Bale missing for Wales

Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales' Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland and is returning to Read Madrid for treatment.

Bale has a groin injury which has ruled him out of recent Real Madrid games and also caused him to miss Wales' 4-1 defeat to Spain on Thursday.

Manager Ryan Giggs said after that game that Bale remained a doubt for Tuesday's match in Dublin and now the Football Association of Wales have confirmed that he will miss the game and return to his club.

Speaking after the Spain defeat Giggs confirmed he wanted to make a decision quickly on whether Bale would be available to face Martin O'Neill's side.

He said: "We'll make a decision in the next couple of days because then we have to prepare for the game.

"If Gareth is not available we have to prepare to see what team we're going to play, so we'll make it sooner rather than on the day."

Wales are 11/5 to win the game with the Republic of Ireland 6/4 and the draw is 19/10.

Ipswich winger Gwion Edwards has already been called up by the Welsh as possible cover for Bale.

He could make his first appearance for the Welsh senior side on Tuesday as could Sheffield United defender Kieron Freeman who has also been drafted in by Giggs with injury doubts surrounding Ethan Ampadu and Chris Mepham.

Tuesday night's game is the third for the Welsh in the Nations League. They are currently second in Group B after beating the Irish 4-1 at home but then losing 2-0 to Denmark.

Real meanwhile will hope to have Bale available as soon as possible after the international break as they face three big games in eight days; La Liga clashes against Levante and Barcelona with a Champions League clash against Viktoria Plzen in between.

Real Madrid are 11/4 to win La Liga with Barcelona 4/6.

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Hazard rules out January switch

Amid speculation of a move to Real Madrid, Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has confirmed he has no plans to leave Stamford Bridge in January.

After a scintillating start to the Premier League season, on the back of a strong World Cup in Russia, the Belgian international is believed to have attracted strong interest from Los Blancos as they look for a Cristiano Ronaldo replacement.

Hazard has claimed he does not have any plans to leave the Blues in January but the former Lille star has admitted the lure of Real Madrid is a strong one and he does not know what they future beyond this season might hold.

He told reporters: "I am playing good football at the moment. Real Madrid are the best club in the world. I don't want to lie today.

"It is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club. We will see. I don't want to talk about this every day, I don't have time. But we will talk about my future soon."

Meanwhile, Chelsea are 9/1 to win the Premier League this season, while Real Madrid are 11/4 to win the La Liga title.

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Real remain on Hazard’s mind

In-form Chelsea ace Eden Hazard has admitted that he could still tempted to leave Stamford Bridge and make a dream move to join Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old Belgium international forward is under contract with the Blues until the summer of 2020, having admitted straight after the World Cup finals that he is still keen on a future at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Hazard told reporters: "Real Madrid is the best club in the world. I don't want to lie today, it is my dream since I was a kid. I was dreaming about this club.

"We will see. I don't want to talk about this every day. I don't have time, but we will talk about my future soon.

"I want what's good for me, but I want what's good for the club because the club has given me everything.

"I don't want to say 'yes, I am signing a new contract' and then in the end I don't end up signing.

"Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think I want to go. Sometimes I think I want to stay. It is a hard decision, it is my future. I am 27 and I will turn 28 in January."

Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in the summer of 2012 and has since scored 97 goals in 310 appearances in all competitions for the Londoners, helping them to two Premier League titles, as well as success in the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League.

This season he has scored seven goals in eight Premier League appearances, including a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Cardiff City in mid-September.

Chelsea are available at 9/1 to be crowned Premier League champions this season, while they are 7/1 to lift the FA Cup and 5/1 to triumph in the Europa League.

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Giggs happy to include Bale

Ryan Giggs says playing against Spain will provide Gareth Bale with extra motivation after including the winger in his squad for the upcoming internationals.

Bale missed Real Madrid's Champions League defeat at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday with a groin injury picked up in the goalless Madrid derby against Atletico last weekend in La Liga.

He could return against Alaves on Saturday and Giggs had no hesitation putting him in the squad for a friendly with Spain in Cardiff on 11th October and the Nations League tie away to the Republic of Ireland five days later.

Playing against Spain will be special for the Madrid star, suggests Giggs, who feels all of his squad will relish playing in Cardiff's Principality Stadium, where Wales have not played since 2011.

"He (Bale) had a little groin strain but the scan came back all clear and he expects to be involved at the weekend, which is good," Giggs said at his squad announcement press conference.

"Every player's motivation will be high for a number of reasons.

"You're playing for your country first and foremost, playing against a very good team and it's a chance to test yourself.

"It's also at the Millennium, so it's a different stadium and all the players will be motivated. But with Gareth playing in Spain there'll be added motivation for him, I'm sure."

Wales are 9/4 to win their Nations League group, with Denmark 2/5 and the Republic of Ireland at 12/1.

Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey's Arsenal future has been under scrutiny following reports that contract talks have collapsed and the 27-year-old midfielder will leave the Emirates Stadium either in January or next summer.

His international boss is not concerned about Ramsey's future plans.

"What's going on at his club didn't impact on him when he met up with us, so I expect the same," he added.

"I don't know the details, all I'm concentrating on is a player who comes and gives his all and has fantastic qualities."

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La Liga Alaves vs Real Madrid: Are Los Blancos Starting to Miss Cristiano Ronaldo?

Alaves vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid head to the Basque country this weekend, but what is traditionally a happy hunting ground for Los Blancos could be a scene of a rather nervy affair.

It’s La Liga Alaves vs Real Madrid on Sunday, and while our us odds point to an away win, this game is more in the balance than previous encounters. Los Blancos don’t currently look the same side without ‘you know who’.

It’s easy to cope when you have players like Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos in the side, and head coach Julen Lopetegui didn’t hear talk of missing Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu. However, poor form in the last two weeks has prompted the inevitable question.

Talking Points

After a comfortable Champions League win over Roma, we said ‘No Ronnie, no Worry’, but a growing number of Los Blancos fans are starting to wonder just how much the players are missing their former talisman. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas broke ranks, after a poor run of results, saying that his departure has definitely hurt the European Champions.

While his new club, Juventus, continue to dominate Serie A and win in Europe, the Madrid giants are not lighting up either competition at the moment.

Los Blancos’ attack looked a little toothless in last week’s home stalemate in the Madrid Derby. Now, they haven’t scored in three games, losing 3-0 to Sevilla and 1-0 to CSKA Moscow—their longest goal drought for 12 years.

La Liga Real Madrid vs Alaves: Will Gareth Bale be available to lead Los Blancos to a win?

Midfielder Gareth Bale sits on the bench during a La Liga game between Real Madrid and Espanyol

Leading scorer Gareth Bale, who sat out the defeat to CSKA after getting pulled off at halftime against Atletico, is doubtful. Meanwhile, the influential Isco remains sidelined.

Such has been the stuttering start of La Liga’s biggest guns.

On the other hand, Alaves fans will be stunned to see that with 11 points from seven games, they sit just three points from the summit. The hosts are unbeaten at home in the league and are well equipped to put up a good fight against a side struggling to score.

Keeper Fernando Pacheco has a fine pedigree, spending eight years at Real Madrid as a youth player and representing Spain at Under-21 level. And surely, he’ll get good protection from his teammates. Head coach Abelardo was parachuted into the Basque last December when Alaves was suffering second-season struggles, and he knows how to organise a defence, having been part of Barcelona’s back four at the turn of the Millennium.

Up front, winger Ibai Gomez is top scorer with three goals, and on-loan Jonathan Calleri scored an injury-time equaliser against Getafe in Alaves’ last home game. That’s his second of the new campaign after the Argentine scored nine while at Las Palmas last season.

The 19,000-capacity Mendizorrotza Stadium will be packed for the visit of Los Blancos, though most of the fans will be baying for a giant-killing.

History

Deportivo Alaves had an enjoyable return to the top flight after a ten-year absence, surviving comfortably and reaching the 2017 Copa del Rey final before losing 3-1 to Barcelona. After a slow start last season, Abelardo steadied the ship and is now aiming to take the next step.

Can the previous Alaves vs Real Madrid results give the underdogs more reason for optimism? In a word…’no’!

In 16 meetings, Real Madrid have won 13 while Alaves took just one, with the other two ending in a draw. And since Alaves’ promotion to the Primera Division in 2016, they have been well beaten by their opponents on each of four meetings—scoring only two goals while conceding 13.

Real won the last encounter, 4-0, at the Bernabeu back in February when both Karim Benzema and Bale were on target, and guess who scored a brace? Yep…Cristiano.

Betting Tip

??
Alaves vs Real Madrid Under 3.00 @ 1.97
October 07, 00:30 (GMT+8)

For all the talk of a wobble at the Bernabeu, the Alaves vs Real Madrid betting odds should provide some comfort for Los Blancos fans. Alaves are out at 8.25, with the draw at 4.20 and Real Madrid at 1.41.

The goal spread is just over a goal, with the hosts at 2.09 with a +1.25 start. Meanwhile, Real Madrid are at 1.84 for a -1.25 handicap.

I think this will be a tight game and Los Blancos may be frustrated for long periods. They just need to rediscover that spark in front of goal.

Four out of Real’s seven league games have yielded under 2.50 goals, and Lopetegui will be happy with a win, whatever the margin. He would love a 0-2 scoreline, available at 7.20, whereas 1-2 at 7.60 will jangle the nerves again.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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Lopetegui rues missed chances

Julen Lopetegui again rued his Real Madrid side's missed chances as they crashed to a shock 1-0 Champions League defeat at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.

The reigning champions fell behind after just two minutes of their Group G clash in the Russian capital when Nikola Vlasic, at CSKA on loan from Premier League side Everton, picked up a poor backpass from Toni Kroos and fired past Keylor Navas just inside the area.

Real Madrid had several opportunities to get level with Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Mariano all hitting the woodwork, while CSKA had goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev sent off for two bookable offences in stoppage time.

However, Los Blancos could not find a way through and have now gone three successive games without scoring for the first time since 2007.

Afterwards, Lopetegui, who was without the injured Gareth Bale, rested Sergio Ramos and had Luka Modric on the bench, said: "Goals come when you keep creating chances and believe you will be more accurate.

"That is all we can do. I am sure we will soon be scoring again and winning again.

"Of course, CSKA Moscow played at home and the quick goal helped them, but we didn't take our chances."

The result means CSKA move to the top of Group G on four points, while Real Madrid are second ahead of Roma, who beat Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the other group game, courtesy of the head-to-head record having betaen the Italisn 3-0 in the group opener.

Real Madrid are 1/4 to win Group G, while CSKA Moscow are 12/1 and Roma are priced at 7/2.

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Lopetegui happy with Ramos call

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says he is happy with the decision to leave skipper Sergio Ramos behind ahead of their clash at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night.

The Los Blancos talisman has been rested for the European champions for the trip to Russia, as the centre-back has featured in all seven league matches this season.

With a long campaign ahead, Lopetegu has decided to leave Ramos back in Madrid and the former Spain coach is happy with the call.

"Sergio Ramos didn't come because he's played more than any other player in the league and he has to keep some energy in reserve for the rest of the season," Lopetegui said.

"That's all it is, simply management," he added. "He's not here in Moscow because I made the decision."

Ramos was not the only high-profile rested star, with fellow defender Marcelo and midfielder Isco also absent from the squad.

Meanwhile, Wales international Gareth Bale picked up a thigh injury in Real's goalless La Liga draw against city rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday and won't be fit to play CSKA.

Real are 4/7 to win, 16/5 to draw and 11/2 to lose in the Russian capital.

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Bale injury worry for Real

Gareth Bale is a doubt for Real Madrid's Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow after suffering an abductor injury against Atletico Madrid.

The Wales international was substituted at half-time in the frustrating goalless La Liga derby draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday with Los Blancos coach Julen Lopetegui claiming it was a precautionary measure.

The severity of Bale's injury will become clearer following a scan, but at the moment it looks likely that he will not be involved in the Group G encounter in Russia on Tuesday night.

Losing the 30-year-old would be a big blow to Lopetegui given that he is already without several key men.

He said: "Bale had discomfort in his abductor at half-time and as a precaution he didn't come out for the second half.

"We will test him on Sunday and we'll see."

He added: "Isco had appendicitis, which is a shame, and we hope that Marcelo is back in a few weeks.

"It's not good that we've got injuries and we will look for solutions."

Real Madrid are 4/9 to win at CSKA Moscow, while the hosts are priced at 11/2 and the draw is available at 7/2.

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La Liga Stalemate at the Bernabeu is Just Fine for Diego

Real Madrid 0-0 Atletico Madrid

It was honours even in the Madrid derby tonight as Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid did a professional job on their hosts to frustrate Los Blancos’ fans no end.

There were more than just three points riding on this game as 79,000 packed into the Santiago Bernabeu, with a place at the top of La Liga up for grabs for Julen Lopetegui’s team. The earlier La Liga 2018 results had upped the stakes—leaders Barcelona faltering again and drawing at home to Athletic Bilbao—which meant Atletico could draw level with the Catalans with a win, while Los Blancos could go ahead of the champions.

But the result also means Atletico keep hold of the local bragging rights, unbeaten in five against their rivals. And with Barca stuttering, the La Liga 2018 odds on both Madrid teams could fall a touch in the coming days.

Highlights of the game

Antoine Griezmann has got under Sergio Ramos’ skin with his claims that he will challenge for the Ballon d’Or this season, as well as mocking the Los Blancos skipper after Atletico’s ICC victory over their rivals. And Ramos was clearly delighted when his keeper Thibaut Courtois made a great save to deny the Frenchman when he was through on goal early in the game.

Los Blancos then came close at the other end as Toni Kroos crossed for Gareth Bale, but the striker’s effort skidded back across goal and away to safety. The hosts had the lion’s share of the possession in the first half but Atletico had the better chances, and Diego Costa tested Courtois with a fierce angled drive only for the ex-Chelsea stopper to get a crucial hand to it.

Just before the break, Courtois’ opposite number got away with one. Jan Oblak whacked a clearance straight at Marco Asensio, but to his immense relief the ball bounced back into his arms and the halftime score remained 0-0.

Lopetegui rung a change with his halftime substitution, bringing on Daniel Ceballos to replace Gareth Bale—it seems the Welshman had a slight muscle injury which the manager didn’t want to aggravate.

Atleti keeper Jan Oblak has played a huge role in hindering Real Madrid from winning in recent La Liga battle

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak in action against Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio during Madrid derby at Santiago Bernabeu

Ceballos had an impact and almost provided a goal for Asensio with a beautiful ball in from the left, but Oblak saved brilliantly.

Costa hadn’t had the best of nights and was hooked by Simeone on 70 minutes, to be replaced by defensive midfielder Thomas Partey. And that seemed to signal that the Atletico boss was happy to see the game out for a draw.

Real pressed as Los Rojiblancos sat back, with Asensio getting in good positions on the flank, but the visitors’ defence, led by Diego Godin, worked well to clear his crosses. While the time ticked away, Ramos made his way into the Atletico penalty area as the balls reigned in on Oblak’s goal, but the Atletico defence stood firm.

Key statistics

With 65 percent possession and 15 shots to eight, Los Blancos had enough of this game to win it. However, they simply couldn’t break down Atletico’s resistance. Los Rojiblancos are now unbeaten in five Madrid derbies, with both La Liga meetings last season ending in a draw.

Simeone’s defence was resolute and uncompromising, making 30 clearances and committing 17 fouls, ten more than their courteous hosts!

In the end, it was a good day for the keepers and defences, and a welcome point for Atletico who are now just two points off the top places occupied by Real and Barca.

What’s next?

After Los Blancos’ midweek humiliation in Seville, this was an improvement. They certainly didn’t look like conceding in the second half but couldn’t find the killer touch.

Real Madrid now have two stiff challenges on tour this week, first to Moscow to play CSKA who scored a 95th-minute goal to snatch a draw against Plzen in their Champions League opener. Lopetegui’s team could do with at least a draw there to keep up their progress in Group G, and you can keep up with all the European football news right here at us.

Then it’s Alaves away in La Liga. Head coach Abelardo has led the Basque team to a fine start, winning 11 points from the first six games, and they are fast becoming an established top-flight club.

Atletico have two home games to look forward to, both testing but winnable, as Club Brugge arrive in Madrid for a Champions League fixture before Real Betis visit them in La Liga next weekend.

 

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La Liga Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Who are the Kings of Madrid?

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone takes his Atletico Madrid to the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend for a chance to topple their city rivals and steal their crown.

La Liga Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid is always a huge fixture, and they are getting bigger by the season. The gap between the all-conquering Los Blancos and the ever-chasing Atletico is narrowing. It may even be about to close.

There was plenty of talk at the start of the season that Atletico may be the kings of Madrid this season, and they could reach the summit of the League this weekend after a slow start, or at least leapfrog Los Blancos.

Talking Points

Things have changed a little over the past seven days. And the big Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid news came in last night when Los Blancos were humbled at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, beaten by Sevilla. The hosts ran out 3-0 winners with a first-half blitz which Real Madrid never recovered from. Luka Modric thought he’d pulled one back early in the second half, but he was ruled offside by VAR.

That 45-minute disaster must have been doubly frustrating for Head Coach Julen Lopetegui as his side had missed out on the chance to go top of La Liga after Barcelona had incredibly lost to bottom club Leganes. Passing up that opportunity means Atletico can pull their opponents further away from the summit, and that would delight their own fans to no end.

Lopetegui may have a headache as defender Marcelo looked injured towards the end of the game, but the coach had already made three substitutions so his man may be doubtful. And Isco will miss the derby after undergoing surgery for appendicitis.

It’s not the time to panic yet, though: Real Madrid have an abundance of talent. Marco Asensio is quickly becoming a key figure at the Bernabeu, and he scored the only goal of the game to collect three points against Espanyol last week. And they showed their Champions League pedigree with a convincing win over Roma.

There has been more recognition for Luka Modric this week as he scooped the Best Men’s Player Award at the FIFA Best Awards in London, seeing off challenges from Mo Salah and his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. Modric was outstanding at the World Cup and has carried his form through to the new domestic season. On his day, the Croatian maestro can pull all the strings with his quick feet, a stunning array of passes, and a superb shot.

Real Madrid and Barca are neck-and-neck at the top of the Primera Division on 13 points after six games, with Simeone’s Atletico just two points behind.

Atletico prepare for the Madrid Derby with maximum intensity to beat us Odds vs Real

Real Madrid dejected after they were outplayed by Sevilla

Los Rojiblancos are gathering pace after starting the season with only one 90-minute win in their first five games, in all competitions. But the Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid odds will have narrowed slightly after the midweek results. While Los Blancos were thumped 3-0 in Seville, Atletico won by the same margin at home to Huesca.

Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Partey and Koke all scored in the first half as Simeone’s side put the top-flight newcomers to the sword; and he had one eye on the big match to come, resting Saul Niguez, Rodri and Juanfran. One-half of Atletico’s outstanding defensive pairing, Jose Maria Gimenez, was withdrawn in the win, but the boss reckons he’ll be available for the Madrid derby.

History

With all this talk of which is the best side in Madrid, Los Blancos fans will always point to their history and claim that they will always be the best. But that’s what history is all about…it’s gone.

Winning 13 Champions Leagues and 33 La Liga titles, while Atletico has reached Europe’s final three times to lose on each occasion, and won a mere 10 league titles, will be cold comfort to Real Madrid if they lose on Saturday night.

Atletico won the last meeting when Diego Costa was on target twice as Los Rojiblancos won the pre-season ICC clash 4-2. And the visitors are unbeaten in four Madrid derbies; both La Liga meetings ended in a draw last season, 1-1 at the Bernabeu when Antoine Griezmann equalised shortly after Ronaldo had given Los Blancos a lead.

It’s a difficult one to work out, so let’s take a look at the us odds.

Betting Tip

??
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Double Chance: Atletico or Draw @ 1.62
September 30, 02:45 (GMT+8)

Real Madrid are just odds-on at 1.85 to win this clash, while the draw is at 3.50 and Atletico at 3.65.

But Diego Simeone has a good recent record against Los Blancos, and his team’s form is steadily improving, while Julen Lopetegui’s side has just taken a bashing in Seville.

If you fancy a repeat of last season’s result at the Bernabeu, then you can get 6.40 on 1-1…and that’s the most likely scoreline.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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