Tag: Real Madrid

Patrick Kluivert: Champions League title better than domestic double

FC Barcelona legend Patrick Kluivert has said that Real Madrid will have had a better season than Barca if they can clinch a third successive Champions League.

The former Dutch international striker said that a Champions League win would eclipse Barca’s domestic double ahead of El Clasico.

He had previously won Europe’s premier club competition with Ajax in 1995 and said that it is the biggest achievement in football.

“The Champions League is the biggest award any club can win but it is very hard,” Kluivert said. “Winning a double is good as well but winning the Champions League is better. I would prefer to play a UCL final and win it because if you lose it and you don’t have a double, it is not good either.”

“Real Madrid are playing well and they always do what they have to do. The Champions League is the most important title, but if Real Madrid don’t win it, it will be much harder next season.”

Ahead of El Clasico, Kluivert also spoke about the two teams and their star players.

“First of all, Messi is the best for me but he can’t do it all alone; let me think about it because I don’t want to say anything I could regret! Barcelona is Barcelona and Madrid is Madrid, one can win UCL and the other has a double, all of them play for victories.”

 

“Messi and Ronaldo are different players, both in the highest level and each one deserves good words from everyone. But Messi was born with an impressive talent; Ronaldo did too, but he had to work harder to reach that level.”

Valverde insists Clasico will not decide fate of La Liga title

FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has insisted the Clasico game away to Real Madrid next Saturday would not be a decisive point for the La Liga race this season.

Real Madrid, double winners last season have struggled in the first half of 2017-18 and sit fourth in the table, and earning all three points at the Santiago Bernabeu would be a huge boost to the Barca title challenge.

However, Valverde, speaking after his team’s 4-0 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, played down the significance of the eagerly anticipated clash and remains wary of another challenger to the title in Atletico Madrid.

“I don’t think a Clasico victory will give us the title,” he said. “Atletico are only six points behind. What we know is that this is a long competition, nobody will decide anything at this point.”

“We’re heading into the game happy; we have a week of preparation left and are confident. It’s a tough game against a huge rival, but we’re eager to face them.”

Against Deportivo, Valverde withdrew Andres Iniesta early in the second half to preserve the veteran midfielder for the trip to the Spanish capital next weekend. He was also delighted with the contribution of the veteran who contributed to the opening goal of the game at Camp Nou.

“What can I say? I’m very lucky to be able to count on him in my team,” Valverde added. “Today he started in a different position because of Deportivo’s qualities, (but) Andres played extremely well in that role.”

Valverde had also rested Sergio Busquets so that he would not miss next week’s Clasico due to yellow card accumulation, while braces from Luis Suarez and Paulinho ensured that FC Barca would arrive to El Clasico with an 11-point lead after a 4-0 win over Deportivo

Another record for Ronaldo as Real Madrid strikes late to beat Dortmund

Cristiano Ronaldo set another benchmark as he became the first player to score in every Champions League group stage match as Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 at the Bernabeu.

Real were set on their way by Borja Mayoral’s first goal in the competition, set up by Ronaldo, who quickly added a second himself for his ninth in the Champions League this season.

The defending champions of Europe took the lead after just eight minutes, when Ronaldo waltzed between two Dortmund defenders on the left and poked the ball across the face of goal where Isco helped it into the path of Mayoral, who clipped his finish over Roman Burki.

Ronaldo then put himself on the scoreboard when he curled in a lovely right-foot shot into the far top corner from the left-hand side of the penalty area to extend the lead after 12 minutes.

Both him and Mayoral could have put the match beyond Dortmund but a combination of wayward finishing and good positioning from Burki saw the score remain at 2-0.

Despite lagging behind by two goals, Dortmund took their time to get back into the game and responded through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had been anonymous before launched himself at Marcel Schmelzer’s cross to pull a goal back with a diving header a minute before the break.

It was not four minutes into the second half, when Aubameyang equalized from Shinji Kagawa’s pass that had found him unmarked on the edge of the penalty area and, after his initial effort was saved by Keylor Navas, Aubameyang chipped the rebound over the Madrid goalkeeper.

However, Zinedine Zidane’s team did get a third goal with nine minutes remaining when Lucas Vazquez found the bottom corner of the net with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

Dortmund would enter the Europa League despite collecting just two points from their six games, thanks to a better goal difference than Apoel Nicosia who finished on the same amount of points. Meanwhile, Real would learn who their next opponents would be when the draw is made on Monday.