Log in

14 January 2017 @ 03:54 am

We gotta support our Sergio - the Sevilla ultras want his head on a platter and the club is asking for a ridiculous ban on account of those gestures he made in response to the abuse he received during that last Copa del Rey match


Samir Nasri would love to play for Real Madrid, he has said. In an interview with Onze Mondial, which they have been publishing for a number of weeks. Asked whether he would like to train under Zinedine Zidane, Nasri said, "Yes, of course. That would mean I would be playing for Real Madrid."

11 January 2017 @ 11:46 pm

Red is the new black as far as Veronique is concerned. That seems to be her new go to color. And what is there to say about Luca's shoes ? Holy smokes ! He knows he's not in Kansas anymore, right ??

click here to see moreCollapse )
09 January 2017 @ 07:31 pm

So our Zizou did not win the Fifa Best Coach of the Year Award - that went to Claudio Ranieri as expected - but he still looked fierce and had a good time at the gala in Zurich. Veronique looks fabulous too. Is it me or does she look a little more - ahem - busty ?  I don't recall her rocking curves like this in the past. Marion reckons she probably just treated herself to a cheeseburger and fries. Perhaps its the way the dress fits ?  No matter,  she looked great.

Read more...Collapse )
07 December 2016 @ 02:40 pm
05 December 2016 @ 12:26 am
02 December 2016 @ 08:41 am
Zidane scored for Real Madrid this week – Enzo Zidane, that is. Just when his dad thought things could not get any better, the 21-year-old got a goal on his debut – 17 minutes after he walked on to the Santiago Bernabéu pitch and a decade after his father last walked off. It is 3,861 days since Zinedine was a Madrid player; 333 days since he became the Madrid manager and he is already a European Champion, a European Super Cup champion and a very proud parent. Win on Saturday afternoon and the chances are he will become a league champion too.

Not that Zidane would say that. On Saturday it is the clásico and Madrid’s manager says, “Whatever happens, it won’t be decisive.” Perhaps not but, as league games in December go, this may be about as close to a decider as it gets. The winger Lucas Vázquez also said there is a long way to go but victory would be an important step towards the title, the chance to end a run of only one championship in eight years. “A fist on the desk,” the defender Nacho Fernández called it. Madrid have not been in a position this good for some time.

Zinedine Zidane’s son Enzo scores on Real Madrid debut in Copa del Rey
At this stage last season they were 12 points behind Barcelona. When Madrid went into the last clásico at the Camp Nou in April, they were 10 behind. That was Zidane’s first as the manager and they won 2-1. Now they go into his second with a six-point lead over Barcelona at the top – their largest lead since, under José Mourinho, they won there in the spring of 2012, to all intents clinching that lone title in eight. Victory would give them the head-to-head advantage used instead of goal difference. Even this early, that would be a huge advantage.

The opportunity is enormous; for Barcelona, so is the obligation. The pressure is intense and the performances have mostly been poor. The team so long defined by their midfield have occasionally looked as if they do not have one, the control gone, the number of passes declining, the ability to play through opponents’ press diminished.

The return of Andrés Iniesta could hardly be more timely. Luis Enrique admits that, with the front three they have, there is a tendency to play too quickly. And while Lionel Messi has been superb, Neymar has gone six games without a goal and Luis Suárez is not imposing himself as he did.

“There’s no reason to worry,” Sergi Roberto insisted but saying so revealed pessimism is creeping back. Last Sunday Barça drew 1-1 at Real Sociedad and Luis Enrique called it a “miracle” – not that they dropped two points but that they gained one. This was no unrewarded siege; not for Barcelona, anyway. They had been dominated. This is their worst start under Luis Enrique; the last time they had only 27 points at this stage was nine years ago – and Madrid ended the season champions, 18 points ahead.

After the draw at Real Sociedad Gerard Piqué was stopped pitch-side and asked for his thoughts. He questioned the team’s attitude and said it was as if they had not even been out there in the first half. “You can’t win the league playing like this,” he said.

Two days later he added: “You have to believe in this team, always. Having showered and reflected, if we win on Saturday things will look different.” If they win, it is back to three points, the title race wide open and everything will indeed feel very different. But if they don’t? “If we lose, things will become very difficult,” Piqué said.

They face a Madrid side unbeaten in 32, just as Madrid faced a Barcelona side unbeaten in 39 last season – and won. Barcelona won the league anyway but only just. “The clásico is more important for us than for them,” Piqué said. “They can allow themselves the luxury of losing. We can’t.”

Madrid do not lose often these days. Zidane has taken charge of 48 games, losing two, one of them a European Cup first-leg defeat. In La Liga his record reads: played 33, won 27, drawn 5, lost 1. Scored: 99. Madrid are the only side in Europe’s top five leagues who remain unbeaten this season. No manager has ever had a start this good in points terms – not even Luis Enrique, whose managerial record reads: one treble, one double but who this week said: “We’ve got the best squad since I’ve been here but the same useless lump as manager.”

“Zidane changed the history of this club as a player; it was obvious that he would do a great job as manager,” the Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, told AFP this week. In fact, it was not obvious – certainly not to him. For all his enormous popularity, the respect he commands, there were significant doubts at boardroom level, as well as among supporters and, of course, the media. Even as he won the European Cup some remained. This season, ridiculous though it sounds, there have been doubts too: the fixtures have been reasonably kind and the run has not been as impressive as it has been long.

Real Sociedad leave Barcelona with more than just food for thought
Some thought Zidane lucky. He has always said he had a “star” but he is sharp and politically astute, too, and was always far more of a competitor, a worker, than people allowed. It annoyed him when people said he was an elegant, effortless player; there was effort, all right. As a manager, everyone quickly agreed he managed the group well – something of a backhanded compliment – but they wondered about his coaching, his tactical work, his control.

His calm, almost gentle approach in the press room contributed to that: his refusal to project his own achievements, to hang medals on himself, his deference to his players, his reluctance to engage in tactical analyses, to explain what exactly it was he had done, preferring to talk in terms of “intensity”. At the end of it there was that smile but little else by way of explanation. He took it all in his stride, as classy and elegant off the pitch as he had been on it. There were injuries – Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Ramos, Pepe and the rest – but they just kept winning.

The numbers were becoming incontestable anyway and then came Atlético Madrid – the first real test, many said – and Madrid won that too, 3-0 against a team who just do not concede three goals and had lost once to Madrid in 10 games. This, more than any of the other wins, more than last year’s clásico, more than the European Cup, was Zidane’s victory but he refused to put it like that. He surprised everyone with his formation, playing Ronaldo at No9 and Isco off the front, and got it right again. Now comes the clásico, an almost unique opportunity at just the right time.

Zidane said this week he was living a dream. Enzo said that. His dad is not doing too badly either.