Featured Matches
Previous
Aston Villa
Hull City
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Leicester City
Arsenal
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Lazio
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Villarreal
Barcelona
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Hull City
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Leicester City
Arsenal
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Villarreal
Barcelona
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Rayo Vallecano
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Real Madrid
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Elche
Granada
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mainz
Hannover 96
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Freiburg
Borussia Monchengladbach
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Lazio
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atalanta
Hellas Verona
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cesena
Parma
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Genoa
Napoli
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Palermo
Sampdoria
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sassuolo
Cagliari
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Torino
Internazionale
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Udinese
Empoli
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bordeaux
Bastia
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Metz
Lyon
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Paris Saint-Germain
St Etienne
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Bristol City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundee
Celtic
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Llagostera
Leganes
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Betis
Numancia
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Gijon
Ponferradina
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alavés
Recreativo Huelva
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mallorca
Las Palmas
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
FC Ingolstadt 04
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
SV Darmstadt 98
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
VfL Bochum
11:30 AM GMT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
Vitesse Arnhem
0
0
LIVE 23'
Game Details
FC Groningen
Ajax Amsterdam
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
NAC Breda
PEC Zwolle
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Twente Enschede
Feyenoord Rotterdam
2:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
MVV Maastricht
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gil Vicente
Maritimo
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Penafiel
Paços de Ferreira
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Arouca
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Porto
Moreirense
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Benfica
Sporting Lisbon
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
CSKA Moscow
Rostov
4
0
LIVE 64'
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
FC Ufa
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lokomotiv Moscow
Zenit St Petersburg
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Krasnodar
Dinamo Moscow
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Erciyesspor
Trabzonspor
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sivasspor
Gaziantepspor
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Akhisar Belediye
Postp
Game Details
Caykur Rizespor
Genclerbirligi
Postp
Game Details
Fenerbahce
Karabukspor
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Asteras Tripoli
Levadiakos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Xanthi
Kerkyra
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Niki Volos
Atromitos
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Platanias
PAOK Salonika
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Panathinaikos
Panionios
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Brugge
Anderlecht
12:30 PM GMT
Game Details
KSC Lokeren
Standard Liege
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Royal Charleroi SC
KV Mechelen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
SV Grodig
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silkeborg IF
AaB
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
Esbjerg
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Nordsjaelland
Brøndby
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Odense BK
FC Copenhagen
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
IFK
Kalmar FF
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
IFK Norrkoping
AIK
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Djurgarden
Malmo FF
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Elfsborg
Falkenbergs FF
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Halmstad
Postp
Game Details
Orebro SK
Brommapojkarna
Postp
Game Details
Lillestrom
Haugesund
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
IK Start
Sogndal
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stabaek
Sandnes Ulf
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Viking FK
Rosenborg
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SK Brann
Molde
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Grasshoppers
FC Vaduz
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
St Gallen
FC Zürich
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Basel
Young Boys
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
DC United
New York Red Bulls
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chivas USA
Los Angeles Galaxy
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
Veracruz
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guadalajara
Cruz Azul
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Edmonton
Minnesota United FC
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Belgrano de Córdoba
Atletico Rafaela
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente
Racing Club
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Rafaela
Gimnasia La Plata
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Boca Juniors
Vélez Sarsfield
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
San Lorenzo
River Plate
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Santos FC
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Corinthians
Fluminense FC
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
Atlético MG
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
São Paulo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Criciúma
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Flamengo
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Goiás EC
Atletico Paranaense
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gremio
Bahia
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad Católica
O'Higgins
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Unión La Calera
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cobresal
Cobreloa
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Municipal Iquique
Barnechea
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Audax Italiano
Ñublense
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atenas
Racing (U)
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rampla Juniors
River Plate
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rentistas
Sud América
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wanderers
Danubio F.C.
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro
Juventud
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Peñarol
Tacuarembó FC
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Envigado
Deportivo Pasto
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
Atlético Junior
8:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Once Caldas
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Medellín
Aguilas Doradas
10:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Millonarios
Independiente Santa Fe
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Cristal
Los Caimanes
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Huancayo
UTC
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Inti Gas Deportes
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Olimpia
Cerro Porteño
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sportivo Luqueño
General Díaz
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rubio Ñú
Deportivo Capiatá
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Guaraní
Libertad
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
El Nacional
Mushuc Runa
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
U. Católica
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Deportivo Cuenca
Deportivo Quito
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Olmedo
Liga de Loja
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Barcelona
LDU Quito
9:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Emelec
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Venezuela
Deportivo Anzoategui
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Petare
Carabobo
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes de Mérida
Deportivo Lara
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Llaneros
Tucanes
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mineros
Caracas F.C.
Postp
Game Details
Portuguesa
Zulia
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
Nacional Potosí
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Wilstermann
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Potosí
San José
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
Bolívar
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Oriente Petrolero
Blooming
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mamelodi Sundowns
Amazulu
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Silver Stars
Bloem Celtic
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cartagines
Perez Zeledon
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Belen
Carmelita
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad De Costa Rica
Limon
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Sport Uruguay
Saprissa
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Malacateco
Xelaju
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Suchitepequez
Petapa
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Coatepeque
Universidad de San Carlos
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Penarol
Municipal
Postp
Postponed - now being played Fri,Oct 3
Game Details
C.D.Real Sociedad
Vida
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
CD Motagua
Olimpia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Marathon
Real Espana
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Seattle Reign FC
FC Kansas City
ESPN2 7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Manchester CityManchester City
Stoke CityStoke City
0
1
FT
Game Details
Newcastle UnitedNewcastle United
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
3
3
FT
Game Details
Aug 27, 2011

Benzema ready to flourish at Real

The delay to the start of the La Liga season may be frustrating Spanish football fans, but nobody will be as eager for the new campaign to begin as Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Pronounced 'dead' by Marca after failing to shine in a Copa del Rey match at third-tier Murcia last October, the Frenchman belatedly seized his opportunity when Gonzalo Higuaín was sidelined by a back injury in December and he has not looked back. Having lost seven kilos over the summer break, the 23-year-old scored nine goals in eight pre-season matches and will start the season as Real Madrid's first-choice centre forward.

"I'm at 100% and I have no physical problems," he told L'Equipe. "During the holidays I didn't stop playing football. I played with my friends. Above all I've taken control of my fitness and you can see it on the pitch."

The image that Benzema has presented in pre-season - lithe, happy and relaxed - seems a world away from the shy, slightly uncertain 21-year-old who arrived in Madrid, barely able to mumble a word of Spanish, in the summer of 2009. Despite the €35 million transfer fee, and the reported interest from Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United, there was an air of afterthought about his arrival. Where 90,000 fans flocked to the Bernabeu to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo to the club and 55,000 came to Kaka's official presentation, only 20,000 supporters turned up for Benzema's unveiling. A star, yes, but not a true galactico.

Benzema scored on his debut in a 1-0 pre-season win at Shamrock Rovers but then wilted in the face of the competition from Higuaín, whose 27 goals saw him finish second only to Lionel Messi in the 2009-10 Pichichi standings. Benzema ended the season with just nine goals in all competitions, costing him his place in France's 2010 World Cup squad, and then had to suffer the humiliation of being implicated in an under-age prostitution scandal alongside France team-mates Franck Ribery and Sidney Govou.

Having inherited the No. 9 shirt from Ronaldo, who took the No. 7 jersey vacated by Raul, he promised that the 2010-11 season would be "my year", but immediately fell foul of new coach Jose Mourinho. Irked by Benzema's lack of application, Mourinho took to upbraiding him in training - echoing the treatment that Benzema's hero, the Brazilian Ronaldo, had received from one of Mourinho's predecessors, Fabio Capello. "I'll have to schedule training at midday for you, because at 10 o'clock you arrive asleep and at 11 o'clock you're still sleeping," was one Mourinho barb reported by Marca.

A member of France's feted '1987 generation' - alongside Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Hatem Ben Arfa - Benzema was part of the France squad that won the Under-17 European Championship in 2004 and, upon graduating from the Lyon academy, he ambled straight into one of the greatest club sides in French history. Preternaturally gifted and having only ever known success, the allegation was that Benzema did not possess the stomach to impose himself at one of Europe's grandest clubs. "He's not used to working," admitted Laurent Blanc.

It was against this backdrop that Benzema's professional death was announced by Marca, only for fortune to smile on him when Higuaín was diagnosed with a slipped disc that kept him out of action until April. Mourinho's noisy campaign to bring a new striker to the club having failed, the Portuguese had no choice but to turn to Benzema and at last the Frenchman responded. A goal at Ajax in the Champions League was followed by a hat-trick against Auxerre and then another triple in an 8-0 demolition of Levante in the cup three days before Christmas.

Smiling rather than sullen, his arm frequently draped across the shoulders of his changing room ally Ronaldo, the image of Benzema in the Spanish press was transformed. Although only selected to start one of the four clasicos in the spring - and despite competition from loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor - he finished the campaign with 26 goals. "Mourinho is very different to the coaches I've known before," he said. "Does he have to pull me by the ears? Yes, often. But it does me good."

His delayed impact at Real mirrors his growing importance to France, for whom he had been the No. 9 in waiting ever since he made his Lyon debut aged 17 in a league match against Metz in January 2005. After netting in a crucial Euro 2012 qualifying win away to Bosnia-Herzegovina last September, he was also on target in prestige friendly wins over England and Brazil. "I think he's moved up a level," observed his former Lyon colleague Hugo Lloris. "He is France's most important player today."

Mourinho has gradually come to appreciate that, although he does not possess Higuain's dead-eyed coolness in front of goal, Benzema is a more cunning operator in the key areas on the periphery of the opposition's penalty box. He demonstrated as much in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup loss to Barcelona, ghosting away from Eric Abidal before sliding a measured pass to Mesut Ozil for the opening goal.

His goal in the return leg, meanwhile, was the work of a striker in peak form. Thwarted at the first attempt by Victor Valdes, when the ball returned to him a second later he adjusted his feet in the blink of an eye to stab home a left-footed shot that, in its alertness and economy of movement, bore the hallmark of the great goalscorers.

The patience from which Benzema has benefited at Real may owe something to the influence of Zinedine Zidane in the corridors of power at the Bernabeu, and it is to Zidane that thoughts most readily turn when Benzema is on his game. There is a thoughtful deliberateness and a sinewy elegance to Benzema that recalls Zidane at his most beguiling, right down to the way the youngster cajoles the ball with the outside of his foot when in possession.

Real have already taken one shaven-headed and softly spoken Frenchman of Algerian descent to their hearts. If Benzema gets the better of Barcelona this season, he will be remembered just as fondly.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.