The Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has come under intense criticism in recent months after failing to show form in front of goal. The 25-year-old has managed just eight goals in 22 appearances for Real Madrid this season, while he has won 11 matches without scoring for his international team – France.
His struggles in front of goal this season have been compared with the struggles he faced when he initially arrived at the Real Madrid. In his first season at the club, he managed just eight goals. The last two seasons, though, Benzema has been able to show the kind of form that persuaded Madrid to pay £35 million for his services.
Despite this criticism, his teammate at Madrid – Sergio Ramos – has leapt to his defence. Ramos has said that doubting the qualities of Benzema is madness because of the quality that the striker possesses. He has said that Benzema has the ability to turn the match around whether it be for France or Real Madrid. According to Ramos, Benzema is almost unstoppable when he is on form. He is of the opinion that the Spaniards will have to be wary of the threat posed by Benzema when they take on France in a crucial World Cup qualifying match.
"Doubting a footballer like Benzema is madness. He's an outstanding striker for Madrid and France who can turn a match around. Everyone is free to think what they want, but when he's on form there are few strikers who are as good as him. You have to be very focused facing him, because if you make one mistake he'll score against you," said Ramos. Spain come into the match on the back of a disappointing run of form, which has seen them draw 1-1 against Finland. As a result, they are in the second position behind France in the group.
Sergio Ramos has said that Real Madrid can still win the La Liga title in the ongoing season. Madrid is currently at no. 3 in the La Liga points table with 36 points in 18 matches. Barcelona FC which is at the top of the table has also played the same no. of matches, but, has 16 more points than Madrid. These numbers suggest that it’s going to be an uphill task for Madrid to defend the La Liga title, but, Ramos has full faith on his team and he said that his team would perform much better in the second half of the season and hopefully, would win the La Liga title again.
When asked about the performance of Real Madrid in the ongoing season, Ramos said, “This season hasn’t been as great as the last season for us. We haven’t performed well in a few games and have got defeated. But, we are only in the middle of season. It’s not that the season has finished. We still have chance to turn things around. If we perform up to our potential in the second half of the season, there is no reason why we can’t defend the title. We can do it again.”
“If you look at the team, this is the same team that had won the title last year. Some players haven’t been at their best so far, but, they are class acts and once they get back to top form, it would be very hard to stop us.”
“When results don’t go in your favour, you need to remain calm and keep trying and that’s what we will have to do in the remaining part of the season. I have full faith in the potential that we have got. Hopefully, we would play like champions in the second half of the season and would end up winning the La Liga title again.”
The defender of Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos, has said that he is pretty surprised by the poor performance of Manchester City in the ongoing Champions League. City hasn’t managed to secure a victory in the ongoing Champions League so far.
Roberto Mancini’s team has played four matches out of which it has lost two and the remaining two games have finished without any result. City only has two points in four matches and it badly needs a victory in its next match against Real Madrid. If City gets defeated by Madrid in its next match, it will be knocked out of the tournament from the group stage.
Talking to the reporters ahead of that match, Ramos said, “I am pretty surprised with the way City has performed in the tournament so far. I had expected them to do better than this. But, they have disappointed their fans.”
“City is a very strong team and it’s very hard to believe that they are on the verge of getting knocked out of the Champions League.
“I must admit that Group D is a very hard group as all the four teams are top class. I think it is the hardest group in the competition. We want to top the group and for this, we need to win the next match. We will go into the match with an aggressive mind and will try to put them under pressure right from the start.”
Real Madrid is currently at the no. 2 position in the Group D points table. Madrid has just one point less than Borussia Dortmund which is at the top of the group. Jose Mourinho’s team has 7 points in 4 matches, while, Borussia has 8 points in the same number of matches.
The president of Barcelona FC, Sandro Rosell, has made it clear that the club is not planning to sign the Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. In the last few days, there have been rumours that La Blaugrana is keen to have Ramos in the squad. But, Rosell has denied all those reports.
The Barcelona president said, “All these reports are rumours. We don’t want to sign Ramos. There hasn’t been any talk in our camp regarding Ramos. I don’t know where these reports have come from.”
Barcelona and Real Madrid are the two heavyweight football clubs of Spain. These two clubs are the arch rivals in La Liga and very rarely does it happen that a player gets transferred from Real Madrid to Barcelona or vice versa. And whenever it happens, the supporters don’t take it too well.
In 2000, when Luis Figo took the transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid, the Barca fans had got infuriated. Later on, when Figo came to Camp Nou to play for Madrid against Barcelona, he didn’t get a good response from the home fans.
Ramos is a regular member of the first team of Barcelona in the ongoing season. But, surprisingly, he was not included in the first XI of Madrid against Manchester City in the all important Champions League match. Since then, it has been speculated that everything is not well between Ramos and Jos Mourinho.
However, Jos Mourinho has denied the reports of dispute between him and Ramos. The Real Madrid manager said, “Ramos has no problems whatsoever with the Madrid management. If he was not included included in the team against City, it doesn’t mean that there is some dispute.”
“He is an important member of the team and he will be given starting chance in the upcoming match against Rayo Vallecano.”
Real Madrid don’t want Kaka to leave on loan. There have been some reports that the Brazilian midfielder might play for AC Milan this season on a loan. But, the authorities of Real Madrid have made it clear that the club doesn’t want to place Kaka on a loan. The manager of the club, Jose Mourinho, said that rather than placing Kaka on a loan, the club would like to sell him.
Kaka joined Real Madrid in 2009. The club signed him for 65 million Euros. The club had a lot of expectations from Kaka, but, the Brazilian superstar hasn’t been able to stand up to the expectations. He has been highly inconsistent in his performances. AC Milan, the old club of Kaka, wants him. But, Massimiliano, the manager of AC Milan, wants to have a look at Kaka during the loan period first.
Meanwhile, the captain of Real Madrid, Iker Casillas, has praised Jose Mourinho a lot. He said that after the appointment of Mourinho as manager, the team has performed brilliantly in the last two seasons. But, at the same time, he said that the team has to improve in some departments to carry on the good performance in the upcoming season. According to the skipper, the upcoming season would be a long one and the players have to maintain their fitness level throughout the season. He said that the team has a number of experienced players and the team has enough potential to win quite a few titles in the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, there have been reports that Real Madrid is interested in buying Lucas Moura, the midfielder of Sao Paulo. The English club, Manchester United, is also interested in Moura. The Manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, has already said that he is talking with the authorities of Sao Paulo. So, under these circumstances, it would be interesting to see whether Real Madrid would be able to buy Moura or not.
Spanish defender Sergio Ramos has admitted that the chipped penalty he scored against Portugal was a deliberate one in order to gain the mental advantage in the penalty shootout. Portugal are taking on Spain in the first semi-final knowing that the winner could face the Germany or Italy in the final of the competition.
Spain were certainly the favourites to win the tie after they have been finding their feet in the competition of late. Cristiano Ronaldo was an excellent from for Portugal, but both sides were extremely disappointing in the 90 min. After the 0-0 draw with Portugal, the match went into penalties.
In the quarter-final match between Italy and England, the Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo attempted an audacious chipped penalty in the game when Italy were trailing in the penalty shootout. This gave the Italian's the edge mentally and they never looked back since then. They defeated England on penalties. Sergio Ramos has admitted that he used the tactics deliberately against Portugal. It seemed to work after Portugal defender Bruno Alves hit the bar following the penalty taken by Sergio Ramos. Spain then went on to win the match on penalty shootout, which puts them into the final of the competition.
“I’d planned it in advance, I won’t lie. After my last experience with penalties with Real Madrid in the Champions League, people said I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of taking a penalty. But I had confidence in myself and I wanted to try again. It was a risk, of course, but I had seen how the goalkeeper moved and I was pretty sure he would go one way or the other. It was lucky, but it was great for me,” said Ramos after the match. The Real Madrid defender was later given the man of the match award for his extraordinary performance in the match.
Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has said that he is extremely satisfied with this season's achievements. Real Madrid are close to lifting the league title for the first time in three years, but they have been eliminated on the domestic and European cups.
However, it will be the exit from the Champions League at the semi-final stage that will hurt the most for Real Madrid. Despite having the second leg at home, Real Madrid were not able to push their advantage after they suffered an exit from the Champions League on penalties at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Yet, Sergio Ramos reckons that it has been a successful season for Real Madrid mainly because they have managed to get the league title from the clutches of Barcelona. Even more satisfying is the fact that they have actually managed to inflict first defeat on Barcelona in the league for more than three years. Hence, the defender says that it is a more than successful campaign and he cannot wait for the next season to start. Real Madrid have a seven point lead over Barcelona in the title race with only three matches remaining. They can secure the title this weekend if they win and Barcelona failed to win their match.
"We tried everything but we knew we faced the likes of [Arjen] Robben, [Franck] Ribery and [Mario] Gomez. The match went through many different phases after our second goal. We can't attack all the time. We must move on. This hurts because the final was within our reach. It's a real shame to be eliminated in a penalty shoot-out. It is something you never want. We must hold our heads high," Ramos said after the 2-1 second leg win over Bayern Munich. Real Madrid went out of the competition from penalties after the 3-3 aggregate draw.
Sergio Ramos has told his co players to stay cool on the field. Real Madrid is closer to the League victory. Right now in the League table Barcelona and Real Madrid are going side by side. It is a great opportunity for Madrid to lift the club this year.