Category Archives: Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane manager or Real Madrid

6 Things You Might Not Know About Zinedine Zidane

There’s little left to say about ‘Zizou,’ undoubtedly one of the greatest ever figures in football history. But here are six things you may not know about Zidane, from his remarkable trophy-winning statistics as Real Madrid coach to starring in his own TV documentary.

1. He averages a trophy every 19 matches as Real Madrid coach

The 2019-20 LaLiga title is Zinedine Zidane’s 11th as Real Madrid coach in just three and a half seasons. A figure which rounds out, incredibly, at around one trophy every 19 games. Also, he’s yet to lose a Champions League knockout game. He is the only coach to win the competition three seasons in a row.

Having said that, there’s nothing quite like winning LaLiga for Zidane, as he made clear this Thursday after wrapping up the title: “The Champions League is the Champions League, but this title makes me happier because LaLiga is what it’s all about.”

2. He is Real Madrid’s first French manager

Zidane and Real Madrid have adapted well to post-lockdown football

Real Madrid have had many French players over the years and they’ve had head coaches from 16 different countries. But Zidane is the first Frenchman to sit in the club’s dugout as coach. He first took over in January 2016, staying on until May 2018 before taking over again in March 2019. Taking into account this season’s LaLiga title, he’s already won 11 trophies as manager. 

3. Just one trophy eludes him

Zidane has won almost everything there is to win in football, from the World Cup and Champions League to the Ballon d’Or and a horde of domestic titles. But the Copa del Rey remains elusive, both as a player and manager. He won the 2014 Copa del Rey as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, but to date he is yet to win Spain’s domestic cup competition as a leading man.


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4. His sons are following in his footballing footsteps

Zidane is the father of four boys, all of which have made careers for themselves in the world of football. Midfielder Enzo is currently on the books of Almeria UD and pushing for promotion out of LaLiga SmartBank, Spain’s second tier. Goalkeeper Luca is currently out on loan from Real Madrid at Racing Santander. Theo and Elyaz and still underage and part of the youth academy at Los Blancos.

5. The most popular Frenchman of all-time

In a 2004 poll in leading French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Zidane was voted as the most popular Frenchman of all time. The poll wasn’t limited to sports stars but took all public figures into account, with Zidane’s footballing exploits seeing him picked ahead of other iconic personalities. ZZ explained at the time that he was proud of how someone from an immigrant background could come top in such a poll. Highlighting the importance of racial harmony in modern-day France.

6. Zidane starred in his own documentary

Back in 2006, ZZ was the star of French documentary Zidane, Un Portrait Du 21e Siecle (“Zidane, a 21st century portrait”). This very unique show saw a film crew focus 17 cameras on the Frenchman for the entirety of a Real Madrid match against Villarreal in 2005. But that’s not all he’s done in the world of film; he has also starred in movies such as Goal! II (2007) alongside the likes of Sergio Ramos, David Beckham and Thierry Henry and Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008).

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Real Madrid win 2019-20 LaLiga title

5 key players as Real Madrid clinched the 2019-20 LaLiga title….

While Real Madrid’s 2019-20 LaLiga Santander title success was a real team effort, here are five players who have stood out for their individual contributions over the course of the campaign…

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has led his side with typical character and energy all through the season. He has now won his fifth LaLiga Santander trophy (and lifted his second as captain). Ramos has been part of the division’s stingiest back four all season. With he and long-term partner Raphael Varane complementing each other perfectly at the centre of the defence.

Ramos has also contributed at the other end of the pitch. His ability to cooly convert from the penalty spot during the last few weeks of the season was crucial. His career-best 10 goals have also helped him become LaLiga’s top-scoring defender of all time. With his current total at 71 across his years at Madrid and first club Sevilla FC.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has been Madrid’s best attacker over the season. Benzema’s 21 LaLiga goals are more than Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale (I don’t know if we should even count him), Luka Jovic, Marco Asensio, James Rodríguez, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo combined. He has produced all kinds of goals – towering headers, close-range finishes, accurate volleys, a long-range screamer, calmly taken one-on-ones against the keeper and a couple of penalties.

Many have been vital strikes too – such as the winners in tight games against other top sides Atletico Madrid and Sevilla FC. Benzema’s eight assists have also been crucial. Meanwhile, his durability has allowed him to play more minutes in LaLiga this season than any Madrid player.


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Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois recovered from an uncertain start to the 2019-20 season. He brought a level of confidence and calm which flowed throughout the team. With just 20 goals conceded in their 34 games played -there is still one more LaLiga game-, Courtois has become the first Madrid keeper since Iker Casillas back in 2007-08 to win the ‘Zamora’ trophy. An accolade for LaLiga’s best goalkeeper. 

Five consecutive clean sheets during the post-COVID 19 lockdown was especially key to Madrid overhauling FC Barcelona over the final weeks. Courtois also made big saves in important games through the season. Such as the goalless draw at his former club Atletico Madrid in September. And the 2-0 El Clásico victory over Barça in February. He even contributed in the opposition area – winning a header at a corner in the Valencia CF penalty in December, leading directly to Benzema’s crucial equalising goal.

Casemiro

Also key to Madrid’s rock-solid core this season has been holding midfielder Casemiro. His physicality and reading of the game have helped protect his defence. Casemiro stats show what he has excelled in. Among all LaLiga players in 2019-20, he sits second in tackles per game, third in interceptions and third in fouls committed, while no midfielder has made more clearances all season. Meanwhile, his four LaLiga goals have all been decisive victories.

Opposition fans and coaches may have been frustrated by his ability to show up in the right place at the right time to thwart their attacks. 

Fede Valverde

2019-20 also saw the emergence of a young midfielder Fede Valverde.  Valverde’s energy and athleticism helped him break into the team. Where his range of passing and ability on the ball also soon become clear. His coming out party came in a man of the match performance in a 4-2 victory over Granada CF in October. With local pundits comparing his ‘box to box’ style to international figures Paul Pogba and Steven Gerrard. Already capped 20 times at senior level by Uruguay, his own confidence levels also rose through the campaign. 

Valverde’s goals came in LaLiga games against SD Eibar and Real Sociedad. His versatility has also been very useful to Zidane.  He has been moved between different roles in central, right and attacking midfield during the accelerated end of season programme.

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La Liga Thursdays: Laliga Wins A Record Eleventh Ballon D’or In A Row

Ten years after winning his first Ballon d’Or award, the prize given out annually by France Football to the best player of the calendar year, Lionel Messi has won it for a sixth time. The Barcelona forward was crowned the planet’s best footballer in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and now again in 2019.

Messi’s sixth Ballon d’Or victory means that this is the 11th year in a row in which a LaLiga Santander-based player has won the prestigious honour. In this time, Cristiano Ronaldo also won four Ballon d’Or awards while at Real Madrid and then Luka Modrić also brought the prize back to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu last year. Continue Reading

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La Liga Thursdays – Matchday 14 Preview

Ten of the top stories from around LaLiga this weekend, including some high-profile contract renewals and some big anniversaries.

LaLiga legend David Villa announces his retirement

One of the all-time LaLiga greats has announced that he’s hanging up his boots. David Villa, who starred for a number of Spanish clubs including R. Sporting, Real Zaragoza, Valencia CF, FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid, will retire following the end of Vissel Kobe’s J-League season. Villa won the LaLiga Santander title on three occasions, with Barcelona in 2010/11 and 2012/13, and then again with Atleti in 2013/14.

Five LaLiga players net for Spain

Spain breezed through the first of their November Euro 2020 qualifiers on Friday night with a 7-0 win over Malta in Cadiz. Five of the scorers came from LaLiga Santander clubs, with Alvaro Morata (Atletico de Madrid), Jesus Navas (Sevilla FC), Pau Torres, Santi Cazorla and Gerard Moreno (all Villarreal CF) all getting on the scoresheet.

Luka Modrić is awarded the 2019 Golden Foot

Real Madrid’s mercurial midfielder picked up the prestigious award given out each year to a player over the age of 28 in recognition of their outstanding achievements through their career.

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La Liga: The El Clasico Rivalry Across Europe – Real Madrid And Barcelona Also Lead The Way In Youth Development

With the El Clasico taking place tonight (in the Copa Del Rey) and on Saturday evening, we take a look at how both clubs make the podium for the numbers of academy graduates playing in Europe’s top five leagues.

Real Madrid and Barcelona may add another chapter to world football’s greatest rivalry this weekend, but the presence of these two giants won’t only be felt in Madrid on Saturday night.
The El Clasico rivals boast two of the very best academies in European football, with the Catalan side’s La Masia and the capital city club’s La Fábrica both famous for their non-stop production lines. They’ve produced past LaLiga Santander legends such as Xavi, Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Raúl and Guti, plus current stars such as Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez.

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