Real Madrid lose ground in the La Liga title race to leaders Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid lose ground in the La Liga title race to leaders Atletico Madrid. Luis Surez led Atletico Madrid to a 1-0 victory over Getafe.

Real Madrid were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at struggling Elche on Wednesday, losing ground in the La Liga title race to leaders Atletico Madrid.

A header from Luka Modric gave the champions the lead in the 20th minute but Elche found a way back into the game when Fidel Chaves levelled from the penalty spot early in the second half.

Both sides had chances to take all three points, with Elche forward Lucas Boye striking the post, while Real defenders Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos were thwarted by fine saves from the home side’s ‘keeper Edgar Badia.

Elche had a last-gasp chance to win the game when they earned a free-kick in added time, but defender Gonzalo Verdu’s shot was tipped away by Real ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois.

The draw halted a six-match winning streak in all competitions for Real and left them second in the standings on 33 points, two behind city rivals Atletico who also have two games in hand. Elche are 15th on 16 points.

“We started well but our opponents had studied us well, they put everyone behind the ball and tried to hit us on the break and it’s not a huge surprise we couldn’t win,” said Real midfielder Casemiro.

Real had pulled themselves back into the title race with a run of five league wins in a row before the Christmas break and looked likely to notch another after an excellent first half.

Toni Kroos missed the target with a free header and Marcelo clanged the crossbar shortly before Modric put his side in front, following up a thumping strike from Marco Asensio which also hit the bar.

Zidane’s side had a penalty incorrectly awarded for a block by an Elche player which the referee thought had struck his arm, but the official corrected the decision after reviewing it on the pitchside monitor.

Elche only troubled Courtois once in the first half but earned a golden chance to level when Carvajal was penalised for grappling with Antonio Barragan.

Courtois guessed the right way but Fidel’s penalty had too much power.

They had their impressive Badia to thank for keeping it that way, the ‘keeper denying Ramos from point-blank range, moments after flying across his goal to push away a shot from Carvajal.

Real’s record signing Eden Hazard returned after over a month out injured but could not help his side get the winner they craved.

Meanwhile, Luis Surez led Atletico Madrid to a 1-0 victory over Getafe in the 500th game for coach Diego Simeone, extending their lead at the summit.

The Uruguay striker’s powerful header from Yannick Carrasco’s free-kick after 20 minutes was enough to ensure victory. It was Suarez’s eighth goal in the league this season since leaving Barcelona.

Credit: Sky Sports

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Arsenal news: Mikel Arteta keen to take Isco on loan for rest of the season

Arsenal news: Mikel Arteta keen to take Isco on loan for rest of the season. Real Madrid need to sell more players to generate income.

The race is on to sign Isco. Real Madrid midfielder has requested that the club release him so that he can be given the playing time he has been deprived of under Zidane.

Several big European clubs are following the situation – Real Madrid are open to selling Isco but are not willing to let him leave on loan, that also suits the player.

If possible, Isco would prefer to stay in Spain with Sevilla the leading option at the moment as it is close to his hometown Málaga where his family are based.

That was the initial plan, to play under Julen Lopetegui next season. But it is not the only offer on the table.

Diario AS understands that Mikel Arteta is keen for Isco to join Arsenal on loan – from next month. – Arsenal news

Real Madrid need to sell more players to generate income lost through the Covid-19 crisis.

The club hopes to raise around 20 million euros from selling Isco. If the situation doesn’t change between now and June, he will join Sevilla.

For the deal to go through, they would only need to match the seven million euros which Isco currently earns, after tax, at Madrid.

But other clubs will be pushing to sign Isco too. Arsenal’s interest is real and could prompt an unexpected change to the script next month.

Credit: AS English

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Diego Costa had become toxic character at Atletico Madrid

Diego Costa had become toxic character at Atletico Madrid. Everything was tense and Diego Costa stopped going to train.

Atletico Madrid management had no option but to release Diego Costa from his contract as he became a “toxic” presence around the club, it has been claimed.

Local reporter José Ramón de la Morena, on El Transistor, has explained why Atletico and Costa mutually agreed to terminate the striker’s contract this week.

“Diego Costa was in a very uncomfortable situation with the club before the start of the season. This is not something that has come now, but it has become more and more tense, bogging down … (coach Diego) Simeone has tried to help him,” said De la Morena.

“Luis Suárez arrived and Simeone played Diego Costa, he alternated with Luis Suárez in the first matches.

“But Diego Costa’s attitude had become more and more indolent and he became more than a player, a toxic character for that dressing room and that made the club more and more afraid. The club negotiated his departure with him, he asked to collect his entire contract to leave.

“The relationship with the coach in training was already unbearable and with Nelson Vivas, Simeone’s assistant, even worse.”

He continued: “Diego Costa talked to the club’s sports director after coming from San Sebastián, he tells him that he has a family problem and that he wants to go to Brazil, because his family has gone to Brazil.

“He tells him to leave, but that he cannot go to any team in the Champions League or the Spanish League without paying a clause of 20 million. He says no.

“Everything was tense and Diego Costa stopped going to train.

“Diego Costa is now leaving and Atlético avoids a problem, but now they need a centre-forward.”

Credit: Tribalfootball

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Lionel Messi’s transfer saga: The Argentine to stay at Barcelona

Lionel Messi’s transfer saga: The Argentine to stay at Barcelona. He has already bought a £7.25million flat in Miami.

Lionel Messi’s transfer saga has taken another turn after it was reported that he could end up staying at Barcelona for another two years before making a move to the United States – and that he has already put down roots in Miami.

Messi, whose contract is up next summer, came close to ending his iconic 19-year spell with the Catalan giants in the most recent transfer window after he told the club via burofax that he wanted to leave.

The 33-year-old Argentinian ended up staying due to the threat of a long legal battle but he continues to be linked with the exit at the Nou Camp – and while he’s not short of options on where he could go next, his reported purchase of a luxury £7.25million apartment suggests his mind is already made up.

However, according to Cadena SER, Messi is set to scrap plans of a Barca exit for now and instead extend his stay until 2023 before picking up sticks and moving to Miami to retire there.

The report claims Messi wants his children to go to high school in the States before going to university.

Cadena Ser also claim that the Argentine already has a home in Florida, where he bought a £7.25m flat in the luxurious Porsche Design Tower a year and a half ago.

The high-rise building, which boasts ocean-front living and a separate elevator for your car, was opened in 2014 and is just a 25-minute drive from the Inter Miami Stadium.

The report would support claims that Messi is ready to see out his career with David Beckham’s Inter Miami, with the Argentine recently admitting that a move to the USA is something that interests him.

Credit: Daily Mail

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Italian Serie B results: Mario Balotelli scores four minutes into Monza debut

Italian Serie B results: Mario Balotelli scores four minutes into Monza debut. Monza are two points behind their opponent.

Mario Balotelli scored four minutes into his debut for Serie B side Monza on Wednesday, setting them on the way to a 3-0 win over leaders Salernitana in his first senior match since March.

The 30-year-old former Italy international, starting out at the ninth club of his turbulent career, was left unmarked at the far post to side-foot the ball in from close range following a low cross.

The win left promotion-chasing Monza, who have never played in Serie A, two points behind their opponents. – Italian Serie B results

Balotelli joined Monza this month and was warned by Adriano Galliani, the club’s chief executive, that it was “absolutely the last chance” to resurrect his career.

Credit: Sky Sports

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Spanish La Liga 2020-21 match preview: Atletico Madrid vs Getafe

Spanish La Liga 2020-21 match preview: Atletico Madrid vs Getafe. Wednesday December 30, 2020 at 6.15pm BST time.

Atletico Madrid play host to Getafe on Wednesday evening looking for the win which would ensure that they remain at the top of the La Liga standings.

Despite heading into this contest in 12th position, Getafe sit three points above the relegation zone after just one win in nine matches.

Atletico Madrid La Liga form: WWWLWW

Atletico Madrid form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Getafe La Liga form: DDLLWD

Getafe form (all competitions): DLLWWD

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:

Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Vrsaljko, Koke, Llorente, Carrasco; Correa, Suarez, Felix

Getafe possible starting lineup:

Yanez; Dakonam, Etxeita, Rodriguez, Olivera; Maksimovic, Arambarri, Timor; Hernandez, Unal, Cucurella

Spanish La Liga 2020-21 match preview: Atletico Madrid vs Getafe

We say: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Getafe

Credit: SportsMole

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Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez could join Inter Miami in 2022

Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez could join Inter Miami in 2022. They could resume their partnership in Major League Soccer.

Two days ago Lionel Messi was interviewed by Spanish journalist Jordi Évole and the Argentine superstar said he would like to live in the United States and play in Major League Soccer at some point in the near future.

His words made a big splash right around the football world and now there are hints that it could be Inter Miami who make Messi’s wishes come true.

According to Catalunya radio, Barcelona’s No 10 could join Inter Miami in 2022.

The franchise’s co-owner David Beckham is planning to lure Messi by also bringing in Luis Suárez, one of the Barcelona star’s best friends.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez: The world-class players first linked up in 2014 and were inseparable on and off the pitch, until Suárez moved to Atlético Madrid this summer.

Credit: AS English

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Phil Neville says Paul Pogba can send Manchester United to league title

Phil Neville says Paul Pogba can send Manchester United to league title. He praised Pogba’s form following the controversial remarks.

Phil Neville has claimed Paul Pogba can help Manchester United on the way to the Premier League title as the former Red Devil praised the Frenchman for his recent form.

The World Cup winner, 27, has endured a turbulent season at Old Trafford, with a combination of inconsistent displays and off-the-field turmoil seeing the midfielder linked with an exit from the club.

Pogba’s United future was cast into doubt at the start of the month after his agent, Mino Raiola, publicly claimed his client’s future was away from the club on the eve of a mammoth clash with Leipzig.

But former United defender Neville has praised Pogba for his form since those controversial comments were made, and insisted the Frenchman can play a big role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s title run. 

‘When they played Leipzig his agent came out and said he wanted to leave but since then I have seen the best of Paul Pogba,’ Neville said on Amazon Prime before the game with Wolves.

‘I have got to say I prefer watching Manchester United when he is playing because he gives them something that might take them on the way to the title. He is a world class player.’

Credit: Daily Mail

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Lionel Messi reveals which athletes he admires the most

Lionel Messi reveals which athletes he admires the most. He responded in the affirmative, highlighting figures from tennis and basketball.

Barcelona news has been dominated by Lionel Messi this year.

His publicly-voiced desire to leave during the summer caused quite the stir and the lack of clarity around his short-term future has hung over Camp Nou like a dark cloud.

Messi touched upon a wide range of issues in an interview he gave to Jordi Evole in La Sexta, some of which was carried and reprinted by Mundo Deportivo.

One of the interesting tidbits to emerge from their conversation emerged when Evole asked Messi whether there are any athletes that he admires.

He responded in the affirmative, highlighting figures from tennis and basketball as well as a certain storied Portuguese rival currently plying his trade in Italy with Juventus.

“There are many athletes who are admirable,” he replied.

“Rafa Nadal, [Roger] Federer, LeBron [James]. In all sports there’s an athlete that stands out and is admirable for his work and what he does on a daily basis.

“Cristiano [Ronaldo is another example] in football. There are many. I admire all the athletes who stand out.”

Credit: Football Espana

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Erling Braut Haaland names best three centre-backs in the world

Erling Braut Haaland names best three centre-backs in the world. He will be fit in time to face Wolfsburg this coming Sunday.

Erling Braut Haaland, perhaps the most desirable forward in the European game, has been speaking about who he believes are the best centre-backs in the world.

“The best are Sergio Ramos, [Virgil] Van Dijk and [Kalidou] Koulibaly,” Haaland told Norwegian media outlet VG in comments carried by Marca. “All three are very physical and also very intelligent on the pitch.”

Haaland also touched on his compatriot Martin Odegaard in the conversation, revealing that the Real Madrid midfielder is a chess lover while he himself prefers video games.

The Borussia Dortmund forward is virtually recovered from his injury and is expected to be fit in time to face Wolfsburg this coming Sunday.

Credit: Football Espana

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