Preview: Real Madrid up for tricky challenge
Los Blancos will be hoping to snatch a resounding victory in their first domestic cup game of the 2013/14 season. The two biggest exclusions for this fixture are Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso. The former has resumed training but will only return to action next Tuesday against Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League. The latter, meanwhile, is not totally fit and thus will not be risked to play on Xativa’s artificial turf.
Carlo Ancelotti otherwise named his strongest squad available but Gareth Bale had to pull out hours before the game "due to a mild case of flu" as reporters. Youngsters Jese and Morata have also been called up and may earn enough playing time to continue their progress at senior level.
Preview: Another chance for Real to improve without Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo will not play, Ancelotti has confirmed. According to the Real Madrid manager, the Portuguese talisman has recovered from last weekend’s thigh injury against Almeria but remains uncomfortable. As a result, Angel Di Maria will be given a rare start in the starting XI. The Argentine winger is reportedly feeling ousted by impressive summer signing Gareth Bale.
In Ronaldo’s absence, Los Blancos will aim to build on the great performance they put in against Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League in midweek. Team effort, marked by the brilliance of Isco, Bale and Arbeloa, proved that Real Madrid have strength in depth and can cope without their number 7 superstar.
Preview: Pressure on the Turkish giants to triumph at the Bernabeu
Galatasaray supporters might have jumped in relief at the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of the game. The Portuguese winger was the main man behind Gala’s nightmare in Istanbul on Matchday 1 of the competition.
His hat-trick inspired Los Blancos to a massive 6-1 win for the visitors, despite the hostile atmosphere. But the 28-year-old suffered a thigh injury last weekend while playing against Almeria. He had to be subbed off as a precaution and will now be rested to avoid further damages to his body.
Preview: Los Blancos hunting for points in Andalusia
Almeria’s league form of late is rather remarkable with three successive wins to end a five-game losing streak which extended itself from September 24 to October 27. The fight for survival is already on for the Andalusia-based club. Competition is fierce with Rayo Vallecano, Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo all counting 12 points like Almeria after 13 games.
As the half-point of the Primera Division campaign draws closer, blunders become less tolerable. Francisco Rodriguez’s men have not conceded a goal in over 180 minutes and this encouraging record will be put to the test by Real Madrid’s flamboyant Ronaldo.
LiveSoccerTV offers you a clear and detailed view on where to watch your favourite European games on November 26th, 27th and 28th. See the grids below and visit the channel pages for more information.
Matchday 5 kicks off with a bang on FOX Sports. Four teams have already qualified. They are Group D’s Bayern Munich and Manchester City, Group G’s Atletico Madrid and Group H’s Barcelona.
Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG and Chelsea have been tipped to soon join them in the Round of 16. Struggling Italian giants Milan are in danger of missing crashing out of the tournament while Arsenal, Napoli and last season’s runners up Borussia Dortmund are in a fierce contest for only two knockout stage tickets.
As per FIFA rules, clubs are allowed to seek compensation for their players injured while playing for the national team. The reimbursement is directly linked with the wages the player earns with his club.
However the payments will definitely serve managers no purpose who will have to make adjustments in the absence of their star players.
Let us take a look at some of the players who suffered injuries during the international week and how their respective teams will cope without them.
It’s often said that criticism is the best motivator. In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, it seems to have spurred him on to new heights that many had not even thought possible, despite his reputation as arguably one of the world’s finest footballers playing today.
The Portuguese attacker has scored 24 goals so far in all competitions and will certainly break the Champions League group stage record of eight goals set by trio Ruud van Nistelrooy, Filippo Ingazhi, and Hernan Crespo. As a result, he’s passed perennial rival Lionel Messi’s previously established haul of 13 European strikes in a calendar year.
Given that he’s scored in every single Champions League game so far this season, it’s probably certain that he’ll add more to that tally before the group stages conclude in December.
Preview: A tricky test awaits Los Blancos at the Bernabeu
Real Sociedad put in quite a good show against Manchester United but came out with nothing more than a point from a goalless draw. With only one point in their group, they could still reach the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League Last 16 of the UEFA Europa League but this would require them to grab maximum points against Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk. At this point, it looks like La Real’s European adventure is coming to an end.
Manager Jagoba Arrasate will want his men to react to his predicted disappointment by getting a result on Saturday. However, the Santiago Bernabeu is a tough venue.
Preview: Home record against Los Blancos favours Juve
What if Italian giants Juventus failed to qualify from Group B? As horrifying as this could sound to Juve supporters, the reality is that the team is lagging in third position in the table with two points, in between Turkey’s Galatasaray (4) and Denmark’s København (1).
The Bianconeri are in a difficult situation as they seek their first win in Europe this season. Juve are naturally strong on home soil but must now improve after stumbling to a 2-2 draw against Gala on Matchday 2.
Preview: Flamboyant Blancos expected to improve at Vallecas
On his first full home debut for Los Blancos, Gareth Bale put in a great show with two goals and two assists. His partnership with Karim Benzema and the club’s fifth all-time goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo upfront was flawless, and led to Spanish paper MARCA branding the trio as ‘the perfect storm’.
It is this brilliance and fury in attack that Madridistas dream of witnessing week in, week out. The 10-goal thriller was a total spectacle but from Carlo Ancelotti’s point of view, it left quite a lot to worry about. If Real Madrid have found their foot upfront, the defence has many faults.
Preview: Cristiano Ronaldo and annoyed Real Madrid under the spotlight
Since defeating Juventus in the UEFA Champions League last week, Real Madrid have made more impact in the media than on the pitch. Questionable tactics by Carlo Ancelotti saw Gerardo Martino’s Barcelona claim a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou on Matchday 10 of the league.
The game produced a number of controversial moments against both teams and post-match discussions had Madrid complaining. During the game, Portuguese attacker Cristiano Ronaldo was flashed a yellow card for bitterly criticizing the referee. This week, a video of Sepp Blatter making a joke about Ronaldo went viral. The club eventually demanded an apology from the FIFA President.
It is interesting to know that the Catalans, who have been tagged as favourites ahead of Saturday’s clash, have not beaten Real Madrid in 429 days. Indeed, under Jose Mourinho, the gap between these two Spanish rivals greatly reduced. The last five results between the pair are as follows:
With another El Clasico upon us, we will take a look at some facts that stick out between Ronaldo and Messi. The two stars have made a significant impact on the El Clasico over the years, and the upcoming match will likely be no different.
From scoring goals to getting their teammates involved, their performances will always influence the final result.
1) Consistently Playing
It is not often that you see either player not finish any match, especially when it comes to El Clasico. For Lionel Messi, he has only not played the full 90 minutes against Real Madrid on one occasion. That match came in his first meeting with the Merengues during the 05/06 campaign, when he was subbed off in the 70th minute. The Blaugrana won that match 0-3.
Barca’s winless streak in El Clasico
As the calendar confirms it, Saturday will mark 429 days since the Blaugrana last defeated their eternal rivals, Los Blancos. One must roll back the time to August 23 last year to re-live Barca’s latest victory. It occurred in the first leg of the 2012 Supercopa de Espana at the Camp Nou with the hosts winning 3-2.
The game was marked with a terrible blunder by goalkeeper Victor Valdes which allowed Argentine winger Angel Di Maria to reduce Real Madrid’s deficit. That goal proved vital as the Spanish giants, then managed by Jose Mourinho, beat the Catalans 4-4 on aggregate thanks to the away goals rule to lift the Spanish Super Cup.
Will 26 October 2013 mark the end of Barcelona’s five-match winless streak against Real Madrid?
Diego Lopez vs Victor Valdes
While the forwards might get all the attention and the plaudits coming their way, the goalkeepers will have an equally important job on Saturday night. Both the men will be protecting their goal against some of the most accomplished players in the world of football and will definitely have to put up a special performance to help their team win.
Barcelona have conceded the lowest number of goals in La Liga and much of this is down to the brilliance of Victor Valdes who is set to bid farewell to the club at the end of the season.
beIN Sport to broadcast El Clasico to USA viewers on October 26, 2013
On October 7, the LFP announced the timing of this huge rivalry match set to take place at the Camp Nou. LFP president Javier Tebas confirmed the 18:00 local time which is a result of marketing factors. La Liga has a huge amount of followers in Asia and America and the decision was made to attract the largest viewing figures possible for this Barcelona vs Real Madrid fixture on 26 October 2013.
It will be the 166th El Clasico in the history of the Spanish La Liga. Current head-to-head results put the Spanish giants on top of the Cules with 70 wins – six more than Barca – with the other 32 games ending all square.
In terms of goals, the Catalans have progressively been closing the gap during the last few years. They have scored 259 goals in El Clasico in La Liga, only 11 less than Real Madrid. Gerardo Martino will be looking to offer the club’s fans their 48th Primera Division home win over Real Madrid at the Camp Nou come October 26, 2013.
The marquee signings
La Liga’s two most expensive signings in the 2013 summer transfer window will go head to head as Barcelona take on Real Madrid for the first time this season. The two were the talk of the summer as Gareth Bale and Neymar finalised their big money moves to Spain.
However life in the Iberian country has begun in contrasting fashion for both individuals. In case of the Brazilian, the mercurial number 11 continued from where he left off and after an inspirational display for his national side in the Confederations Cup, Neymar has continued his brilliant form with his new club.
What’s more, El Clasico will be telecast free of charge on COMCAST! The game will be called in Spanish but if you need English commentary, use the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) feature.
Expert beIN Sport en Español pundits will offer exciting pre-match and post-match analysis of this encounter which will be staged at the Camp Nou, in Catalonia. Barca-Real Madrid will also be broadcast live on beIN Sport.
Stay tuned to the best coverage with additional programs such as “El Clasico: Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo,” and “Nueva Temporada, Misma Rivalidad 2013.”
Barcelona vs Real Madrid kicks off at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm ET this Saturday. LiveSoccerTV will bring you live scores as events unfold at the Camp Nou.
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Preview: La Decima hunters Real Madrid to reclaim the upper hand in Juventus rivalry?
The history linked to this fixture is so huge that one could write a book about it. But in the space of 90 minutes only this Wednesday, Los Blancos and the Bianconeri will be able to add many more pages to it. Between 1999 and 2001, current Juve manager Antonio Conte played under Carlo Ancelotti at the Turin-based club. Now, the latter is the head coach of Real Madrid and his task is to deliver La Decima come May 2014.
So far, so good for the Spanish giants in the UEFA Champions League. They have netted a record 10 goals in only two matches – 50 per cent of those coming from the tournament’s leading goal scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo.