Rafael Benitez added another Croatian central midfielder to his squad, as it was announced that Real Madrid signed Kovacic. Mateo Kovacic will have the opportunity to play alongside his compatriot Luka Modric in Madrid. Since Modric is a key player for Real, he might help Kovacic to settle in at the Bernabeu quickly. Since the new acquisition is eight years younger than him and plays in a position similar to Modric’s role, he might be considered as his successor. Real Madrid are top underdogs to win the Spanish La Liga with odds of 2.75 (7/4) at Bet365. They are third favourites to conquer the Champions League at 6.50 (11/2).
It was confirmed by the Spanish mega club on Tuesday that Real Madrid signed Mateo Kovacic. The Blancos pay GBP 22.5 million (EUR 32 million) for the highly rated Croatian midfielder for Italian giants Inter, according to gambling news. Kovacic was signed by Inter in 2013. They bought the player form Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.
Media reports expect the Milan-based outfit to acquire the services of Ivan Perisic after Real Madrid signed Kovacic. Though experts of gambling facts noted that Wolfsburg-man plays in a slightly different position, Inter might take advantage of the skills of Perisic, who plays with a more attacking mindset.
After Real Madrid signed Kovacic, the Spanish club is due to pay GBP 2.1 million more for Kovacic in add-ons. The Croatian midfielder was also wanted by Liverpool in the summer. However, it turned out that he will join arguably the biggest club in world football. At Real Madrid he will have the opportunity to play alongside his fellow Croatian midfield maestro, Luka Modric.
Internazionale manager Roberto Mancini confirmed that financial fair play forced them to sell Kovacic. He said,“We need to sell Mateo because of financial fair play. We are sorry because he is a good player but those are the rules. Now we can try to sign some other players.”
Kovacic had a tally of five goals in 80 league matches at Inter. He can cover the middle of the park, and is also available to play in front of the backline as a deep-lying playmaker. He is considered as a versatile midfielder, who can adapt to playing on the wings or as an attacking midfielder behind the striker as well. After Real Madrid signed Kovacic, many followers of sports scores expect Los Blancos manager Rafa Benitez to let Asier Illarramendi to join Liverpool.
After Real Madrid signed Kovacic from Inter, the midfielder will join his fellow Croat Luka Modric at the Spanish outfit. Los Blancos gave a six-year deal to the 21-year-old, who follows several other Croatian players at Real Madrid. He is the fifth player who made it to the Bernabeu coming from Croatia.
Robert Prosinecki was the first Croatian, who wore Real Madrid’s white jersey. He arrived at the Bernabeu in 1991, when he was 22. He made himself a name in the Crvena Zvezda side that won the Champions League, and in the Yugoslavian national team before the Yugoslav war broke out. He arrived as a star, but he failed to live up to the expectations as his three-year spell at the club was hurt by several injuries. He left for Oviedo in 1994, and spent a year in Barcelona as well later on.
Davor Suker arrived from Sevilla in 1996. He also played for Real Madrid for three years, but his spell was full of success. Suker was part of a thrilling attacking department also consisting Predrag Mijatovic and Raul Gonzalez. They won La Liga as well as the Champions League against Juventus in 1998, as many of those who follow live sports results might remember. He starred for Croatia at the 1998 FIFA World Cup as well, but left for Arsenal in the following year.
Another hit at the 1998 FIFA World Cup was Robert Jarni, who helped Croatia to the bronze medal as a left wing-back. He arrived at the Bernabeu after the tournament, however he moved on next year. He came to Madrid at the wrong time, as he had to compete for a spot in the starting line-up with a certain Mr. Roberto Carlos…
Before Real Madrid signed Kovacic, Luka Modric was the last Croatian player, who joined the Meringues. He is a very important player in the Madrid midfield alongside German international Toni Kroos. However, he needed time to settle in at his current club after his move from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. In his first season he was considered to be a flop. However he established himself as a fan favourite in recent seasons, winning the Champions League in 2014. Now he is a key contributor to Real Madrid’s free-flowing football.
After Real Madrid signed Kovacic, he became the fifth Croatian international in the History of Los Blancos. The fact that his role model, Modric will be already in the squad might boost his integration to the team. Regarding that he is a very young player, only 21 years of age, maybe he won’t be considered as a flop even after a poor start in Madrid…
The Red Devils have to emerge as victorious from the Man United v Club Brugge qualifying tie to get back to the Champions League after one year of absence.
After a very disappointing year with David Moyes that saw Manchester United finishing as low as 7th, Louis van Gaal took over the Red Devils. The Dutch genius led them back to the Champions League in his first year as United manager. However, Wayne Rooney and co. finishing fourth meant that the team had to join the competition at the play-off stage of the Champions League Qualification, starting with the Man United v Club Brugge fixture.
Teams like Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen and Lazio will also involved in the midweek qualifiers. However, many eyes of sports scores fans will be at Old Trafford, since the Red Devils start their Champions League campaign at home. The hosts are 1.29 (2/7) favourites according to Bet365, while a draw in the Man United v Club Brugge qualifier is priced at 6.00 (5/1), gambling news report. The Belgians are 8.00 (7/1) underdogs at Bet365.
The Red Devils failed to qualify to the Champions League for the first time in 19 years with David Moyes. This means that Louis van Gaal will make his Champions League debut in the Man United v Club Brugge qualifier with his current team. The Dutch manager and his side have to eliminate the Belgian outfit to reach the group stage of the competition.
According to Van Gaal, the Man United v Club Brugge qualifiers could determine United’s whole season. He also highlighted the importance of a clean sheet ahead of the first leg. He said, “It’ll be a big two games in fact – they could help set us up for the season. What we have to gain is very important, but you approach both matches as any other games. We want to win on Tuesday and not concede.”
United starting the season with two 1-0 wins might boost their confidence. Keen followers of live sports results argue that the Red Devils weren’t this organized at the back in two years. A clean sheet from the hosts in the Man United v Club Brugge qualifier is available at 1.80 (4/5) in Bet365’s selection.
Club Brugge reached the playoff by eliminating Panathinaikos by a 4-2 aggregate score in the previous round. They also reached the Europa League quarter-finals last season, putting together a 15-match-long run without a defeat. They only conceded six goals during that series. It seems unlikely though they will be able to keep a clean sheet this time. Though injuries hurt them in the attacking department more seriously, they will also miss right-back Thomas Meunier due to a knee injury. The hosts will have only one absentee, Phil Jones, who is out for two weeks with thrombosis.
According to many pundits, the Red Devils were far from convincing in their first two league matches in the 2015-16 season. However it is hard to expect anything other than a home win in the Man United v Club Brugge Champions League qualifier. Wayne Rooney is favourite to open scoring with odds of 3.75 (11/4) at Bet365. In United’s last match, Adnan Januzaj registered the winner against Aston Villa on Friday. He is available to score against fellow Belgians at 2.88 (15/8).
Man United v Club Brugge will be the teams’ first meeting in European international club competition. The Belgians have some sour memories of English sides in UEFA competitions. They were defeated by Liverpool in the 1976 UEFA Cup and in the 1978 European Cup finals as well.
The hosts have won their last three home matches against Belgian sides. They met Anderlecht on all three occasions and registered a tally of 18-1. The Red Devils made their debut in European club competition against a Belgian side. It was in the 1956/57 edition of the European Cup, and the opponents were Anderlecht once again. They went home with a 10-0 defeat. This is United’s biggest victory in European football. Another big margin United success would be beneficial for punters, as the hosts are available with a -2 handicap at 3.00 (2/1) on Bet365‘s handicap betting market.
Belgian teams were able to score at Old Trafford only one goal so far. That was provided by former Czech international striker Jan Koller. He found a net in a 5-1 defeat fifteen years ago. That was the latest United home match against a Belgian side. Both teams to score in the Man United v Club Brugge qualifier goes for 2.20 (6/5) at Bet365.
Experts of gambling facts might now that Club Brugge have never won in England so far. They registered two draws and nine defeats in their previous 11 visits. The last time that the Belgian outfit reached the group stage of the Champions League happened ten years ago. This could come through a huge upset only this time, priced at 7.50 (13/2) by Bet365.
However, this is quite unlikely, considering United’s strength and the fact that they have never lost a qualifying tie in the competition. They lost only one game so far from their 16 qualifying matches – that came in 2002/03, when Zalaegerszeg defeated them 1-0 in Budapest.
Michael Wilde leads New Saints’ all-time scoring chart in the Welsh Premier League. As some of those, who follow sports scores in the UK might know, he was also top scorer in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers after the first three games. He bagged his three goals against B36 Tórshavn, however TNS might use another couple to overcome a 1-0 deficit against Videoton in Hungary in the second leg of the second qualifying round.
Dundalk is looking for an upset against BATE Borisov. The Irish champions registered a 2-1 away defeat in the first leg in Belarus. David McMillan scored Dundalk’s precious away goal then, and the forward sees a chance for overturning the fixture. He said, “They won’t fancy coming to Oriel Park. We are confident now.” He added, “It was important that we didn’t concede late in the game the other night. A lot of Irish teams would have done that in the past.”
Sarajevo is travelling to Poland with a two-goal deficit to take on Lech Poznan. As the Bosnians were able to register two 3-1 away wins twelve months ago, they might have a shot at advancing this year too. Midfielder Samir Radovac said, “Last season we played better as guests. Let’s hope that’s the case this season too,” gambling news report.
Kazakhstani champions Astana have to overcome only one goal against Maribor at home. The hosts’ line-up will expectedly feature goalkeeper Nenad Eric, who was out in Slovenia last week due to injury. Manager Stanimir Stoilov said, “We need to act wisely and we need the support of the crowd until the very last second.” He added, “Though the first-leg of The Champions League qualifiers result leaves us in a very difficult situation, we played a good game in Maribor and the lads did well.”
Celtic won the first leg in the second round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Stjarnan. Ronny Deila’s team is obviously favourite to advance against the champions of Iceland. However, they have to perform well on an artificial playing surface at Stjornuvollur, which will be strange for the Bhoys.
Stjarnan got a lot of criticism for the quality of their turf last year from Motherwell manager Stuart McCall. The Icelanders were able to eliminate the Scottish side in the Europa League qualifiers last summer. Celtic players are in a cheerful mood though, after beating Spanish outfit Eibar 4-1 in a preseason friendly at the weekend, online mobile news report.
Leigh Griffiths, who missed a penalty against Stjarnan last week, scored three against Eibar. He said, “It [the Eibar game] was a good test for us going into Wednesday night. We got the win last Wednesday, but I don’t think we played as well as we could have and we showed against Eibar what we’re all about. I got 90 minutes so I’m feeling sharp, but it’s a different kettle of fish on Wednesday night with the Champions League Qualifiers.”
Meanwhile Stjarnan struggles in Urvalsdeild, the Icelandic top tier, being 10 points behind leaders KR. Manager Runar Pall Sigmundsson thinks that the bad conversion of chances is the main reason of his team underperforming. He said, “We have been dominating games, but we are not taking our chances and it ends up costing us. We have to improve in future games, starting against Celtic.”
The best attacking line will meet one of the best defences to wrap up this year’s Champions League in a properly fitting battle. The two sides prefer to play in rather similar styles, however, Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri tends to completely alter his game plan for matches featuring opponents considered as stronger sides than his team. Therefore it might turn out as a classic showdown between a possession based, attacking outfit and a defending, counterattacking side.
Barca v Juve: A Preview of the Champions League Final (Part II) (June 6, 2015).
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Barcelona is expected to secure the fifth Champions League title in club history to equal the record of Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Many of their players been there, done that, but not just experience is on their side, as the team is on a roll that last was seen in a time when Pep Guardiola was managing the side. And they have the best forward line in the game consisting Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, hitting 120 goals together in this season.
Barca v Juve: A Preview of the Champions League Final (Part I) (June 6, 2015).
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Lionel Messi could become the first man to score in three different Champions League finals. After losing the World Cup final last year against Geramany, this is the only thing he can do to keep on challenging the greatest footballers ever. He has to break record after record to be recognized as the best ever, until his silverware collection lacks the World Cup gold medal. Now he can break some other records in a stadium, where he wasn’t able to play in 2006, as he was left on the bench by national team coach Jose Pekerman and Argentina crashed out against the hosts on penalties.
This Champions League Final will be the opportunity for several players to crown their career with a victory, like Gigi Buffon, who have yet to win the most precious title in club football. However, for the biggest star in the world,there is no such an option, he just have to win it. Again.
Lionel Messi scored an unbelievable goal in the Copa del Rey final last weekend, gambling laws reported. Most of the players around the world are able to score a goal like that only when playing video games, however, the Argentine genius have to do it again against Juventus, or to do something even more spectacular, because he is the best in the world.
Messi’s real problem is that he battles against legends now, and this race is tough to win on the field against Diego Maradona and Pele. It is virtually impossible to achieve their status without a World Cup victory, so Messi can bag as many goals as no player before, he will be still in the need of a gold medal from the Mundial to become the greatest ever.
It was in the Berlin Olympic Stadium at the 2006 World Cup when Jose Pekerman decided not to deploy Lionel Messi during the quarterfinal Against Germany. The 19-year-old talent was watching from the bench, as Miroslav Klose equalized towards the end of regulation, to take the game into overtime, and to penalties eventually, that favoured the hosts.
Though he has become the best in the world since, one of the greatest ever, breaking so many goal scoring records, he still has an unfinished business with Berlin. Pekerman included the wonderkid into his squad, only to have a taste of World Cup football back in 2006, but those who follow sports scores might remember that he was so good that he was able to heavily influence games coming in as a substitute.
Argentina was one of the best teams around, and their quarterfinal against the hosts was regarded as an early final. However, after their goalkeeper, Roberto Abbondanzieri was injured in the second half, Pekerman had to use an unplanned substitution that eventually led to leaving Messi on the bench. He was heartbroken not to join the action, but now he will be on the pitch, probably from the first minute until the very last.
Lionel Messi is looking for becoming the first player to score in three Champions League finals on Saturday, having registered a goal in the 2009 and 2011 finals previously, both of them coming against Manchester United. Before the game, he shared his thoughts with followers of live sports results.
He stated that his family has been the biggest influence in his life caring about his football and his development, with the club of FC Barcelona been added to the mix after he moved over to Europe at an early age. He revealed that he enjoys a very good relationship with Neymar and Luis Suarez, which making their collaboration even more effective on the pitch.
Messi expressed that Barcelona had to go through a lot to reach the final again. Regarding the title decider, he said, “We know that we will face a very tricky opponent – they are very strong, Juventus are a big team. It is a final and anything can happen, but we will prepare and approach it as we have approached finals before.”
Former Arsenal and Barcelona star Thierry Henry advised Raheem Sterling to stop his agent giving him bad advice that will lead to ruining his life and footballing career eventually. The football pundit is totally unhappy with the way Sterling’s camp handling the situation.
Sterling refused to sign the contract renewal he was offered by Liverpool previously, which was a 100,000 GBP per week bid, gambling news reported. A TV interview was set up for him, where he claimed it wasn’t about the money that he opted not to sign the paper.
Henry disagrees totally with that attitude. He said, “You can’t go out there and talk about your contract in the press. You have to respect your fans, respect the club that you play for. If you want to leave Liverpool or not, when you make the decision about leaving or staying, then do it. Don’t discuss yourself in the paper.”
Henry also added that when he was a young player, he had a similar problem with many of those surrounding him giving advices, influencing his footballing display in a bad way. He expressed, that, “you need to be able to say, ‘Enough, you’re destroying my life, you’re destroying my career.”
Alex Song, the Barcelona defensive midfielder loaned to West Ham is wanted by Chelsea and Manchester City. As he played for Arsenal for three seasons before his 21st birthday, he counts as a homegrown player in England, not to mention that he is a very good footballer indeed.
Barcelona stated before that they want to keep their unsettled forward, Pedro, however online mobile news reported that they will let him go in exchange for 7 million GBP. He only has one year left from his contract, and Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all could use him, and Liverpool was interested in signing him too.
Atletico Madrid could get back their former superstar striker Radamel Falcao. The Colombian player returns from loan to Monaco soon, after he did virtually nothing at Old Trafford this year. The Principality’s club allegedly plans to offer him plus cash worth of 25 million GBP in exchange for Mario Mandzikuc.
Juventus is about to recruit unhappy midfielder Sami Khedira from Real Madrid, latest gambling news report. The world champion German hardly got any playing time this season, and he has been looking for a place to go in a while. It was understood in November that the club chose not to renew his contract as the midfielder did not accept an offer earlier.
Khedira is allegedly lost his role in the dressing room recently, though he was a firm starter under Jose Mourinho. However, the German had several injuries, while Real Madrid strengthened their midfield unit significantly by acquiring the likes of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez.
Khedira expressed in March, that he would leave Madrid at the end of the season, and he allegedly decided to join Juventus. The Italians have to look for an industrious midfielder with Andrea Pirlo leaving this summer and the future of Paul Pogba hanging in the balance.
Barcelona defeated Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday evening with two late goals from Lionel Messi and one from Neymar. This was the first time Pep Guardiola returned to the Camp Nou as the opposition’s head coach since he left Barcelona at the end of the 2011-2012 season. The Catalan manager had plans for his team to deal with Messi, arguably the best player in the world. However his team, though playing confidently against Barcelona, lasted for 75 minutes only.
Goal.com: Messi: Barcelona were lucky
Barca’s magical number ten claimed after the Champions League semifinal the Blaugrana won 3-0 that they needed some luck to succeed against Bayern Munich. Messi played his 100th European game, gambling news reported, and helped his team with two goals in the last period of the match before setting up the third for Neymar well into the injury time.
It was kind of a rude welcome towards former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who supervised the most successful era of the Spanish club. However, Messi told the press after the final whistle was blown that the outcome of the game wasn’t that obvious for them before taking the lead, though the scoreline would suggest a confident victory.
“We were lucky to score the first goal,” Messi revealed, then added, “Then the others came after that in quick succession and we have come away with a great result for the second-leg game, which is just what we wanted. Germany will be a tough venue. We have got a great result, but we must now go there and we can’t drop our guard.”
Messi also spoke about the wild celebration that followed his first goal, which was something that is not a common feature from the Argentina captain. “It was just my happiness about what the goal meant. We hadn’t been able to score and it was an important goal in the tie.”
ESPNFC.com: Pep Guardiola – Lionel Messi not only Barcelona player behind Bayern defeat
Bayern’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola stated that not just Lionel Messi, but rather Barca’s “solid” performance is responsible for the 3-0 defeat that his team suffered in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. The Argentine scored twice in the last fifteen minutes and then provided an assist for Neymar, according to sports scores news, but Guardiola said, it was not about just one man.
“I will not say what I think of Messi,” Guardiola told the media after the game. “They are not just Leo, Barca are a very good team. They were very solid, in defence and attack. They have great players, Neymar, Luis Suarez. We tried to control the game so that Messi would not participate so much. We were 15 minutes away from a very good result.”
Guardiola appeared for a brief press conference only after the match that saw his team hitting the opposition’s target just once, though he said before the match that scoring an away goal was vital in this fixture. “I am very proud of this team, and these players,” he went on.“I have no reproach for them. Been a very difficult year, I really appreciate what they have done this year.”
Guardiola also talked about the tactical switch to a four-man defence he applied after fifteen minutes. “We knew who we would be playing against, a team arriving in very good form. The best way to defend is to attack, it has worked well for us in the past. We lacked a little bit of incision up front, but I must just congratulate Barca for the win and prepare for Munich.”
Express & Star: Lionel Messi is the world’s best, insists Luis Suarez as Argentine’s performance against Bayern Munich leaves Javier Mascherano lost for words
Javier Mascherano was stunned by the show his fellow Argentine, Lionel Messi performed in the last quarter an hour against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. Uruguay ace Luis Suarez simply said that Messi is the best player in the world.
Those who follow live sports results might never forget Messi’s phenomenal second goal, but his first one as well as the assist he gave to Neymar were also very important in securing a comfortable position for Barcelona. With this performance, Messi caused a considerable damage for the side managed by his former mentor, Pep Guardiola.
“He’s a player that is impossible to describe, you have to watch him,” Mascherano praised Messi after the game. He went on to analyze the encounter, saying, “We knew, always in any stadium, they (Bayern) come to press high but sometimes when you press high, you take a risk. We know we have a lot of people in front with quality to make a difference.”
The defender also said that although they are in a very good situation at the moment, they will not think about the reverse leg as a formality at all, online sportsbooks consider them as strong favourites to advance. His Uruguayan teammate, Luis Suarez posted a photo on his Instagram with Messi, writing, “Vamossss! What good win and hard work of the whole team! I leave a picture with the best in the world!”
Last week fans all across Europe were able to witness some truly inspiring performances by the best sides on the continent. We saw the likes of Shakhtar and Chelsea eliminated from the competition after some fruitful clashes, while now we turn our focus to the other remaining games in the elite football tournament.
Champions League Betting Preview – 1/16 Finals (March 17-18, 2015).
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After a short break from Europe’s biggest sporting event, football fans are delighted to have the chance to support their respective sides in the Champions League this week. No matter what teams are set to play one another in the elite competition, the matches are almost always filled with great excitement due to high level of football present within the games.
Champions League Betting Preview – 1/16 Finals (March 10-11, 2015).
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After a thrilling first week back in Europe’s greatest sporting event, fans are going to enjoy some more exciting encounters. Juventus will defend their colors against Dortmund and judging by the current form that the former side is in they are sure to pose a significant threat to the Germans.
Champions League 1/16 Finals (February 24-25, 2015).
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|Bayer Leverkusen||Atletico Madrid||1-0|