Ronaldo says La Liga is best in the world

Updated 10 November 2012
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Ronaldo says La Liga is best in the world

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo is adamant this season’s La Liga title will once again be a tale of two teams, despite his Real Madrid side sitting in third position, eight points behind leaders Barcelona and five from Atletico Madrid.
“I’m sure it will be just the two of us, I don’t want to rule out anyone else, but I think it will be between us and Barca again,” he said.
“I don’t remember in the last ten years a rivalry like the one we have, it’s good for the game.
“Football fans are enjoying something unique, players from the past say that this league is harder than ever so I think the Spanish league is the best in the world right now, with the best two teams and the best players.” he told CNN.
On Sunday, Madrid face a tough trip to Levante as they attempt to close the gap on Barca, who must quickly recover from the midweek Champions League defeat at Celtic with an away game at Mallorca.
Levante has proven to be a difficult place for Madrid in recent seasons, having lost 1-0 last term after a 0-0 draw there in 2010.
And Ronaldo may be asked to play as the lone striker as Jose Mourinho’s side go into the game with key strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema definitely out.
Higuain limped from Madrid’s Champions League draw with Borussia Dortmund at half time last Tuesday, shifting the focus of his side’s injury problems from defense to attack.
Players in contention for a rare start in attacking positions for ‘los blancos’ are Jose Callejon, who impressed as a second-half substitute against Borussia, and reserve team striker Alvaro Morata.
Portuguese full-back Fabio Coentrao is back in training and could play some part after a long absence.
Spain international Gerard Pique may start for Barca after seven weeks out with an ankle injury.
The center half played the final 20 minutes in Glasgow on Wednesday and with defensive partner Carles Puyol also a long term casualty, it would be a welcome boost to a side that has conceded an uncustomary amount of goals in his absence. Barca have shipped 14 goals in 11 games, despite only one loss at Celtic, since Pique had to leave the pitch against Spartak Moscow in mid-Septmeber.
Coach Tito Vilanova is looking to steadily improve all aspects of his defense after suffering further injuries to defenders Adriano, Dani Alves and Jordi Alba since the season began.
Barca’s opponents, Mallorca, were thrashed 5-0 by Madrid in their own stadium a fortnight ago and have now lost five straight league games since their promising start to the season.
Atletico, the side sandwiched between the two giants, face a home derby on Sunday with Getafe.
Coach Diego Simeone will look for his side to bounce back after two defeats this week, with last Saturday’s 2-0 reverse at Valencia coming after 13 straight wins.
Almost certain qualification from the group stage of the Europa League means Atletico have turned full attention to their push at the summit of La Liga.
Fixtures (all times GMT)
Saturday:
Rayo Vallecano v Celta (1500), Espanyol v Osasuna (1700), Zaragoza v Deportivo (1900), Malaga v Real Sociedad Barcelona (2100)
Sunday: Valladolid v Valencia (1100), Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla (1500), Mallorca v Barcelona (1650), Atletico Madrid v Getafe (1845), Real Madrid v Levante (2030).


Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 2-1 away to take control of semifinal

Updated 25 April 2018
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Real Madrid beat Bayern Munich 2-1 away to take control of semifinal

MUNICH: Real Madrid substitute Marco Asensio scored a second-half winner on Wednesday to end Bayern Munich’s unbeaten record at home this season and give his side a 2-1 win in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
Joshua Kimmich had put the home side in front, but Marcelo equalized before the interval. Asensio came after the break and Lukas Vazquez set up the 22-year-old to claim Madrid’s second away goal 12 minutes into the second half.
The result puts the two-time defending champions in a favorable position before the second leg in Madrid next Tuesday, though Zinedine Zidane’s side will be wary after conceding three goals at home to Juventus in the previous round.
Bayern had to substitute the injured Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng in the first half, but the side had plenty of chances to score more goals with Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski all missing good opportunities.
Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless for the first time in the competition this season. The Portuguese star had an effort ruled out in the second half for using his arm to control the ball.
Bayern, which is chasing a treble in Jupp Heynckes’ last season in charge, was hoping to make up for last year’s exit to Madrid, and for the Spanish side’s 5-0 aggregate win at the same stage in 2014.