no1badge
There are plenty of options on the table, and although the board has yet to pick what is assumed to be Luis Enrique's successor for next season, the Barcelona fans have already spoken.

In a poll in which over 40,000 MARCA readers have voted, both Jorge Sampaoli and Ernesto Valverde are preferred to the current coach.

The current Sevilla boss is preferred by quite some margin, with 37 percent of the vote, while Valverde only combines for 15 percent.

Only nine percent continue to have faith in Luis Enrique, as damning a verdict as any.

Makelele and Casemiro: Zidane's perfect bodyguards

Zinedine Zidane joined Real Madrid as a player in 2001 and when he stepped into the dressing room, he met a man who changed his career.

That man was Claude Makelele, who became the perfect midfield shield for Zidane during the two seasons they spent together in the Spanish capital.

Now, the story has been repeated. Zidane is no longer a player but as coach at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, he has found his Makelele, in the form of Casemiro.

Makelele, who played for Los Blancos from 2000 until 2003 before joining Chelsea, was under no illusions as to what his job was.

"My mission on the field was to win the ball and give it to Zidane," he admitted. "That made things less complicated for us, everything was simple and I was happy."

The France international often achieved his task perfectly throughout his time at Real and although he and Zidane spent only two seasons together, there was a tremendous understanding between the pair.

So determined was he to provide Zidane with the ball and allow him to work his magic in attack that in all the games they played together for club and country, Makelele never scored a goal of his own.

Similarly, the situation is now being mirrored with Zidane again finding a defensive midfielder who he has the utmost faith in and who he considers an essential part of the side.

Under Carlo Ancelotti, the former Sao Paulo man had very few opportunities but found himself featuring a little more under Rafael Benitez, albeit never completely winning his trust.

With Zidane, things have been much different, so much so that Real Madrid haven't lost a game since he returned from injury.

Like Makelele, the 24-year-old's mission is to make things easier for Zidane, his coach. He guards his territory, hassles opposition players and wins the ball back when required.

The only difference is that, unlike Makelele, he is capable of springing a surprise every so often in the offensive side of his game, as his stunning volley against Napoli showed.

That strike is the best demonstration that the Brazilian is more than a midfielder whose role is to win back the ball and feed it to his side's more established attacking talents.

Although he doesn't have Zidane at his side to feed the ball to, he does have Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, two top level architects who are just as capable of hurting the opposition.

Iniesta calls on cules to believe comeback is possible

A heavy 4-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes will be almost impossible to overturn, but Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta insists the club should still try, as a negative spiral is bad for the club's morale.

Despite the Parisian masterclass, not all is lost for the Blaugrana, even if few positives could be drawn from the night.

"Believe, always believe," Iniesta said on social media, alongside a picture of a filled to the brim Camp Nou.

Beginning of the end for Barcelona

It is a delicate relationship between Luis Enrique and his Barcelona squad, and not just because of the Paris Saint-Germain debacle but because of lingering issues amongst the team.

It doesn't look like the Asturian boss will be staying for much longer, as negotiations between the club and the coach hadn't been finalised in addition to the Champions League humiliation.

"PSG were better than us tactically, we expected something else," Busquets said after the match, a comment many are interpreting as a dig at his coach's plan.

Few amongst the squad understand why Luis Enrique continues to insist on playing Andre Gomes rather than the much more effective Ivan Rakitic.

In addition, several players are unhappy with the amount of playing time they are getting, as is inevitable with any team, but Tuesday night's result has brought everything to the forefront.

The poor right-back planning has meant Aleix Vidal's injury leaves the squad bare at that position, and the decision not to sign a player there is costing the side.

All season Luis Enrique had been coy about whether he intended to continue as Barcelona boss but it could very well be the board who make the decision for him if the team no longer believes in his ability to lead the squad.

Scholes: If Griezmann is within reach, why wouldn't Manchester United try to sign him?

Manchester United always have a big pull in the transfer market, and after a busy summer may be after Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann.

Club legend Paul Scholes was asked about the possibility, and if a chance presents itself, the iconic midfielder thinks it should be taken.

"If Griezmann is within reach, why wouldn't we take advantage and try to sign him," he said. "Especially if our youngsters aren't at the level we need.

"At United, there is always a lot of pressure to win the Premier League and the Champions League."

Griezmann isn't the only player in the Spanish capital to have caught Scholes' eye, as Toni Kroos has continued to impress the Englishman.

"I think the Paul Scholes you saw at the end of his career is very similar to Kroos," he pointed out. "Kroos is a player that controls the game from midfield, moves well to receive the ball, dictates tempo, and scores.

Finally, Scholes argued what he thinks is Alex Ferguson's best quality and opened up on his relationship with his former coach.

"It's true that I was very short, didn't have a lot of muscle, was bony, but Ferguson still saw something in me," Scholes concluded. "His biggest strength as a coach was in judging players for what they could do on the pitch."

Di Maria voted best player of this week's Champions League clashes

The Champions League brings together the best of the best, but in this week's Round of 16 fixtures it was Paris Saint-Germain's Angel Di Maria that stole the show.

MARCA English readers chose the Argentinian ex-Real man after his brace stunned a desolute Barcelona, taking an overwhelming 57% of the vote.

Casemiro too put in an impressive shift, garnering 15 percent of the total vote cast.

Adrien Rabiot, Karim Benzema and Marco Verratti filled out this week's top five.

Ramos: If PSG can win 4-0, so can Barcelona

Subbed off with a knock in the second half, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos continued to play on given the magnitude of the Champions League clash against Napoli, admitting he likely wouldn't have continued if it were less important match.

The centre-back also argued that it'd be too soon to count Barcelona out of the Champions League, as anything can happen in the return leg.

"If PSG can win 4-0, so can Barcelona," Ramos said. "Still, we are focused on our own team, and the Champions League and LaLiga are in our own hands.

"In the Champions League, when you make mistakes, opponents take advantage, especially Fideo [Di Maria] and Edinson Cavani."

As for playing the Napoli match with slight discomfort, the Spaniard didn't seem too worried but did admit to playing on despite the pain.

"I had a knock to my hip, but I continued playing until in the second half when it started to hurt more," he pointed out. "If it weren't the Champions League, I would have asked for a substitution sooner."

Finally, the defender was impressed with the Real No. 9's performance on the night, as it answered his critics.

"When Karim Benzema plays well, it is good for the entire team," Ramos concluded.

Allegri believes Napoli can turn Champions League tie around

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has surprisingly extended his support to Napoli as they look to overturn a 3-1 Champions League deficit against Real Madrid.

Despite taking the lead through an opportunistic strike from Lorenzo Insigne at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the Partenopei failed to hang on and fell to defeat.

However, Real Madrid have failed to advance with a 3-1 lead on four occasions in the past and Allegri believes all is not lost for his side's Serie A rivals yet.

"I would like to congratulate [Maurizio] Sarri because I think that Napoli played well, they had a good game," Allegri told the assembled media.

"They certainly aren't eliminated yet and still have a good chance of qualifying."

However, the Italian tactician is less confident in Barcelona's chances of progression, although he was very impressed with Paris Saint-Germain as they picked up a surprise 4-0 win.

"On Tuesday, PSG showed how good a team they are. They proved that they belong at the level of Europe's top clubs," the former Milan coach continued.

"I was surprised by the defeat but PSG played extremely well and must be congratulated. I've had a lot of fun watching the last 16 of the Champions League so far."

 
Προηγούμενο : Zidane: Benzema answered his critics | Επόμενο : Comeback spirit
 Προβολές : 299
- 2721 προηγούμενη ημέρα

Trades (Pre game)

Dropping odds