≡ Menu

cl-qualifiedTwelve teams are through to the Champions League knockout stages, with seven more vying for the four remaining berths when the group stage concludes on 6 and 7 December.

Through: Atlético Madrid (group winners), Barcelona (group winners), Leicester City (group winners), Monaco (group winners), Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid
Can qualify on matchday six: Benfica, Beşiktaş, København, Lyon, Napoli, Porto, Sevilla
Cannot finish in top two: Basel, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic, Club Brugge, CSKA Moskva, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kyiv, Legia Warszawa, Ludogorets Razgrad, PSV Eindhoven, Rostov, Sporting CP, Tottenham Hotspur
Qualified for UEFA Europa League round of 32: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Will finish fourth: Celtic, Club Brugge, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kyiv

europaleaguetrophyAnderlecht, APOEL, Athletic, Genk, Krasnodar, Olympiacos, Roma, Sparta Praha and St-Étienne qualified for the round of 32 on Thursday night when three time European Cup winners Inter Milan crashed out of the tournament.

Qualified as group winners (6): Ajax, Roma, Schalke, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sparta Praha, Zenit
Also qualified (7): Anderlecht, APOEL, Athletic, Genk, Krasnodar, Olympiacos, St-Étienne
Still in contention (22): Astra, Austria Wien, AZ, Braga, Celta, Dundalk, Fenerbahçe, Feyenoord, Fiorentina, Gent, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Liberec, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Manchester United, Osmanlıspor, PAOK, Qarabağ, Southampton, Standard Liège, Steaua, Villarreal, Zürich
Eliminated (13): Astana, Gabala, Inter Milan, Konyaspor, Mainz, Nice, Panathinaikos, Rapid Wien, Salzburg, Sassuolo, Viktoria Plzeň, Young Boys, Zorya

el-clasicoBig blow for the La Liga leaders as Gareth Bale will miss El Clasico on December 3 after Real Madrid confirmed he had damaged tendons in his right ankle.

The 27-year-old is also certain to miss also Madrid’s play-off with Borussia Dortmund for top spot in their Champions League group.

And when they issued a statement on Wednesday the club’s medical staff had not completely ruled out minor surgery to correct the problem and ensure he is fit for the Fifa Club World Cup next month.

Real’s statement on Bale’s injury read:

Neymar-Brazil-4Spain’s public prosecutor has called for Barcelona star Neymar to be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to the La Liga champions in 2013, said a court filing on Wednesday.

A judge in Spain accepted corruption charges against the Brazil captain earlier this month, with Neymar accused, along with others, of concealing a portion of the cost of his move from Santos to the Nou Camp in 2013.

As well as the jail sentence, prosecutors have also called for the 24-year-old to be fined €10m.

Messi-PricelessBarcelona manager Luis Enrique has admitted he has “no idea” what Lionel Messi’s future holds. There were reports out of England at the weekend that Manchester City are preparing a staggering £200 milion deal for the Argentine ace.

City have been given a confidence boost in their pursuit of Messi due to a contract stand-off between club and player in Catalonia.

The Etihad club are prepared to pay over £100million to sign him and pay him more than £500,000 a week on a long-term deal.

When asked about City’s interest and whether Barcelona are expecting to receive a bid for the forward, Enrique said:

bale-celebratesGareth Bale picked up an ankle problem during Real Madrid’s narrow Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon and had to be substituted in the second half.

The Welshman attempted to carry on after going down in what seemed considerable pain.

However, just minutes later he sat back down on the turf and asked to be replaced, with Zinedine Zidane bringing on Marco Asensio.

Bale sported a concerned look on his face as he was withdrawn and could be a doubt for Saturday’s La Liga clash with Sporting Gijon and El Clasico a week later.

luis-enrique-barcaIf Brendan Rodgers needs a motivational statistic to throw into his team-talk on Wednesday night he might mention that this is the worst start to a league season for Barcelona in a decade.

Just don’t dwell too long on the details – they still lie second in La Liga and Leo Messi, who is more often than not absent when they are below par, will be back to lead their attack.

The early season La Liga depression plumbed new depths at the weekend when they failed to score against Malaga. That 0-0 means they have just 26 points from a possible 36 and not since 2007 has any Barcelona team started worse.

alessio-romagnoliSome would have you believe that tackling is something of a lost art in football, with the leniency towards full-blooded challenges seemingly a thing of the past. While it’s always been a vital part of winning possession, the timing of tackles is more important than ever, so we wanted to look into the masters in the modern game.

Rather than simply looking at the players to make the most tackles this season, to do so we’ve devised an algorithm and restricted our search to centre-backs. The calculation is simple, taking into account the number of tackles per foul and then dividing this figure by the number of times each player has been dribbled past. The results have brought about a top 10 varying in terms of experience and familiarity.

cr7-poseCristiano Ronaldo heard there was a fiesta going on at the Vicente Calderon so he gatecrashed it.

And for his party trick he pulled out the 39th hat-trick of his career to blow out the speakers and leave the hosts wishing they never bothered.

Atletico were determined to celebrate the last Madrid league derby at their stadium with a victory before they head to their new ground next season, but instead left licking their wounds and wondering what hit them.

It was a reinvigorated Madrid and a turbocharged Ronaldo, whose treble took him to 18 goals in the derby, beating Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano’s record of 17 set in the 1960s.

average-salariesAccording to a report from ‘Sporting Intelligence’, Real Madrid have tumbled out of the top 10 of salaries paid to athletes worldwide.

The Champions League winers fell from second highest to 19th in the list even with salary increases at the Bernabéu. The reason for Real’s drop is not because of cutting at the Bernabéu, but is instead due to the rise of the Premier League and the higher wages in the USA due to a stronger dollar.