≡ Menu

javier-hernandez2It is amazing the difference week can make in the life of a footballer. Last week the consensus was that Javier Hernández’s year on loan has been nothing but disappointment and that he would be returning to Manchester United this summer.

But Chicharito followed up his match winner against Atletico in the Madrid derby on Wednesday with two goals in a 4-2 win over Celta Vigo and suddenly Little Pea is the toast of Madrid and Karim Benzema is wondering if he will get back in the team when he returns from injury.

Champions League trophyUEFA has changed how it will seed teams for next season’s Champions League and that could be bad news for both Real Madrid and Atletico. Currently, top-seeded teams are the eight highest-ranked in a five-year results cycle in UEFA competitions.

Under the new rules, the top seeds will go to national league winners plus this years Champions League winner.

Based on current standings Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Porto would drop from being a top seed, into pot two.

CAarlo-Ancelotti-NewReal Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his side have a better chance of retaining their Champions League trophy than beating Barcelona to the Spanish La Liga title.

Earlier today, Barcelona opened up a five-point lead over Real Madrid on the league table with their 2-0 derby win over Espanyol.

With six games remaining, Madrid are faced with the task of overturning that five-point league deficit while navigating tricky fixtures against Celta Vigo (away), Sevilla (away) and Valencia (home) over the next two weeks.

Sandwiched between the Sevilla and Valencia matches will be their two-legged Champions League semi-final against Italian champions, Juventus, who Ancelotti who coached Juventus between 1999 and 2001.

eden-hazard2Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has told Real Madrid that if they want Blues star Eden Hazard, he will cost them a world record £200 millon.

Hazard is set to be named PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night, and Madrid have already started their patented tapping up process through the media,. Last week Zinedine Zidane has talking about the best players in the world and he brought up the Chelsea star:

“I enjoy everything he does on the pitch. I like the way he carries himself, that decisive streak in him and the fact that he’s improving every year. He can still get better too, and I think he’s a big reason why Chelsea are on top of the table.”

Pep Guardiola will come face-to face with his former club when Bayern Munich meet Barcelona in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, while holders Real Madrid face Juventus.

To lead Bayern to the final in Berlin, Guardiola will have to overcome the club he achieved so much with as a player and manager. Guardiola’s four-season spell at the Barça helm yielded 14 trophies, including two triumphs in the Champions League – something he will now look to deny them.

Bayern will have home advantage for the second leg of the semi-final, with the winner taking on Serie A giants Juventus or holders Real Madrid in the final.

Holders Sevilla will take on Fiorentina for a place in this season’s UEFA Europa League final. Sevilla are bidding to become the first team to lift the trophy four times. They are currently alongside Juventus, Inter Milan and Liverpool on three.

Fiorentina overcame Tottenham, Roma and Dynamo Kiev en route to the last four and have home advantage for the second leg.

The other tie sees Rafael Benitez’s Napoli take on Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of Ukraine for a place in the Warsaw final, which takes place on 27 May. This will be Dnipro’s first UEFA competition semi-final: they lost two previous European Cup quarter-finals.

Champions League trophyThe Champions League semi-final draw on Friday will comprise of European footballing royalty as Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munch have a combined 20 European Cup wins and 33 final appearances between them.

Barcelona and Bayern both progressed comfortably on Tuesday, but for Wednesday’s qualifiers things were far less clear-cut. Madrid looked set to be taken to extra time by Atlético Madrid, until loan striker Javier Hernández struck late to earn the holders a first victory against their city rivals in eight meetings in all competitions this season. The Bianconeri also went through 1-0 on aggregate, against Monaco, drawing 0-0 in their second leg having edged last week’s opening instalment in Turin.

We look at the key performers from Atletico Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

atletico-madrid-vs-real-madridAtletico Madrid and Real Madrid battled, literally,to a 0-0 first-leg draw at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday. This was not a match for the uncommitted. Every ball and challenge was heavily contested in a game that threatened to boil over at times, but never did.

The visitors had by far the better of the chances, particularly in the first period, and Atletico were grateful to goalkeeper Jan Oblak for keeping them in the tie with a string of fine saves.

DIEGO-SIMEONEAtletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone confirmed on Monday that Mario Mandzukic and goalkeeper Jan Oblak will start his side’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg against Real Madrid.

Croatian striker Mandzukic returned to training on Sunday after missing league outings against Real Sociedad and Malaga in the past week due to a recurring ankle injury and is expected to take the place of Fernando Torres alongside Antoine Griezmann in attack.

Oblak, meanwhile, was one of the heros of Atletico’s last 16 win on penalties over Bayer Leverkusen as he replaced the injured Miguel Angel Moya and saved from Hakan Calhanoglu as Los Rojiblancos won the shootout 3-2.