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NO RONALDO , NO PROBLEM

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roReal Madrid beat Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate to win the Spanish Super-Cup yesterday in Madrid. Goals from Asensio and Benzema made sure there was no way back for that Ernesto Valverdewho became the first Barcelona Coach since Luis Aragonésin 1987 to lose his first competitive game after a controversial first leg win by Madrid at the Camp Nou.

Real Madrid lost Cristiano Ronaldo in the first leg to a red card for diving minutes after scoring to make it 1-2 in favour of the Galacticos. The decision displeased Ronaldo who the pushed the referee on the back. That decision gave him a five match ban.

Fast forward to the second leg, Ronaldo missed the game but he was not missing on the pitch. Marco Asensio made sure the Madrid fans forgot about Ronaldo on the night with his spectacular 4th minute strike that left goal keeper Marc-Andre TerStegenin no man’s land.

Asensio and Lucas Vazquez were among the three changes made by Zinedine Zidane on the night. Both players proved a handful for the Barcelona defence. Benzema scored the second goal in the 39th minute of the game after Vazquez had hit the woodworkfive minutes earlier.

Barcelona got better in the second half but there was no way back for them as the Real Madrid defence was rock solid with good covering from Madrid midfield. Lucas Vazquez was man of the match and Madrid did cover themselves in glory as they were fluid in their play.

Ronald came in 15 minutes from time in the first leg, scored and then received a red card. Asensio scored a breathtaking goal to make it 3 for Madrid.

Against Manchester United in the UEFA SUPERCUP, Madrid played champagne football with Isco and Modric dictating the tempo of the game. Ronaldo only had few minutes but Madrid had done the job over United before he came in.

Madrid’s dependence on Ronaldo keeps reducing as the depth of the squad is deepening by the day. In the words of coach Zidane “I have a spectacular squad,” when you see Isco who played really well in Barcelona taken out, other players too, it is a bit strong.

Though there were changes made in the second leg of the game at the Bernabeu, yet the system of play remained intact. Zidane said “When you change four players, and the dynamic of the team does not change … we are satisfied.

“We played a great game again today. We started very well, with lots of intensity from the start, playing in their half, winning the ball back there. It was the game we hoped for.

“We are happy with the two games, and we must congratulate players, who were fantastic.”

Zidane talked on the hard work the team puts in training and was quick to say that their victory against Manchester United and Barcelona was not down to just talent but hard work.

The players deserve great credit for winning trophies against Manchester United, a great team, and Barcelona,” he said. “People might think it is easy, but it’s not.

“There is a lot of hard work and motivation behind this. This team is still hungry, and you see that every time we play. To begin like this is very good.

“We are all happy, but we know that now a very long season is starting. It won’t be easy, but we are ready to take on the challenge.”

Now that the season is about to start, who will Ronaldo’s influence on the pitch remain as before or will the new warlords of Madrid make light of Ronaldo’s influence?

 

 

Jerry Usenu

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BARCELONA A TEAM WITH NO DIRECTION – By Jerry Usenu

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barcaThe Ernesto Valverde era at Barcelona started with a defeat in the Spanish Super Cup at Camp Nou by Real Madrid.  Barcelona was soundly beaten 1-3, the first official match for Valverde.

12 hours after the defeat, Barcelona announced that they have reached a 40 million pounds agreement with Guangzhou Evergrande of China for Paulinho. The signing of the 29 year old Brazilian who failed to impress during his time at Tottenham has caused a stir with many believing that the move shows that Barcelona lacks direction.

The refusal of Liverpool and Dortmund to accept transfer offers for Phillipe Countinho and Ousamne Dembele has further frustrated whatever plans Barcelona has for the season. If it happens that Barcelona fails to Countinho and Dembele to bolster their squad, then it may just be that Barcelona will be in for a difficult season.

Do you agree, that the purchase of Paulinho shows that Barcelona have no concrete plan for the season?

Kindly drop your comments below.

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WEEKEND FOOTBALL REVIEW:funny memes! by Emmanuel Basorge!

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Weekend Football Review:  Based on Logistics, Arsenal is 6th in EPL, Bayern, Juve, Madrid Continue Winning Streak

In this weekend’s review of matches played across Europe’s top 5 leagues, the biggest news is that Manchester United moved up to 5th in the Premier League table with Middlesbrough’s first game since the departure of manager Aitor Karanka ended in defeat.  Three goals from Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia was enough to see off the home team. Substitute Rudy Gestede got one back for Boro, but not enough to stop Jose Mourinho’s team from reaching another milestone, their Six hundred Premier League wins – making them the first side to reach the landmark.

With Arsenal losing 3-1 to West Brom on Saturday, fans as always cannot contain their anger any further against head coach Arsene Wenger. Former CNN presenter Piers Morgan leads the pack of supporters calling for the manager’s sack for dismal performance of the team every season, inability to compete with the big boys, and not winning the league for more than 10yrs. Don’t you think Nigerians are the best? See the best of Football memes of the weekend:

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