Gareth Bale

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La Liga roundup: 10-man Real Madrid hold off Celta in season opener

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Spain’s top flight is back, and here’s a roundup of all of Saturday’s action.

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Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid

If Real Madrid and Barcelona are, again, going to battle toe-to-toe for La Liga, consider the former team to have a head start.

Hours after Barca got the Aritz Aduriz treatment, Real Madrid – playing with 10 men for more than 40 minutes – took care of business, calmly beating Celta Vigo behind goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vasquez. Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric was sent off for a straight red in the 54th minute, while Gareth Bale, who stole headlines this summer after being rumored to leave time and time again, started and played 75 minutes.

Despite not having control of possession, the quality from Zinedine Zidane’s men was too much for Ruben Blanco. For instance, just look at Kroos’ strike from distance:

Celta, on the other hand, had a goal disallowed by VAR right before halftime, but still managed to spoil Thibaut Courtois‘ clean  in the dying minutes when Iker Losada, 18, scored two minutes after taking the field.

Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad

Four minutes into stoppage time, Kevin Gameiro had the picture-perfect opportunity to record a brace and seal three points for Valencia in their first showing of the new campaign.

In front of an anxious Mestalla, he missed.

And just six minutes later, in the final breathe of the match, Mikel Oyarzabal did what Gameiro failed to do: convert from the spot. The rumored Manchester City target was influential all match and, in the end, rewarded with a goal.

A tough pill to swallow, Valencia will now look to earn their first win against Celta Vigo, while Sociedad next stop in their three-game road trip to start the season is Mallorca.

Villareal 4-4 Granada 

It wasn’t the matchup the majority had circled on their calendars, but Villareal and Granda’s 4-4 draw proved to be the most entertaining game on Saturday. A pair of penalties and an own goal were a few of the goals that made up the eight-goal frenzy.

Santi Carzorla – looking healthier than ever before – opened things up from the spot 35 minutes in. In the 75th minute, another familiar face, Roberto Soldado, put Granada a goal away from the home side. Shortly after, in the 81st minute, Antonio Puertas bagged Granada’s fourth and the night’s final goal.

An eight-goal match in such fashion will be hard to top on Sunday, that’s for sure.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 0-1 Osasuna

RCD Mallorca 2-0 Eibar

Hazard injured, Bale could start as Real opens La Liga play

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After a summer of adding immense talent and spending wild money, the only thing that can get in Real Madrid’s way is Real Madrid.

As usual.

The kings of chaos bring their wildly talented team to La Liga play this weekend, and will have James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale in the fold while Eden Hazard possibly missing through a thigh injury.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man City v. Spurs ]

Yes, that’s the same Gareth Bale who managed Zinedine Zidane essentially publicly dismissed from his side. Yeah, the same James who has needed to take loans away from Real to see regular playing time.

Zidane seems to be happy that James is sticking around. As for Bale, well, Zidane seems to be happy that James is sticking around. From Marca.com:

“It seemed like Bale was going to leave, but he is here. I will count on him, just as I will with everyone else who is here. I hope that everyone in the team wants to make life difficult for me [in terms of team selection].

“The team is what it is, and this is the squad I have. The transfer window is open, and things can happen, but what matters now is Saturday’s game and the players that are here now.”

Cool, cool. Sounds like a delightful room.

[ RELATED: Dan Karell’s La Liga season primer ]

Anyway, it may just be Zidane’s demeanor, as he’s been quite a decent player’s coach over the years. It’s a 2.5 horse race as usual there, with Barca going for a 3-peat, Real well-stocked with talent, and Atletico Madrid a possibility as long as one Diego Simeone is setting up the traps.

Let’s do this, Spain.

Bale’s agent: Real Madrid called off China transfer

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Gareth Bale‘s agent has been talking about the collapse of Bale’s proposed move from Real Madrid to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.

Bale, 30, was set to earn $1.23 million per week in China but various reports have spread the blame for the deal not happening, as the move was called off on Sunday.

Sources close to the club said that Bale and his family want to stay in Europe so told his agent to look for other deals, while other reports suggest that Real’s president, Florentino Perez, and the board demanded a transfer fee for Bale at the last minute.

“Any stories suggesting that Gareth or his family were the reason the deal did not take place are completely false,” Barnett told Sky Sports.

He also told ESPN that Real Madrid “changed their minds” and that reports Bale didn’t didn’t want to go to China were “fake news” and nothing else.

Hmmm.

If Real did indeed change their minds at the last moment, this is a big, big problem for Zinedine Zidane.

His Real team have already lost talented attacker Marco Asensio for the season after he ruptured his ACL during the preseason win against Arsenal last week, while they were also battered 7-3 by crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid in New Jersey on Friday.

This has been a pretty horrible first preseason back in charge at Real for Zidane with injuries mounting up, and his failure to move on Bale after saying it was “best for everyone” if he left this summer is now undermining him. Especially if Real’s board didn’t want to sanction the move for the Welsh superstar as Jiangsu Suning weren’t going to pay a fee for him. They knew that not getting rid of Bale will make Zidane look quite silly.

What does this mean for Bale’s future?

The Chinese Super League transfer window shuts on Wednesday, so a move there now seems dead in the water. European clubs have yet to offer a permanent deal for him. Real have ruled out sending him on loan for the season.

Bale does have one option. He has three years left on his current contract and if things continue to go the way they are, Real could be in serious trouble in the opening months of the season and Zidane may be fired by December. That won’t change the fact that Bale is booed by his own fans and that he’s a little alienated from the rest of the squad, but Zidane being fired would give him a fresh start, of sorts.

This is now a massive power struggle and if Bale doesn’t want to leave, he probably won’t. That will cause Zidane a massive headache and further underline that the players have all the power, no matter which club you’re at.

A Premier League club could offer Bale an escape route with a loan deal in the final days of the summer window, but if Real weren’t keen to lose him to China for nothing, surely they won’t sanction sending him to the PL and subsidize some of his $620,000 per week wage in the process.

Transfer rumor roundup: Lukaku-Dybala swap; Moise Kean to Everton

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A roundup of Sunday’s biggest transfer rumors from around the world, including those involving a few Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Paulo Dybala was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the week, followed by the possibility of being included as part of a deal taking Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United to Juventus. However, the 25-year-old Argentine forward would prefer to stay at Juve under new manager Maurizio Sarri. Coming off a hugely disappointing season in 2018-19, on the heels of a breakout campaign in 2017-18, Dybala would probably be best off leaving Turin, and the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, for more plentiful chances elsewhere.


Juve winger Moise Kean is widely considered one of the brightest young prospects in all of Europe, which means that Everton signing the 19-year-old Italian would be a massive coup for the Toffees. Somehow, some way, they are the front-runners to acquire Kean, though Juve are reportedly insisting on a buy-back clause in any transfer agreement, just in case Kean ascends to superstardom in the near future.


Gareth Bale‘s proposed move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning has been canceled by the board at Real Madrid, as the directors believe it would represent too large of a loss on the precious world-record transfer fee. Bale would have left Madrid for no fee, with Jiangsu Suning unwilling to pay Madrid on top of offering the play $1.25-million weekly wages.


Patrick Cutrone’s arrival to Wolverhampton Wanderers is imminent, with the 21-year-old Italian forward only needing to complete his medical exams before an announcement later this week.

Report: Bale to stay at Real Madrid after move to China canceled

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Gareth Bale’s proposed transfer to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning has been called off by Real Madrid, according to a report from the BBC. The 30-year-old is now expected to remain in the Spanish capital for the upcoming season.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Bale was set to earn an astonishing $1.25 million per week upon completing the move, but it seems that someone at Madrid has had a change of heart at the last possible moment.

That someone is almost certainly not manager Zinedine Zidane, who just last week said, “We hope he leaves soon. It would be best for everyone” if Bale left the club immediately. Zidane announced that Bale was “very close to leaving.” Club president Florentino Perez is said to have blocked the transfer as he believes Bale is too valuable as a player to let him leave cheaply.

[ MORE: Rodgers not sweating Maguire links to Man United ]

Bale, who has helped to deliver four Champions League trophies to the Santiago Bernabeu in his six seasons at the club, has three years remaining on his current contract.