Zidane not getting carried away

Zinedine Zidane insists that Real Madrid cannot allow thoughts of winning three successive Champions League titles get in the way of eliminating Juventus.

Twelve-time winners Real are looking to win the competition for the fourth time in five seasons.

Their case was apparently strengthened on Tuesday evening when fearsome rivals Barcelona surrendered a 4-1 first leg advantage as they crashed out via a 3-0 second leg loss to Roma in Italy.

On that basis Zidane won't take Juventus lightly, despite his side being armed with a massive advantage and a second leg on their own patch.

He ways they must be diligent to ensure they join Barca's conquerors Roma and Liverpool, who saw off Manchester City in the last eight, in the semi-finals.

"I'm not interested in talk of favourites, I prefer to show it out on the pitch and we must respect all clubs and all aspects of football," said the Real boss.

"If we put in a great performance and we are focussed throughout the match we have a good chance of battling through, but we must keep that idea in mind."

Real are 6/4 to retain the Champions League while Liverpool are 10/3 to lift the trophy and Roma are 10/1.

Despite the mammoth task ahead of them, Juve must try and salvage some pride says defender Giorgio Chiellini.

"We're not crying about what happened, and we go to Madrid with the desire to play a good game," he said.

"We'll treat it like a marathon, not a sprint and we'll need to go into the game with a level head."

Juventus are 28/1 to qualify for the last-four.

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Zidane: Ronaldo is just different

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was hailed as a 'different player to everyone else' after scoring twice in a 3-0 Champions League victory away to Juventus.

Having earlier opening the scoring in Turin in the quarter-final first leg, Ronaldo soared to meet a Dani Carvajal cross just past the hour mark, sending an unstoppable overhead kick into the back of the net past a stranded Gianluigi Buffon.

And Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane paid tribute to his player after a result which all but assures a passage through to the semi-finals, with Real chasing a third consecutive Champions League success.

He told reporters: "Cristiano Ronaldo is different. He's a different player to everyone else and he always has this desire to do something extraordinary in the Champions League.

"He never rests on his laurels. His overhead kick was remarkable, yet he missed two much easier chances!"

Real are now 11/4 to retain their Champions League crown, with Barcelona priced at 11/4 and Manchester City available at 10/3.

Meanwhile, Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri felt his team had done what they could to try and gain a positive result, but had been undone by one of the game's outstanding players.

He added: "He has been the best forward in the world in recent years. He has a clarity that nobody else has.

"The best two teams are Real Madrid and Barcelona because one has Ronaldo and the other has Lionel Messi, which is a major advantage.

"I have nothing to reproach my players about, as we were up against the best centre-forward in the world and paid for a few mistakes."

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Isco not confident under Zidane

Isco admits he lacks the confidence of Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane and he isn't sure how to win his boss around.

Isco has found his club football limited under Zidane this season but he fired the first hat-trick of his career on Tuesday evening as Spain thumped Argentina 6-1 in a friendly.

The win for Spain came on the back of a 1-1 draw with world champions Germany on Friday and means manager Julen Lopetegui has now led the 2010 World Cup winners to 18 games unbeaten.

Diego Costa opened the scoring for Spain early on, before Isco struck either side of a header from Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi.

Thiago Alcantara added a fourth, with substitute Iago Aspas also finding the net before Isco hit his personal milestone.

Playing for Spain is easy, compared to life at Real Madrid according to the playmaker.

"In Madrid, I don't have the confidence a player needs," Isco said in a post-match interview, as quoted by Marca.

"The matches with the national team give me life. Here, I have the confidence of the coach."

Spain are 6/1 to win the World Cup this summer, with Argentina, who were without Lionel Messi in their defeat, currently 10/1 for glory in Russia.

Isco says he is eager to show his best for Madrid, but he is unsure if Zidane will give him that chance.

"I want to show that I'm a good player. Lopetegui shows me confidence with the minutes he gives me," he added.

"Maybe I'm the problem in Madrid. I don't know how to win Zidane's confidence."

Real Madrid are 9/2 to win a third successive Champions League crown this season ahead of their quarter-final showdown with Juventus.

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Other-worldly Ronaldo thrills Zidane

Cristiano Ronaldo is 'from another galaxy' according to Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane in the wake of his latest match-winning heroics.

The Portuguese scored both goals as Real Madrid edged out Eibar in La Liga on Saturday. Ronaldo has scored in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

After Eibar had started brightly, Ronaldo fired Madrid in front when he latched onto a pass from Luka Modric.

The hosts were back on terms through Ivan Ramis five minutes after the break and there were chances at both ends before Ronaldo bulleted home a header five minutes from time to give Madrid all three points.

He was on the scoresheet in midweek as the European champions dumped Paris St Germain from the Champions League with a 2-1 second leg success in France.

Despite feeding on scraps, Ronaldo can supply goals on demand, says Zidane.

"He is from another galaxy," said the Madrid boss.

"What he has is so positive – he knows he is going to score. He is a different player, special. His stats speak for themselves.

"We did not play at our best, but Cristiano knows what to do – with few chances he can score many goals."

Modric returned from a hamstring injury and was Madrid's star performer throughout the game. Zidane is thrilled to have Croatian playmaker back in harness.

"Luka was out for almost three weeks, came back and played very well," he said.

"He is a very important player for us. When you have problems in a game, he never gets nervous. Normally he should not have played the entire game, but in the end he played it all and did well."

Real Madrid are 4/1 to win a third successive European crown this season. Barcelona are 9/2 for Champions League glory, with Manchester City 3/1.

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Zidane wary of PSG threat

Real Madrid may have a 3-1 advantage going into their second leg against Paris St Germain but Zinedine Zidane is expecting to "suffer".

His side won the first leg at the Bernabeu with two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and another from Marcelo giving his side a clear advantage going into the return game in the French capital.

However, the Madrid coach sounded anything but positive in his pre-match press conference, though he hopes for another great performance from his side.

Zidane said: "We know we're going to suffer, but we will suffer and we will play football. It will be difficult for both teams.

"We're used to that. What we have to do is think about the game, 11 against 11 with a referee who is going to do his job.

"It doesn't worry me too much if they start better or us, because you can't control it. What's going to happen tomorrow, will happen. They start behind in the tie. You have to be prepared for the unpredictable. We have to produce a great performance."

PSG have been Champions League quarter-finalists four years in a row, between 2013 and 2016 but were beaten in the round of 16 last time.

Real Madrid, by contrast, have won the competition in three of the last four years and will make it three in a row with success this time.

They are 11/2 to win the competition with PSG priced at 10/1.

PSG will have to try and overcome Real Madrid without Neymar who is out the rest of the season and faces a fight to be fit for the World Cup later this year.

Despite his absence PSG will be attempting to beat Real Madrid for the first time ever in the Champions League. They are 11/4 to qualify for the next round with Real priced at 2/7.

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Zidane reveals duo fitness wait

Zinedine Zidane is waiting to see if Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will be fit enough for Real Madrid's Champions League last-16 second leg tie at Paris Saint-Germain.

The midfield duo both missed Saturday's 3-1 La Liga derby win against ten-man Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Zidane has refused to rule them out of Tuesday's trip to Paris where Los Blancos hold a 3-1 first leg lead.

The Frenchman said: "They still haven't trained with us, we'll have to see if they do tomorrow.

"I will never rue having players absent. They are important players but we have to look to Tuesday's game. If they can't be with us, then someone else will play. We have two days to see how Luka and Toni will be."

Zidane was delighted to get back to winning ways on Saturday with Gareth Bale on target, while Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally to 300 La Liga goals in 286 appearances courtesy of a brace.

The Portugal international was seen holding an ice pack on his calf after being substituted, but Zidane expects him to be fit, while Marcelo also made his return from injury in the second half.

Zidane added: "Before a second-leg game like Tuesday it was very important to have three days in a good mood. When you lose it's tough. It was very important to win. We played a very serious game."

Real Madrid are priced at 5/2 to win the second leg in 90 minutes and 2/7 to qualify for the quarter-finals, while PSG are 14/1 to win the game 2-0 which would see them progress on the away goals rule and they are available at 11/4 to qualify.

Are Real Madrid’s Hopes for a Big Upset Gone?

The White side of Spain’s capital is probably quiet, while the Reds and Whites of Atletico are parading around the city.

Real Madrid endured a painful loss that probably sealed their fate in the minds of the football betting community. Betting odds for them to keep the title have gone up in smoke. Betting websites are now flocking towards Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

This season may be over for this iteration of the Galacticos.

RCD Espanyol 1-0 Real Madrid

The most painful fact about this defeat of theirs is that they had the lion’s share of the possession but failed to convert any of the opportunities presented to them. Real had plenty of chances, but Espanyol’s rigid formation stopped them. Gerard Moreno sneakily stole the thunder in the dying minutes of the game, giving Zinedine Zidane no room for adjustments.

Girona 1-0 Celta de Vigo

Portu settled the final score for Girona early in the game, but that doesn’t mean that Celta Vigo just laid down and let them through. The game was a physical affair that saw lots of fouls from both sides. Daniel Trujillo actually had to book five separate people as the game reached its peak physicality.

Getafe 3-0 Deportivo La Coruña

Getafe may have just doomed Deportivo to relegation with this three-goal stomp at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Angel and Jorge Moline scored for the hosts, while Boveda made a wrong turn and scored in his own team’s net. Clarence Seedorf’s job of getting Coruña out of the drop zone has become next to impossible.

Athletic Club 1-1 Valencia

Oscar de Marcos made a lot of Bilbao supporters happy with his equalizer against Valencia. It justified the denied goal Aduriz made early in the first half after Geoffrey Kondogbia’s goal put the Bats ahead. For the visitors, the draw is a frustration that robbed them of Real Madrid’s spot.

Malaga 0-1 Sevilla

This loss has practically doomed Malaga to demotion. Joaquin Correa scored early in the game, and that was all the space the visitors needed to keep the bottom feeders out. While they are still a ways from Champions League contention, they are more than happy to snag the three points.

Atletico Madrid 4-0 Leganes

The Rojiblancos faithful are drinking all the beer they can after Antoine Griezmann scored four fantastic goals for Atleti. Asier Garitano’s men could do nothing but watch as the prolific French striker made his presence known throughout the match. With this win, the pressure is now on Barca to keep their lead.

Eibar 1-0 Villareal

This six-pointer is important for Eibar as they vie for European competition. Kike scored the game’s only goal within the first 20 minutes of the match. The Yellow Submarine did everything they could to at least even the score, but Eibar’s tough defence — unafraid to incur bookings from referee Mario Melero — did enough damage.

Real Betis 0-0 Real Sociedad

Estadio Benito Villamarin was lulled to sleep as neither Betis nor Sociedad managed to score any goals. Sociedad hounded their hosts, getting 10 corner attempts in the process. However, Quique Setien’s lads ensured that nothing would come out of the corners their opponents kept taking.

Las Palmas 1-1 Barcelona

It was a wonderful evening at the Canary Islands as their local club fended off La Liga‘s top dogs in a fantastic manner. Lionel Messi scored early to give the Blaugrana the lead, but a defensive mistake allowed Jonathan Calleri to equalise. Barca must now win every game they’ll play if they want to win the title.

Deportivo Alaves 1-0 Levante

Levante are now knee-deep in the relegation battle after failing to acquire three points against Deportivo Alaves. Chema was sent off early which definitely had an effect on the flow of the game. Manu Garcia could have settled the score early, but his 32nd-minute attempt was disallowed. The home crowd would see no action until the 90th minute when Laguardia got the winning goal.

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Zidane focused on PSG test

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says he isn't thinking too much about his own future ahead of their Champions League showdown with Paris St-Germain.

The Frenchman does admit there is a bit of extra pressure on ahead of the last-16 first leg tie in the Spanish capital, but he has tried to prepare the two-time defending European champions 'as normal'.

Zidane is under intense scrutiny with Real's form of late having been inconsistent. Their hopes of retaining the La Liga title have virtually gone as they have slipped 17 points behind leaders Barcelona, while they recently crashed out of the Copa del Rey against Leganes on away goals.

Drawing Paris St-Germain in the last-16 was a consequence of Real finishing second to Tottenham in the group stage before Christmas.

Real are 29/20 to win the first leg, with PSG 9/5 and the draw 14/5. Zidane is attempting to play down any additional pressure, despite the fact an exit at this stage could mean the end his tenure as Bernabeu boss.

"I'm not thinking about my future. I'm only focused on tomorrow. I can't control the rest; the only thing I'm interested in is tomorrow," he told a press conference.

"It's not a final – it is two Champions League games. We want to play well and if we do that, we'll have a good chance.

"There's no particular pressure. We've prepared as we usually do. Tomorrow, there will be a bit more pressure than usual, but I'm going to enjoy it."

The game has been billed as a showdown between Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, 15/4 to score the opening goal in the first leg, and Neymar, the worlds' most expensive footballer.

Zidane says the Brazilian has some way to go before he can be classed in Ronaldo's league, but he insists the tie is not just about those two players.

"Ronaldo and Neymar are great players. [With Ronaldo] we are talking about a player who has done extraordinary things, won five Ballon d'Ors and you can't compare them," Zidane added.

"It's not Ronaldo v Neymar, it's Madrid v Paris. Everyone wants to see a good game."

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Zidane ‘prepared’ for PSG

Zinedine Zidane claims he is 'prepared' for Wednesday's Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain after Real Madrid's 5-2 thrashing of Real Sociedad.

Los Blancos' form of late has been inconsistent as their chances of retaining the La Liga title have virtually gone as they have slipped 16 points behind leaders Barcelona, while they recently crashed out of the Copa del Rey against Leganes on away goals.

A third successive Champions League win appears to be their only chance of lifting silverware this season, but big-spending PSG stand in their way at the last-16 stage.

The first leg takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and boss Zidane feels the impressive win against Real Sociedad has given the players a boost ahead of the encounter.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick, while Lucas Vazquez and Toni Kroos were also on target in the win with Zidane claiming he has his preparations in place for PSG.

"I know who will play on Wednesday," the Frenchman told reporters.

"We're all prepared and that's the most important thing. We need to think about Wednesday, it's a major challenge for everyone.

"We have to correct certain things.

"We had problems in the second half, but I will choose to focus on the positives. We scored five goals and enjoyed a very bright start. Wednesday is another game."

Real Madrid, who are 8/1 to win the Champions League, are priced at 7/5 to win the first leg, while PSG are available at 13/8 and the draw is priced at 11/4.

Madrid is the Best Place for Football Bets

Well it is this week, that’s for sure! What a game we have in the Champions League in Madrid where the current champions host PSG’s superstars.

Unai Emery’s Ligue 1 giants are second favourites to lift the trophy at betting odds of 5.00, and this tie will show us whether they are such serious contenders. Los Blancos aren’t having the best time in La Liga this year, but plenty of sports betting players will take an interest in the odds of back-to-back Champions League at a tempting 11.00.

Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain

While domestic matters haven’t been great for Zinedine Zidane, he still has the talent at his disposal to make a noise in Europe; Cristiano Ronaldo top-scored in the qualifying round with nine. But PSG have plenty of firepower of their own with both Neymar and Edinson Cavani bagging six. Throw in Kylian Mbappe’s four and you could give opposing defences nightmares, except for Real’s defensive legend Sergio Ramos!

FC Porto vs Liverpool

Liverpool take a trip to Portugal, having been impressive in attack all season. While Mo Salah is the man making all the headlines in the Premier League, Roberto Firmino top-scored in the group stages with seven goals. Virgil van Dijk has come in for a bit of scrutiny since his big-money move to Liverpool. This is a good test against a Porto team that is top of its domestic league and spearheaded by the five-goal Vincent Aboubakar.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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