Players like Lionel Messi enjoy leverage in La Liga: Filipe Luis

Whenever a star player is stuck with any kind of controversy, it is obvious his stardom would help him ease with lots of things that could otherwise land him in problem and this is something that itch not so famous players and so they raise their strong objection over this tradition being followed by the soccer fraternity. Last month’s Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid was one such game that saw rather a minor collision between left-back Filipe Luis and Messi that cost Brazil international a straight Red Card for his tackle over the Argentine international. Since Messi was the victim, disciplinary committee acted too fast and slapped a three-match ban over 30-year-old which later reduced to one game after official appeal by the Vicente Calderón side. Does not matter if it was a mistake of referee, everyone was grossly favoring five time FIFA Player of the year without any empathy to the Atletico defender who nonetheless got the support of his side later on.

Recalling the incident that was prejudicially handled by the disciplinary committee, 30-year-old told in a TV interview, “It was a red card, it was not a mistake by the referee, it was a red card. I went out on the field and that was it, a one-match suspension and I served it.

“I was not late, I went after the ball. Now that type of play happens during every match, but because it was with Messi and because here he is the darling of the media and La Liga, obviously no one wants to see one of the best players of all time taken out. No one wants to miss a chance to see him play and that is why all of this happened.”

Looking at the heat generated by the controversy and if La Liga carries any partiality to star players, president Javier Tebas spoke last Monday and favored their impartial practices to inquire any in-ground controversy, he said, “For us, all the players are protected in La Liga. We don’t differentiate between Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or a player from Rayo Vallecano. We are creating a global league and the big and small clubs all matter to us.”

It doesn’t matter what any of the two sides is saying now, it is true that star players enjoy some leverage whenever they are involved in any controversy – remember former Liverpool player Suarez’s biting episode during World cup and how Reds tried their hard to let it go until severe pressure built up over the disciplinary committee to ban him for his inhuman act on ground?

McManaman finds it too hard for Real to stop Barcelona only with Ronaldo

Real Madrid

Real Madrid has always been an arch rival of Barcelona and both these giants enjoy competing with each other in every game. If we look at lineup of both the sides, they both carry loads of world class players at each field position hence whenever we have a Real vs. Barca clash, fans do not want to miss single action of the game. But off late, Real has been losing its shine against in-form Barcelona who had been triumphing every title in the last calendar year and this year too they are like crushing every side coming into their way. While on the other side, Real, despite having two world priciest players in the world are not able to match their traditional rivals and credit goes to rising age of Ronaldo who now is getting older with each passing day and even former Real greats understand this vulnerability of losing prime space in European soccer. Former Real Madrid player Steve McManaman is one such pro who believes though new manager Zinedine Zidane would be successful as Los Blancos coach but as well warned Frenchman would have to prepare other options in the forward line without weighing only on Portuguese international.

McManaman has once been the integral part of Real side winning two La Liga and one Champions League crowns for the Bernabeu giant during his short span from 1999 to 2003 and he said this looking at current eight points clear lead on the top by Camp Nou side, and with this form, they are very much likely to defend their European title they won last year. Talking about Zinedine Zidane and if he has enough strength in the side to restrict Barcelona army, 44-year-old Englishman said, “I think Zizou will be a wonderful coach, I really do, but the fact that he is chasing down this Barcelona side — it is going to be very, very difficult for them because the best player at Real by a long way is Ronaldo and he is 31 now.

“Whether he is coming to the end of his superpowers I don’t know but he is certainly the wrong end of 30, while Barca seem to be getting better and better to be very honest. The team that are formed at Barcelona at this moment are wonderful so I think it is going to be very hard for Real Madrid to catch them in the near future, certainly over these next couple of years. Unless they go out and spend trillions of pounds which of course they can’t at this moment in time.

“I think it is going to be difficult for Zizou but I think he is going to be a great Real Madrid manager anyway.”

Benitez underplays his differences rumors with Ronaldo


Settling down in a new ambience is never an easy job for any new entrant to a big side even though he is joining on the top post especially if we are talking about the side like Real Madrid who has ever been the most aspiring sides not only by players but managers and coaches as well. The 55-year-old Spanish coach Rafa Benitez is one such entrant who must have some aspirations from the Spanish giants that is why he decided to catch the opportunity to coach one of the best European sides. But, like always, his job is not going to be an easy affair as being hinted by some of the Spanish news portals. According to few insiders, he is already having a tension with team starlet Cristiano Ronaldo and reportedly they both are having some kind of ego problem that is not allowing new coach to completely implement his new ideas in the side. While some experts are calling it a natural phase for any newcomer which should pass by in no time, on the other side, many are taking it as first big hurdle for Benitez which he needs to overlook – at least in fans eyes! Accordingly, former Napoli boss has downplayed his difference with Ronaldo rumors and said he is enjoying his stay at Santiago Bernabéu.

Actually, a local newspaper reported yesterday that Ronaldo is upset with new coach for his disallowing one goal during Wednesday’s training session in Melbourne, Australia. Talking about the small spat with team’s best forward Benitez told a news conference: “He is competitive and that is the key. I see it as a virtue, not a defect. My relationship with him is the same as with the other players. I speak a lot with all of them. There are people that say this or that, but I can assure you that it’s not true. My relationship with him is absolutely normal.

“Fortunately after working with him you get to see just how competitive he is, how he likes to win and the quality he has. This is why he is the best in the world. I always try to bring out the best of the players I have. Seeing Cristiano at work, you understand why he has the trophies he has. He is clearly the best in the world. I would like for everyone to have the same will to compete and win that he has. He proves it every day and I’m delighted.”

Vicente del Bosque talks about the season and Casillas’ reported switch from Real Madrid

It is generally seen in the game that whenever there is a high profile exit, it follows with few more who used to be his favorites and it happens more with big sides like Real Madrid. We saw how Carlo Ancelotti was sacked for not delivering in the last season and now his favorite and captain of the team Iker Casillas is also set to leave Bernabeu, according to some reports. Casillas is the one who could only take over the pressing job in the last year; earlier, he used to be leading the side under Jose Mourinho reign back in in 2012-13. Spain’s national coach Vicente del Bosque also refuses to talk about the reports that 34-year-old goalie could move out of Santiago Bernabéu following his former mentor who also wants to take his favorite players along with. What he said about the reports, is, “I’ve got nothing to say on that. Casillas is, for all intents and purposes, a Real Madrid player. It’s a rumour and when it’s confirmed I will give my opinion — but not now. As we all know this is a time of extremes and anything concerning a great player like Iker Casillas is going to cause repercussions in the media. It’s something which has caused debate and stoked opinions amongst the public.”

Talking about the tiring season which is just concluded, national coach said players are ready to take over international duties despite having gone through a lengthy season. He said, “To put it in one word — fantastic. We have achieved everything we had planned in the training sessions we’ve programmed and recovered those who have been involved in finals with their clubs. I could give some of them a run-out .but it’s more likely that they will be rested for the Belarus game.”

If we scan the whole season, it was probably be the first one where both Real Madrid and Barcelona passed through unprofessionalism – whether it relates to Ronaldo who was seen celebrating his birthday after losing a big game that day or may it be Gerard Pique who mocked Real Madrid during their title victory celebrations. Bosque explained, “If Pique had made comments that were in breach of the order we have here, I would take measures but what he said was nonsense, it was kids’ stuff. Why get upset about a team which is celebrating being proclaimed champions of Europe and mentions a singer? Last year Madrid were the champions and Atletico runners-up; Sevilla won the Europa League. We’re not concerned about trivialities. If people think that it damages the national team in any way then I must be living on a different planet.”

Barca is more than Messi, Suarez, and Neymar: Luis Enrique

If we look at any big side who is ruling the game for a while, there must be a combination of players who could be performing that great for it and along with other teammates that team gradually becomes one of the bests. Spanish giant Barcelona is of course one of them who is enjoying the services of three great players: Messi, Suarez, and Neymar and all of them contribute their best to take their side into top of the domestic league. But team manager Luis Enrique has an equally difficult responsibility, i.e., to keep other players motivated so they could not be overshadowed by the big names hence it is necessary he undermines the dominance of just three players in the team so others could as well consider themselves an integral part of the side. Enrique seems to be doing just that especially when they are up to the final of the Championship league against Juventus. He strategically said his team is much more than just three players and whole team will do whenever they can to overcome their Italian rivals this weekend. Nonetheless, it is a fact that these three players took the glory of Barca to an unprecedented height thanks to the Messi who contributed 58 goals in the domestic season along with other two who added another 62 to take their group tally to 120 goals this year.

Apart from having a brilliant attacking line, Camp Nou side also has the firmest defensive line which is hard to breach by opponents and it is proved with the fact that they only conceived nine goals in 12 games in the Championship league season. Talking about his trio and why they are getting too much attention, Enrique said, “We are all aware that the front three get so much attention, especially having Leo as best player in the world, and also Ney and Luis who have had great seasons.

“But to be here, to have won both trophies, and players know that, we have needed a block which attacks and a block which defends. Just attacking with three, or defending with eight, we would not have won so much. That we are in position to win the treble means the set-up of the team has worked marvellously well. We are happy that are fans have sense of euphoria, that this is lasting some months. The players and coaches are going into the game as serious as possible.”