10 most valuable players in Europe according to points won

The job of every attacker is to earn points for her/his team in football. And the only way to do that is to score goals or assist them. With that in mind, here are the 10 most valuable players in Europe in terms of percentage of points won by scoring goals or assisting them…

All the data has been provided by whoscored.com.

#10 Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo

Surprised to see him here and not some places above? We are, too! Cristiano Ronaldo has been absolutely incredible for the Old Lady and has earned 18 points for the Turin outfit, who are at 75 points and 15 points above second-placed Napoli.

The Portuguese phenom has had a hand in 23 per cent of Juventus’s total points tally.

=8 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Next up in the list is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Arsenal forward has won 18 points for his team – just like Ronaldo – but his contribution in terms of percentage is higher as he has earned 28 per cent of Arsenal’s 60 points.

=8 Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho has earned the same amount of points for his team – 18 – as Aubameyang and also has the same percentage contribution as the former Dortmund star. However, the youngster has made more impact in fewer matches and is quickly becoming one of Europe’s hottest properties.

=6 Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann

The first entrant from La Liga is Antoine Griezmann. Atletico Madrid have 56 points to their name and Griezmann helped earn 18 of those points. In terms of percentage, he has a 30 per cent contribution.

=6 Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Another shocker, given that Barcelona are heavily-reliant on this man. The Argentine has earned 20 points for his team, who are leading La Liga with 66 points. His contribution is at 30 per cent of his team’s total goals!

#5 Paul Pogba – Manchester United

The Manchester United star is the next on this list as Paul Pogba is – spoiler alert – the only midfielder on this list. The Frenchman has undergone a renaissance at Old Trafford since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been highly influential for his side.

Pogba has earned 19 points for his team via a winning goal or assist, which stands at 33 per cent of his team’s total points.

#4 Eden Hazard – Chelsea

Eden Hazard

Chelsea star Eden Hazard might be criticized for his lack goals but he has helped his team earn 20 big points. The Belgian has turned up slightly better figures since the arrival of Maurizio Sarri and remains on track to record his best goal tally ever.

Hazard’s contribution rate is at 35 per cent, which is quite impressive for someone who is accused of not scoring much.

#3 Duvan Zapata – Atalanta

Duvan Zapata has taken the Serie A by storm. Atalanta have 45 points to their name and Zapata has helped score 17 of them, which takes his contribution to a whopping 38 per cent. He might not be at his current club next season if he continues like this.

#2 Wissam Ben Yedder – Sevilla

Not Messi, not Griezmann. The highest-placed player from La Liga is Sevilla’s French striker Wissam Ben Yedder!

Sevilla have 43 points to their name in La Liga and Ben Yedder helped them earn 17 of them, putting his percentage at 40 per cent.

#1 Nicolas Pepe – Lille

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe

And the number one player on this list is Nicolas Pepe. The Lille star is being chased by a plethora of top European clubs and rightfully so. He has helped his team earn 25 points, which is a contribution of a staggering 44 per cent, the highest in Europe.

5 strikers Juventus can sign to partner with Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon. At the age of 34, he is the prime goal-scorer for Juventus. He has scored 19 goals from 26 games in the league and also overturned a 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid from the first leg of the round of 16 by scoring a hattrick in the second leg.

As a result, it is safe to say that he is the main man at Juventus. However, he is 34 years of age and needs to be rested more often in order to shield him from injuries. As a result, the Old Lady might need a goalscorer to take some burden off him.

And here are 5 players that they could consider…

#5 Joao Felix

 

He is being dubbed as the next Cristiano Ronaldo for a reason. The Benfica star is having a breakthrough season for his club this term and, as a result, has attracted the attention of many of Europe’s top clubs.

He has played in 18 league matches so far this season and has 10 goals to his name plus four assists. He is only 19 years of age and is playing his first full season in the top flight.

#4 Mauro Icardi

Inter striker Mauro Icardi
 

The Argentine might be somewhat of a problematic player but he sure is a great footballer. Mauro Icardi is currently going through a rough patch with Inter and might as well leave the club in the summer.

He might not be the best of players outside the box but he is a lethal scorer inside it. Even in a mediocre season like this one, he has scored 9 goals for his team in 20 games. He would available for cheap if stories are to be believed and Juventus could take advantage of that.

#3 Timo Werner

Naby Keita with Timo Werner at RB Leipzig
 

The German might almost certainly end up at Bayern Munich next season but Juventus could still make a late move for the RB Leipzig superstar. He has scored 12 goals from 23 matches so far this season and is a very skillful forward.

#2 Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
 

This might sound like the least possible outcome since Zinedine Zidane absolutely adores Karim Benzema. However, the upcoming summer transfer window is going to bring many changes to the Galacticos.

Some superstar players are expected to join with the likes of Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe being linked. With that, the necessity of Karim Benzema could decrease and Juventus could bring in Cristiano Ronaldo’s favourite attacking partner in Turin.

#1 Luka Jovic

Eintracht Frankfurt star Luka Jovic
 

All the buzz right now is surrounding Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic. The youngster has been in superb form this season and has scored 22 goals in 34 Champions League and Bundesliga games combined.

He is incredibly two-footed and, according to reports, could be available for only €50 million. Being only 21 years of age, he could solve Juventus’ attack ‘problems’ for the next decade with ease.

Top 5 footballers with most social media followers

In this world of modern technology, it is quite easy to become a celebrity because of the internet. Even a John Doe could become someone due to the power of the world wide web. So, it is only natural for a footballer to be a huge celebrity.

In a time when matches from all over the world can be found at the palm of your hands, it is quite easy for talented footballers to make a name. For instance, no-one knew who Kylian Mbappe was two years ago and now, he is one of the most famous footballers on the planet.

With that in mind, here are the 5 most followed footballers on social media.

#5 Gareth Bale – 37.7 million

‘Bale is ready for Celta’ – Zidane

Real Madrid might want to sell the Welshman in the summer but it won’t change the fact that the former Spurs star is among the most popular figure in the sport. It is perhaps for this reason that he still finds himself at Madrid despite a poor season-and-a-half.

The former Tottenham star has over 37 million social media followers and ranks fifth in the list of footballers with the most followers.

#4 James Rodriguez – 40.5 million

 

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James Rodriguez was the star of the 2014 World Cup. He rose to prominence in club football quite a while before that but it was in the World Cup in Brazil where he truly stamped himself as a global star.

The Colombian’s popularity and talent forced Florentino Perez to sign him right after the tournament ended, even though Isco and Angel di Maria were still in the team.

He is now at Bayern on loan from Madrid after spending three seasons at the Bernabeu and has over 40 million followers to his name.

#3 Lionel Messi – 103.1 million

‘No game plan can stop Messi – Cole on Barcelona and Mourinho sacking

We enter the elusive top three and Messi is the first one of the cards here. It is actually quite a shocker for a few as many consider the Argentine to be the greatest footballer of all time. However, when it comes to popularity, he is third on the list.

The Argentina star has spent the entirety of his professional career at Barcelona and has won countless accolades. As a result, his fame has spread far and wide and his 103.1 million social media followers is a testament to that.

#2 Neymar – 107.2 million

‘Neymar and Mbappe are quality’ – Zidane addresses transfer rumours

There is a reason why Paris Saint-Germain decided to invest a mammoth €222 million to sign the Brazilian. Apart from being a great player, the Brazilian has the marketability power that is only rivalled by one other player.

The Brazil captain is a star back in his homeland and is also a highly celebrated athlete in Europe. Florentino Perez has an eye for him because of his power in the media.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo – 148 million

Cristiano Ronaldo recalled by Portugal for first time since World Cup

Who else but Cristiano Ronaldo? When a player at the age of 33 commands a transfer fee of well over a €100 million, it shows that the said athlete is not only a great player but is also among the most popular players in the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo is not only the most followed footballer on social media but is also the most followed sportsman in the world right now with 148 million fans to his name.

5 richest football club owners  

Football is more than just a sport now. It is a huge business in which some of the richest people in the world have invested. The technological advancements of this era have allowed footballers to become celebrities, who produce a lot of cash for big clubs and companies.

It is for this reason that many tycoons are investing in the sport. The revenues generated from this business of football is something that attracts every investor. With that in mind, here are 5 of the richest people who own football clubs.

#5 Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha & family (Leicester City) – Net worth: $5.9 billion

The son of late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Srivaddhanaprabha family own Leicester City and are the 5th richest among the football owners. The Foxes won the Premier League in the 2015-16 season under the ownership of this family but are currently at number 10 in the league this season.

#4 Stanley Kroenke (Arsenal) – Net worth: $8.7 billion

Next on the list is Stanley Kroenke, who owns Arsenal (collective groans on why Arsenal don’t have funds to spend almost every transfer window) alongside more sporting units.

Kroenke owns Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche and some others. However, he doesn’t have much success to boast about with Arsenal.

#3 Philip Anschutz (Los Angeles Galaxy) – Net worth: $10.9 billion

Another American billionaire, Philip Anschutz is the 128th richest man in the world and owns Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer. The main source of his income is shrewd investments.

#2 Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) – Net worth: $12.4 billion

Roman Abramovich is a rather famous name in the football world. The Russian tycoon is the owner of Chelsea and is the person who transformed Chelsea into the club that it is today.

The steel magnate bought Chelsea in 2003 and since then, the Blues have gone on to stamp themselves as one of the big dogs in Europe.

#1 Dietrich Mateschitz (The Red Bull clubs) – Net worth: $18.9 billion

And the richest person to own a football club – in his case, clubs – is Dietrich Mateschitz. The owner of 49% of Red Bull energy drink company, Mateschitz owns Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, New York Red Bulls in America and RB Leipzig in Germany, who are having a fairy-tale ever since he founded the club.

Oh, and he also owns Red Bull Brazil, a top division club in the state of Sao Paulo.

10 players involved in most goals this season

Scoring goals is the ultimate task in football. At the end of the day, it is about which team scores the most goals. While most players are not the best at it, there are an elite few that are kings of it, who not only score but also provide assists.

And here are the top 10 players in Europe’s top 5 leagues plus the Champions League with the most goal involvement…

#10 25 – Luis Suárez – (32 games)

Luis Suarez admits mistakes when questioned on ‘biting’ incidents

The first player on this list is Barcelona’s Luis Suarez. He might be in his 30s but he is still a great player in the final third. He has been involved in 25 goals, of which 17 have been scored by him while 8 were assists.

#9 26 – Neymar Jr – (19 games)

Skills! PSG star Neymar uses heading skills to boss carnival basketball game

Next up is Luis Suarez’s former team-mate Neymar. The Brazilian has been out injured for a while now and that’s why his tally is so impressive. In just 19 matches, he has been involved in 26 goals in the league and Champions League. He has scored 18 goals and has provided 8 assists.

#8 27 – Harry Kane – (33 games)

England captain Harry Kane is at number 8 with 27 goal involvements from 33 games. The Tottenham man has scored 22 goals in the league and in Europe and has also provided five assists.

#7 28 – Mohamed Salah – (38 games)

‘Premier League over CL’ – Salah happy to sacrifice his dream

Ever since moving to Liverpool from Roma, the Egyptian has been in stunning touch. He has scored 20 goals and has also provided 8 assists to contribute directly to 28 goals in 38 games.

#6 29 – Raheem Sterling – (35 games)

Raheem Sterling is perhaps the best English attacker in the world. And his stats reflect just that. He has scored 18 goals and has provided 11 assists in 35 games in the league and in Europe.

#5 29 – Sergio Agüero – (31 games)

Drake meets Sergio Aguero!

Raheem’s Sterling’s team-mate Sergio Aguero has contributed to the same number of goals but is a place above him due to the fact that he has played four games less. Aguero has scored 23 goals and has provided 6 assists to his team-mates in the Champions League and the Premier League so far this season.

#4 32 – Robert Lewandowski – (32 games)

At number four is Bayern Munich star, Robert Lewandowski. His team are out of the Champions League but not before the Pole scored 8 goals in the competition. In the league, he has 17 goals and 7 assists, taking his total to 32 from 32 games.

#3 33 – Cristiano Ronaldo – (33 games)

‘Ronaldo played a great match’ – Allegri

Cristiano Ronaldo is the oldest player on this list at 34 years of age – and even then, he is better than almost everyone but two. The Portuguese has 23 goals to his name in the league and in Europe and has also provided 10 assists to his team-mates.

#2 40 – Kylian Mbappé – (30 games)

What REALLY happened when PSG and Mbappe met Manchester United at Old Trafford!

From the oldest to the youngest, Kylian Mbappe is second on this list with 40 goal involvements from just 30 games. He might just be 20 but he is an absolute phenomenon. He has scored 29 goals and has also assisted 11 times for PSG so far this season.

#1 49 – Lionel Messi – (31 games)

‘Messi never ceases to surprise’ – Valverde

Class never dies and Lionel Messi is the living proof of it. He is still a cut above the rest as he has been involved in 49 goals from just 31 league and Champions League matches. He has scored 34 goals and has provided an extra 15. If Messi continues this way, Barca could win a treble.

3 ways Real Madrid can line up under Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane is held aloft by Real Madrid players

The arrival of Zinedine Zidane has brought about fresh air at Real Madrid. Even though this has been a terrible season for Los Blancos, there is a sense of positivity at the capital following the arrival of the Frenchman. So with that in mind, here are three ways he could line up for the rest of this season.

Note: Vinicius has been excluded from the lineup because he is set to be out until May due to injury.

#3 The wild card – 3-5-2

This is the unlikeliest of setups but it is not as though Zidane hasn’t tried a three-man defence before. He once, in 2017, played a similar system against Sevilla but that didn’t go down so well as Madrid’s 40-match unbeaten streak at the time came to an end with a loss in that match.

However, with a rather poor defence this season, he might be tempted to once again try a three-man defense. Not only does it give Madrid more men in the center, but it will also allow the full-backs to attack more.

Isco, too, can be played in his natural number 10 position. So the advantages are there. However, the Galacticos don’t really have much time to adjust to this as they have just 11 games to go in this season.

#2 Fresh faces – 4-3-3

4-3-3 is a system that Zidane prefers and Real Madrid have been playing this season ever since Carlo Ancelotti took over the Galacticos. So, it is natural for Zidane to not change anything in terms of formation.

However, the Frenchman prefers the midfielder of Casemiro, Modric and Toni Kroos – and all three of them have subpar this season. Marcos Llorente showed that he is superior to Casemiro in technical aspects and could tempt Zidane to experiment with him in midfield.

In fact, the Spaniard’s presence in midfield makes Madrid slightly more fluid as he is better on the ball than the Brazilian. Federico Valverde, meanwhile, is very direct and is perhaps the most talented among the midfielders in midfield.

The Uruguayan is astute on the ball and is very strong defensively, as he showed against Barcelona in Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at the Camp Nou. Madrid’s midfield often lacks directness and Valverde could provide that.

Meanwhile, the left side of the team could consist of Isco and Reguilon. The latter has been superb so far this season and the former would like to revive his career at the Bernabeu.

With Reguilon in defense, the midfielders can play with more freedom and Isco, too, won’t have to worry about tracking back all the time. This team, however, isn’t pacy or direct and would have a tough time breaking teams that defend with a low-block.

#1 The safe bet – 4-3-3

This is almost certainly the team Zinedine Zidane could use for the next 11 games. Perhaps Bale might make way for Isco but that seems to be about the only change in this lineup.

Zidane loves the midfield combination of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro and is unlikely to change it, despite the fact that they have struggled for the majority of the season.

The best thing about Zidane’s management is that he knows how to bring the individual best out of his senior players – and this is the most experienced side that he could put out.

Systematically, this starting XI doesn’t make much sense and relies more on individual brilliance. The problem? Real Madrid don’t have the particular individual – Cristiano Ronaldo – that somehow brought the end product in this system through the countless crosses during Zidane’s first stint.

 

3 Cristiano Ronaldo Champions League records that Lionel Messi can break this season

Ronaldo Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo is often considered Lionel Messi’s greatest rival. However, the Argentine is almost always rated higher due to his natural talent and unrivalled ability with the ball at his feet.

And yet, in the UEFA Champions League, there can be little doubt as to who has been the better performer. Ronaldo has won four of the last five Champions League titles and his contribution in them were considerable.

He has continued his rich vein of form in the Champions League knockout stages with his new club Juventus as his hattrick against Atletico Madrid in Turin helped the Serie A side overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

The Portuguese continues to go strong in the Champions League, but Lionel Messi is actually quite close to breaking some of his records – and here are three that the Argentine magician could break this year…

3) Most Champions League goals in a season

This is perhaps the hardest of them all to better. The record for the most goals in a single UCL campaign belongs to Ronaldo who scored a whopping 17 goals in Real Madrid’s 2013-14 Champions League-winning season.

Messi currently has eight goals from six Champions League games this season. If Barcelona go all the way to the final, he will have five matches to score 10 more goals and take his tally to 18.

So, two goals in every game from now on. Difficult, yes! But not impossible.

2) Most goals in Champions League finals

In the European Cup era, Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas had the most goals in the finals to their names with seven each. But, if we take into consideration only the Champions League era, then Cristiano Ronaldo is the leader.

The Portuguese has four Champions League final goals to his name while Messi has scored only twice in the biggest game of club football. If Barcelona reach the final this time around, Messi will only need to score a hattrick to break Ronaldo’s record.

1) Most hattricks in the UCL

Speaking of hattricks, both Messi and Ronaldo are tied with eight Champions League trebles to their names. Ronaldo’s hattrick against Atletico Madrid put him on par with the Argentine.

La Pulga came close to overtaking Ronaldo again as he scored a brace against Lyon at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. So, this is the likeliest of Ronaldo’s records that Messi could break this season.

After all, he just needs to score another hattrick in the Champions League – and given his quality, it isn’t really a gargantuan task.

A list of unbelievable scoring records Cristiano Ronaldo holds in UEFA Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon. That’s all. The Portuguese is of a different kind, someone who absolutely loves and thrives under pressure. When almost everyone thinks that he can’t do it anymore, he not only proves them wrong but stitches their mouths for the rest of the season.

With his hattrick against Atletico Madrid in Turin to help Juventus overturn a 2-0 deficit from the Wanda Metropolitano, he now holds a set of records that only someone like him could hold – and here is a list of it…

Most UCL goals – 124

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo now has 124 Champions League goals to his name, which is the highest ever in the competition. The former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward has done this over a sixteen year period.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s arch-nemesis Lionel Messi is second with 106 goals.

Most UCL knock out goals – 63

Scoring in the knockouts of the Champions League is special. These are goals that always have a meaning – they are never unimportant and in this regard, Ronaldo beats the rest with 63 goals in the knockout matches of Europe’s premier competition.

Ronaldo’s knockout stage total also brings out another interesting point. By scoring 63 of his 124 goals in the latter part of the competition, the Juventus forward has outscored his own group stage tally (61). This just goes to prove that ‘CR7’ thrives under high-pressure situations.

Most UCL final goals – 4

While the record of the most goals scored in the final of the elite competition of European football belongs to Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo di Stefano with 7 goals each to their names, the record for the most goals in the Champions League era finals is Cristiano Ronaldo’s, who has four goals to his name in the finals.

The Portugal international first scored against Chelsea in the final of the UEFA Champions League back in 2008. He then added to his tally six years later in 2014, netting an extra-time penalty against Atletico Madrid.

The remaining two goals of his Champions League final tally were added back in 2017, as he helped Real defeat his current side Juventus by four goals to one.

Most UCL penalties – 16

This one was expected, wasn’t it?

The Portuguese is the main penalty-taker for his team and almost always converts from the spot. He has scored 16 penalties in the competition, which is the most by any player.

His goals from the penalty spot also make up thirteen per cent of his total tally of 124.

Most UCL hattricks – 8

Ronaldo’s hattrick last night against Atleti was his 8th in the competition – which ties him to the legendary Lionel Messi. The Argentine also has 8 and could actually take the lead later tonight against Lyon.

Most UCL assists – 36

While Ronaldo is labelled as a great-scorer, it sometimes undermines his ability as a provider. The Portuguese holds the distinction of being the highest assister in the competition.

The former Real Madrid man has 36 assists to his name in the Champions League.

 

With so many accolades to his name in this competition, it could be claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is Mr Champions League. Juventus bought him as a means to win the competition after failing to do in the last two finals that they were in. And the Portuguese phenom has just set them on their way to correct the errors of their past.

AFC Champions League 2019: 5 key facts ahead of Buriram United vs Jeonbuk Hyundai

Buriram

The second matchday of the AFC Champions League 2019 is upon us as Thai League champions Buriram United take on Jeonbuk Hyundai at home in a Group G encounter.

The home team lost their first game of the tournament and would look to gain three points at home against K League outfit Jeonbuk. The visitors, meanwhile, won their first match of the tournament and will be looking to to continue their run.

As we get closer to the match, here are the five key facts surrounding it…

1) Buriram’s record against Jeonbuk not that great

While Buriram would love to get to winning ways against Jeonbuk Hyundai, their record against the South Koreans in the AFC Champions League isn’t all that great. The Thai club have played four times against Jeonbuk and have won only once.

The other three games, they lost and not only that, they conceded at least two goals in all of these four matches.

2) Jeonbuk’s punching bags

Highlights – Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Beijing Guoan

When the scope of the proceedings are confined within the group stages only, Jeonbuk’s record is even better. The visitors for the match have played two games in the group stages of the AFC Champions League against Buriram.

And they won both of them, doing so in the 2012 season, including a 2-0 win in Thailand.

3) More Buriram woes

Highlights – Urawa Red Diamonds vs Buriram United

Things aren’t entirely going well for Buriram in the domestic scene either. They are sixth in the Thai League table right now with just one win from three games. Their start to the AFC Champions League hasn’t been great either.

In fact, in terms of shots fired, they were the worst team on matchday one. They made only three shots in the opening round – which is the fewest among any other side in the competition.

4) Jeonbuk on song

If it isn’t clear by now, it must be after this point. Jeonbuk are absolute favourites to win this clash. Do you need more proof? Well, we have it for you.

Jeonbuk Hyundai are in sensational form in the AFC Champions League right now. They have won the last six of their seven group stage matches and lost only one – which came against Tianjin Quanjian last year.

5) The elite striker

AFC Champions League: Jeonbuk 2-1 Beijing Guoan (Lee Dong-gook 48′)

The reason why Jeonbuk are such favourites lies in the fact that they have some incredible players and one among them is Lee Dong-gook. In their first game of ACL 2019 against Beijing Guoan, striker Lee was in scintillating form.

The forward registered a goal and an assist against Beijing and did so for the first time since April 2013 in an AFC Champions League game. Vintage stuff from Lee!

5 players Zinedine Zidane would look to sign after his return to Real Madrid

After Zinedine Zidane seems odds on to return to Real Madrid, here is a look at the players he may bring to the club in the summer transfer window.

People say that there is no use of looking back at things that have gone. However, sometimes, the best thing to do is not only to look back but to bring back the thing that had left previously.

After a season to forget at Real Madrid, Florentino Perez has reportedly gone back to Zinedine Zidane – the man who helped Real Madrid win three Champions League titles in a row.

When he left, he stated he felt that he could no longer win with the team that he had. Going with that narrative, it is safe to assume that he is going to be heavily backed in the transfer market.

Here then, are 5 players he could sign in the summer transfer window…

#5 Eder Militao

This, according to many, is almost a done deal. Real Madrid have had difficulties with their defense as both Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane have been erratic. It is perhaps because they know that there is no-one on the bench to challenge them.

The arrival of Militao, however, changes that as he is an excellent defender with a lot of potential.

#4 Matthijs De Ligt

Barcelona are the club of his heart and the Catalans might as well be very close to signing him. However, with the arrival of Zinedine Zidane, there is an extra incentive for any player to be tempted to join the Blancos.

The last time Zidane personally called a teenage defender to join Real Madrid, he did (Raphael Varane). The same could happen with De Ligt, who had an incredible outing against Madrid in Ajax’s 4-1 win at the Bernabeu.

#3 Luka Jovic

Zinedine Zidane might absolutely adore Karim Benzema but he wouldn’t be so foolish to believe that the Frenchman can do it all alone. Zizou, however, won’t remove Benzema from the starting XI, which is why he might be tempted to sign a youngster as a backup but with enough talent to take over from Benzema one day.

And who better than Luka Jovic for that? Both Barca and Madrid are already reportedly eying a move for him, who has scored 15 league goals 22 games so far this season, and the Galacticos could pull the trigger with Zidane behind the gun.

#2 Neymar

Neymar has been the dream signing for Real Madrid president Florentino Perez for a while now. And while it would be very difficult to sign him from PSG, Zidane might have the power to push for it.

There is no way that the Frenchman has agreed to join the club without ensuring that he gets at least one big name scorer and if that is not Neymar, then it sure could be…

#1 Kylian Mbappe

The most ideal signing for Zidane would be that of his compatriot Kylian Mbappe. The former Juventus star actually wanted him in 2017 but PSG beat Madrid to the signing of the 20-year-old.

While Mbappe has stated that he is going to be at PSG next season, he might change his mind with Zinedine Zidane back at Madrid. It definitely won’t be the first time when a player backtracks on what he said!

Premier League 2018/19: Arsenal vs Manchester United, 5 key battles

Ever since Ole Gunnar Solkskjaer took over the reins at Old Trafford, the fortunes of Manchester United have changed. He is yet to be beaten in the Premier League with the Red Devils and his next task is to face Arsenal. The Gunners, meanwhile, were beaten by Rennes in their latest Europa league game and would like to bounce back against the in-form Old Trafford outfit. This is a very crucial match for the two sides as both are fighting for a top-four finish.

With that in mind, here are 5 key battles for tonight’s game!

#5 Romelu Lukaku vs Sead Kolasinac

Romelu Lukaku is going through a superb patch of form for Manchester United. The Belgian striker has scored six goals in his last three games and has been very effective from the right-hand side. The former Everton’s man’s strength shall be up against Arsenal’s Sead Kolasinac.

The former Schalke left-back has been a decent signing for the Gunners so far but he is going to be up against one of the most in-form scorers in England right now and so, he will have to be on his toes.

#4 Alexandre Lacazette vs Victor Lindelof

French striker Alexandre Lacazette has been criticized for his lack of influence in big games and the next match is against one of the biggest sides in England. Not only Manchester United are ‘back’but they are also as strong as they have been since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

One of the players whose form has help United’s revival is Victor Lindelof, who is finally playing at a level which was expected from him by Jose Mourinho – the man who signed him at the Old Trafford. It is going to be a tough battle for the Frenchman against the in-form Swede.

#3 Marcus Rashford vs Shkodran Mustafi

Another player who has been in fabulous touch since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is Marcus Rashford. The Englishman’s confidence is sky high and the testament to that could be found in the fact that he took the 94th-minute penalty that sent the Red Devils to the quarter-finals of the Champions League

Shkodran Mustafi, meanwhile, is a very erratic defender, with his own fans often pointing fingers at him. The talent of Rashford might be too much to handle for the experienced defender.

#2 Aaron Ramsey vs Scott McTominay

Aaron Ramsey will leave Arsenal to join Juventus.

Aaron Ramsey might be leaving the Gunners in the summer but there is a reason why Juventus agreed to pay him astronomical wages in order to bring him to Turin. He is a fantastic midfielder who has the ability to score goals out of nowhere.

Scott McTominay, meanwhile, is a decent prospect and was excellent against PSG, so he should be confident about taking on the Welshman. This could be the battle that shapes up the game.

#1 Paul Pogba vs Granit Xhaka

Manchester United's Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is almost certain to be back in the lineup after missing out on Manchester United’s epic win against PSG. The Frenchman has been excellent under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solsksjaer and could be a very big problem for Arsenal.

The responsibility to stop him might fall on the shoulders of Granit Xhaka. The Swiss is a strong tackler in the middle but could fall into trouble if he doesn’t keep his recklessness in check.

5 reasons why re-hiring Jose Mourinho would be a mistake for Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho with the Premier League trophy

It is quite unbelievable to many that Jose Mourinho is once again being considered for the job at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Portuguese manager left the Blancos on a very sour note in 2013 but still had the admiration of Florentino Perez.

The Spanish construction magnate reveres the former Inter manager and is open to the idea of bringing him back to the Spanish capital. While he might have a lot to prove, there is absolutely no way to justify bringing him back to Real Madrid and here’s why…

#5 Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

The captain of Real Madrid and one of the biggest icons, Sergio Ramos wouldn’t want Jose Mourinho back at the club. During the final part of Mourinho’s first stint at the Bernabeu, the Portuguese fell out of favour with a lot of players – and Sergio Ramos was one of them.

There have been numerous reports that claim that the Spain captain doesn’t want to see Mourinho back at Real Madrid and his arrival might actually trigger him to leave the Santiago Bernabeu.

#4 Bad taste

Real Madrid appointed Jose Mourinho in 2010

Like mentioned earlier, Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Real Madrid ended very badly. The club won no major titles in his last season and most of the players fell out of favour with him. Under immense media scrutiny and pressure from within the club, the ‘Special One’ stepped down from the position of the head coach and returned to Chelsea.

A large section of the fans, too, wanted him gone because of the way he had spread negativity at the club. While there are some fans that want him back, the majority of them want Real Madrid to have nothing to do with the Portuguese; especially after a disastrous end to his previous stint.

#3 Outdated tactics

Jose Mourinho was once lauded as one of the best tacticians in the world. The way he used his Inter team to stop Barcelona from reaching the final of the 2010 Champions League remains one of the best tactical masterclasses by any football manager.

However, that is the kind of football that doesn’t suit all clubs – especially not Madrid.

The Portuguese coach loves his team to have a strong defensive cohesion, which is a good thing. But when players with attacking flair are restricted greatly because of this, it hurts the club. A proof of this is Mourinho’s failed stint atManchesterr United, during which he restricted the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in favour of more defensive minded players.

Ironically, both Rashford and Martial have blossomed in a more attacking set-up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

#2 Poor man manager

Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba at Manchester United

Eden Hazard once claimed that the Portuguese is the best manager in the world when his team is winning. He even allows his players to have extra breaks when things are going well. However, the moment the wheels start to shake, he criticizes his players in the press and creates a bad environment in the dressing room. This open criticism tactic always ends badly but Mourinho might not have learned from it.

The Portuguese head coach infamously claimed that there was a ‘rat’ in his dressing room during his previous tenure in Madrid, while throwing several players under the bus for the same. He also froze club captain Iker Casillas out of the starting eleven, preferring Diego Lopez in place of the Spaniard.

However, Mourinho’s biggest public spat came during his much more recent stint as the boss of Manchester United, during which he clashed with Frenchman Paul Pogba several times.

#1 Too authoritarian

Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

The biggest problem with Jose Mourinho is his tendency to put himself above everyone else – even the club. At Manchester United, he went out on his way to openly claim that his team is not good enough to challenge for titles just as a means to force Ed Woodward into making signings.

If things aren’t going the way he likes, both on the pitch and in the boardroom, the Portuguese has been known to throw several tantrums to ensure that his wishes are fulfilled.

While Real Madrid are in dire need of a big personality to come in and unite the team as one, Jose Mourinho’s previous implosive record shows that he might not be the right man to do it.

5 reasons why Jose Mourinho is the perfect managerial appointment for Real Madrid

When Jose Mourinho left in 2013, most Madridistas hoped and were almost certain that he would never be allowed back at the club. He left on really bitter terms – which has been repeated ever since with his following jobs – but he always had an admirer in the club.

And that man is the most powerful figure at the Bernabeu: Florentino Perez.

The construction magnate still reveres the Portuguese boss because he believes that the former Manchester United manager has the personality to manage a club of Real Madrid’s stature.

With the Galacticos now out of all three competitions – they are 12 points behind in the league – there are talks of them sacking Santiago Solari and hiring Jose Mourinho again

And here are 5 reasons why that could be good…

#5 Mourinho has a lot to prove

Things haven’t been all that great ever since he was sacked from Real Madrid. He managed Chelsea and Manchester United after his Madrid stint but could only win one major title (a league win with Chelsea).

As a result, many believe that he is out of sorts and way past the times. The detractors have increased in numbers and not many think that he would succeed at Madrid – or any club for that matter – so he has a lot to prove.

Absolute scenes! This amazing BTS footage shows how HYPED the Ajax players were right after knocking Real Madrid out of the Champions League at The Bernabeu

#4 Unfinished business at the Bernabeu

And where better to do it than the Santiago Bernabeu – the place where his misery began? Mourinho was appointed at Real Madrid with the main goal of bringing the unprecedented 10th Champions League title.

And he failed to do that. Despite winning the league with the Merengues, his term was dubbed as a failure because he couldn’t do the main task for which he was assigned. So the unfinished business will motivate him even more.

#3 A change with chequebook

The last four out of Madrid’s five managers were almost similar in the sense that they were more player-oriented than tactical. Rafa Benitez was the one in the middle that was more tactics-oriented (and we all know how that went).

Madrid’s last three managers were almost similar and sometimes, a change is necessary to bring about success. On top of that, Mourinho will have a huge chequebook in his hands, which means that he could sign the players he wants.

Jose Mourinho tin tưởng ‘Benzema có thể nhận trọng trách thay thế Ronaldo’

#2 More discipline

Under Zidane, the Galacticos looked like a really disciplined bunch even though the Frenchman was a friendly character. Under Lopetegui and now Solari, the Madrid players have been erratic and have had their bouts of lethargy.

For instance, Ramos had his own customized box from which he watched the second-leg defeat of Madrid at the hands of Ajax (a match he purposely avoided by receiving a yellow in the first-leg).

It was later reported that he was being filmed for his documentary on Amazon Prime. Such a blatant act of indiscipline only comes with too much player power.

#1 The Raul factor

It has been suggested by reports in Spain that Raul could come in as the assistant manager for Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu. Should that happen, it would be a perfect combination of yin and yang.

Mourinho’s authoritarian personality could be complemented with Raul’s mild and temperate nature. He also knows the club inside out and the players absolutely adore him, which would make the Spanish legend a perfect mediator.

Mourinho open to sensational Real Madrid return

3 matches Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United saved in Fergie time

No one might have expected Manchester United to make a comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain in yesterday’s second-leg fixture of the Champions League, after the latter won the first-leg 2-0 at the Old Trafford last month. On top of having allowed two away goals, Manchester United were also without most of their regular first-team starters in yesterday’s game.

As a result, it was almost certain that the Parisians would advance to the next round. But a spirited performance from Manchester United saw them win the match 3-1 and tie the aggregate score at 3-3, with the Red Devils leading on away goals – thereby eliminating PSG and taking their place in the quarter-finals.

The decisive third away goal by United came late in the injury time, with just seconds left for the match to draw to a close. Hence it may be said that Solskjaer’s won the game by a close whisker – so much that it actually reminded a lot of fans about the innumerable times they have won close encounters in their dying moments.

Most of such occasions happened during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford as manager, which had given rise to the popular phrase, “Fergie-time”. A “Fergie-time” win was when a team scored goals in the final minutes of a game, to turn a contest to their favour.

Sir Ferguson was unusally adept in utilising the last phase of matches, when he would use inspiring words to take his team to the win. And hence, the terminology stuck even after he hung up his boots as manager.

Since December 2018, which is when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepted the reins of the club from Mourinho, the team has won 14 out of 17 matches till date. Some of them came via goals scored very late, giving rise to the wave of thought that Fergie-time was well and truly back at Manchester United.

With the above information in mind, here are three matches from the recent past, that the Old Trafford outfit won/drew in Fergie time – in other words, very late in the game.

#3 Against PSG

Let us start off with the latest of them all. As mentioned earlier, no one really gave the Red Devils much of a chance to win against the French giants. When Juan Bernat scored for the home side to draw level with Romelu Lukaku’s goal in the 2nd minute, the match was considered all but done.

However, the Red Devils were not yet ready to lose hope, as they remained as spirited as ever. Lady luck was also on their favour, with PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon accounting for a massive slip-up that allowed Lukaku to score once again.

Manchester United needed just the one more goal to qualify, and that did not happen throughout the secomd half. Then came four minutes of extra-time, which is when Marcus Rashford finally scored a last-minute penalty to make the score 3-1, thereby winning the fixture as a whole.

#2 Against Southampton

The recent change in the attitude of the Manchester United players was clearly visible in this Premier League game from last weekend, as the Red Devils kept exerting pressure on the Saints, with the score reading 2-2 as the game approached the final whistle. Solskjaer’s men did not want anything less than a win and that is exactly what they showed on the pitch.

In the 89th minute, striker Romelu Lukaku utilised his newly-restored form to score United’s third goal from outside the box, which in turn gave his team the much-sought win at Old Trafford.

#1 Against Burnley

United’s draw against Burnley in the Premier League in January, is arguably the most impressive Fergie-time result for Manchester United under the recent stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Red Devils are yet to lose in the league under the Norwegian but that could have very well not been the case if it wasn’t for some insane Fergie time pressure from the Red Devils against Burnley.

Burnley were 2-0 up at the Old Trafford with just 9 minutes of normal time to go. Chris Wood’s 81-minute goal had all but sealed a win for Sean Dyche’s men… or so they thought.

Pogba scored a fabulous goal in the 87th minute, to start harvesting hopes among the Old Trafford faithful. It paid off in the 91st minute, when Victor Lindelof poked the ball into the net to seal a vital point for his team, also drawing a game that was given up as lost only ten minutes previously.