Arturo Vidal Set to Finally Leave Barcelona This Summer Amid Inter Interest

​The drawn-out transfer sage that is Arturo Vidal and Inter may finally be reaching its natural end, it appears. 

I Nerazzurri have been long-term admirers of the Chilean midfielder, and their determination to enlist his services has only grown since his former coach Antonio Conte arrived at San Siro. But a move has never quite developed. That could all be about to change, though.

Vidal looked set to join Inter in the January transfer window, but a change in management at Barcelona meant that the deal was shelved, and the 32-year-old had the chance to play his way back into la Blaugrana’s plans for the future. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-BARCELONA

​But ​Calcio Mercato reports that Vidal and Barça are ready to go their separate ways, and with Conte still desperate to add the former Juventus star to his team, a summer transfer looks to be on the cards. 

​Barcelona are in need of stripping assets from their wage bill, and given Vidal has fancied a move to Inter since Christmas, his departure seems to be logical for all parties. 

The Catalan giants will demand a fee of around £10-15m for the tough-tackling midfielder, who despite his advancing years, is still more than capable of competing at the very highest level. 

Conte is keen to bolster his central options with players who have already won trophies and have the experience of success, and ​Vidal has all the credentials to be the Italian coach’s ideal candidate. 

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-BARCELONA

The Inter boss is also keeping an eye on Bayern star Corentin Tolisso, but since Conte has already worked with Vidal and knows what he’s all about, he is more likely to be the number one target. 

Barça are also willing to allow the Chile international to leave fairly amicably, hoping that the transfer will create a strong relationship with ​Inter, which they could then use in their chase for Argentine sensation Lautaro Martinez. 

The dream move is almost within your grasp, Arturo. 

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Rio Ferdinand Insists League Season ‘Needs to Be Voided’ & Takes Swipe at Liverpool Supporters

Long-serving Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has doubled down on his statement that the 2019/20 season should be considered null and void, imploring Liverpool fans to ‘think about people’s health’ amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 41-year-old angered the Liverpool fanbase by suggesting the entire season should be wiped clean, and every division should start afresh from August – which would deny the Reds their first league title in 30 years, despite being 25 points clear at the top of the table. 

Rio Ferdinand

But former Ferdinand has insisted that he holds this opinion purely from a public safety standpoint, and he has set aside all previous rivalries when coming to this decision. Hmm. 

Speaking on Saturday’s ​BT Sport show, Ferdinand explained that ‘football is just a game’, and he insisted that if he were a Liverpool fan in this current climate, he’d be thinking about ‘the wider society rather than my own gain.’ 

“Times like these do absolutely push it home as to how important sport, the contact and communication, is when you’re in times like this, when you’re isolated and alone with just your immediate family.

“But I think we have to take into consideration – and it hits home again – that football is just a game. As seriously as we all took it, and take it still, it boils down to the fact that it is just a game.

“And the bigger picture is what is going on out in society and that’s why I was very clear and very sure in my own mind that, if there’s not going to be an immediate fix in the next few weeks, then I think the season just needs to be voided and start again next season afresh.

Juergen Klopp

“A lot of people like Liverpool fans will always say, ‘Oh that’s because you don’t want ​Liverpool to win the league’. Listen, if my team was in that situation I would think about people’s health and the wider society rather than my own gain.

“And this is a situation where I think exactly the same no matter who’s going to go up, who’s potentially going to go down, who could have won the league and who could have finished in the Champions League positions.”

Ferdinand stated that ‘there are going to be people disappointed’ with this unsatisfactory outcome, but he admitted that ‘not everyone can win in this situation and that’s just a fact.’ 

“I think across the board, it’s much more clearer, black and white, and just void the season and start again afresh. And there are going to be people disappointed, and there are going to be people that are probably more satisfied with that.

“But whichever way you go you’re going to be disappointing people and there’s going to be people that are more happy with the situation when you do it. So not everyone can win in this situation and that’s just a fact.” 

No doubt that ​Man Utd fans will be pretty pleased with this outcome, though. 

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7 of Real Madrid’s Best Big Game Players – Ranked

​As one of the most decorated clubs in the history of world football, it’s fair to say that Real Madrid have had many a ‘big game player’ representing the club over the years. How else would they have managed to win a record 13 European Cups?

With honourable mentions to club legends such as Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás (a player so good that FIFA named an award after him), this list will focus more towards the modern day greats that have inspired Los Blancos to more recent successes. 

With so many wonderful names to choose from, here are the seven players who produced match-winning performances on the biggest stage for Real Madrid.


7. Fernando Hierro

Real Madrid v Barcelona Fernando Hierro of Real Madrid

​The legendary Real Madrid skipper was a stalwart at the back for 14 years at the Santiago Bernabéu, playing over 600 games for the club.

During that time, Hierro won five La Liga titles, and three Champions League trophies. His knack of scoring goals often prompted his managers to select him in a more advanced role as a holding midfielder.

And who will ever forget seeing the Spaniard play in a Bolton Wanderers shirt in 2004/05?

Biggest Moment: His brilliant display in the 1998 Champions League final, as Madrid beat Juventus 1-0. “Where is Del Piero?” sang the Madrid fans of the Old Lady’s star striker. “Hierro has eaten him!”


6. Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas

Perhaps the greatest goalkeeper in Real Madrid’s history. Casillas began his career in Los Blancos’ youth system, but he didn’t have to wait long before being first called up to the senior side at the tender age of 16. The Spanish stopper made the number one spot his own at 18 years old, and kept it for well over a decade thereafter.

With an identical record to Hierro above, Casillas won five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies with the club. But unlike Hierro, Casillas also managed to win international honours with Spain too – bagging the 2010 World Cup, sandwiched in between two European Championship wins, during his 167 international caps.

Biggest Moment: La Decima. Casillas was pivotal in the 2014 Champions League final, where he captained the side against local rivals Atlético Madrid in Lisbon. After 120 minutes of action, the goalkeeper got his hands on the trophy and helped end the club’s 12-year wait for European glory.


5. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos  celebrates after winning

The man that so many love to hate. Sergio Ramos is notorious for his poor disciplinary record, with 26 career red cards, but is equally renowned for his incredible defensive abilities and leadership skills. 

While the Spaniard is often derided for the number of times he’s been given his marching orders, it’s the tenacious part of his game which makes him one of the most feared defenders in world football, and one that strikers really don’t enjoy playing against (just ask Mo Salah).

Ramos has been hoarding trophies ever since his move to Madrid from Seville in 2005, winning 

four La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

Biggest Moment: Scored the 93rd minute equaliser against Atlético Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final with a leaping header. It was the most crucial moment in Madrid’s conquest of La Decima as it knocked the stuffing out of Atlético, and Los Blancos went on to win 4-1 in extra-time.  


4. Gareth Bale

Champions League Final 2018

While Sergio Ramos might lay claim to being the most disliked Real Madrid player outside of the club, Gareth Bale most certainly holds the title of most disliked player inside the club. And all because the Welshman enjoys a little too much golf, and struggles with the Spanish lingo, apparently. 

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems unfathomable that Bale is not revered at Real Madrid. He played a huge role in the club’s historic run of three consecutive Champions League victories, and four in five years. The Real Madrid supporters are a funny bunch, aren’t they? 

Before we get to Bale’s most defining moment in a Real Madrid shirt (which you may have guessed from the photo), it’s worth noting that this is a man who has delivered time and time again on the big stage. Who can forget that blistering run from his own half as he scored the winning goal in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona? Or when he put his side 2-1 ahead in extra-time of the 2014 Champions League final? But yeah, go ahead and boo him!

Biggest Moment: That bicycle kick against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final. With the game finely poised at 1-1, Bale came off the bench and became the first substitute to score twice in a Champions League final, winning himself the man of the match award, and Real Madrid their 13th European Cup.


3. Raúl

SOCCER-REAL MADRID-LOKOMOTIV

Before a certain Portuguese forward joined the club, Raul was the top goalscorer in Real Madrid history – notching an incredible 323 goals.

While his goals tally may have been bettered in recent years, no one can match him for appearances, as the Spanish striker played a staggering 741 times for Los Blancos – a true club legend.

Raul won six La Liga titles, and three European Cups during his 16 years of service to the club.

Biggest Moment: Scored the opening goal in the 2002 Champions League final victory against Bayer Leverkusen, and in doing so became the first player to score in two Champions League finals.


2. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has contributed more to Real Madrid’s illustrious history than most. Winning three Champions League trophies as manager is an incredible achievement in itself, but he was also at the peak of his powers during his playing days at the club. 

When signing for Madrid from Juventus in 2001, Zizou was indisputably one of the greatest players on the planet. He never failed to live up to the billing at the Bernabeu, winning the Champions League in 2002 and La Liga in 2003, as well as winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award for a third time that same year.

Biggest Moment: Scored what many consider to be the greatest European Cup final goal of all time against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002. As Roberto Carlos’ lofted cross from the left hand side fell from the heavens, Zidane swivelled his body and hit the most magnificent left-footed volley from the edge of the area.


1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo

Was there ever any doubt as to who would be topping this list?

Breaking every goal scoring record imaginable, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of, if not the, greatest footballers of all time. He ran riot during his time at Los Blancos, scoring an eye-watering 450 goals in 438 games. 

The Portuguese forward has won five Champions League trophies in total (four at Real Madrid), and is a five-time winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. 

Biggest Moment: The two goals he scored in the 2017 Champions League final, setting Real Madrid on their way to a 4-1 win over Juventus, and helping the side become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.


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Jose Mourinho Keen to Offload Kyle Walker-Peters This Summer After Public Criticism

​Jose Mourinho is set to sell Kyle Walker-Peters this summer after receiving a public stab in the back from the player. 

Not much seems to be going the way of Mourinho in his fledgling Tottenham career. A torrid run have performances have left Spurs out of both the FA Cup and Champions League after to defeats to Norwich and RB Leipzig respectively, while the stagnant Premier League form has left the side languishing eight in the table. 

To compound his woes, the former Manchester United manager recently received public criticism from Kyle Walker-Peters recently – who is currently out on loan in the South coast with Southampton.

Kyle Walker-Peters

The Saints man, in an interview on the ​Southampton official website, stated that “I think, had he stayed [Pochettino], I’d still be at Tottenham”.

Ever the ruthless leader, Mourinho has, ​as per Football Insider, given the go ahead to Walker-Peters exit in the summer window as he no longer sees him as part of his plans.

While the Englishman had been struggling for game time at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium anyway before his loan move, it is telling that a player contracted to the club until 2023 – and a product of the academy – could be discarded so easily.

With Southampton not holding an obligation to buy the versatile full-back, it is seemingly unclear as to where his next destination will be.

Mauricio Pochettino

For Mourinho, this unwanted reminder of the man who held the fort so securely before him – Mauricio Pochettino – will be added pressure to the already tense environment he finds himself in. 

If, when the season eventually resumes, Spurs’ form does not improve, the former Real Madrid manager may find himself following Walker-Peters out the door.

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The Biggest ‘What If?’ Moments of Arsenal’s Recent History

How best to fill the void left behind by club football? Many fans have been forced to get creative. We’ve had no choice but to dig up the old archives, and to revisit, rewatch, and relive moments of our clubs’ histories. The reality of doing so results in both the great, and not so great moments resurfacing in our minds. 

There’s no denying that since Arsenal left Highbury in May 2006, the club have endured a frustrating period in their history. Arsène Wenger did what he could until the tide turned against him. Unai Emery gave it a shot, and there’s no need for anyone to revisit that just now. 

But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. After an ever-lasting period of sustained stagnation that had indeed transitioned into a disappointing decline, Mikel Arteta’s appointment as manager may yet prove to be the literal light at the end of the tunnel. 


And, that tunnel has been dark at times. As with any club, ​Arsenal have endured some painful experiences down the years. Some hurt because they exposed just how far the club had fallen below its previous echelons. 

There were other moments, however, that hurt all the more because of how close the team were to achieving considerable, and perhaps deserved, success. The prospect of imagining how things might have turned out is a tantalising thought to entertain.

God, how close were we to winning… If only…”

But, as you allow your mind to wonder, with it inevitably comes the stark reality of Arsenal’s failure. And make no mistake, in these particular examples, the margins were finer than fine. And, when the balance of luck swung, it swung unfavourably.

We therefore ask the question – how different might the current state of affairs be if these five things panned out differently…


2006 – Losing the Champions League Final

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann

Arsène Wenger said it was the biggest regret of his managerial career. Thierry Henry’s sentiments echoed something similar. And, oh how close Arsenal were to lifting the ​Champions League in 2006. 

If only Jens Lehmann hadn’t been sent off in the 18th minute after fouling Samuel Eto’o. ​Does it matter that the referee admitted he regretted his decision afterwards? No. 

And the Gunners still managed to go 1-0 up, and hold the lead until the final 20 minutes. And, it’s been made known that the consensus in the ​Barcelona dressing room at half-time was – if Arsenal were to score a second goal to go 2-0 up, then there would have been no way back.

If only Henry managed to convert one of the several presentable opportunities that came his way. And then maybe, just maybe, Barça would’t have scored twice (of which one was offside! VAR!) and snatched the silverware out of Arsenal’s hands. 


2008 – Eduardo’s Season-Derailing Injury

Eduardo da Silva

In terms of challenging for the title, the 2007/08 campaign was the closest the Gunners have come in recent times. The side were undefeated in their opening 28 fixtures across all competitions, which set a new club record.

And, having been top of the league for two-thirds of the campaign, it all came crashing to a halt after Eduardo suffered a horrific leg-break during a 2-2 draw to Birmingham in February. 

The team were unable to recover from such a cruel psychological blow, and failed to win six of the subsequent seven fixtures. Prior to the injury, they had won eight of their previous ten, with Eduardo himself establishing himself as a key player. 

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that Arsenal might have ended up champions of England that year if Eduardo hadn’t have got injured in the way that he did. Cruel, cruel stuff.


2009 – Failing to Sign Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso

In a revealing ​interview, Fabregas revealed how in the summer of 2009 Xabi Alonso, then at ​Liverpool, was desperate to join his fellow Spaniard in North London. Cesc did what he could to encourage Arsenal to make their move. The ball was in their court.

As we all know, Alonso did not get his wish, and instead became a ​Real Madrid player, where he spent five years before joining ​Bayern Munich. To put it mildly, he didn’t do badly at either club.

Safe to say then, Arsenal may regret their decision not to have made that ‘final push’ for the World Cup winner, who Fabregas declared “was dying to come”.

What a shame. If Alonso signs, then Fabregas stays for several more seasons. And, with those two in the centre of our midfield, who knows what we could have achieved. The mind boggles…


2011 – Van Persie’s Ridiculous Red Card 

Robin van Persie,Massimo Busacca

This is certainly a case of ‘what if’. As we all remember, Arsenal had beaten Barcelona 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.

In the return leg, Van Persie levelled the scoring to 1-1 on the night, and it looked as though Wenger’s side had a real chance of progression to the quarter-finals. 

Unfortunately for Gooners, that hope didn’t last long. Van Persie was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. Why? Because he hadn’t heard the referee’s whistle in time to stop shooting amid the roars of 100,000 fans.

An unforgivable decision that ultimately cost Arsenal any chance of progressing further in the competition. 


2014 – Deciding Against Re-Signing Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas,Branislav Ivanovic

After Fabregas left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011, there were rumours a clause was placed in his contract that would give the North London club first dibs on the Spanish magician – should he ever decide to leave Catalonia.

Well, that’s what happened did the summer of 2014. And the man himself confirmed that Arsenal had first refusal to re-secure his services, and that he was under the impression he was returning to the Emirates. 

But, after Arsenal failed to clarify their interest, well, we all know what happened next. Cesc joined ​Chelsea, won two ​Premier League titles, and that was that. Some things don’t need elaborating. 


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