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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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 By Michael Cox
16 hours ago

Liverpool and Real Madrid's midfields have evolved since their last meeting

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers addressed Mario Balotelli's goal-scoring slump and says it's only a matter of time before he starts turning them in.

Liverpool's 5-0 aggregate victory over Real Madrid in the 2008-09 Champions League was arguably the genuine highlight of Rafael Benitez's six-year reign at Anfield.

OK, it didn't involve actually winning a trophy, like in the 2005 European Cup final, but as an exhibition of pure footballing brilliance, it was unparalleled. Even the most ardent Liverpool fan recognises Liverpool were far from brilliant in 2005, but defeating Real Madrid 5-0 was truly extraordinary.

The two performances were notable...

1 day ago

Champions League 50-50 Challenge: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol gives his take on Brendan Rodgers' comments on a struggling Mario Balotelli.

It's a clash of European royalty at Anfield on Wednesday as five-time winners Liverpool welcome holders and 10-time champions Real Madrid. Steven Kelly (Liverpool) and Rob Train (Real Madrid) preview the week's big clash in Europe.

So, is Cristiano Ronaldo the greatest player to have played at Anfield?

Steven Kelly: North-west England rivalry dictates that I should probably say "no" here! It's also easy to play the age card and confess that I'm old enough to remember Johan Cruyff visiting Anfield...

3 days ago

Player ratings: Stellar Isco does everything right in Levante rout

Madrid crush Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia led by a brace by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Isco, center, had a sharp goal, a nice assist and also tracked back on defence well against Levante.

Real Madrid returned to La Liga action on Saturday and continued where they left off before the international break in hitting five goals and keeping a clean sheet against a side struggling at the wrong end of the division.

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Carlo Ancelotti made a host of changes, some forced and some with next week's big matches against Liverpool and Barcelona firmly in mind, but the result was never really in doubt against Levante, who have yet to score at home and have lost every match in their own backyard....

3 days ago

Three points: Real Madrid easily take care of business vs. Levante

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 15th goal in only the eighth game of the season, a new Liga record.

VALENCIA, Spain -- Three things we learned from Real Madrid's straightforward 5-0 victory at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Saturday afternoon's La Liga meeting.

1. Madrid warm up nicely for big week

This was billed as a possible banana skin for Madrid, who were heading to Levante straight after the international break, in a stadium where they had just two -- very narrow -- wins in their last five visits.

But instead it was a stroll in the Valencian sunshine, with the three points all but...

 By Rob Train
4 days ago

Madrid licking their lips at prospect of Levante, with away goals on the menu

Toni Kroos became one of the world's most expensive players this year and is proving his worth as he finds his feet with Real Madrid in La Liga.

In many ways, UD Levante are a model side in financial terms in the Liga landscape. More or less solvent with few and manageable debts, the club operates on one of the lowest budgets in the division and relies heavily on loan deals, its youth system and the occasional splash on a sage signing -- Felipe Caicedo being a case in point.

The Ecuadorian signed for Levante on loan for the 2010-11 season -- the side's second back in the top flight -- banged in 13 league goals to help keep the club out of...

6 days ago

Luck on Real Madrid's side as dreaded FIFA virus is avoided

ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Sid Lowe reacts to Vicente del Bosque's decision to start David de Gea over Iker Casillas.

"The FIFA virus" is a term that leaves us with little doubt that club managers are not overly keen on their best players travelling across land and sea to risk their fitness level for a cause that doesn't help the club that pay their wages.

The term is used frequently at Real Madrid, a club that is lucky enough to have some of the best players on the planet on its books but one that also sees the majority of those players drift off to all corners of the globe when international fixtures come calling....