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Barcelona midfielder Rafinha has been ruled out for about six months after having knee surgery.

Rafinha tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during last month’s draw with Atletico Madrid.

“The operation was carried out by Dr. Ramon Cugat under the supervision of the medical services of the club, and he will be out of action for approximately six months,” said Barcelona in a statement.

It is his third serious knee injury, after tearing the ACL in his right knee in 2015 and missing seven months with a meniscus injury in 2017.

Luku Modric Wins Ballon d’Or

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade.

Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia to a first World Cup final.

Former Brazil and AC Milan forward Kaka, in 2007, was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to win it.

Ronaldo, who joined Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer, came second.

Athletic Bilbao Sack Eduardo Berizzo

Athletic Bilbao have sacked coach Eduardo Berizzo and replaced him with B team manager Gaizka Garitano after a dire run of form which has left the Basque club 18th in La Liga.

Bilbao fell to a 3-0 defeat at Levante on Monday, continuing a dreadful spell that has seen them fail to win a league game since the opening day of the season.

The only La Liga side other than Real Madrid and Barcelona never to be relegated from Spain’s top flight, Athletic are now three points from safety with 11 points from 14 games.

Woeful Real Madrid Thrashed by Eibar

Santiago Solari’s winning start as Real Madrid coach ended with a dismal defeat at Eibar as the Basque outfit claimed their first ever La Liga win over their opponents.

The Argentine was given the job on a permanent basis during the international break having won all four games since replacing the sacked Julen Lopetgui.

But Real looked a shadow of the side that earned Solari the best start of any manager in the club’s history, with Gonzalo Escalante claiming an early opener for the hosts.

Real Madrid Fire Back Against Ramos Accussations

Well that did not take long. Within hours of the Der Spiegel story breaking that Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos had twice broken anti-doping rules, the Spanish club released the following statement defending their captain:

In relation to the information published by Der Spiegel referring to our captain Sergio Ramos, the club states the following:

1. Sergio Ramos has never breached the anti-doping control regulations.

2. UEFA requested timely information and closed the matter immediately, as is usual in these cases, after verification by the experts themselves of the World Anti-Doping Agency, AMA, and of UEFA itself.

Did Sergio Ramos Fail Multiple Drug Tests?

German publication Der Spiegel has revealed that Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has been involved in two cases of doping.

The first occurred in a game against Malaga. He was advised to head to anti-doping but despite that he went for a shower. That’s prohibited under Spain’s anti-doping laws.

The second case refers to the Champions League final in 2017, when Ramos reportedly tested positive for dexamethasone, a prohibited drug.

In this case, the Real Madrid doctor acknowledged that he had given the Spain defender injections in the knee and the shoulder, so UEFA did not punish him as it was a medical decision.

Former Borussia Dortmund star Ousmane Dembele is turning into an nightmare signing for Barcelona, but the club might not be able to afford to sell the 21-year-old.

According to German newspaper Die Welt, if Barcelona sell Dembele before his contract expires they will have to pay the full €147 million due on his contract.

Barcelona paid €108m to Borussia Dortmund last summer for Dembele and are currently making their way though an additional €39m of add-on payments.

They have already paid a further €5m once he passed 25 appearances and a further €5m when the club qualified for this season’s Champions League.

Vinicius Junior has thanked his fellow Brazilians Casemiro and Marcelo for helping him to settle in quickly at Real Madrid.

The 18-year-old winger, who was previously playing for Flamengo, linked up with Real Madrid in the summer.

Although his playing time was limited under Julen Lopetegui, Vinicius has become increasingly involved under new manager Santiago Solari.

Vinicius told SporTV in Brazil: ‘Casemiro and Marcelo have played a massive part of me settling in so quickly.

‘Nobody – not myself, my family, Real Madrid – would have envisaged me settling in so quickly, I think I have adapted very fast and now evolving as a player.’

Barcelona Banned From Signing Liverpool Players

It appears that Liverpool were so put off by Barcelona’s pursuit of Philippe Coutinho that the Premier League took preventative measures from the Spanish side raiding the club again.

During the negotiations last January when Liverpool reluctantly sanctioned the sale of Coutinho to Barca for £142 million, Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards insisted on a €100 million (£89m) premium on top of any transfer fee if Barcelona try to sign any more Liverpool players in the next three years.

That means if Barca ever moved for Mohamed Salah, whose current market value would conservatively value him at £150 million, the price for Barcelona would be £239 million.

Luis Enrique says he is satisfied with the progress his young Spain side have made despite their failure to reach the finals of the UEFA Nations League.

Spain won their opening two fixtures in Group A4, beating England 2-1 at Wembley before thrashing Croatia 6-0, but then lost 3-2 at home to England and by the same scoreline in Croatia.

That left their destiny out of their own hands and England’s 2-1 win over Croatia on Sunday meant Spain missed out on next summer’s finals after finishing second.