portugal forward Ronaldo, 32, and his Real Madrid team-mate Alvaro Morata, the 24-year-old Spain striker.

Alternatively, United will offer De Gea and £175m for Ronaldo and will pursue Morata in a separate deal.

If De Gea goes to Madrid, then United could move for AC Milan’s Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, 18, as a replacement.

United, along with Chelsea, PSG and Bayern Munich are all keen on the prolific Portugal star, with the French outfit ready to to offer £122m to land him plus a staggering salary of £26m per year.

Ronaldo, however, favours a return to return to United and has instructed his representative, fellow Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes, to do everything in his power to make it reality after ignoring pleas from Real boss Zinedine Zidane to reconsider his position.
The Chinese transfer window opens on Monday and the biggest prize is Cristiano Ronaldo.

FIFA Confederations Cup – Russia 2017 : Portugal  denied victory by a late Hector Moreno goal

GROUP A 

Portugal 2 – 2 Mexico

Hector Moreno snatched a stoppage-time equaliser as Mexico denied Portugal a late victory in their opening Confederations Cup match.

Pepe had a goal disallowed for offside after a referral to the video assistant referees before Ricardo Quaresma sold the keeper a dummy and slotted in.

Javier Hernandez equalised with a low header from Carlos Vela’s cross.

Cedric Soares’ 86th-minute shot was deflected in, but Hector Moreno snatched a point in the 91st minute.

Mexico defender Moreno, who recently joined Italian side Roma from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, headed in off the post from a Jonathan dos Santos cross.

Earlier, Ronaldo had a header brilliantly tipped away by Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa, while Gelson Martins- a target for Liverpool – fired just wide on the counter for Portugal.

Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid 

​Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, has told Real Madrid he wants to leave Spain and his decision is “irreversible”.

The Portugal international was recently embroiled in a tax complaint and as such has taken the ‘irreversible’ decision to leave Spain this summer.

World Cup UEFA Qualifiers – Hugo Lloris howler gift Sweden victory; Ronaldo scores twice but Switzerland stay top; Belgium maintain lead

​Group A

Belarus 2 – 1 Bulgaria

Netherlands 5 – 0 Luxembourg

Sweden 2 – 1 France

  • Sweden 2 – 1 France

A blunder from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saw Sweden snatch a dramatic stoppage-time winner to open up the battle at the top of World Cup European qualifying Group A.

Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud fired Les Bleus into the lead in the 37th minute with a superb volley into the top corner after taking the ball down at the far post.

Sweden hit back just before the break when midfielder Jimmy Durmaz lashed in an angled drive.

Jakob Johansson and then France forward Antoine Griezmann both had chances before, with just seconds of three minutes of added time remaining, Spurs keeper Lloris dribbled the ball out of his penalty area only to scuff an attempted clearance.

Toulouse forward Ola Toivonen clipped a first-time effort over the keeper from just inside his own half, which bounced into an empty net to spark wild celebrations from the home fans at the Friends Arena as Sweden moved above France to the top of the table on goal difference.

Sweden have not qualified for the finals since 2006.

  • Netherlands 5 – 0 Luxembourg

Holland are now just three points behind Dick Advocaat won his first game back in charge of the Netherlands as the Dutch hammered Luxembourg 5-0 to boost their chances of World Cup qualification.

The former Sunderland boss, 69, is  starting his third spell as national  team boss.

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben put the Netherlands ahead after 21 minutes.

Veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder – making a record 131st international appearance on his 33rd birthday – slotted in a second after 35 minutes.

Advocaat, who was named as Danny Blind’s successor in May, saw his side go further ahead on the hour through Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

Quincy Promes headed in a fourth with 20 minutes left, with a late penalty from Tottenham forward Vincent Janssen completing the rout.

  • Belarus 2 – 1 Bulgaria

Bulgaria, who had been third, slipped to a 2-1 defeat inBelarus.

The hosts went ahead after 33 minutes through a penalty from Mikhail Sivakov and a fine individual effort from Pavel Savitskiy sealed victory with 10 minutes left.

Georgi Kostadinov netted a consolation for Bulgaria in stoppage time.



Group B

Andorra 1 – 0 Hungary

Faroe Islands 0 – 2 Switzerland

Latvia 0 – 3 Portugal

  • Latvia 0 – 3 Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two close-range headers as Portugal won 3-0 in Latvia.

Ronaldo – whose double helped Real Madrid win the Champions League final in Cardiff last Saturday – nodded Portugal in front five minutes before half-time after Jose Fonte’s header came back off the crossbar.

The 32-year-old headed in a second from almost on the goalline after 61 minutes, with Porto striker Andre Silva adding a third six minutes later.

  • Faroe Islands 0 – 2 Switzerland

Switzerland kept themselves ahead of Portugal at the top of Group B with a 2-0 away win over the Faroe Islands.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka put the Swiss ahead in the 36th minute with a low shot and Stoke playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri’s neat angled finish wrapped things up after 56 minutes.

  • Andorra 1 – 0 Hungary

Andorra moved off the bottom of the table with a shock 1-0 win over Hungary at Estadi Nacional where a header from Marc Rebes brought to an end a run of 66 competitive matches without a victory.

Congrats.

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 – 0 Greece

Estonia 0 – 2 Belgium

Gibraltar 1 – 2 Cyprus

  • Estonia 0 – 2 Belgium

Belgium maintained their lead atop Group H with a 2-0 defeat of Estonia, who finished with 10 men at the A. Le Coq Arena.

The Belgians are yet to lose in qualifying thus far, taking 16 points from six matches, and were on the scoreboard after the half-hour.

Kevin De Bruyne’s cross from the right was mishandled by Estonia goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu into the path of Dries Mertens, who comfortably slotted home at the far post.

Belgium then put the game away in the 86th minute through Nacer Chadli, who slotted home a De Bruyne pass from close range.

  • Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 – 0 Greece

Second-placed Greece battled to a goalless draw away to Bosnia-Herzegovina, who remain a point behind.

The draw puts Greece in the playoff position on 12 points from six matches, while the hosts sit on 11.

  • Gibraltar 1 – 2 Cyprus

Fourth-placed Cyprus rallied to defeat last-placed Gibraltar 2-1.

Roy Chipolina’s own goal gave the visitors an early advantage in the 10th minute — the defender leaping to cut off a Konstantinos Charalampidis chipped ball into the area and inadvertently looping his header over onrushing keeper Deren Ibrahim and into the empty net.

Gibraltar responded, though, 20 minutes later through Anthony Hernandez, who received a through-ball in the area and curled his right-footed shot around the keeper.

Cyprus then went in front for good in the 87th minute — Pieros Sotiriou heading home Jason Demetriou’s cross from the centre of the box to give the Cypriots a valuable three points.

Ronaldo named Forbes world’s richest sportsman for the second straight year

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, with earnings of £71.8m, retains the top spot of Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list.

The top 100 earned a total of £2.40bn over the last 12 months, a slight decrease from last year’s earnings of £2.43bn. Endorsement income also experienced a bit of a decline, down 4% to £685mil this year.
Before Ronaldo, the best-paid sports star was Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather for 15 straight years. Woods ranks No 17 this year, while Floyd Mayweather did not make the cut, having had no fights over the last 12 months.

Ronaldo, 32, is reckoned to have earned $93 million (€82.5m, £71.7m) between his Real salary ($58m) and off-the-field endorsements ($35m) last year. Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who was No. 2 last year, was third on the list, with calculated earnings of $80m ($53m in salary/winnings, $27m in endorsements).

The Portugal captain, who lifted his fourth Champions League title on Saturday, has a lifetime contract with Nike worth around $1 billion, and counts the likes of Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Abbott Labs as brands for whom he’s a pitchman.

Also, the former Manchester United man’s line of CR7-branded products, which includes shoes, underwear, fragrance as well as a line of hotels add additional income.
Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar is the next footballer on the list at No. 18, earning $37m, which includes $22m in endorsements on top of his $15m salary.
The list of elite athletes consists of players from 11 different sports.

Basketball dominates with a record 32 NBA players among the top 100, up from 18 in 2016, followed by baseball with 22, American football with 15 and football with nine.
Golfer Rory McIlroy is the highest-earning Briton on the list. His $50m (£38.74m) puts him in sixth place – of that, $34m (£26.34m) came from endorsements.
Wales international Gareth Bale, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate, remains the highest-earning British footballer, with his $34m (£26.34m) putting him 24th.
World number two tennis player Serena William sis the only woman on the list, in 51st, with $27m (£20.92m) made last year.
Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovicin 30th with $32m (£24.79m), is the highest-placed Premier League footballer.
The other footballers on the list are Wayne Rooney at No. 70 ($23.6m), Luis Suarez at No. 71 ($23.3m), Sergio Aguero at No. 80 ($22.6m) and James Rodriguez at No. 91 ($21.9m).

1) Cristiano Ronaldo- football ($93m/£72.05m)

2) LeBron James- basketball ($86.2m/£66.79m)

3) Lionel Messi- football ($80m/£61.98m)

4) Roger Federer- tennis ($64m/£49.58m)

5) Kevin Durant- basketball ($60.6m/£46.95m)

6) Andrew Luck- American football ($50m/£38.74m)

7) Rory McIlroy- golfer ($50m/£38.74m)

8) Stephen Curry- basketball ($47.3m/£36.64m)

9) James Harden- basketball ($46.6m/£36.10m)

10) Lewis Hamilton- formula 1 ($46m/£35.64m)

Latest Football News 

  • ​Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, has told Manchester United that he will never rejoin them.

  • Arsenal have confirmed that Bosnia-Herzegovina international Sead Kolasinac will join the club on a free transfer when his contract at Schalke expires on June 30.

  • The 30 year old left-back will become an Arsenal player on 1 July when the transfer window opens.
  • Bayern Munich have joined Manchester United and Chelsea in the race to sign Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, 24.
  • Romelu Lukaku says he and his agent “have an agreement” with another club, telling Sky Sports that he intends to remain in the Premier League.
  • Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, 24, is Manchester United’s top transfer target as Belgium international Lukaku and Torino striker Andrea Belotti, 23, are too expensive.
  • Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and defender Sergio Ramos, 31, do not believe the club need to make a move for Manchester United keeper David de Gea, 26.
  • Arsene Wenger has been spotted in Nice with chief executive Ivan Gazidis as speculation mounts that the Gunners could make a move for 18-year-old Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe.
  • But Real Madrid have made a world-record £118m bid for the France international.

  • Manchester United have reportedly launched a £113million bid to beat their rivals to the signing of Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe.
  • The Gunners are close to agreeing a new deal with winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23.
  • Real Madrid defender Pepe, 34, is set to leave the Spanish giants and sign a two-year contract with Paris St-Germain.
  • He is angry with Real because they only offered him a one-year extension. He admitted that he did have an offer from PSG, but also Inter and clubs from England.
  • Real Madrid’s victorious Champions League and La Liga squad are expected to share the biggest bonus in football history – around £2m each.
  • Fernando Torres is close to a move to Mexican club Queretaro from Atletico Madrid.
  • Barcelona are refusing to pay €50m (around £44m) for Benfica full-back Nelson Semedo. The Spanish club are keen to make a deal, but only if the asking price is lowered.
  • Barcelona are trying to help Neymar acquire a Spanish passport this summer, so they can then sign more non-EU players. Previously linked with a €150m (around £131) move to PSG, he is currently in America enjoying the NBA Finals.
  • Lionel Messi has told new boss  Valverde that the club should target one of Philippe Coutinho or Riyad Mahrez to enhance their creativity, with PSG star Marco Verratti another name the Argentine has suggested.
  • Hector Bellerin has admitted that it “fills him with joy” to hear of links to Barcelona
  • “I don’t think there are many players who say no to Barcelona,” Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen has said while on international duty with Denmark. However, he does say that in two or three years he could stay at Spurs if they continue to progress.
  • Fabio Coentrao is set to move on loan to Sporting this summer, with Real Madrid paying 90% of the defender’s wages. 
  • So the Portuguese club only need to pay €350,000 (around £305,000) for the season.
  • If Milan can’t land Alvaro Morata after Manchester United got involved with the Spanish striker, they will make a bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Juventus have picked out the three targets that could help Max Allegri stay in Turin. Monaco’s Fabinho, Douglas Costa of Bayern Munich andLazio forward Keita Balde. Their budget is set at €128m (around £111m).
  • Dortmund, under new boss Peter Bosz, are set to make a €15m (around £13m) move for Arsenal target Maximilian Philipp. The deal will include a plus a €5m (around £4m) bonus for the 23-year-old midfielder.
  • Napoli are interested in Udinese full-back Silvan Widmer as a replacement for Liverpool-bound  Faouzi Ghoulam.
  • Radja Naingollan has refused to rule out a summer move to Manchester United amid reports he has emerged as a £50million target for Jose Mourinho.
  • Chelsea target Kostas Manolas will renew his contract at Roma.
  • Roma have targeted a move for Sassuolo star Domenico Berardi to replace Liverpool-bound winger Mohamed Salah.
  • After a trip to visit with Inter Milan’s Chinese owners, Luciano Spalletti is set to dip into the transfer market and two targets are supposedly PSG’s Adrien Rabiot and Fiorentina’s Fernando Bernardeschi.
  • Arsenal and Tottenham have joined Manchester City in the pursuit of Monaco full-back Djibril Sidibe.
  • Paris Saint-Germain are looking at the possibility of joining Arsenal in the race for Monaco striket Kylian Mbappe.
  • Hoffenheim have reportedly joined Liverpool and Tottenham in the race to sign Schalke forward Max Meyer.
  • Emre Can’s agents have again proposed the Liverpool midfielder for a move to Juventus.
  • Manchester City have made a significant step in their pursuit of Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand.
  • United have Joe Hart on their shortlist of potential goalkeeping options should they sell David de Gea to Real Madrid.
  • Manchester United and Chelsea are both showing an interest in signing Juventus forward Paulo Dybala.
  • Everton boss Ronald Koeman wants Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu to return to Goodison Park
  • West Brom have been boosted in their pursuit of Valencia striker Alvaro Negredo, 31, after the Spaniard revealed his desire to remain in the Premier League following a loan spell at Middlesbrough.
  • Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton are all showing interest in 16-year-old Bolton Wanderers midfielder Max Broughton.
  • Newcastle United have won the race to sign Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, 19, on loan.
  • Chelsea manager Antonio Conte still hopes to land Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, 30, after spells together with Juve and Italy.

UEFA Champions League Final:  Record-breaking Ronaldo strikes twice to fire Real Madrid to Champions League glory

Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Real Madrid retained their Champions League crown and heaped more final heartbreak on Juventus with a 4-1 win in Cardiff.

In a gripping final, Real took the lead when Ronaldo finished off a flowing counter-attack (20) but Juventus hit back seven minutes later through a skilful overhead kick from Mario Mandzukic that will go down in history as one the greatest goals in Champions League history.

Casemiro fired Zinedine Zidane’s side into the lead on 61 minutes and Ronaldo struck again three minutes later, before Marco Asensio wrapped it up in stoppage time to condemn Juve -who had substitute Juan Cuadrado sent off for two yellow cards late on – to a fifth straight defeat in the showpiece European final (1997, 1998, 2003, 2015, 2017).


Victory for the La Liga giants means they have become the first side to defend the Champions League since its revamp in 1992 and wins them an historic 12th European major title.

This fixture matched up a well-drilled Juventus defence that had conceded just three goals in this season’s competition against a ruthless Real attacking outfit that scored in all of their 12 Champions League matches this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo underlined his status as the Champions League’s greatest goal-scorer with his decisive double taking his tally to 105 career Champions League goals.

  • To put that goal haul into perspective, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 94 times in the competition and the legendary Raul is way back on 71 in third.
  • No other player has more than 56.

Most Champions League goals

Player Goals

Cristiano Ronaldo 105

Lionel Messi 94

Raul 71

Ruud van Nistelrooy 56

Karim Benzema 51

  • Ronaldo’s opener against Juventus also meant he became the first player in history to net in three different Champions League finals, adding to his strikes for United in 2008 and Real in 2014.

  • It’s worth noting Ronaldo had to wait 26 matches before scoring his first Champions League goal – he’s scored 90 in 88 appearances since leaving Manchester United for Real Madrid.

  • Ronaldo’s second of the game then took him clear of Messi at the top of the scoring standings for this competition. His 12 goals in the 2016/17 Champions League mean he has finished top scorer in Europe’s elite club contest five years running.

Champions League top scorer 2016/17

Player  Club  Goals

Cristiano Ronaldo  Real Madrid  12

Lionel Messi  Barcelona  11

Edinson Cavani  PSG  8

Robert Lewandowski  Bayern Munich  8

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  Borussia Dortmund   7

  • Ronaldo scores brings up another landmark and his second against Juventus was also his 600th for club and country.

La Liga results  – Ronaldo and Benzema scores as Real Madrid clinch first title in five years; Barca win but miss out

​Atletico Madrid 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao

Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Real  Sociedad

Valencia 1 – 3 Villarreal

Barcelona 4 – 2 Eibar

Malaga 0 – 2 Real Madrid

  • Malaga 0 – 2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid won their first La Liga title since 2012 thanks to a final-day victory at 2-0 Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored early on to settle the nerves, latching onto Isco’s through ball to step around Carlos Kameni and tap into an empty net.

Karim Benzema added their second goal after the break after Kameni parried Sergio Ramos’ shot.

Real, who had only needed a point, now face Juventus in the Champions League final looking to complete a double.

The result means Zinedine Zidane, in his first full season as Real boss, is the first manager to lead Madrid to the Spanish league title since Jose Mourinho five years ago.

If Real beat Juventus in Cardiff, they will become the first team to successfully defend the Champions League – with Zidane having won the tournament six months into the job last summer.

  • Barcelona 4 – 2 Eibar

Barcelona fought back to beat Eibar 4-2 on the final day of the season, but could do nothing to stop Real Madrid winning the La Liga title.

Takashi Inui’s double put the minnows in charge at the Nou Camp, but a David Junca own goal got Barcelona back into it just after the hour mark, while Luis Suarez equalised after Lionel Messi missed a penalty.


Ander Capa was then dismissed for Eibar as he brought down Neymar in the box with 15 minutes to go, and Messi redeemed himself from the spot before sealing the win with a fine solo effort in stoppage time.

There was a rapturous reception at the Nou Camp for Luis Enrique before kick-off.

  • ​Atletico Madrid 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao

Fernando Torres scored twice as Atletico Madrid ended life at the Vicente Calderon with victory over Athletic Bilbao.

The boyhood Atleti fan, who is out of contract this summer, scored twice in the opening 11 minutes, netting from close range and hooking home a volley.

The 33-year-old scored more La Liga goals at the Calderon than any other player in the 21st century – with 54.

Inaki Williams pulled one back before Angel Correa’s 89th-minute strike.

After the game, Atletico manager Diego Simeone stressed that he would remain at the club next season.

The Argentine had two spells as an Atletico player and has enjoyed a successful five and a half years as manager during which he has won La Liga (2013-14) and reached the Champions League final twice (2013-14 and 2015-16).

“The journalists ask me constantly if I am going to stay. Yes, I am going to stay,” Simeone told the crowd inside the stadium.

“And do you know why I am going to stay? I am going to stay because this club has a future and this future is all of us.

  • Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Real  Sociedad

Bilbao’s defeat, coupled with a dramatic 2-2 draw for Real Sociedad at Celta Vigo, meant Sociedad guaranteed Europa League football next season thanks to a 93rd-minute Juanmi equaliser.

A penalty from Iago Aspas put Celta Vigo ahead but Mikel Oyarzabal levelled after 82 minutes before Andrew Hjulsager looked to have won it for Celta.

But Juanmi was left unmarked to head home a corner and secure the all-important point.

  • Valencia 1 – 3 Villarreal

Villarreal secured fifth place in the table as an excellent performance brought them a 3-1 win at Valencia.

The visitors led in the first minute when former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado scored.

Nani levelled after the break, but Manu Trigueros was quickly on the mark to restore Villarreal’s lead and Nicola Sansone added another to wrap the game up.

La Liga result – Ronaldo breaks 46-year all-time European top-scorer record with his brace as Real Madrid go within a point of La Liga title

​Celta Vigo 1 – 4 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid took a huge step towards the La Liga title with a 4-1 victory at Celta Vigo.

Ronaldo broke England’s Jimmy Greaves’ 46-year record for most goals in Europe’s top five leagues in the first half, then added another for good measure in the second period for Real, who now need just one point to be confirmed league champions.

The Portugal international got Los Blancos off to a roaring start after just 10 minutes, when he latched onto the ball at the top of the box, took a touch and fired an unstoppable left-footed shot to eclipse the former Tottenham, AC Milan and Chelsea striker’s previous mark of 366.

And he was at it again shortly after the break, firing a pinpoint left-footed finish off the inside of the post after receiving a through ball from Isco on the counter-attack on 48 minutes.

Celta saw Iago Aspas sent off for a second yellow in the 62nd minute when he went down too easily in the box in search of a penalty.

John Guidetti quickly pulled a goal back for the home side in the 69th, though Karim Benzema calmed any Real nerves a minute later, with a tap-in after fine work from Marcelo on the left wing.

Ronaldo was guilty of a shocking miss minutes later, when he hooked his shot well wide of the post despite having an open goal to aim at from close range.

But Toni Kroos bagged Real’s fourth and final goal, finishing off a sweeping move with an easy finish from close range in the 89th.

The victory gives Zinedine Zidane’s side a three-point advantage over second-placed Barcelona with just one match to play.

La Liga results  – Ronaldo nets a brace as Real edge closer to title; Neymar bags a hat trick for Barca to keep up pressure on Real 

​Alaves 3 – 1 Celta Vigo

Athletic Bilbao 1 – 1 Leganes

Eibar 0 – 1 Sporting Gijon

Las Palmas 1 – 4 Barcelona

Real Betis 1 – 1 Atletico  Madrid

Real Madrid 4 – 1 Sevilla

Real Sociedad 2 – 2 Malaga

Villarreal 0 – 0 Deportivo La Coruna

  • Real Madrid 4 – 1 Sevilla

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, his 400th and 401  goals,for Real Madrid as they took another step towards the La Liga title with victory over Sevilla.

Real led through Nacho’s controversial free-kick before Ronaldo pounced on a rebound to double their lead.

Stevan Jovetic replied after the break, but Ronaldo’s sensational second strike, his 401st for Real Madrid, and Toni Kroos’ late goal sealed victory.

Real Madrid stay in second place behind Barcelona who beat Las Palmas 4-1.

Barcelona, who  beat Las Palmas 4-1on Sunday, keep hold of top spot courtesy of their head-to-head advantage.

But Real have a game in hand and need four points from their final two matches to lift their first title since 2012.

Despite having won just three of their last 11 matches, Sevilla still secured fourth place and a spot in the Champions League play-off next season as Villarreal were held at home to Deportivo La Coruna.

  • Las Palmas 1 – 4 Barcelona

Neymar hit a hat trick as Barcelona kept their hold on top spot — for the time being at least — with a 4-1 victory at Las Palmas.

Neymar broke the deadlock for Luis Enrique’s side after 25 minutes, slotting home from close range after being teed up by Luis Suarez.

And the pair swapped roles just two minutes later, with Neymar this time picking out the run of Suarez, who produced a clever finish to beat Javi Varas.

Pedro Bigas scored for Las Palmas in the 63rd minute, smashing home Kevin-Prince Boateng’s delivery, but Neymar restored Barca’s two-goal advantage just a few minutes later with a far-post header following Ivan Rakitic’s cross.

And Neymar completed his hat trick soon after, tucking the ball home after being found by Jordi Alba, to put the game out of sight.

  • Real Betis 1 – 1 Atletico  Madrid

Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Real Betis to secure third spot and qualification for the Champions League group stages next season.

Dani Ceballos scored a 57th-minute opener for the hosts with a strike from the edge of the box following a Betis corner.

However, Stefan Savic found an equaliser for Diego Simeone’s side in the 66th minute with a close-range strike to wrap up third place with one game of the season to spare. Sevilla are assured of fourth spot and will enter next season’s Champions League in the qualifying rounds.

  • Eibar 0 – 1 Sporting Gijon

Sporting Gijon were relegated despite winning 1-0 at Eibar.

Burgui’s 32nd-minute goal gave Sporting only their second away win of the season, but Deportivo La Coruna and Leganes both drew to doom them.

  • Athletic Bilbao 1 – 1 Leganes

Leganes secured their safety with a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Artiz Adruriz’s close-range strike — his 16th league goal of the season — gave Athletic the lead after 13 minutes.

But Alexander Szymanowski equalised on the hour with a header that meant so much for Leganes.

  • Villarreal 0 – 0 Deportivo La Coruna

Deportivo also guaranteed themselves another season in the top flight with a goalless draw at Villarreal, whose failure to win handed Sevilla a ticket to the Champions League.

  • Real Sociedad 2 – 2 Malaga

Real Sociedad failed to take advantage of Villarreal and Athletic, rivals for Europa League qualification, dropping points as they were held 2-2 at home by Malaga.

Xabi Prieto gave Sociedad a 31st-minute lead from the penalty spot but Malaga went ahead through Luis Hernandez (45) and Recio (75) before Jon Bautista equalised five minutes from time.

  • ​Alaves 3 – 1 Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo, fresh from their Europa League semifinal exit to Manchester United, lost 3-1 to Copa del Rey finalists Alaves as they suffered a fifth straight league defeat.

Alaves scored three times in the opening 37 minutes through Manu Garcia, Zouhair Feddal and Deyverson, with Iago Aspas claiming a late Celta consolation from the penalty spot.

On Saturday 
Espanyol 0 – 1 Valencia

Osasuna 2 – 1 Granada

  • Espanyol 0 – 1 Valencia

Jose Gaya’s second-half goal gave Valencia a 1-0 away win at Espanyol.

A game of little goalmouth action and few chances was settled after 75 minutes when 21-year-old defender Gaya scored with a left-foot shot from the left side of the penalty area.

Espanyol could not muster a response and slipped to a third straight home loss, following defeats to city rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, while Valencia secured back-to-back wins.

  • Osasuna 2 – 1 Granada

Osasuna won the battle of the basement clubs with a 2-1 win over Granada.

Jhon Steven Mondragon handed the home side the lead after 24 minutes, before Gustavo Ramos fired an unlikely equaliser for Tony Adams’ men four minutes before the break.

Kenan Kodro then slotted home from close range 15 minutes from time to record a morale-boosting win and condemn Adams to yet another defeat in charge of El Grana.

La Liga results

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Real Madrid thumped Espanyol 6-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
The win pulls Los Blancos within four points of La Liga leaders Barcelona and just a point behind second-placed Atletico Madrid, who were defeated by the Catalans on Saturday.
James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and an Oscar Duarte own goal rounded out the scoring for Real.

The pressure on Valencia boss Gary Neville increased on Sunday after they lost 1-0 at home to Sporting Gijon.
Neville’s winless Primera Division run stretched to eight games despite the hosts being the dominant side for most of the game. They failed to take a string of chances and fell behind to Antonio Sanabria’s penalty on 50 minutes.
They continued to throw everything at their opponents but Alvaro Negredo missed two clear chances to equalise and Los Che suffered a third league defeat under Neville — their first home loss in La Liga since 2014.
Neville’s side stayed 12th in the standings, now 19 points from fourth place, while Sporting moved two points away from the relegation zone.

Kevin Gameiro played a starring role as Sevilla climbed to fifth following a 3-1 win over bottom club Levante.
Sevilla’s unbeaten run goes back to early January, and it showed in their attitude, as a quickfire attack saw them score after just 50 seconds, Gameiro converting from close range after a cross was deflected into his path.
Gameiro turned provider a minute after the half-time, unselfishly cutting back to Vicente Iborra for a simple tap-in, this after Sevilla had put together another quick passing move involving Jose Antonio Reyes.
Levante were given hope in the 55th minute when Giuseppe Rossi’s close-range shot was too good for Rico to stop and the forward continued to threaten the Sevilla goal on occasion.
However, with 15 minutes remaining, Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka swung in a superb right-foot shot from just inside the box which flew into the top corner, putting the game to bed.

Las Palmas moved out of the Primera Division drop zone after a last-minute winner from Willian Jose gave them a precious 2-1 victory over 10-man Celta Vigo.
The midfielder scored with virtually the last kick of the game to give Quique Setien’s side a first league win of 2016.
A controversial penalty scored by Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera had cancelled out Theo Bongonda’s early opener, while Fabian Orellana was sent off in the second half for the Galicians.

Sevilla 3 – 1 Levante
Valencia 0 – 1 Sporting Gijon
Las Palmas 2 – 1 Celta Vigo
Real Madrid 6 – 0 Espanyol

La Liga results

Real Madrid netted four goals inside the first 18 minutes to walk to a 5-1 win over Sporting Gijon.
Gareth Bale needed only seven minutes to build on last week’s hat-trick against Deportivo La Coruna as he headed home at the far post from a corner. And just two minutes later, Ronaldo produced a neat turn in the box to beat Gijon keeper Pichu Cuellar.
Karim Benzema then latched onto a precise Bale cross to slam home his side’s third with just 12 minutes on the clock, and Ronaldo did nothing to dampen thoughts of another record-breaking victory when he grabbed his second in the 18th minute after sweeping home from a neat cross by Daniel Carvajal.
Benzema then bagged a third before half-time and Isma Lopez picked up a consolation for Gijon in the second half.
Bale left the game after the first half, but Real coach Zinedine Zidane said he is “hopeful” the Welshman’s latest calf injury is not too serious. Benzema also left the game after suffering a knock, but Zidane said he was not seriously hurt.

Luis Suarez scored a hat trick as a fifth-minute red card to Athletic Bilbao keeper Gorka Iraizoz allowed Barcelona to run out 6-0 winners at the Camp Nou on Sunday.
Iraizoz was sent off for bringing down Suarez, who was through on goal, though Athletic complained that the Uruguayan had fouled defender Xabier Etxeitia to get into that position.
Lionel Messi converted the penalty for his sixth goal already in January.
The game was well in hand in the 31st minute when Suarez played across for Neymar to score with a chip.
The advantage allowed Barcelona manager Luis Enrique to take Messi off at half-time with what he called “a small strain” in his hamstring, but that didn’t slow the team down as Suarez got on the scoresheet just two minutes into the second half.
Neymar made a fabulous run to the touchline and fed Ivan Rakitic in the 62nd minute to make it 4-0, and seven minutes later Suarez did well the bring the ball down and score his second of the day.
His hat trick was complete with a header on 82 minutes as Barca stayed two points back of Atletico Madrid in the Primera Division table.

A goal from Filipe Luis and a double from Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a 3-0 win at struggling Las Palmas to keep them top of the Primera Division for another week.
Defender Luis sent Juanfran’s pass into the far corner on 17 minutes to score his first goal since returning to Atletico from Chelsea, while on 68 minutes top scorer Griezmann finished off a through-ball from Koke to double the lead.
The France forward made the most of another precise pass from the midfielder in the last minute to round off the victory.

Paco Alcacer’s late equaliser saved Gary Neville’s blushes by earning a haphazard Valencia a 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano.
Rayo took a 15th-minute lead through Jozabed but early in the second half Alvaro Negredo scored a stunning goal from 50 yards to give Valencia an equaliser they barely deserved, only for Diego Llorente to restore Rayo’s lead on 69 minutes.
Valencia’s frustrations then reached boiling point when Alcacer had what looked to be a legitimate goal ruled offside, but the striker netted again with 88 minutes gone to avoid what would have been a disastrous result for Valencia, with the home supporters greeting both the half-time and full-time whistles with more whistling of their own.
Neville’s side sit 10th in the Primera Division table after 20 games, 16 points behind the final Champions League spot, and have not won a game since Nov. 7 when they thrashed Celta 5-1.
Rayo’s last victory came that same day, against Granada, and the Vallecas club are in the midst of their worst run since 2003, when they were relegated, and they remain in the drop zone.

Getafe moved into the top half of the table by rallying for a 3-1 win at home against Espanyol.
After Hernan Perez had given the visitors the lead, Getafe struck back less than three minutes later through Pedro Leon, and Pablo Sarabia then put them ahead.
Moi Gomez added a third Getafe goal late on to seal the three points.

Valencia 2 – 2 Rayo Vallecano
Real Madrid 5 – 1 Sporting Gijon
Getafe 3 – 1 Espanyol
Las Palmas 0 – 3 Atletico Madrid
Barcelona 6-0 Athletic Bilbao

2015 FIFPro XI

Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated the 2015 FIFPro XI list, as the Spanish giants combined to put eight players on the 2015 FIFPro World XI, four each.
The team, announced on Monday at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich, featured Lionel Messi, Neymar, Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta from Barcelona, while Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric represented Real Madrid.
Also on the team were Paul Pogba of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Messi and Ronaldo both made the XI for the ninth time in their careers, the most appearances of any players. Iniesta is next on that list with his seventh appearance on the team.

Messi and Ronaldo both made the XI for the ninth time in their careers, the most appearances of any players. Iniesta is next on that list with his seventh appearance on the team.

Neuer made the team for the third straight season, while Neymar, Modric and Pogba all made their debuts.

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez was again left off the list, while Real Madid’s Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are also left waiting for their names to be called for the first time.Over the last six seasons, 47 of the 66 players selected to the World’s eleven best players have come from La Liga, 40 more than the Bundesliga, the next most-represented league.
England’s Premier League was the only one of Europe’s five major leagues not to be represented on the team, which is made up from 45,000 ballots by professional players from countries whose national associations are FIFPro members.

Goalkeeper:
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany)

Defenders:
Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil) Marcelo (Real Madrid, Brazil)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain)
Dani Alves (Barcelona, Brazil)

Midfielders:
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia)
Paul Pogba (Juventus, France)

Forwards:
Neymar (Barcelona, Brazil)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Portugal)

2015 FIFPro XI Reserves : 2nd Team

Goalkeeper:
David De Gea(Spain, Manchester United)

Defenders:
David Alaba (Austria, FC Bayern Munich)
Philipp Lahm (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
Gerard Piqué (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Jordi Alba (Spain, FC Barcelona)

Midfielders:
Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea FC)
Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid CF)
Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast, Manchester City FC)

Forwards:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain FC)
Robert Lewandowski(Poland, FC Bayern Munich)
Luis Suárez(Uruguay, FC Barcelona)

2015 FIFPro XI Reserves: 3rd Team

Goalkeeper:
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus)

Defenders:
David Luiz (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain)
Jérôme Boateng(Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
Javier Mascherano(Argentina, FC Barcelona)
Raphaël Varane(France, Real Madrid CF)

Midfielders:
Sergio Busquets(Spain, FC Barcelona)
Marco Verratti(Italy, Paris Saint-Germain)
Arturo Vidal(Chile, FC Bayern Munich)

Forwards:
Sergio Agüero(Argentina, Manchester City FC)
Karim Benzema(France, Real Madrid CF)
Thomas Müller(Germany, FC Bayern Munich)

2015 FIFPro World XI Reserves: 4th Team

Goalkeepers:
Keylor Navas(Costa Rica, Real Madrid CF)

Defenders:
Vincent Kompany (Belgium, Manchester City)
Mats Hummels (Germany, Borussia Dortmund)
Giorgio Chiellini (Italy, Juventus)
Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid CF)

Midfielders:
Xabi Alonso (Spain, FC Bayern Munich)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy, New York City FC)
James Rodríguez (Colombia, Real Madrid CF)

Forwards:
Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid CF)
Arjen Robben (The Netherlands, FC Bayern Munich)
Alexis Sánchez (Chile, Arsenal)

2015 FIFPro XI Reserves: 5th Team

Goalkeeper
Iker Casillas (Spain, FC Porto)

Defenders:
Daniel Carvajal (Spain, Real Madrid CF)
Diego Godín (Uruguay, Atlético Madrid)
John Terry (England, Chelsea)
Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia, Chelsea)

Midfielders:
Thiago Alcantara (Spain, FC Bayern Munich)
David Silva (Spain, Manchester City)
Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, FC Barcelona)

Forwards:
Douglas Costa (Brazil, FC Bayern Munich)
Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United FC)
Carlos Tevez (Argentina, Boca Juniors)

Latest Football News

Manchester United have made an enquiry about the availability of Paris St-Germain coach Laurent Blanc to become their new manager, either midway through this season or at the end of the current campaign.
The PSG coach is tempted by the prospect of returning to Old Trafford.

United are working to bring Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez to Old Trafford and are set to make a £30 million move amid interest from Real Madrid.

Real Madrid have joined the race to sign Everton centre-back John Stones, 21, following the recommendation of former manager Rafael Benitez.

Madrid may consider making a bid of more than £100m next summer for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22, to thwart both Manchester City and Barcelona.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Kane’s “passion” for Tottenham would convince the striker to reject Real Madrid’s riches if the Spanish giants come calling.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has put Watford striker Odion Ighalo, 26, on his list of transfer targets as he lines up signing a forward in the summer.

Pep Guardiola has told his agent to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal for his next club. The Spaniard wants to move to the Premier League and capture the Chilean who he knows from his time at Barcelona.

Paris Saint-Germain returned to Ligue 1 action following the mid-season break with a routine 2-0 victory over Bastia that extended their lead at the top of the table to 22 points.
First-half goals from Thiago Motta and Maxwell proved enough for Laurent Blanc’s men, who have now won 17 of their 20 league games during the current campaign.

Reports in Spain have claimed Chelsea are keen to bolster their forward options during the January transfer window and Carlos Bacca is one of the name on Blues list. Milan striker is valued at around 30 million euros.

New Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has called Cristiano Ronaldo the “soul of Madridismo” and that the Portugal star is “non-transferrable.”

Liverpool have launched a bid for Schalke winger Sidney Sam as Jurgen Klopp looks to add more options to his forward line.

Jurgen Klopp is lining up a move for Mario Gotze but Liverpool would need a €50 million (£37.2m) bid for the Bayern Munich midfielder.

Gotze, 23, has admitted his future at the German club is uncertain as he has spoken highly of Klopp, who managed him at Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp has held talks with striker Mario Balotelli’s agent and told him he wants the 25-year-old back at Anfield following his loan spell at AC Milan.

Barcelona’s board have offered the chance for Pedro to return to the club on loan for the rest of the season but Luis Enrique would rather sign Celta Vigo forward Nolito.

Juventus have rejected a €27 million (£20m) bid from Crystal Palace for Simone Zaza.

But, West Ham are interested in signing Zaza on loan this month, but any move will depend on whether they can offload players.

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu admits they could be tempted into selling attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira if the price is right.

Galatasaray are eyeing three Atletico Madrid players and want Oliver Torres, Yannick Fereira Carrasco and Saul Niguez – although the trio remain part of Diego Simeone’s plans.

Besiktas have enquired about the availability of Juventus goalkeeper Neto, but the Serie A side have turned down the Turkish side’s offer.

Guangzhou’s forward Robinho has agreed to reduce his salary demands to approximately US$ 150k monthly, and is set to be announced back at his youth club Santos.

Bournemouth are close to breaking their club transfer record as they are on the brink of signing Wolves striker Benik Afobe, 22, for £10m.

Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote, 29, is a target for Chinese Premier League side Shanghai Greenland Shenua.

Crystal Palace are interested in Gregoire Defrel, the Sassuolo striker. The Eagles will send scouts to watch him in action against Inter.

West Brom are keen to sign forward Gabriel Agbonlahor, 29, from local rivals Aston Villa before the end of January.

Everton are looking to bolster their defence in January with Leeds United right-back Sam Byram, 22, a possible target.

Sunderland may have pulled out of a move for Lorient defender Lamine Kone, 26, but Aston Villa and Norwich remain interested in signing the Ivory Coast international.

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil knows how to deliver a good sidestep. During a Twitter Q&A he was asked to choose between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and replied by answering with the name of Gunners team-mate Mathieu Flamini.

An Arsenal fan appeared to have brought a tear to his bride’s eye during his wedding day speech before he ended it by dedicating it to Gunners playmaker Mesut Ozil.

Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris, 29, says Spurs have a “strong team” but need “to add some experience” to become a great team.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino says he will sing a Chas and Dave-style duet with the club’s chairman Daniel Levy if Spurs win the FA Cup this season.

UEFA Team Of The Year

Ballon d’Or candidates Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo lead the UEFA.com users’ Team of the Year 2015, having been picked from a shortlist of 40 candidates.

European champions Barcelona had eight players on the list but ended with five in the final XI: Gerard Pique, Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta, Messi and Neymar.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who topped the polling with 623,046 individual votes last season, took his place up front, while teammates James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos are also included.
Last year’s beaten finalists Juventus had six players shortlisted, but the final vote only included the youngest nominee, Paul Pogba. Bayern Munich meanwhile had goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and full-back David Alaba picked from five players including Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

The Premier League, therefore, had to contend without a single player in the final XI despite having five players on the shortlist: Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, and Manchester City trio Joe Hart, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.

UEFA Team of the Year:
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
Dani Alves (Barcelona)
James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Neymar (Barcelona)