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Sergio Ramos has been named UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season for the second year running.

Ramos enjoyed yet another exceptional season with Real Madrid, missing just two games of their triumphant UEFA Champions League campaign. The 32-year-old centre-back picked up his best defender gong during the 2018/19 group stage draw in Monaco.

Defender of the Season top ten
1 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – 184 points
2 Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid) – 167 points
3 Marcelo (Real Madrid) – 145 points
4 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) – 40 points
5 Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) – 37 points
6 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – 24 points
7 Diego Godín (Atlético) – 15 points
8 Joshua Kimmich (Bayern) – 14 points
9 Mats Hummels (Bayern) – 13 points
10 Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) – 10 points

Keylor Navas has been named UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season for 2017/18.

The Real Madrid keeper picked up the award on stage in Monaco during the 2018/19 group stage draw. The accolade capped a memorable campaign for the 31-year-old, who played all but two games of Madrid’s third straight UEFA Champions League triumph. He had started the season with wins in the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup, and ended it between the posts with Costa Rica at the FIFA World Cup.

Real Betis, Sevilla and Villarreal have all discovered their opponents in this season’s group stages of the Europa League.

Five-time winners Sevilla have been drawn with Russian club Krasnodar, Standard Liege of Belgium and Turkish outfit Akhisarspor.

Betis, back in the competition for the first time since 2014, were drawn from Pot Three and face a tough draw which includes Greek club Olympiakos, Italian giants Milan and outsiders Dudelange from Luxembourg.

Perennial knockout stage qualifiers Villarreal have a tricky group which includes Austrian’s Rapid Vienna, Russian club Spartak Moscow and Glasgow Rangers of Scotland.

Europa League Groups
Group A

Tough Champions League Draw For Spanish Sides

Real Madrid begin their Champions League defence against Roma, while Barcelona are drawn Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia get two giants.

Madrid have won the last three Champions League titles, and waiting for them in Group G are Roma – who beat Barca in the quarter-finals last season – as well as CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.

As for Barca, they are joined in Group B by Tottenham – who overcame Los Blancos in the 2017-18 group stage – PSV and Inter, the Catalans’ slayers in the 09-10 semi-finals.

Real Madrid Sign Striker Mariano Diaz

Real Madrid have re-signed forward Mariano Diaz from French side Lyon on a five-year contract for a fee in the region of €33 million.

Based on the agreement made when the young striker moved from the Spanish capital to the French city, Madrid will deduct 35% from that fee. This will result in Madrid paying somewhere between €21.4 million and €23.4 million.

The Spain-born Dominican Republic international came through Real’s academy, making eight substitute appearances in La Liga and scored once before departing for Lyon in 2017.

Barcelona beat Valladolid 1-0 but were left fuming by a dangerous playing surface that endangered players on both sides.

Valladolid relaid their pitch just four days before the game and it showed.

‘We had to work hard because of the state of the pitch,’ said Gerard Pique. ‘They want to play a game in the United States by this is an embarrassment. I hope those responsible do something about it because it was lamentable.’

Sergio Busquets said:

‘The two areas were terrible it was like trying to play on the beach. There was a great risk of injury.’

Argentina’s interim coach Lionel Scaloni has admitted he doesn’t know if Lionel Messi will return to play for the national team again.

Messi, who captained Argentina at the World Cup this summer in Russia where they were eliminated by France in the round of 16, has taken an indefinite break from the Albiceleste.

The Barcelona superstar was not included in Scaloni’s first squad for international friendlies against Guatemala in Los Angeles on Sept. 7 and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.

Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos will be among the captains of the 20 Spanish top division clubs that will meet on Wednesday to discuss La Liga’s plans to stage a game in the United States.

The meeting will take place at the Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) headquarters in Madrid and after its conclusion, AFE president David Aganzo will give a news conference.

“A meeting between captains and players representing their top division clubs will take place in order to discuss several issues that worry all of them,” the AFE said in a statement. “The AFE and the footballers don’t understand the unilateral decisions taken by La Liga regarding plans for a league game to be played in the United States.

Real Madrid have yet to allocate Cristiano Ronaldo’s old No 7 shirt to another player more than one month following his departure to Juventus.

Ronaldo left Real Madrid and vacated the No 7 shirt when he joined Italian champions Juventus in a £100million move earlier this summer.

And there is much speculation in Spain about which Madrid player will take on the shirt with Spanish newspaper AS even setting up a poll on their website.

The poll asking readers to select between three options — Marco Asensio, Vinicius Junior and a new signing — with the former currently leading by 56 per cent.

Sergio Busquets has agreed an improved contract with Barcelona which will see his release clause rise to a whopping €500 million.

According to Spanish newspapers Marca and Mundo Deportivo, the La Liga giants will increase the midfielder’s salary until the summer of 2021.

The length of Busquets’ current deal – which includes a two-year extension option until 2023 – will not change, but his release clause will jump up significantly.

The Spaniard’s current contract includes a €200m clause, but the new amount will be closer to €500m according to reports.