Gareth Bale Officially Unveiled At Real Madrid

Gareth Bale not guaranteed a starting spot at Real Madrid

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Despite his world record $132 million transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish giants Real Madrid, Welsh international Gareth Bale may have to bide his time to become a starter at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale, 24, was paraded in front of over 20,000 fans in Madrid on Monday after sealing his move from Spurs on the eve of the transfer deadline.

And as the newest Galactico gets used to the razzmatazz and rigmarole of playing for one of the world’s biggest teams, Bale could struggle to get into the staring lineup to begin with.

(MORE: Official, Gareth bale joins Real Madrid in word record $132 million deal)

“There’s a lot of competition for places – no-one will be guaranteed anything,” Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement said. “Coach Carlo Ancelotti has a clear idea how to use him but things can change.”

So, is this for real?

Can Madrid really go out and buy a player they’ve chased all summer-long and spent a world record amount of money on to then tell him, ‘Sorry Gareth, your on the bench today. Chin up.’

I find it hard to believe that will be the case.

Let’s look at the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Okay, Messi came through Barcelona’s academy so they didn’t pay anything for him but once he established himself, there’s no way he doesn’t start unless he’s injured. And after Real broke the transfer record last time out to buy Ronaldo from Manchester United, $124 million back in 2009, he hasn’t been dropped through lack of form and is a starter no matter what.

(MORE: Gareth Bale to Real Madrid – Where will he play?)

Even though Messi and Ronaldo are two of the greatest players this planet has ever seen, they have off days. But they’ve never really been lambasted or substituted if it’s not happening. They have a free pass as they’re the difference makers and are left on the pitch in the hope they can change the game in an instant, as they often do. Bale will be treated the same.

Clement’s role as an assistant coach is to look out for all the players interests in the Real squad and to try and keep everyone happy. Plenty of superstars will see Bale’s arrival threaten the number of minutes they get in a Real Madrid shirt. So I understand what he’s saying, no one player can be treated differently. But Ronaldo already is at Real and they will treat Bale in a similar manner. He’s too valuable not to play, both monetarily and in terms of the game-changing moments he can provide.

Expect to see both Bale and Ronaldo start every single week for Madrid. No matter how well they’re playing. Right?

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.