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Author Archive for Sid Lowe at the Bernabéu

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Real Madrid begin Champions League defence by easing to win over Roma

It was just one night in Madrid but by the end of it, Real’s fans left the Santiago Bernabéu wondering if this team might be better than the one that won three European Cups in a row.Zinedine Zidane has gone, Cristiano Ronaldo has gone too, sent off 40…

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Zinedine Zidane: it was better for Real Madrid to suffer in win over Bayern

• Manager hails refusal to give in after reaching European Cup final• Bayern Munich lament crucial errors after dominating semi-finalZinedine Zidane admitted it was not good for the heart and that Real Madrid had “suffered” to reach a third European Cu…

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Real Madrid resist Bayern Munich onslaught after Sven Ulreich’s blunder

Real Madrid always find a way, they say, and somehow they did – all the way to a third consecutive European Cup final. For so long, they had the Bavarians at the gates, the Santiago Bernabéu gripped by fear, but when a wild, tense night was finally ove…

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‘Referee has a rubbish bin where his heart should be,’ says Gianluigi Buffon

• Juventus goalkeeper lets fly at English referee Michael Oliver• ‘It was one tenth of a penalty,’ claims sent-off BuffonThe Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon criticised the English referee Michael Oliver, saying he has a “rubbish bin” where his heart sh…

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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks Juventus with added-time penalty for Real Madrid

Real Madrid are in the semi-final of the Champions League for the eighth year in a row. That is no surprise; what is a surprise is that for so much of a dramatic, nervous night at the Santiago Bernabéu, it looked like they would not be. A Champions Lea…

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Madrid derby drawn as Real and Atlético finish with a goal apiece

“Neither of us can compete to win the league,” the Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo, said. If it was true before the game when he said it, it is even more true after it. A 1-1 draw, secured with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Greizman…

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Cristiano Ronaldo double propels Real Madrid to comeback win over PSG

Unai Emery said the preparation for this game started at the Camp Nou last season, but he cannot have meant like this. It was not three goals in seven minutes and it is not decisive yet, but Paris Saint-Germain did concede twice in the last seven minut…

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Harry Kane relishes Real Madrid experience but key moment proves elusive | Sid Lowe

Tottenham’s top scorer could not find the decisive finishing touch at the Bernabéu but still made an impact that demonstrates how far he has comeA backheel at the Bernabéu. Well, that’s quite a baptism. Or it would have been if, as most of this stadium…

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Two goals by Isco and an Álvaro Morata strike help Spain sink Italy

Spain are on the way to the World Cup, and it’s going to be fun watching them there. A 3-0 victory over Italy represents a huge step towards Russia 2018; just as significantly, it may represent another step towards Spain being Spain once again. As the final minutes ticked away, the Bernabéu bounced. They had enjoyed this and so had their team. Isco had just been withdrawn to a huge ovation. The man they call “Magic” had twice bamboozled Marco Verratti, first rolling the ball between his legs, then flicking it over his head. He had also scored twice to give Spain the lead before Álvaro Morata, on as a substitute, added the third.

As Isco departed, the embodiment of a new, exciting, skilful generation, he gave way for David Villa – back in the national team after 1,167 days. That mix – Iniesta, Silva, Villa, Asensio, Isco, Koke – is an impressive one. Here, they dominated Italy almost from the start. Without a striker for most of the night, Spain sought control. The goals came naturally. They also came early. Only 12 minutes had gone when Isco lifted a free kick over the wall and into the net. It was neatly struck but Gianluigi Buffon was a little slow to react.

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Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success

• Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 5-1); Asensio 4, Benzema 39
• Rivals pile on the misery for Barcelona

The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André ter Stegen, but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying this – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him.

By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow.

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Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success

• Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 5-1); Asensio 4, Benzema 39
• Rivals pile on the misery for Barcelona

The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André ter Stegen, but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying this – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him.

By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow.

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‘Unique’ Cristiano Ronaldo benefits from Zinedine Zidane’s guidance

• Real Madrid striker praised after Champions League hat-trick
• Zidane: ‘He knows himself that sometimes he has to not play’

Zinedine Zidane descried Cristiano Ronaldo as “unique” while Toni Kroos called him “incredible” after the striker hit a hat-trick in the 3-0 defeat of Atlético Madrid to carry Real to the verge of a third Champions League final in four years.

Related: Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick ensures Real Madrid turn the screw on Atlético

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Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick sees Real Madrid turn the screw on Atlético

The Bernabéu bounced and burst into song, the lyrics ringing around this arena the same that had adorned the huge banner unfurled at the south end before the kick-off. “Tell me how it feels,” they gloated. High in the north end, Atlético’s supporters sat in silence, stunned. This felt terrible. It was happening again, the pain unbearable. For a fourth consecutive year, they had met their rivals and for a fourth consecutive year they had fallen.

There will be another meeting between these sides but like all those derbies from an era of dominance Atlético thought they had left behind, it is likely to be irrelevant. Real were leading 3-0, on course for a third final in three years. Five times Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final; three times he scored against Atlético in the semi-final. The first leg of the semi-final, that is. The first came after 10 minutes, the last after 86. In between them, Atlético did not manage a shot on target for the first time this season.

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Lionel Messi sinks Real Madrid in thriller to keep Barcelona in race

The very last kick of the Clásico could not have been more perfectly executed, nor more significant, Lionel Messi guiding the ball inside the post and carrying his team to the top of the table. Just when it seemed that all was lost, there may be life in the La Liga title race after all; there may be life in Barcelona too. With five games to go, Barcelona are leaders on head-to-head goal difference, and although Real Madrid have a game in hand, nothing feels impossible now.

Just 30 seconds earlier, it had done. James had scored with five minutes to go, seemingly earning Madrid a draw that was a victory too: it was a goal that appeared an appropriate way to virtually win the league: down to 10 men, scored late, and by a substitute too, yet another comeback and this time it was set to be decisive, supporters in the stadium exploding.

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Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick seals Real Madrid’s win over Bayern Munich

Real Madrid are in the semi-final of the Champions League for the seventh year in a row after they defeated Bayern Munich 4-2 at the Bernabéu but that does not begin to tell the story. So much happened, so good was this game, that it is difficult to know how to begin it, in fact. Maybe there is no way; this will be picked over for a long time; it lasted for a long time, too: 120 wonderful minutes, 110 of them tense, exciting, the fate of these old European giants always on edge until, late on, Marcelo ran right the way through and finally ended it.

But even starting at the end, with that run and with Cristiano Ronaldo getting a hat-trick after 109 minutes, with Marco Asensio scoring another soon after, seems inadequate to explain this match. It is not even enough to describe the way that Marcelo made it, although that might just have been the best moment of a special night that ended with a huge, relieved and delighted ovation. For so long this was a gift for football fans – as long as they do not support Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

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Casemiro stunner hands Real Madrid the edge against brave Napoli

It was fun and there is more to come. Ninety minutes, four goals, more chances and an important lead for Real Madrid to take to Italy: that was the balance from an enjoyable night at the Bernabéu where the hosts came from a goal behind to defeat Napoli 3-1. The first chance came after just 20 seconds, the first goal after seven minutes, superbly curled in by Lorenzo Insigne, followed by strikes from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro. Until the last minute this felt open. It still is, in fact. Next stop, San Paolo.

Maurizio Sarri had insisted that his team would attack Madrid, even if to do so was “madness”. He said: “The only thing I won’t accept is a fearful performance.” He did not get one, and that felt like something to be grateful for, but nor did he get the result he sought. Zinedine Zidane did not either, but by the end he could be happy with what he had seen and there was generous applause from all around the ground at the final whistle. Sarri always knew that defeat was possible. “If we lose,” he said, “well, it was against the best team in the world”.

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Casemiro stunner hands Real Madrid the edge against brave Napoli

It was fun and there is more to come. Ninety minutes, four goals, more chances and an important lead for Real Madrid to take to Italy: that was the balance from an enjoyable night at the Bernabéu where the hosts came from a goal behind to defeat Napoli 3-1. The first chance came after just 20 seconds, the first goal after seven minutes, superbly curled in by Lorenzo Insigne, followed by strikes from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro. Until the last minute this felt open. It still is, in fact. Next stop, San Paolo.

Maurizio Sarri had insisted that his team would attack Madrid, even if to do so was “madness”. He said: “The only thing I won’t accept is a fearful performance.” He did not get one, and that felt like something to be grateful for, but nor did he get the result he sought. Zinedine Zidane did not either, but by the end he could be happy with what he had seen and there was generous applause from all around the ground at the final whistle. Sarri always knew that defeat was possible. “If we lose,” he said, “well, it was against the best team in the world”.

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Madrid given another derby day as Real match Atlético in Champions League | Sid Lowe

Spain’s capital rejoices because – for the second time in three seasons – the city’s teams are in the final after Zinedine Zidane’s side defeat Manchester City

The night before had been Neptune’s, now it was Cibeles’s turn. Madrid’s clubs will have their day; they also have their deities, and not just Saúl Ñíguez, Antoine Griezmann and Gareth Bale, the men whose goals mean that they will meet again. Another night, another party, in honour of a second European Cup final in two years. From Lisbon 2014 to Milan 2016. “Real Madrid’s fans love the Champions League,” Cristiano Ronaldo said; “it was beautiful to suffer,” Fernando Torres said. For this reward, it was, too – but better still to celebrate.

Related: Manchester City suffer as Fernando own goal hands semi-final to Real Madrid

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Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick takes Real Madrid into semi-finals

Cristiano Ronaldo bent his knees in time to the clapping that rang round the Santiago Bernabéu, took a deep breath, shoulders heaving, and began his run-up, hitting the ball past the wall and into the net to complete his hat-trick and carry Real Madrid through to the Champions League semi-finals. There were 15 minutes to go and nervous moments ahead but his 13th, 14th and 15th goals in this season’s competition were enough to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

As the ball hit the net, Ronaldo raced to the corner. It was not over yet but Madrid were close now and for the first time in over two-and-a-half hours of football, they were in front on aggregate. Wolfsburg could not find the away goal that would change everything – nor could Madrid end the nerves until the final whistle went, Karim Benzema and Jesé both forcing saves but, ultimately, Ronaldo’s goal won it.

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Atlético Madrid wreck Real title hopes through Antoine Griezmann

Real Madrid’s anthem, blasted out over the loudspeakers at the Santiago Bernabéu at the full time whistle, could not drown out the whistles as a 1-0 derby defeat saw them virtually bid farewell to the league title for another season. Around the stadium, some waved white hankies in protest. A few minutes before, as the final minutes ticked away, there had been fans chanting for the club’s president Florentino Pérez to resign – 10 years to the day since the last time he walked out with the original galáctico project collapsing around him.

It is still February but a solitary league title in eight seasons does not just look possible, it now looks probable, after Antoine Griezmann’s second half goal gave Atlético victory in a largely dull derby. There could be few real complaints from Madrid about a result that leaves them nine points behind Barcelona, who have a game in hand tomorrow night. It also leaves them four points behind Atlético, who have now defeated them here in the league in each of the last three seasons.

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