As usual, any photos and articles missed, please include in post. Still mining for information on Basel and Ludogorets- in English!
Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Cristiano Ronaldo will not be distracted by Raul's record when Real Madrid take on Liverpool, says Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti insists Cristiano Ronaldo is fully focused on the team's requirements and not writing his name into the Champions League history books.
The Portugal international is one goal away from equalling the great Raul's tally of 71 in Europe's elite competition.
If Tuesday's opponents Liverpool display any of the defensive vulnerability they have shown this season, there is every chance the 29-year-old - who scored at Anfield in the meeting a fortnight ago - could surpass that feat at the Bernabeu.
Even the return of fellow forward Gareth Bale after a five-match injury absence is unlikely to take any of the spotlight away from Ronaldo but Ancelotti is not concerned by talk of landmark moments.
"Cristiano is working hard for himself and the side, just like other players," said the coach of the defending champions.
Gareth Bale is back for action against Liverpool
tried to find a good looking picture of Bale. It is a futile endeavour
Bale, who scored one goal in nine appearances against Liverpool when he was at Tottenham Hotspur, last played for Real in the 5-0 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao on Oct. 5 but Ancelotti said he was "fine".
"The question is whether to deploy a player who is coming back from injury from the start," Ancelotti told a news conference previewing the match at the Bernabeu. "I will decide tomorrow." read more here
Real Madrid v Liverpool: Bernabeu manager Carlo Ancelotti deserves to be heralded among the greats
Carlo Ancelotti is such a civilised, charming man that he rarely, if ever, falls out with anyone, barring one occasion in San Siro when he rebuked an AC Milan fan who questioned not only his tactics but his well-known passion for a particular pasta dish. “I can’t stand by and watch someone insult a perfectly good plate of tortellini,’’ was Ancelotti’s explanation.
The vivid life of Ancelotti, who unleashes Real Madrid on Liverpool at the Bernabéu on Tuesday evening, is a celebration of many uplifting elements, from playing the game at the highest level and with the rarest intelligence, to galvanising individuals into formidable, winning teams and also to celebrating in style.Well deserved write up on the man. I like him, just not his team
Liverpool so bad, Ancelotti offering coaching advice!
More hairstyles than goals. Heh
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti offered a stern defence of under fire Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli on the eve of the crucial Champions League clash between the sides at the Santiago Bernabeu...Ancelotti has labelled Balotelli as a threat to his side ahead of Tuesday night’s European clash in the Spanish capital, however, and says the criticism aimed at the Italian international is unfair. well d'uh. Less said about Rodgers lack of ideas the better, tbh
I'll play for Real Madrid until I'm 40! Iker Casillas says he's going nowhere ahead of Champions League clash with Liverpool
We've all been there — bored to tears at school, clock-watching, thinking you might actually nod off. And then Real Madrid hammer on the classroom door and pull you out of the lesson so you can fly to Norway and sit on the bench in a Champions League group game against Rosenborg.
Iker Casillas was 16 years old when he was taken out of a technical drawing class to join up with the Real squad in 1997. Against Liverpool he will become the man who has played more games in the competition — 144 —than any other. He has won it three times in a 15-year first-team career and he has news for anyone who might think his time at the top is almost up.
To be fair to Casillas, here is a good interview with him via The Guardian which is a bit more nuanced than the screams of The Daily Mail. He appreciated the applause at Anfield when he came on the field, is a collector of opposing team shirts, etc. I think him staying on the National Team until 2016 is a bit misguided, especially with David de Gea proving himself up to the task.
Arsenal vs Anderlecht
Theo Walcott and Arsenal in deals for new contract
Arsenal have opened talks with Theo Walcott over an extended contract, although Arsène Wenger confessed on Monday that it was “never easy” to reach agreement with his winger.
Wenger was smiling as he made the remark, which was clearly in reference to the protracted discussions for his current deal two years ago, but was perhaps also an indication that negotiations are unlikely to be straightforward.
When Walcott and Arsenal did finally reach agreement on his contract in January 2013, the compromise was that it was a relatively short-term extension for a player of his age and potential.more here
Anderlecht’s Youri Tielemans ready to make his mark despite tender years
Anderlecht at home to Genk early last month. The hosts win a penalty with 18 minutes to go and the score locked at 0-0. Anderlecht claimed their third Belgian title in a row last season but penalties posed a strange problem for them throughout the campaign, as they missed nine of 15 attempts. This season they had had one in the league and Youri Tielemans scored it, so he fancied his chances against Genk. But as he put the ball on the spot, his team-mate Nathan Kabassele, the side’s designated taker, demanded it. The pair argued until Anderlecht’s captain and goalkeeper, Silvio Proto, hurtled the length of the pitch to order Tielemans to step aside. Kabassele struck the penalty. And missed. more talented Belgians
Jack Wilshere unavailable for match
The lad in question
Jack Wilshere has been ruled out of Arsenal’s Champions League group game against Anderlecht on Tuesday after a virus delayed his return to training from a minor knee injury.
The England midfielder had been ruled out of Saturday’s victory over Burnley after suffering discomfort in the joint in training last week but had tentatively been pencilled in to return against the Belgian club as Arsène Wenger’s team attempt to secure their qualification for the knockout phase. However, he could not train over the weekend due to illness and will not be included in the squad for the game at the Emirates.
Dortmund vs Galatasaray
Woody Tin Tin might head to the Sceptred Isle. Better us than Bayern Munich Y/Y?
Manchester City want Reus
Manchester City will go head-to-head with Bayern Munich in a £20million-plus battle for Germany winger Marco Reus at the end of the season.
While Borussia Dortmund are inflexible he will not be be permitted to go in the January window, they are resigned to losing him next summer because of an escape clause in his contract.
The 25-year-old’s deal runs until 2017 but has a release clause enabling him to join any club who meet Dortmund’s asking price of 25million euros.
Interesting, I must research/ do a post on players contracts/personal terms some time
Bundesliga champions Bayern are prepared to match it, but so are City. And Manuel Pellegrini’s club are confident they can outbid their rivals on the wage front by putting together a package worth in excess of £200,000 a week.
Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked with Reus, who has won 23 caps for his country.
But City believe they are in pole position to lure him to the Barclays Premier League and are hopeful that increasingly strained relations between Bayern and Dortmund will deter the winger from switching to Munich. read more here
Bayern Munich said to be in talks with Reus' people. article in German here.
Borussia Dortmund will still be without important first-teamers Nuri Şahin and Mats Hummels, while Oliver Kirch, Jakub Błaszczykowski and Marcel Schmelzer face late fitness tests. As for Galatasaray, they have no definite absentees, but veteran midfielder Felipe Melo and youngster Aydın Yılmaz are both in doubt.over view of personnel available here
Hummels still MIA
Cesare Prandelli speaks about Jurgen Klopp
Prandelli looking dapper. Yass
Galatasaray coach Cesare Prandelli lavished praise on Borussia Dortmund counterpart Jurgen Klopp ahead of the UEFA Champions League clash.
Prandelli's team will visit Dortmund on Tuesday looking to bounce back from their 4-0 thumping at the hands of Klopp's side on the last matchday a fortnight ago.
Galatasaray sit bottom of Group D after three games with just one point, while Dortmund are perfect - nine points after three straight victories.
Prandelli believes Klopp is a rare coach in that he has achieved success by playing positive, possession-based attacking football.
"Borussia Dortmund are the perfect example of a how well a team can work when a coach has got good ideas," the Italian said on Monday. more here.
Preview: Benfica vs. Monaco
The players in red & white are Monaco players...and according to this, #3 is Layvin Kurzawa and #28 is Jérémy Toulalan shoutout to ms_geekette for answering the cry.
Despite heading into the Champions League with aspirations of reaching the knockout stages, Benfica are preparing for their fourth Group C fixture with those hopes hanging by a thread.
Monaco will be the visitors to Lisbon on Tuesday evening, when Benfica will continue their bid for a first victory in the group stage.
The neutrals will be hoping for a better show than the one that the same two sides produced a fortnight ago when Benfica and Monaco both settled for a point in an uninspiring goalless draw.
A draw in Monaco was followed by a damaging defeat to Sporting Braga for Benfica, who finally returned to form with a 2-0 victory over Rio Ave on Friday night to protect their status as league leaders in Portugal.read more here
Preview: Basel vs Ludogorets
Basel: Vaclík; Degen, Schär, Suchý, Safari; Elneny, Frei, Zuffi; González, Gashi; Embolo.
• Out: Serey Die (suspended), Streller (back), Ivanov (knee)
• Doubtful: Samuel (unknown)
Ludogorets: Stoyanov; Júnior Caiçara, Moţi, Terziev, Angulo; Dyakov, Fábio Espinho; Mihail Aleksandrov, Marcelinho, Abalo; Bezjak.
• Out: Minev (suspended)more to review here
Atlético Madrid vs Malmo
Champions League: Malmo coach Age Hareide issues warning to Atletico Madrid
Malmo coach Age Hareide has warned Atletico Madrid not to expect as comfortable a Champions League evening as they experienced a fortnight ago when the two teams clash again in Sweden on Tuesday.
Although Malmo managed to hold Atletico scoreless in the first half of their match at the Vicente Calderon on matchday three, the Primera Division champions ran riot after the break to record a 5-0 victory - Malmo's biggest European defeat in 44 years.
That left Atletico at the top of Group A on six points, the same as Olympiacos and three clear of Juventus and Malmo, and Diego Simeone's men could take a huge step towards the last 16 with another win on Tuesday.
However, Hareide has pointed out his side are no pushovers at their Malmo New Stadium and that they also still harbour ambitions of getting through the group themselves.
Asked if Tuesday's game will decide Malmo's fate, Hareide told Spanish newspaper Marca: "Well, if Juventus beat Olympiacos we'll still be in the running, but first we have to do the business against Atletico.read more here
Diego Costa was a fool to Leave Atletico Madrid
President of Atletico Madrid Enrique Cerezo has claimed Diego Costa was “weak” to quit the club for for Chelsea.
Cerezo cashed in after Costa’s 35 goals shot the club to the Spanish League title and into the final of last season’s Champions League.
Since arriving at Chelsea for £32million in the summer, the Brazil-born Spain striker has hit nine goals in eight appearances to help the Blues stay top of the league.
But Cerezo said: “He’s one of the best strikers in the world. His departure was rushed through because he had a moment of weakness and he couldn’t say no.
“If the same were to happen now, he wouldn’t leave. The financial side was not so great for us. We received around 50% of what had been discussed.” more here
Diego Simeone tells Malmo to 'bring it
Diego Simeone says he hopes Malmo come out and attack Atletico Madrid when they meet in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
Last season's Champions League runners-up currently sit joint top of Group A with Olympiakos after they beat the Swedish side 5-0 on matchday three at the Vicente Calderon.
Simeone expects the Swedish side to play more expansively at home and admits he would welcome that approach.
"We know what Malmo need and their characteristics on their own pitch," he said at a press conference. "They play with more intensity and with more of an attacking game. We must be attentive and respond in the best way.
"From what I have seen on TV and in videos they are a team that play 4-4-2 at home, although I don't think they will play with that system against us. Against Olympiakos they did it and then changed to a 3-5-2. I hope to play against that system.
"Since pre-season we've wanted more posession and to combine well. Last year we combined Diego Costa, Koke and Gabi, but now we need more people to play with Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Raul Garcia."here
Liverpool vs Real Madrid
Sterling and Manquillo. I love Manquillo and Moreno. Hope their English improves enough for them to start giving interviews in the language
Moreno and Manquillo always seem to hang with Balotelli and Sterling.
Real Madrid- training the day before the match. To them, it's on a Tuesday.
Bale and his headband
Marcello at Press Conference, asked about Ancelotti if he wanted him to stay on, and other stuff
Ancelotti and um...that James fellow
Arsenal vs Anderlecht
Per and um... Lukas Podolski
These lads have jokes
Wayment. He's still alive?
Alexis Sanchez being Alexis Sanchez. How's his English coming on. Does anyone know?
Some of y'all thirst. Even though he's Welsh. Love yourselves
one day, I'll surprise myself and find un monton de pics on the Anderlecht players. Not today
Dennis Praet. RPF fantasies are made from poses like this
Dortmund vs Galatasaray
great sense of humour, guys
If Reus does come to England, expect him to be trussed and stuck on a GQ cover sharpish.
Tin Tin in training
Gossip from the Sidelines
Steven Gerrard's signal flare seems to be gathering attention. Manchester City, MLS (noooo, don't go there), and Rafa Benitez from Napoli is said to be getting in on the action.
- Police called in to investigate racial abuse against Yaya Toure on twitter
- Albania to appeal to UEFA for the abandoned Euro qualifier against Serbia here
- Another think piece on Mario Balotelli-why always him?
- Real Sociedad's manager sacked, Moyes might be his replacement. He's on a short list. Factoid of the day: Real Sociedad has had British managers at its helm before. Xabi Alonso actually got his recall to the team under a Welshman (he'd been struck off) so a Brit heading Basque football club isn't news read more here.
- Real Madrid is just trolling now, tbh Iker Casillas is planning to swap shirts with Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli... but not at half time
- African Cup of Nations is a go! more here
- Newcastle United’s Jonás Gutiérrez get all-clear after cancer treatment. Good times
OP: Hoping for a Dortmund win, because they've been having a tough time, and I hate seeing Kloppo sad. As for Liverpool- I'd take character and fighting spirit right now, tbh. I'm tired of moping and doing dodgy rpf fills to assuage my pain of all my teams flopping across the board. I've started writing them in Spanish now, the struggle is real.