The planned return date for Los Blancos’ captain has been set as the Spanish champions set some big goals for the final stretch of the season.
On 6 February 2021, Sergio Ramos underwent surgery to repair the damaged meniscus in his left knee. Real Madrid described the operation as “a success” and that he was expected to return to action between six and eight weeks. However, AS has found out more detail and the team captain is working on his recovery with two specific dates in mind.Ramos and Madrid are eager that he returns to the starting XI, his contract and future at the club after this season remain up in the air…
Sergio Ramos eyes return dates The first date Ramos is looking at for his comeback is 13 March, as Madrid welcome Elche for the LaLiga match at Valdebebas. The second is three days later, on the 16 March, when Atalanta come to town for the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie, also at the Alfredo Di Stéfano. If the first one remains a doubt in his head to start the game, the second does not.
If Ramos, who turns 35 on the penultimate day of March, achieves this goal he will be advancing by a week the best of the deadlines set on the day of his operation. Any pitch time against Elche, as he is hoping, will see him return to Zidane’s side in just 36 days, proof, if it was needed, that the operation was indeed extremely successful.
The Madrid derby: an impossible goal When the captain realised that an operation was inevitable – the discomfort persisting after the Super Cup match against Athletic Club – the first thing he was hoping to avoid was missing the derby at the Wanda Metropolitano on 7 March. But the club’s doctors spoke to him and explained that if he pushed himself to be back for that game then he risked missing the rest of the season. That was when he changed his outlook.
His eagerness to be available for the business end of the campaign with Los Blancos – as well as being fit for Spain in the European Championship this summer – was the deciding factor in going under the knife.
Ramos to miss more key games Ramos is currently going through his recuperation process in the gym at Valdebebas, as can be seen from the various photos and videos he uploads to his social networks. With the pain now subsiding, he is focused on gaining muscle strength in his left knee, with a relapse of the injury the last thing he can consider at this juncture.
In terms of what lies ahead for the team, the next two league games – at home to Real Sociedad on 1 March and the aforementioned derby against Cholo’s Atleti at the Wanda on 7 March – will be faced without their influential captain. Likewise, Ramos will miss Wednesday’s game against Atalanta in Bergamo, where he will once again be replaced by Nacho, who is performing at an exceptional level.
Of course, while Ramos and Madrid are eager that he returns to the starting XI, his contract and future at the club after this season remain up in the air…
FC Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font was adamant that after the losses incurred by major clubs, the forthcoming summer market will be prohibitive for big money moves.
FC Barcelona presidential candidate Víctor Font was blunt in his assessment of major clubs talking about signing the likes of Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappé as “irresponsible” due to the financial hit that all clubs have taken as a result of the impact of the covid pandemic.
Here at Barça, we can’t find a million and a half euro to sign Eric García, to talk about major name acquisitions is just ‘hot air’ and we need to treat our club members as adults. We simply won’t be able to make any big money signings this summer as the club has approximately between 150-200 million euro of new debt. Personally, I think Haaland is a wonderful talent and I speak as a fan. I can see things at Barcelona becoming slightly ‘Florentinizando’ as bolstering any team with the likes of Haaland or Mbappé is easy. It’s a trickier task to bring through young and unknown talents such as Pedri or Koundé. That would be our task ahead, creating the future stars of Barcelona”.
Font took a side swipe at Joan Laporta for the former president’s refusal to participate in open debates and deemed his actions as a ‘huge lack of respect’. Font also requested that club members avoid voting on whims and perceptions. He concluded by stating that he was determined in his task of convincing Leo Messi to remain at FC Barcelona and acknowledged that: “The result against PSG was a bitter pill and it showed up that, despite the good work by Ronald Koeman, we need to ensure there is a solid project at the club”.
The future of Kylian Mbappe is beginning to become a matter of importance at the highest level of French politics, with the country’s minister for sport suggesting that France needs the forward to stay in Ligue 1.
In the midweek Champions League clash against Barcelona, Mbappe showed both his importance to PSG and his value on the open market, in scoring a hat-trick at the Camp Nou.
PSG have already worked hard to secure Neymar to a contract extension at the Parc des Princes, but Mbappe really is the jewel in the crown, and it could be seen that they will find it far more challenging to come to an agreement with the World Cup winner.
“I tell him, Kylian, stay in France, we need you,” Roxana Maracineanu stated on Tele Loisirs.
“We want to continue seeing you play like this.
“The public needs you, PSG need you, young athletes and young footballers need to have role models and examples to look to.”
When quizzed on his own future after his magic night in Barcelona, Mbappe confirmed that he wasn’t even thinking about the contract dispute and a potential switch to Real Madrid.
“My future? It would be stupid to make a decision on that based on just one match,” Mbappe declared.
“This is something to think about in the long term.
“I’ve always said that I’m happy here and games like tonight make you very happy.”
Despite his own insistence that no decision on his future would be made before the end of the 2020/21 season, Lionel Messi’s continuity at the Camp Nou remains in doubt, although Manchester City have moved to publicly deny reports they have made an offer to the forward.
Messi’s contract with Barcelona is due to expire in June, which means as per the Bosman transfer rules, he has been legally allowed to talk to non-domestic clubs since the turn of the year.
Whether or not this has happened remains unclear, and you would have to say it’s doubtful given Messi’s insistence that his focus was only on the remainder of the season.
With that being said, The Sun posted a story which suggested that Manchester City had made Messi an offer to sign with the club in the summer, however a spokesperson for the Manchester club has told MARCA that this isn’t true.
The information MARCA received was that Manchester City haven’t made an offer for Messi either last summer or within the final six months of his current contract.
Paris Saint-Germain’s infinitely comfortable 4-1 victory over a poor Barcelona team on Tuesday all but confirmed Messi will not win the Champions League this term either, and this could well propel him closer to the exit door.
If this is indeed the case, you can see why Manchester City are eager to not be seen doing anything which could potentially damage their relationship with the Argentine’s camp, especially when they are likely to make their move in the summer.
Luis Suarez has arguably been the best player in LaLiga Santander this season, but he has hit his first blip of the campaign, having failed to score in his last two games.
The Uruguayan started 2021 as he ended the previous year, scoring decisive goals against Getafe and Alaves, before netting seven goals in four games.
He is now without a goal in his last two outings, something that hasn’t happened since the start of the campaign after recovering from COVID-19, against Valladolid and Real Madrid.
His mini-drought is not down to any physical problem, as he has still been as active as ever inside the penalty area in his side’s last two games against Granada and Levante.
Suarez will be determined to help his side maintain or even extend their lead at the top of the table when they face Levante on Sunday.
However, the fact that the Madrid derby takes place after Atletico’s game against Villarreal which comes after Levante, Suarez could be tempted to pick up a fifth caution that would assure his availability against Zinedine Zidane’s men.
It remains to be seen what Suarez will do, although it is far from an easy situation given that Unai Emery’s side are no pushovers either, and Atletico will have to be at their best to defeat them.
Another period of injury recovery awaits for Dani Carvajal, whose return only lasted 25 minutes against Valencia on Sunday.
Despite suffering a new issue that could see him miss two months, the right-back is remaining optimistic and positive.
“I told some of my teammates that on Saturday night I had butterflies in my stomach and that I was anxious to come back to do what I’m passionate about,” he said as he shared a social media post on Monday, after it had been revealed that he has a muscle injury in his right thigh affecting the tendon.
“I had worked really hard over the past few weeks…
“Now, it’s time to deal with this latest setback and to start a new countdown to be able to return and have these special feelings.
“I just want to communicate one message: I will come back better and stronger than ever.
“Thank you for all the messages of support.”
Due to four different injury issues, the Spaniard has only been able to play in 12 official matches so far in 2020/21.
Dani Carvajal to miss Real Madrid’s first leg against Atalanta due to muscle injury
25 minutes. That’s how long Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal could play after making his return from injury during Sunday’s match against Valencia. The defender suffered a hamstring injury which forced him to leave the game, being replaced by Lucas Vazquez.
The first reports from club sources indicate that Carvajal suffers a hamstring injury on his right leg and that he will undergo tests to reveal the extend of said injury today. The defender seems all but ruled out for Real Madrid’s upcoming clash against Atalanta in the first leg of their Champions League tie in the Round of 16 and it’s likely that he eventually misses the crucial return leg as well, given how tricky these injuries have been for Carvajal all season long.
With Odriozola and Militao also injured, Lucas Vazquez seems ready to be Zidane’s choice to play at the right-back spot, given that Nacho is playing well at the center-back position in Ramos’ absence.
On November 21, 2020, Gerard Pique suffered an injury when he collided with Angel Correa during a match against Atletico Madrid and it immediately looked serious. However, he is now ready to return against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
A knee ligament injury is always a serious issue, but Pique’s ailment was clearly a painful one as the defender left the pitch in tears.
Initial reports suggested his season might well be over, but the official medical report of the club didn’t actually specify how long he would be sidelined for.
Pique has been sensational in his recovery, breaking all the records for rehabilitation time, with it initially estimated he could miss as many as eight months of action.
Yet, Pique is ready to play against the French champions and he hasn’t even been out for three whole months, which was the lowest estimated time of absence for his injury.
It’s known that training isn’t the same as competitive football at the elite level and that Pique is taking a risk by returning so early from such a serious knee injury. Yet he hasn’t felt any pain this past week and has been training since Thursday.
He will be in the squad to face PSG unless a new complication arrives.
Ronald Koeman is acutely aware of the risk that comes with playing Pique, although, given the fact much of the club’s season hopes depend on the Champions League, the Dutch coach may not have much of a choice.
Eliminating PSG would mark an incredible turn of events after such a difficult season, with basically the worst possible pre-season preparation prior to it.
There will be no Angel di Maria or Neymar for Mauricio Pochettino, yet with Kylian Mbappe still present Pique is likely to have a difficult night.
If he’s at his best, though, then he could shut the PSG attacks down and that in itself is why Barcelona are on board with taking the risk on him returning early.
When Atletico Madrid signed Luis Suarez last summer, the club spent time working on all the details of the striker’s two-year contract.
There are various clauses in it – such as the ones for bonuses related to goal tallies, with the player already having hit a target of 15 goals and just four away from another target of 20.
Yet one of the other clauses could actually affect his future, as there is a clause in the Uruguayan’s contract that would allow him to leave Atletico Madrid on June 30 for free.
However, the 34-year-old has no intention of triggering this because he is happy in the team and likes working with Diego Simeone.
As such, Atletico Madrid are not concerned about this clause. They’re just happy to have a world-class striker, one who seems motivated to prove to Barcelona that they were wrong to let him leave for a domestic rival.
Suarez is enjoying an exceptional run of form and is determined to keep scoring the goals that will likely fire Atletico Madrid to the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander title.
As well as putting the ball in the net, Suarez has shown that he can be a leader of this team.
There is, therefore, nobody at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano who doubts that Suarez will stay for the second year of his deal.
The precedent of David Villa Suarez’s campaign has been compared to that of David Villa, when he swapped Barcelona for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2013 and won the title with Simeone.
Villa adapted well, scored goals and won LaLiga Santander, but he didn’t fulfil the full three years of his contract. Instead, he departed after just one year to join New York City.
Atleti, though, believe the ending with Suarez will be different and that he’ll ignore the clause that would allow him to depart in the summer of 2021.
There’s no debate over Sergio Ramos’ legendary status at Real Madrid. However, if he pens a new deal in the coming weeks and sees out the rest of his career in the Spanish capital then he could statistically become the club’s number one player every category except goals.
He’s closing in on a few important records, but his future is still undecided.
If he leaves now, this is what he’d miss out on.
Player with most appearances Ramos will almost definitely break the record for most appearances for Los Blancos if he renews his deal.
At the moment, he’s fourth on the all-time appearance list with 668 games played.
Ahead of him are Raul (741), Iker Casillas (725) and Manolo Sanchis (710).
Ramos would likely need to play for another year and a half to hold the record.
The player with most seasons completed The central defender is also closing in on the record for most seasons completed in a Real Madrid shirt. He currently sits on 16 completed campaigns and would need to remain at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for two more to break the record of 18 held by Paco Gento and Miguel Angel.
Most decorated player in the club’s history This record could be broken without signing a new contract, although he would need to win a Champions League and LaLiga Santander double, which seems unlikely at the moment.
Ramos and Marcelo both boast 22 titles at Real Madrid, just one behind Paco Gento.
He could also become the player with most Champions League medals. He currently has four, but is two behind Gento.
Most seasons completed as captain The longest-sitting captain in Real Madrid history is honorary president Gento, who held the armband for nine seasons. Chendo has eight as captain while Felix Quesada and Raul both have seven.
Ramos has held the honour for six seasons and would need to renew until 2024 to break this record, which seems unlikely given his current relationship with the club over his contract talks.
Most minutes in LaLiga Santander He’s currently the player with the fifth most minutes played in LaLiga Santander.
He has played 43,900 minutes and is just 99 minutes behind Raul.
The only players with more are Casillas (45,684), Francisco Buyo (48,717 and Andoni Zubizarreta (55,746). He would need to play at least two more full seasons to break Zubizarreta’s record.
Captain in the new Bernabeu The new Bernabeu stadium will be the crowning jewel of Real Madrid and Ramos could have the honour of being the club’s first captain in their newly redeveloped stadium.
It can’t be forgotten that, if he leaves now, he won’t be able to say goodbye to the fans due to the pandemic and no one would dispute the fact that Ramos deserves a huge send-off at Real Madrid.
Barcelona must negotiate a LaLiga encounter against Deportivo Alavés before their pivotal Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Ronald Koeman insists the match in LaLiga between Barcelona and Deportivo Alavés is more important to him than discussing Paris Saint-Germain or Neymar.
A huge Champions League last-16 tie between Barça and PSG begins at Camp Nou on Tuesday and Neymar has been ruled out against his former club through injury.
But Barça boss Koeman stressed the home Alavés match on Saturday was most important to him because it is what comes next.
He also suggested he was considering squad rotation but would not make significant changes prior to the PSG game because he lacks options.
Copa del Rey defeat to Sevilla Barça lost 2-0 to Sevilla last time out on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie. It was their first defeat inside 90 minutes in 17 matches across all competitions.
But they have won seven and drawn one of their last eight LaLiga games with Alavés.
“I don’t think Neymar is an Alavés player,” Koeman said when asked about the injury to the PSG forward.
Focused on Alavés “This is a question for Monday, not for today. I’m not talking about Neymar, I’m not talking about PSG.
“Saturday’s game is more important than Tuesday’s. We are going game by game and we want to continue our good streak.
“The result of the Sevilla game is there but we played a very good game. If we repeat the game, we do not lose.
“We dominated in many areas against Sevilla, but you also have to have a bit of luck. We need freshness, but the team is feeling very well.
“You don’t play a second half like we did in Seville if the team is not physically well.”
Defenders Gerard Piqué and Ronald Araújo are unlikely to be risked against Alavés.
Koeman added: “Sergino Dest, Miralem Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite have done something [in training on Friday].
Koeman not rushing back Piqué “[On Saturday] there is training and we will decide if they are on the squad list.
“For Araújo or Piqué, I always believe in the margin of a risk. The objective is to recover players until the end of the season.
“If it is the last game of the season, you can risk more, but I am not in favour of risking a lot for a game.
“Those players have to recover well and step by step. If they are there and they can play, even better.”
On the prospect of rotation, he continued: “Of course there are players who have been playing for many minutes with us not having everyone available.
“You have to think about giving rest to those players to be well in the next game. [But] not many [will be rotated], because there is not much we can change either.
“We look at the players, we train and we will decide. By winning the game, you are always mentally less tired than when you don’t win.
“The goal is to win. But first you have to play and it will be difficult.”
The Alavés match will start a run of four consecutive home games and Koeman added: “It’s good to have back-to-back games at home because you save yourself traveling.
“We can rest more now and hopefully we will get players back to start having a very competitive squad again.
“It is good to see the youth team players and the youngsters play, but we need our more competitive players back.”
Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals against Alavés in LaLiga in as many appearances against them, including four in his last three.
If he plays against Alavés, he will equal the record held by Xavi for most Barça league appearances by playing in his 504th top-flight match.
Bayern Munich became just the second team to ever win the sextuple on Thursday after securing the Club World Cup crown with a 1-0 victory over Tigres, but how do they match up compared to the team that first recorded that achievement?
Back in 2009, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side dominated Europe and then the world, with a similarly impressive squad to Hansi Flick’s Bayern team in 2020.
When Guardiola took charge of Barcelona in the summer of 2008, few – almost no one – would have thought that he would go on to achieve what he did with a group of unrepeatable players.
The Catalan coached looked towards La Masia and Barcelona’s DNA, insisting that his team were obsessed with controlling the ball. Guardiola built an unstoppable winning machine with this style.
A terrifying starting Xi Some of the greatest players of all time all came together at the peak of their careers, led by Lionel Messi and coached by Guardiola.
As is so often the case, the most memorable feats often come almost unintentionally. And that is what happened to this Bayern side.
Hansi Flick took charge of a team that was seemingly adrift in November 2019 and, just a few months later, turned them into an unbeatable side.
Led by Robert Lewandowski, the Bavarians slaughtered anyone who got in their way in the Bundesliga and Champions League, with an incredible run of 19 consecutive wins and just one defeat.
Just 11 years after Barcelona won the first sextuple, the football world has a new predator who wanted it all and ended up achieving it. Bayern’s six trophies in one year with a very strong XI that dominated Europe will be remembered forever, and they also had one of the most memorable results ever, beating Barcelona 8-2.
Pep Guardiola, who went on to coach Bayern after leaving Barcelona, congratulated his former side on their accomplishment but also joked that his 2009 Barcelona team could face this 2020 Bayern side to win a seventh trophy, thus allowing one team to secure the septuple.
It is impossible to know how this game would have gone, but who do you think would win?
According to a report from Catalunya Radio, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez could resume their partnership in Major League Soccer in 2022.
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. 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.
During the interview with Évole, Messi said that the sudden departure of Luis Suárez was one of the many reasons he decided to send the legal notification to the club saying he wanted to leave FC Barcelona. His demand to leave was of course denied by then president Bartomeu, who held him to the club’s interpretation of their agreement. Messi, though, will now become a free agent on 30 June 2021.
The Argentinean says he has not decided whether he will renew his contract with Barcelona or start negotiating with other clubs, something he is allowed to do starting 1 January 2021. But the MLS option appears to be one that Messi finds tempting, and linking up with Suárez once again may make it even more enticing. Luis Suarez’ contract with Atlético Madrid expires in the summer of 2022. Will Inter Miami be able to put together a package to bring both players across the pond and allow them to resume their partnership in the United States?
It was expected to be tough for Real Madrid to earn a sixth win in a row. Above all, because Granada are a very serious team and they know exactly how to play their game. They’re well-organised and efficient under Diego Martinez, the kind of team that give Los Blancos the most difficulty. Without Eden Hazard and his ability to win one-on-one matchups, Real Madrid needed Karim Benzema to find solutions. They’ve also been relying on Vinicius, which is not to be sniffed at, but it’s clear that they struggle to find holes in the opposition defence.
It was also complicated because Real Madrid didn’t have Luka Modric and he is able to move the team forward. It was going to be a night of suffering and that was made clear in the first 30 seconds thanks to Raphael Varane and his latest giveaway. Granada made this happen by keeping Sergio Ramos from bringing the ball out and ensuring it was the Frenchman who had to do so.
Granada’s tactics and ability to irritate Real Madrid worked until the 55th minute, when Marco Asensio reminded us all of what a great footballer he can become again, doing so in the space of two minutes. It’s said that players either do or don’t recover from an injury as serious as the knee injury he suffered, but any recovery comes from hard work, time and patience. Real Madrid and the player have bought into this and, given the superb flick off the post that he produced, this seems the right approach. With that attempt and the passes for a Fede Valverde shot and the Casemiro goal, Real Madrid overcame a Granada side that were locking them out. This is what talent brings about, at the moment when it seemed Granada’s organisation couldn’t be overcome.
BREAKING: PSG have sacked Tomas Tuchel, according to Christian Falk
The decision to part ways with the German manager came hours after the French champions smashed four goals past Racing Strasbourg, which saw them close the gap to Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.
According to Sky Germany, PSG’s sporting director Leonardo relieved the 47-year-old of his managerial duties on Wednesday night, which comes four months after Tuchel led the Parisian outfit to the Champions League final.