Rodriguez

Do Real Madrid need $107 million James Rodriguez? Where will he play?

12 Comments

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player.

The 23-year-old Colombian attacker completed his $107 million from AS Monaco to Real Madrid on Tuesday and will be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu to thousands of adoring fans. Rodriguez has completed his dream move, but do Real really need him?

[RELATED: Rodriguez seals $107 million move ]

Ever since the AS Monaco forward took the 2014 World Cup by storm this summer and won the Golden Boot by scoring six goals in just five games, his name was linked with every top club in Europe. Quotes attributed to him spoke of his “dream to play for Real” and now that dream has become a reality.

However when you look around at the attacking players Real possess, it does seem a little over the top to add Rodriguez to the mix. Cristiano Ronaldo. Gareth Bale. Angel di Maria. Karim Benzema. Isco. Jese. Toni Kroos.

Yeah, it will be a tight squeeze to get into Real’s starting lineup this season. Warning: understatement alert.

Di Maria is the only star who looks likely to leave as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been rumored to swoop in for the Argentine, but the others are likely to remain. Rodriguez is said to have been handed the No. 10 jersey for Real which gives us a good indication as to where he will play.

[RELATED: Where does James transfer fee rank all-time?]

With Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo likely to hold the top three spots in a 4-3-3 formation, James could play at the head of a three man central midfield with two from Xabi Alonso, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sami Khedira behind him. With his penchant for making goals and smashing in long-range efforts like this one vs. Uruguay at the World Cup, this could be the perfect spot for Rodriguez. He hasn’t got the blistering pace of Ronaldo or Bale but he’s wonderfully gifted with the ball at his feet, has an eye for a pass and has a knack of wiggling out of tackles.

Wherever he lines up for Real, it’s likely he will interchange seamlessly with Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo to create what is perhaps the greatest front-four soccer has ever seen. After all, the transfer fees alone for those four players cost Madrid over $438.2 million.

Maybe Madrid didn’t need Rodriguez but now they have him, and the rest of Europe is shuddering at the thought of the “fantastic four” ripping it up in the UEFA Champions League once again next season.

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)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

meninblazers
Leave a comment

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:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

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)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.