Spurs appoint Jose Mourinho: Without superclub baggage, Jose might prove he isn’t yesterday’s man

Jose Mourinho’s best work has generally come when he feels like he is working against the odds. Tottenham can benefit from that trait.

As football fans in the United Kingdom awoke bleary eyed to take in the Premier League story of the season, one word stood out in the statement announcing Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Tottenham’s head coach – a ghost of hubris past.

“I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” Mourinho said.

Heritage. Football heritage.

This was the subject of Mourinho’s self-pitying soliloquy in the aftermath of Manchester United’s limp Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Sevilla in March 2018.

A much-trumpeted union that returned two trophies in its first season was going south and Mourinho tried to circle the wagons.

During a 12-minute address where “heritage” was mentioned 10 times, his general point was he had been dealt a duff hand at United. Other rivals were better equipped, having spent more money more effectively to breed cultures of sustained success.

One of the flaws in his argument – there were a few – was the reality of him talking as the manager of Manchester United, the 20-time champions of England. He selected an £89.3million midfielder on the bench for the 2-1 loss to Sevilla at Old Trafford, where he trudged the technical area forlornly under the glare of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.

Much as he would talk in reverent terms of his second-place in the Premier League that season, 19 points behind champions Manchester City, Mourinho failed at United.

Another press conference rant, where he exited the room demanding “respect” from those present, came after a 3-0 home loss to Spurs five months on from the Sevilla debacle. Mourinho was a man who had lost the thread and any notion of him succeeding Mauricio Pochettino, who so comprehensively bested him that night, felt beyond absurd at that moment.

 

Underdog, not top dog

Similarly, the 2011-12 LaLiga title triumph at Real Madrid took a heavy toll upon coach and squad alike, with his Santiago Bernabeu tenure concluding unsatisfactorily 12 months later. When in charge of greats of the game, clubs familiar with prolonged and recent success, Mourinho’s schtick came up short.

His greatest deeds played out in sharply contrasting circumstances.

No team outside Europe’s “big five” leagues had won the Champions League in the eight years before Mourinho masterminded Porto’s march to glory in 2003-04 and none have since.

Chelsea were flushed with Roman Abramovich’s riches but had not won an English championship since 1954-55. The self-proclaimed Special One delivered two in two seasons after arriving at Stamford Bridge as a freshly minted European champion.

Mourinho reacquainted himself with the continent’s big trophy at Inter. The 2009-10 Champions League was the Nerazzuri’s third win in the competition but first since 1964-65.

That triumph symbolically came at the Bernabeu, with the big job lying in wait for a man who had defined a decade in European club football. It concluded Mourinho’s imperial period.

The rancour and recriminations of the past nine years leads to an understandable conclusion Tottenham have appointed a downgrade on Pochettino, replacing one of football’s brightest contemporary minds with yesterday’s man.

But if anything should encourage tentative enthusiasm for the third act of Mourinho’s coaching career at the elite level, it is that Spurs bear more resemblance to the Porto, Chelsea and Inter teams he took hold of than Madrid or United.

Pochettino’s sustained excellent over the past five seasons in north London does not mean the scars of “Spursy”, “St Totteringham’s Day” and other mockery do not still sting a little for a club starved of trophy success. Spurs feels like a place where Mourinho can promise the world and demand everyone falls into line far more effectively than when in charge of a superclub.

Those are the jobs Mourinho aspires to – and probably the roles Pochettino will grace soon enough – but it is hard to escape the feeling he has always been better suited to the rung below, with a point to prove and the spite to fuel a siege mentality his men will buy into.

 

Alli as Lampard, Kane as Drogba?

So, what of that squad? That all important heritage.

It feels safe to say Mourinho is far happier with his lot than when he walked into Old Trafford. Not least because the likes of Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Harry Kane were all touted as United targets when he was in Manchester.

His best teams have featured a potent striker willing to work hard for the cause, hard running wingers and a goalscoring threat from attacking midfield. Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in tandem could feel instantly more “Mourinho” than anything he threw together at United.

Behind them, a combination of Dier and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele feel equipped to provide the power and control his most dominant engine rooms boasted.

As for an aging Tottenham defence, they will probably welcome the defensive line being dropped a touch deeper, in line with their new boss’ more reactive principles. Indeed, a squad featuring seasoned, maturing professionals arguably come under Mourinho’s charge at the right time – no longer the all-action, do-or-die tyros who served Pochettino so well until recently.

“It’s a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels happiness in relation to the squad that he’s going to have,” a suited and smiling Mourinho told Spurs TV. The smile won’t last over the course of a three-and-a-half year contract – it never does – but in the meantime, he might just have found the right place to earn a little more of that respect he craves.

Goal-line technology and new VAR communication introduced for Supercopa de Espana

The Supercopa de Espana will see goal-line technology and the new “Vardict” system used for the first time in Spanish football.

The RFEF’s Technical Committee of Referees is making changes for the Supercopa de Espana, introducing goal-line technology for the first time while improving communication for VAR decisions.

A revamped Supercopa will take place in Saudi Arabia in January, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia involved.

For the first time in Spanish football, goal-line technology will be implemented in order to aid officials, with previous such calls made with the help of the VAR.

Referees chief Carlos Velasco Carballo explained on Wednesday: “The system consists of 14 cameras on the pitch. A high resolution camera will be on the goal line.

“This system is connected to the referees and, in less than a second, you hear the word ‘goal’ three times and the watch will vibrates to indicate the goal.

“It’s historic in Spanish football.”

 

The use of VAR in the first part of the LaLiga season was also discussed, with Velasco Carballo revealing the system had corrected 19 of 23 officiating errors.

Criticism of VAR has often come from the way calls are communicated to supporters within the stadium, but Velasco Carballo has outlined plans to improve this problem for the Supercopa.

A “Vardict” system on screens aims to ensure fans are kept up to date.

He said: “It will serve to communicate the decisions to the spectators in the stadium, a fundamental aspect in the success of the VAR. They will have the same information as the spectators watching on television.”

FIFA 20: Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard form thrilling front three in FUT TOTW

Wednesday’s FUT Team of the Week includes a host of attacking stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Cristiano Ronaldo has made FIFA Ultimate Team’s latest Team of the Week after moving onto 99 international goals for Portugal.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo is closing on Ali Daei’s all-time world record of 109 after another four goals in the international break.

Ronaldo hit a ruthless hat-trick against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying, before netting again against Luxembourg to nudge towards three figures.

He is joined in a thrilling FUT front three by Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Kane ended the qualifying campaign having netted in all eight matches, hitting 12 goals in total as the competition’s leading scorer.

Hazard is struggling for Real Madrid but scored twice in Belgium’s win at Russia, while midfielders Toni Kroos and John McGinn were rewarded for their own goalscoring exploits.

Nicolas Otamendi, often seen as a liability at Manchester City, earned a place with his performances for Argentina.

We take a look at the latest squad in full below.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) – 86

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) – 85

CB: Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 82

RB: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

CM: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid) – 84

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) – 89

LM: Ole Kristian Selnaes (Shenzhen FC) – 81

CAM : John McGinn (Aston Villa) – 84

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) – 94

LF: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) – 92

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham) – 91

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Andre Onana (Ajax) – 84

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma) – 80

RM: Robert Skov (Hoffenheim) – 81

RW: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) – 86

ST: Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – 83

ST: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Scott Wharton (Northampton Town) – 74

CDM: Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow) – 80

ST: Famara Diedhiou (Bristol City) – 79

ST: Victor Osimhen (Lille) – 80

LW: Duvan Vergara (America de Cali) – 76

Spurs appoint Mourinho: Tracing the Special One’s highs and lows

La Liga, English, Chelsea, Serie A, News, Tottenham Hotspur, Features, Premier League, Manchester United, Football, UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid, Porto, Internazionale, Jose Mourinho,

Back in the Premier League and with a point to prove, we look back on the peaks and troughs of Jose Mourinho’s colourful managerial career.

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.

HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent’s most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe’s highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.

Madrid make history

Mourinho’s decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team’s final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.

The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him “crazy” for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a “much-loved, respected and significant figure” after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt “betrayed” by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho’s failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Spurs appoint Jose Mourinho: ‘Specialist in failure’, eye-pokes and Mourinho’s best fall-outs

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte

Jose Mourinho has made a sensational return to the Premier League with Tottenham, but it is unlikely to be a smooth ride.

Jose Mourinho has proven a successful, and controversial figure, during his long managerial career.

Trophies have been plentiful, as have confrontations with rival managers.

There have been clashes in Italy, Spain and England as the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United has made waves throughout Europe.

Here, we look back at five of Mourinho’s most heated moments.

“Demenza senile”

Premier League managers having a go at each other is nothing new, but it felt like Antonio Conte and Mourinho crossed a line in the 2017-18 season. Mourinho appeared to implicate Conte when he suggested counterparts act like “clowns” on the touchline, with the Italian often running into the crowd to celebrate Chelsea goals.

From there, the row quickly escalated. Conte hit back, suggesting Mourinho was suffering from “demenza senile”, which translates as senile dementia. Mourinho famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford when Porto scored a key Champions League winner, but Conte had gone too far and Chelsea quickly clarified that he meant “amnesia”.

Having successfully provoked Conte, Mourinho blamed the media for the whole affair and referenced match-fixing allegations made against Siena during Conte’s time in charge. The former Italy boss served a ban but was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Conte then called Mourinho a “little man” and suggested he would seek to meet his rival “in a room” to sort out their difficulties.

Poking Tito Vilanova in the eye

It was assumed that Pep Guardiola and Mourinho would renew their old rivalry when the pair were appointed by Manchester City and United respectively in 2016, but the row never boiled over.

The closest they have come to fireworks was a clash in the Old Trafford tunnel following City’s 2-1 win in the Manchester derby in December 2017. Mourinho allegedly went to the away dressing room to complain over the volume of City’s celebrations, only for a melee to ensue. Guardiola was not present at the time and Mourinho later blamed a “diversity in education” between the two Manchester squads for the fracas.

Mourinho and Guardiola go way back, with the Portuguese believing he should have been appointed by Barcelona before they moved for their former player. Later, while in charge of Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side thrashed 5-0 at Camp Nou, while he was sent off for gouging the eye of Guardiola’s assistant, Tito Vilanova, during the 2011 Supercopa de Espana. Mourinho also suggested Guardiola’s Barcelona won the 2010-11 Champions League by virtue of generous refereeing.

Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’

That Mourinho seemingly lost interest in rowing with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was probably a sign of how far the Gunners eventually fell under the veteran Frenchman. Mourinho no longer saw Wenger as a rival. It was not always the case, though, as Wenger was the subject of one of the 56-year-old’s most famous rants, when he called the Arsenal manager a “specialist in failure”.

Mourinho’s Chelsea were a point clear of the Gunners atop the Premier League table in February 2014 when the Portuguese hit out at a long trophy-less wait for the Gunners. “If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don’t come back,” Mourinho said.

Back in 2005, Wenger was called a “voyeur” by Mourinho. “He likes to watch other people,” he said. “There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”

“I don’t want to win the Europa League”

Mourinho has often had a problem with managers who succeeded him at clubs, with Rafael Benitez drawing his ire on multiple occasions.

After Mourinho left Inter, Benitez took over and claimed the Club World Cup with the Serie A side. “I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him,” said the ex-Porto boss.

Benitez took charge of Chelsea briefly between Mourinho’s two spells at Stamford Bridge, leading the Blues to Europa League glory. “I don’t want to win the Europa League,” Mourinho said. “It would be a big disappointment for me.”

Mourinho had obviously changed his tune by 2017, when winning the Europa League earned Manchester United a route into the Champions League.

Parking the bus

At United, Mourinho’s team were often accused of ‘parking the bus’, which is ironic as he is credited with introducing the phrase to English football.

After a 0-0 draw against Tottenham in 2004 during his first Chelsea spell, Mourinho said: “As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal.”

And after Inter knocked out Barca on the way to the Champions League title in 2010, Mourinho extended the metaphor further.

“We won the tie in Barcelona, but everyone talks about Barcelona winning and says we parked the bus in front of the goal,” said Mourinho. “We didn’t park the bus, we parked the plane.”

Real Madrid fans don’t want Gareth Bale to play for the club again after ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid-In that Order’ flag celebration

bale Real Madrid

Real Madrid and Wales winger Gareth Bale has ruffled quite a few feathers with his latest shot at the La Liga club and their fans. Bale celebrated Wales’ qualification to Euro 2020 with a ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid. In that Order’ flag, all but confirming his departure from the club in the upcoming January transfer window.

Soon after Bale’s gesture, Real Madrid fans took to Twitter to call for the Welshman’s sale and they don’t want to see him play for the club again. Here are the best of reactions.

 

WATCH: Gareth Bale celebrates with ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid-In that order’ flag after Euro 2020 Qualification

bale wales madrid

Real Madrid and Wales superstar Gareth Bale has taken a sly dig at his club after celebrating Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification with the now-famous ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid – In that order’ flag. The Dragons defeated Hungary 2-0 to seal qualification to Europe’s premier international football tournament.

The ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid – In that order’ flag was introduced by the Wales fans after Bale admitted that he is more excited to play for his country than Real Madrid. “With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable.

“I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales. I’ve been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.

“But it still doesn’t change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100% wherever I am, and that’s what I always strive to do,” Bale had said.

Following the win over Hungary, the Welshman celebrated with his teammates, holding the ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid’ flag which might not have gone down well with Real Madrid fans.

 

Tite rejects criticism of Rodrygo’s lack of playing time with Brazil

Rodrygo Goes played just 21 minutes across two friendlies for Brazil, and Tite explained the reason behind his decision.

Tite rejected criticism of his decision to play Rodrygo Goes for just two minutes in Brazil’s 3-0 win over South Korea on Tuesday.

The Brazil coach said on Monday he would be patient with the teenage forward, who has made an impressive start to life at Real Madrid.

Rodrygo has scored twice in four LaLiga appearances for Madrid and notched a hat-trick in their 6-0 Champions League demolition of Galatasaray this month.

The 18-year-old got 19 minutes on his debut in the 1-0 loss to Argentina on Friday and received even less playing time in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s one thing to throw Rodrygo into a system that’s already structured, like Real’s. It’s another thing to put him in a team that is being reassembled, even if he was doing the same job in the same position,” said Tite.

“It was so hard to organise for the team for today and they responded well. They were close to scoring a fourth and a fifth.

“It was a chance for Fabinho, Renan Lodi and Militao. They earned the chance and asserted themselves. Could it have been Rodrygo? Yes, but I preserved the continuity and the good moment of the team in the game.”

 

Wales, golf, Madrid… in that order – Gareth Bale celebrates Euro 2020 qualification

After Tuesday’s victory, Gareth Bale was seen celebrating in front of a Wales flag with the words: “WALES. GOLF. MADRID… IN THAT ORDER”.

Gareth Bale risked incurring the wrath of Real Madrid with his celebration of Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales – semi-finalists at Euro 2016 – booked their ticket to next year’s European Championship with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Aaron Ramsey’s double in Cardiff ensured Wales leapfrogged Hungary and clinched the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Bale and his team-mates celebratedly wildly post-game, with the former Tottenham talisman particularly catching the eye.

 

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, “Wales, golf, Madrid”, which has been heard during the international break.

And on Tuesday, Bale was seen celebrating in front of a Wales flag with the words: “WALES. GOLF. MADRID… IN THAT ORDER”.

 

Spurs sack Mauricio Pochettino: Man United, Real Madrid, Bayern, Barcelona – where next for former Tottenham boss?

After Mauricio Pochettino was relieved of his position at Tottenham, we look at which clubs are likely to be in the hunt for his signature.

Mauricio Pochettino has been sacked by Tottenham after their frustrating start to the Premier League season, though the Argentinian will seemingly have no shortage of potential suitors.

Pochettino led Spurs to four successive top-four finishes in the league and also oversaw a memorable charge to the Champions League final last season.

Tottenham went down 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid, however, and with 12 games played in the top flight this term, they sit 14th, having won just three times. They also suffered a humiliating 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month.

Despite Spurs opting to make a change, Pochettino is still widely regarded as one of the most sought-after coaches in Europe.

We look at the teams most likely to come calling for his services.

MANCHESTER UNITED

After sacking Jose Mourinho in December 2018, Manchester United were heavily linked with Pochettino, but instead appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, since Solskjaer – who was initially handed an interim role at Old Trafford – took permanent charge in March, United’s form has been inconsistent to say the least.

The Red Devils have managed just six Premier League victories since Solskjaer was named as their full-time boss and they sit just two points above Spurs in the table.

With a squad still in the midst of an apparent overhaul, United may well now rekindle their interest. Given Pochettino’s Premier League experience, Solskjaer could feel the pressure should results not pick up.

REAL MADRID

Real Madrid have also been consistently touted to hold a major interest in Pochettino, with Los Blancos having endured a difficult season in 2018-19 after Zinedine Zidane elected to leave on the back of winning a third straight Champions League.

Zidane returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March, of course, after a miserable stint from Julen Lopetegui and underwhelming performances under Santiago Solari.

Without Cristiano Ronaldo to call on, Zidane has not had quite the impact as he had during his first spell in charge, though Madrid do sit level on points with LaLiag leaders Barcelona.

Madrid would be able to offer the riches and resources Tottenham never could for Pochettino, but will they oust a club legend to bring him in?

BAYERN MUNICH

Bundesliga champions Bayern were ruthless in their decision to axe Niko Kovac earlier in November and are now on the hunt for a permanent replacement.

Interim coach Hansi Flick has won both of his matches in temporary charge – 2-0 against Olympiacos and 4-0 over Borussia Dortmund – but Bayern might be tempted by the opportunity to appoint a coach with the pedigree of Pochettino.

Like Madrid, Bayern could offer Pochettino plenty of money to spend in the transfer market, though there would also be the added expectation of silverware not only on the domestic front, but also in Europe.

BARCELONA

Citing his loyalty to Espanyol, Pochettino has previously claimed he would not wish to coach Barca – not to mention Lionel Messi. However, should the Catalan giants come calling, it may be difficult for Pochettino to turn down the opportunity to take the helm at Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde appeared to be on the brink of losing his job following last season’s Champions League capitulation and defeat in the Copa del Rey final.

With Barca stuttering in both LaLiga and the Champions League so far this term, Valverde – who does not seem to be too popular with the club’s fanbase – could well be on borrowed time now Pochettino is available.

ARGENTINA

Pochettino may wish to remain in club management for a while longer before moving into international coaching, but the draw of leading his nation towards the 2022 World Cup may be enough to tempt the 47-year-old.

Lionel Scaloni is currently in charge of the Argentina national team, taking the side to a third-place finish in this year’s Copa America, though performances have remained inconsistent, with too great a reliance on Messi.

With the Barca forward surely set to feature in his final World Cup – should he play at all – in Qatar, Pochettino may relish the chance to take his country back to the pinnacle of international football.

Gareth Bale responds to Wales fans’ song mocking Real Madrid

Gareth Bale responds to Wales fans' song mocking Real Madrid

As you already know by now, Gareth Bale is the subject of a new football song whose popularity is growing day by day. The song, created by fans of the Wales national team, makes fun of his love for golf over Real Madrid, his club.

Well, first things first – have a listen to the “Wales, Golf, Madrid!” chant right here:

Earlier last week, former Real Madrid striker Pedja Mijatovic slammed the Welshman, claiming that he was concerned about the player’s priorities.

In a column for the Spanish publication AS, Mijatovic had written: “The first thing he [Bale] thinks about is Wales, then golf and after that, Real Madrid.”

The latest Gareth Bale song can hence be traced back to Mijatovic’s comments.

And on Tuesday, ahead of Wales’ upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier against Hungary, the 30-year-old said he does not mind the song and that he is happy, as long as the Welsh fans are still getting behind the team.

“I’ve heard it, especially when I was on the bench when I came off and the boys were laughing. It’s a bit of fun,” he said, before adding:

“We want the Welsh fans to be the same as always – to be supporting us, to sing, to be the 12th man.”

Quotes via Mirror.

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard responds to criticisms from Arsene Wenger, John Obi Mikel

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard responds to criticisms from Arsene Wenger, John Obi Mikel

Despite facing a truckload of criticism from the likes of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and ex-Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel regarding his weight issues and work ethic, Real Madrid ace Eden Hazard has insisted that he is “in good shape”.

Hazard’s relatively silent start to 2019-20 also saw him facing criticisms from all corners, as Wenger described him to be “too heavy” and John Obi Mikel labelled him “the laziest player I have played with”.

However, while speaking to Sky Sports on Monday, the Belgian himself insisted that he is fully fit and will “always try” to do his best.

“For the last month I’ve been in good condition with no injuries,” he said, before adding:

“I’m in good shape. When I’m on the pitch I will always try to do my best, with Real Madrid or Belgium. I just want to keep this momentum.”

It was during 2019 July that Hazard finally made his dream move to Real Madrid, after years of speculation. Sky Sports reports that the LaLiga giants signed the 28-year-old in a deal that could reportedly rise to a club-record transfer of £130million, once all bonus payments are completed.

Needless to say, the star attacker who amassed 110 goals and 92 assists for Chelsea across 352 appearances, arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu amidst huge expectations – but so far this season, he has not impressed much, having scored just one goal and provided four assists for Los Blancos in 11 appearances across all competitions.

Reports: Manchester United makes Paul Pogba transfer decision amid Real Madrid, Juventus interest

Reports: Manchester United makes Paul Pogba transfer decision amid Real Madrid, Juventus interest

Manchester United have reportedly decided to let go of Paul Pogba during the upcoming January transfer window, as the interest on him from both Real Madrid and Juventus intensify.

According to TuttoSport, Juventus are likely to sign Pogba only during next summer, but they are ready to establish contact with Manchester United in the coming weeks. so that they can gain a headstart over Real Madrid who are also plotting his signing.

Juventus are also likely to part ways with veteran striker Mario Mandzukic in exchange for the Frenchman – and as Mandzukic and United have expressed a mutual liking for each other, it seems likely that they will arrange a deal for both players during the January transfer window.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has also not yet given up on the chase for the 26-year-old, after failing to sign him during the summer transfer window. Back then, the Red Devils’ boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not really inclined to sell his best player, which is why he named an asking price of €180million for him – a price which was considered very high by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, who then pulled the plug on a potential deal.

The ongoing 2019-20 season has not really been kind to Pogba either, as recurring bouts of injuries have forced him to remain silent for a major part of the season so far.

So far, has managed only six appearances this season – five in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup.

Eden Hazard heaps praise on Real Madrid teammate, calls him ‘best in the world’

Eden Hazard heaps praise on Real Madrid teammate, calls him 'best in the world'

On Monday, Real Madrid superstar Eden Hazard showered praise on teammate Karim Benzema, before proceeding to call him “the best striker in the world”.

The Belgian international shared his insights on the 32-year-old forward while speaking in the press conference ahead of his country’s UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier match against Cyprus on Tuesday. Both players have been teammates at Real Madrid for about four months now, after Hazard joined Los Blancos from Chelsea earlier this summer.

“After having played with him for three or four months, I think he [Benzema] is currently the best striker in the world. But besides his role as a striker, he makes others better too,” Hazard said, before adding:

“I’m sorry for him [for his exile from the France national team].”

“But it’s always easier to play against a team that Benzema is not in!”

The 28-year-old also opened up on Real Madrid’s slow start to the ongoing 2019-20 season, after which they seemed to have picked up some pace. In their last five matches, the Merengues scored 16 goals, but conceded none.

“You can always do better, of course. I think that with Real Madrid, for a month, everything is going very well. We won matches and the team is progressing well, which is also easier for me,” the star attacker said, before concluding:

“I am in a good dynamic and I have to continue like this.”

Quotes via AS.