22
Jul

James Rodriguez signs 6-year deal with Real Madrid

Colombia’s World Cup hero James Rodriguez cashed in on his summer exploits, signing a lucrative six-year deal with the reigning Champions League winners.

The transfer fee has not been released, but reports suggest Madrid paid in the region of 80 million euros ($108 million) for Rodriguez, which would make him the fourth most expensive transfer of all time after Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.

Yes, Real Madrid will now field three of the four most expensive players EVER in the same squad. Talk about your ultimate fantasy all-star team…

26
May

Luka Modric cuts his flowing locks after winning Champions League

Aside from starring in Real Madrid’s midfield, Luka Modric is perhaps best known for his bouncing, flowing locks. He’s been rocking the “long hair, don’t care” look for as long as we can remember, and it suits him quite well:

imageModric in 2006, hair still intact. (Image: Getty)

But no one realized just how much his hair ‘made’ his look until he went and chopped it all off!

No. Just, no Luka. This was a mistake. Take it back. Take it back!

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Yes, that is a grown adult next to Arbeloa. (Image: Modric’s Facebook)

What in the world led Modric to undergo this appalling transformation?

Apparently, the Croatia star had promised Real teammate Arvalo Arbeloa that he would get a new hairstyle if they won the Champions League. He didn’t wait long to make good on that promise, chopping his hair off the day after Real won the coveted trophy.

You would think that the man who also cuts Cristiano Ronaldo’s hair could’ve given Modric a better look! Let’s just hope his hair grows quickly.

24
May

Trecker’s Travels: Spanish football takes spotlight in Lisbon

LISBON —

The winds have been blowing hard into Lisbon this week, whipping off the river Tagus and through the winding alleys of Chiado. It’s added a wrinkle to Saturday’s big match as the memories of the last big blow through here remains fresh.

This February, big hunks of the roof of the Estadio da Luz plummeted to the turf before the Lisbon derby, glass and padding shattering on the surface below. Portugal was lucky: the incident happened in advance of the game, so no one was hurt, but the debris continued to cascade down, causing some angst among UEFA officials. Happily, the damage was repaired, the game went on, and here we are.

No one expects a repeat of that here on Saturday, but it’s a bit apt considering that the winds of change are sweeping through the game.

This is Spain’s time. Regardless of who wins on Saturday night, Spain will hold four of the five major trophies in the world sport. (The final one, the Copa America, they not eligible for). Sevilla upset Benfica ten days ago in the Europa League; Spain are also the defending European and World Cup champions. A Madrid team will hold the European Cup on Saturday. The only blemish on this recent run, if you can call it that, is the national team’s second-place finish at the distinctly second-tier Confederations Cup. This moment, right here, could stand as a capstone for a remarkable era in world football, a period of dominance not seen since West Germany’s reign over world football in 1975 (Only one trophy in 1975, the now-defunct Cup Winner’s Cup, was outside of German hands).

The Spanish fans who packed the Metro this afternoon to overflowing are rightfully giddy, even if their presence has been met with some chagrin. There is no statue of Neptune here, but the fans have been clambering up anything stone in Rossio Square, with scarves and flags since the sun came up, and Real fans have simply taken over two whole plazas in a sort of Occupy Lisbon movement. You cannot walk on the platform at Marques de Pombal without tripping over a red and white flag. And good luck getting a seat at any café in Chiado as they’re all taken by guys in orange, purple or white. Benfica’s treble? Forgot by all but A Bola, the local sports paper that somewhat grudgingly gave space to the final on their cover on Saturday (Yesterday’s cover? A take-out on Jan Oblak, Benfica’s goalkeeper).

It’s a friendly crowd as well, with packs passing each other on the streets or the trams, trading cheers and tuneless songs — but without a shred of menace. Some of that is due to the historic achievement gap between these two, but some of it has to be the fact that this is Spain’s time in the sun.

How long this lasts is open to debate. Atletico have been overachievers in the extreme, low-cost Davids who have ejected a series of clubs backed by sugar daddies and petrodollars. Real Madrid and Barcelona have money to burn, but the latter is on the slide and seems to be entering a rebuilding period. And Spain, while a favorite in Brazil, are not the favorites to win the whole thing.

Fans of Spanish football should enjoy it while it lasts.

17
Sep

Ronaldo passes Henry on all-time Champions League scoring list

Entering Real Madrid’s Champions League opener, the storyline to watch was whether or not Gareth Bale would make his UCL debut for Los Blancos, and how he would fare. Bale eventually did, coming on as a second-half substitute. However, it was that other $100 million man who stole all the spotlight on Tuesday, as Cristiano Ronaldo — fresh off a new contract extension with Real — netted a hat trick to move past Thierry Henry for fourth place on the all-time Champions League scoring list. 

Tied with Henry on 50 goals apiece to start the day, Ronaldo left the former Arsenal and Barcelona star behind him by scoring two goals in quick succession around the hour mark of the match. Both were as easy as they come for Ronaldo, who simply had to tap in on both occasions. To seal the hat trick, though, Ronaldo opened his box of tricks, making three Galatasaray defenders look like schoolboys with a few silky moves before going top shelf past keeper Fernando Muslera.

Just look at that last one again. And again. And a few more times:

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15
Sep

Ronaldo inks Real Madrid contract extension, puts end to Man United rumors

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Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new 5-year contract with Real Madrid on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu, effectively (hopefully?) ending the incessant rumors of CR7 rejoining Manchester United once and for all.

During his presser, Ronaldo was specifically asked about a return to Old Trafford at a future date, and the striker’s response was clear as day:

For the full story on Ronaldo’s new deal, click here.

7
Aug

Real Madrid, Barca legends square off in Futsal match

When it comes to legends games, it’s clear that many of the old timers are simply nowhere near their playing shape, often making for slow-paced games that don’t make for a necessarily good watch. That’s why you wonder how come they don’t play more of these futsal games. With less room to run and a bigger focus on tricks, it’s the perfect setting for legends to entertain and fans to recall their greatness.

Just check out the highlights of this futsal “Clasico” held in Kuwait between past Barcelona and Real Madrid greats. There’s Juliano Belletti fooling Madrid keeper Bodo Illgner not once, but twice, from long distance; then there’s Luis Figo busting out the skill moves at the 7:22 mark, and plenty in between.

Apparently, Michael Owen and (surprisingly) Illgner were the only ones out of the bunch still hip enough to know what Twitter is. Luckily, they provided some commentary and pictures for the rest of the world.

In the end, Real Madrid’s legends came out on top, winning 9-5. Let’s hope that we see more of these futsal matches in the future.