Cristano Ronaldo

Chile bests Portugal on penalty kicks to reach Confed Cup final

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Chile is on its way to the Confederations Cup final after a thrilling battle with Portugal on Wednesday afternoon.

The Chileans edged their European opposition, 0-0 (3-0 on penalty kicks), at Kazan Arena in Russia after goalkeeper Claudio Bravo made a trio of saves during the penalty shootout.

Arturo Vidal hit the post in the 119th minute from close range, before Martin Rodriguez’s rebound smashed off the crossbar and stayed out of goal to the dismay of the Chileans.

Chile had a legitimate claim for a penalty kick in the second half of extra time as Jose Fonte stepped on the foot of Francisco Silva inside the Portuguese area, but the referee opted to play on.

The South Americans thought they had picked out the lead just a few minutes into extra time when Alexis Sanchez’s header glanced just wide of goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo had several quality chances to break the deadlock during regulation, but none better than in the 72nd minute when the Real Madrid star had his deflected effort narrowly miss the top corner.

Chile began to find more of a rhythm during the second stanza, and Eduardo Vargas nearly gave his side the lead in the 59th minute when he acrobatically shot on goal, forcing a reaction save out of Rui Patricio.

Vargas had the first big chance for the South Americans in the sixth minute when he found himself in on goal against Patricio, but the Portuguese goalkeeper stood tall and made the save.

Meanwhile, Claudio Bravo found himself in a similar situation on the other end just a minute later, when the Manchester City keeper kept Portugal off the scoreboard.

Chile will meet the winner of Thursday’s contest between Mexico and Germany, while the Portuguese will await the loser of the match to decide third place.

Kaka: Ronaldo should “have more respect” from Real Madrid fans

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Boos have erupted at the Santiago Bernabeu this season for one of the world’s biggest stars.

[ MORE: Colombia, Argentina pick up big wins in CONMEBOL qualifying ]

Former Real Madrid playmaker and Orlando City SC midfielder Kaka feels that the jeers are unwarranted and disrespectful to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Via Cadena Cope:

“Cristiano is a great player, I am not just talking about his quality, but in terms of what he has contributed to Madrid,” Kaka said of Ronaldo.

“I would like to see the fans have more respect for Cristiano for what he has done for this club.

“Sometimes I hear whistles against Cristiano and it’s not good after all he has done.”

Ronaldo and Kaka were teammates from 2009 to 2013, and the Brazilian has always held the stance that he is among the world’s top players.

This raises the question: why are Madrid fans so upset with their world class attacker?

The fanbase can understandably be upset with the team’s results this season, especially given Barcelona’s success, however, to take their anger out on the Portuguese winger is simply uncalled for.

Ronaldo, 31, has shouldered the team’s goalscoring load this season, and then some. In La Liga matches alone, Ronaldo has notched 28 finishes for Los Blancos while also added another 13 goals in the UEFA Champions League.

For a team like Real that has become so accustomed to winning over their history it’s obviously a reality check to sit buried behind Barca and Atletico Madrid in La Liga this year, but the fans need to take a step back and appreciate the brilliance that Ronaldo has brought to the club.

[ MORE: Mexican federation tells fans to quiet anti-gay rhetoric ]

You know what they say: sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Follow @MattReedFutbol

WATCH: Valencia’s Alves stops Ronaldo PK, has himself a day in 2-2 draw with Real Madrid

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Real Madrid came back from a 2-0 deficit to keep its La Liga title hopes alive, but the 2-2 final score doesn’t quite relate the story of the match.

Witness these three saves from Diego Alves as proof.

The 29-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper played an incredible game between the sticks, only beaten by Pepe and a wonder goal from Isco.

[ RELATED: Mourinho hails the genius of Messi ]

The match at the Bernabeu was an absolute stunner — Iker Casillas made a clutch, late save for Madrid — but our money’s on this batch of saves.

Barcelona now has a four-point lead on Real Madrid with two matches to go in the La Liga campaign.

Diego Alves amazing save against Bale | La Liga... by brilche

With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended, Gareth Bale takes center stage against Real Sociedad

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Real Madrid’s two consecutive losses against Valencia in La Liga and Atletico Madrid in Copa del Rey Round 16 had Los Blancos, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact was limited in both matches.

Ronaldo has watched his heavily-talented squad get back on track as of late, retaining a three-game winning run in league play, but his chance to influence the outcome of Real’s next competition will not exist.

Gareth Bale, who is paced to best his 22-goal total from his first year (2013-14) at the Bernabeu, will replace Ronaldo against David Moyes’ Real Sociedad on Saturday. The three-time Ballon d’Or winner was suspended for two games, including this one, due to his hazardous challenge on Edimar in a 2-1 victory over Cordoba a week ago.

[RELATED: Ronaldo handed two-game ban]

“Top quality players have more to deal with, jersey pulls and fouls, but that is normal,” manager Carlo Ancelotti said of the situation. “[Cristiano] was the first to apologise for his reaction. He made a mistake, he knows that, and he apologized.”

Ancelotti detailed that the former Tottenham Hotspur standout will slot into the left wing spot, where Ronaldo usually performs. The Italian boss believes James Rodriquez is more suited for the right side.

“[Bale] will change his position,” he said to ESPN FC. “He will play on the left. I prefer to have James on the right wing. But we will play the same way. We will defend with a 4-4-2 and James will have a position further forward in attack. We are not going to change the system.”

[TRANSFER TALK: Bale dismisses Manchester United speculation | Iker to MLS?]

Regardless of the positioning of Madrid’s wealth of skilled footballers, Ancelotti shouldn’t endure much trouble against the Royals, who have only won once in their past five fixtures and sit in the middle of the table at 11th place.