Thibaut Courtois Tips Eden Hazard to ‘Make the Difference’ at Real Madrid Next Season

Thibaut Courtois has revealed he believes Eden Hazard can help Real Madrid win trophies next season after the Belgian forward’s transfer from Chelsea to the Spanish giants was confirmed.

Hazard realised a lifelong dream on Friday when he signed a five-year deal with Real for £88.5m, rising to £130m with add-ons.

The move sees the mercurial Belgian end his seven-year stay at Chelsea where he helped guide his side to two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and two Europa League wins – the most recent of which coming less than two weeks ago, when his brace helped the Blues overcome Arsenal in Hazard’s final game for the club.

Speaking with website AS following Belgium’s 3-0 win in their Euro 2020 qualifying fixture against Kazakhstan on Saturday, Courtois said: “If he speaks a little Spanish, it will be even better. 

“It’s very nice that we’re going to be together. He’s my friend, I get along very well with him and his family.

“For Madrid it’s going to be fantastic. I think [Hazard] is going to make the difference and I hope we can win many titles next season.”

Eden Hazard,Thibaut Courtois

Hazard is Real Madrid’s fourth signing of the summer, alongside Éder Militao, Luka Jovic, and Rodrygo Goes. There have also been linked with Christian Eriksen and Paul Pogba, so Hazard could be set to play alongside a new wave of Madrid ‘Galacticos’.

Madrid are coming off the back of one of their worst league campaigns in recent memory, finishing 19 points behind La Liga champions and bitter rivals Barcelona.

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Switzerland 0-0 England: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Three Lions Claim Third on Penalties

England needed penalties to get past Switzerland to seal third place in the UEFA Nations League, after a tough 0-0 draw which proved exactly why most fans don’t want a third-place playoff.​

England almost took the lead after just a minute, only for Harry Kane’s fantastic lob to cannon back off the crossbar. Gareth Southgate’s men remained on top throughout the first half, with both Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli coming close to finding that elusive opening goal. The Swiss were dangerous on the counter, but neither side could make a breakthrough before half-time.

England’s pressure continued after the break and almost forced an own goal from Fabian Schar, who was lucky to see his deflection saved onto the post by Yann Sommer. England thought they had grabbed a late winner through Callum Wilson, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for a foul earlier in the move. The referee brought an end to regular time soon after, and we headed to extra-time.

Raheem Sterling,Denis Zakaria

Clearly keen to avoid penalties, England came out with a renewed sense of adventure, as both Alli and Sterling came close to finding the back of the net on a number of occasions. Sterling saw a free-kick thunder against the crossbar, but England simply could not find a way through, and the two sides needed penalties to separate themselves.

Harry Maguire began proceedings by slamming his effort into the top corner, and the two sides continued perfectly until England had a 6-5 lead. After scoring his own penalty, Jordan Pickford made himself the hero by saving Josip Drmic’s effort to ensure the Three Lions finished third in the Nations League.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


SWITZERLAND

Key Talking Point​

The spirited Switzerland side who fought to keep ​Cristiano Ronaldo quiet on Wednesday were out on full show once more against England. With a clear game plan of trying to force mistakes out of Gareth Southgate’s side, the strikers pressed high, but that simply did not work.

Once England’s defence had advanced the ball, it often seemed like Switzerland did not know what to do, so they dropped deep and suffocated the space. It kept England at bay for large parts of the game, even if it did make for difficult watching at times.

Scoring goals has not always come easily for Switzerland, and that was incredibly clear here. They fought to frustrate England, in the hope that they could steal the win with a solitary moment of brilliance. However, such a moment never arrived, so the Swiss need to think of a new strategy in future.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Sommer (7); Schar (6), Akanji (6), Elvedi (6); Mbabu (7*), Xhaka (6), Fernandes (6), Freuler (5), Rodriguez (5); Shaqiri (4), Seferovic (5).

Substitutes: Zakaria (5), Zuber (6), Drmic (5), Okafor (6).


STAR MAN – With Switzerland dropping deep, counter-attacking was often their main plan of attack, and right back Kevin Mbabu was at the heart of most of that.

Spending a lot of the game almost as a winger, Mbabu used his speed and power to fly up and down the pitch, and England’s narrow lineup often gifted him plenty of space near the sideline. The former ​Newcastle man tried his best to showcase his passing skills and often threatened to cause problems for England’s defence.

Mbabu’s end product was lacking, although it was clear to see why Wolfsburg fought to sign him this summer. At 24 years old, he has plenty of years to improve, and there is a real belief in Switzerland that the sky could be the limit for Mbabu.


ENGLAND

Key Talking Point

Much of the talk heading into this game was about whether England would continue trying to play out of defence, after they shot themselves in the foot in their semi final loss to the Netherlands. Within minutes, we had our answer – yes, they would.

The Three Lions did not shy away from passing the ball around at the back. Maguire enjoyed plenty of possession and Eric Dier regularly dropped deep to give his centre backs an option, which was something England sorely missed against the Netherlands. Unfortunately, with the defending fairly impressive, it was going forward which left a lot to be desired.

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The creative midfielders simply did not step up, and they struggled to find a way through a stubborn Swiss defence. They had nothing in their locker to find a goal. It almost seems like when one area of the midfield plays well, the other does not. There is clearly something missing here.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ​Pickford (6); Alexander-Arnold (8), Gomez (6), Maguire (8*), Rose (6); Delph (4), Dier (6), Alli (5); Sterling (5), Kane (5), Lingard (4).

Substitutes: Walker (6), Wilson (6), Sancho (6), Barkley (6).


STAR MAN – With England’s forward line proving to be utterly ineffective, England’s defence took the spotlight, with both Harry Maguire and ​Trent Alexander-Arnold putting in excellent performance. Both deserve a huge amount of credit, although Maguire’s ability to cope with the pressure was especially impressive.

Always available for his teammates, Maguire was composed throughout, even with the Swiss’ high press. Whether it was making an early pass or dropping his shoulder to fly past an opponent, he simply knew what he needed to do to keep his side ticking.

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Maguire could even be seen bursting into midfield on occasion, carrying the ball forward before looking to unleash players who, on paper, are supposed to be more creative than him. 

Southgate probably thought about playing him in midfield, or even in an attack, as he looked like one of the few players who was capable of winning this.


Looking Ahead

The end of this game signalled the start of a well-deserved summer break for both sides, as players will not get the chance to enjoy several weeks of rest in preparation for the new season.​

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Jose Mourinho Would ‘Seriously Consider’ Replacing Rafa Benitez at Newcastle if Takeover Happens

The Toon Army are agonisingly waiting for updates regarding the potential sale of Newcastle United, as well as Rafa Benitez’s contract situation, but will be somewhat blindsided by the recent rumours surrounding Jose Mourinho’s future.

There haven’t been many updates since Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan announced plans to take over the Magpies a few weeks ago – which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it – but there are some rumblings suggesting Sheikh Khaled has his eye on a few managerial targets, should Benitez end his association with the Toon prior to a successful takeover.

One of those names is former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Yes, The Mirror claim Mourinho is ‘aware’ of the Sheikh Khaled’s apparent interest in his services, and would ‘seriously consider’ the opportunity to take the reins at St James’ Park.

Mourinho’s connection with ​Newcastle has long been documented, with the Portuguese often citing his time working with mentor and Toon legend Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting CP, Porto and Barcelona.

Mourinho said last summer: “I like to go there. I like the feeling of going to Mr Robson’s home. I like that feeling. I like the stadium. I like the atmosphere. They are a good, enthusiastic crowd. I like the Geordies.”

Whether the Geordies would like the idea of Mourinho as boss, however, remains to be seen. 

Jose Mourinho,Rafael Benitez

He would obviously bring a track history of success to the role, having won multiple trophies in Portugal, Spain, Italy and England – not to mention in European competition – but was sacked by Manchester United in December after clashing with several players and executives at the club.

There’s no doubt Newcastle fans would prefer to see Benitez re-sign at the club, but the idea of  a proven winner in Mourinho at the helm is an intriguing one – if a sale of the Magpies ever materialises, that is.

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Sergio Ramos Breaks Impressive International Record in Spain’s Victory Over Faroe Islands

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is once again in the headlines – but this time it’s not with regards to a dodgy tackle or transfer request.

The Spaniard ​broke the record for the most international victories following Spain’s 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands in La Roja’s Euro 2020 qualifier.

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​Ramos, who netted in the win, has now won 122 games in the red of Spain, eclipsing the record held by former ​Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas, whose own record had stood for over eight years.

The 33-year-old will look to add to his tally of victories in the coming weeks as Spain ramp up their efforts to reach the European Championship next year. The centre-back will expect to feature in Spain’s remaining qualifiers as well as at the 2020 tournament so could set a pretty high mark for any prospective challengers to reach. 

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The top five is dominated by the Spanish, with veterans Xavi and Andres Iniesta coming in third and fourth respectively. The only player who is still active and is in with a chance of reaching Ramos’ current record is Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, who himself is 34-years-old and is on 92 wins.


The next challenge Ramos could aim for is the duration of service to the national side, another record currently held by Casillas, whose La Roja career ended just two days short of 16 years. Ramos made his international debut at 18 so could easily break this record in the next year or so, an impressive feat for any player. 

​He could also become Spain’s record appearance holder in September if he plays in La Roja’s next four games, overtaking Casillas’s record of 167, another outstanding achievement for the player.

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Transfer Rumours: Ake to Spurs, West Ham After Celta Vigo Duo, Longstaff Responds to Man Utd & More

Our gazes were averted from transfer rumours ever so briefly as England performed disappointingly in the Nations League in Portugal.

However, that’s all over now so we can get back to pumping all the transfer murmurs straight back into your veins.

So sit back, strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride that is 90min’s transfer rumours.


Tottenham After Nathan Ake to Replace Man Utd Target Toby Alderweireld

Nathan Ake

The rumours linking Alderweireld with ​Manchester United continue to persist, seemingly only ever going to stop if the Belgian actually joins to the club or when he retires in a few years’ time.

Nevertheless, should he finally leave north London this window then Mauricio Pochettino will opt to go Dutch this time, with a £40m move for ​Bournemouth’s Ake the preferred replacement, claim ​The Sun.

Chelsea were keen on reuniting with the player they sold to the Cherries for £20m but, you know, transfer ban and all that. He’s not the only player at Eddie Howe’s disposal who has caught ​Spurs’ eye. though. Callum Wilson and David Brooks are also being monitored by the club as they seek to make their first signing in what feels like a decade.


West Ham ‘Contact’ Celta Vigo Over Star Duo

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Andy Carroll is leaving ​West Ham! The lanky forward is departing after years keeping the seats warm in the club’s medical room, so new striking options are high on the list of priorities in east London.

Maxi Gomez has been linked with the Hammers in the past, but it seems they’re about to step up their interest and take one of his teammates with them. Midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is also intriguing Manuel Pellegrini, with a £58m asking price set for the pair, according to the ​Daily Mail.

That’s not all, however, as Aleksander Mitrovic and Eibar midfielder Joan Jordan are also names being spoken about at London Stadium. There have to be outs for there to be ins though, with Pedro Obiang, Angelo Ogbonna and Javier Hernandez players the club would like to oust in order to bulk up the bank balance.


Sean Longstaff Responds to United Rumours Like a Boss

Sean Longstaff

If ever you wanted to endear yourself to the Geordie faithful, then this is how you do it. Longstaff, along with every footballer who has two legs, has been linked with a move to the Red Devils this window. So, instead of mentioning to ChronicleLive how he ‘dreams’ of playing for a major club or admits ‘we will see’ about his future, he said this.

“For me it’s nice to be have said about you and be linked with top clubs but for me, this is what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to play for Newcastle and I’ve only had a little taste of that so for me, it’s about getting fit as soon as I can and getting back on the pitch for Newcastle and making more memories of the future.”

Howay the local lad.


Atletico Looking to Capitalise on Milan Financial Worries

Fernandez Suso

Either they’re eager to make the most of a desperate situation, or they just want someone to come through the door with seemingly every Rojiblancos player leaving this summer.

It is a sad state of affairs in the Spanish capital, as Diego Simeone looks set to be left squad-less by the start of the 2019/20 season. Reports from SportMediaset and the Corriere dello Sport, as relayed by ​Football Italia, state that ​Atletico seem ‘the most likely’ destination for ​Milan‘s Suso.

The Rossoneri need to balance the books with the Serie A side in the middle of an appeal against Financial Fair Play violations, needing to sell at a profit by June 30. With that in mind, the €40m sale of the Spaniard who left Liverpool for Atletico for a measly €1.3m in 2015 would fit the bill. It’s a pretty hefty release clause, but at this point in time Simeone would take anyone.


Brendan Rodgers Eager to Make a Hatter Into a Fox

James Justin

It sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland but, in layman’s terms, ​Leicester City want to sign a Luton Town player. That’s a bit more concise.

Graeme Jones led the club to the League One title this year, with some fine individual displays throughout the side, particularly at full back. James Justin was superb on their surge to the Championship and Brendan Rodgers is set to ‘press on’ in discussions to bring the player to the King Power Stadium.

Talks will roll over into the next week as the ​Daily Mail say the player has ‘indicated’ his desire to join Rodgers’ revolution. Luton will seek around £5m for the 21-year-old, as fears grow in the Midlands that United harbour intentions of luring Ben Chilwell to Old Trafford.


Jonjoe Kenny Jumping on the Bandwagon of Heading to Germany

Jonjoe Kenny

Like avocado on toast, all the rave for English players at the moment appears to be moving to the Bundesliga. ​Everton’s Kenny is partial to the odd bit of green fruit on wheat, it seems, as the 22-year-old looks set to join Schalke on a season-long loan.

The ​Daily Mail state that Crystal Palace and Burnley were keen on the full back, but the certified scouser will join former Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner’s outfit to further his development. Kenny will ‘finalise’ the move ‘this week’, in a deal that could potentially turn permanent.

Marco Silva’s side ‘remain in talks’ with River Plate over a £13.2m deal for midfielder Santiago Sosa, the Mail add, but issues persist around the obtaining of a work permit.


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