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Simeone open to January signings following Tiago injury

The Portuguese is expected to be out of action for at least three months after suffering a broken leg in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Espanyol

Diego Simeone says that while Atletico Madrid are always open to new signings, an injury to Tiago has increased their need to strengthen in January.

Club president Enrique Cerezo expects the Portuguese to be sidelined for at least three months after he sustained a broken leg in a 1-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday.

While Atletico are apparently ever-willing participants in mid-season transfer dealings, their Argentine coach admitted the blow could cause them to intensify their search for new additions to the squad.

“We are always open to any situation when the winter transfer window comes,” Simeone said.

“It will not be an exception now, more so due to the absence of a player like Tiago.”

GOALREAD MORE  | Ronaldo shouldn’t be on Ballon d’Or list

A loss of experience in midfield is the coach’s main concern, but he is comfortable with the options available in the short term.

“Clearly, it’s hard to find another Tiago. At 34 years old there is experience that no-one has at 26 or 27,” he said.

“We will work with the guys we have in that position: Koke, Saul, [Matias] Kranevitter, Gabi.

“We will work to see who does better.”

Atletico travel to Catalunya to face Reus Deportiu in the first leg of a Copa del Rey fourth-round tie, and Simeone has insisted the visitors will not be taking the match lightly, despite going into the contest as heavy favourites.

“[Winning] the Copa was the beginning of very important things that have happened since,” he said, referring to the club’s success in the 2012-13 edition of the competition.

“It’s not one game, it’s two, but we will play with enthusiasm, excitement and great joy.”

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Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar? Ballon d'Or Q&A with Ben Hayward

The Barcelona forwards are joined by the Portugal international on the 2015 list but who are you backing to win the award? And do all three players deserve their place?


The shortlist has been decided for the 2015 Ballon d’Or but will it be Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar that takes home the award on January 11, 2016?

And what of the Coach of the Year? Is that Luis Enrique’s for the taking or could Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardola or Chile national team manager Jorge Sampaoli come out on top?

Goal’s Spanish football correspondent Ben Hayward is on hand to answer your questions on all things Ballon d’Or…


Ballon d’Or Q&A

Posted by Ben Hayward on Monday, 30 November 2015


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Zac Efron to play Jamie Vardy in the film of his life?

The High School Muscial star has been made favourite to play the England international in a possible film charting his remarkable rise from non-league football


Jamie Vardy’s unlikely rise from non-league football to Premier League record-breaker with Leicester City has been nothing short of a fairytale but now it could be made into a film, with Zac Efron the favourite to play the former Fleetwood Town forward. 

After netting his latest goal against Manchester United on Sunday, Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in consecutive league games, taking the Leicester striker’s goalscoring run to 11 straight matches.

Vardy’s record-breaking success has capped off a remarkable rise for the 28-year-old who was playing for Fleetwood in the fifth tier of English football just four years ago.

And now, following the Leicester man’s charge up the footballing pyramid, the story could be turned into a Holywood hit if latest rumours are to be believed, with High School Musical star Efron a possibility and the likes of Andrew Garfield and Robert Pattinson also linked to the role.

Bookmakers are already taking odds on who could play Vardy, with Efron the frontrunner to add to his seminal roles in That Awkward Moment and Bad Neighbours, while the Leicester frontman could even play himself!

HAVE YOUR SAY | Who can capture Vardy’s rags-to-riches story best? Who would give the ultimate portrayal of the Premier League’s deadliest striker? Or maybe you think the whole thing is ridiculous? Vote in the poll below and leave a comment…


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Rijkaard, Laudrup, Sabella, Bielsa – what now for Valencia?

The Mestalla outfit parted company with Nuno after defeat at Sevilla on Sunday night and are now looking for a new coach to lead them into the Champions League again next season


What next for Valencia? The expensive project at Mestalla bank-rolled by Asian businessman Peter Lim has hit the rocks over the last few weeks and after another disappointing defeat at Sevilla on Sunday night, Nuno stepped down as coach.

So who will take over now? Valencia are one of Spain’s biggest clubs and boast a proud European record, while the club have spent almost €200 million on players over the past two years and the squad remains one of the strongest in La Liga.

Qualification for the second round of the Champions League is in the balance, however, after back-to-back defeats against Gent and Zenit, while the Mestalla-based side slipped to ninth in the Primera Division after losing at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

So there is work to be done and the board will meet on Monday to discuss their options, with former Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard and ex-Swansea manager Michael Laudrup in the frame along with Alejandro Sabella, Marcelo Bielsa and Juande Ramos.

Rijkaard would be a popular choice with the club’s fans, but the Dutchman has been out of work since being dismissed as coach of Saudi Arabia in 2013.

Laudrup, meanwhile, spent a season coaching Qatar after leaving Swansea last year and the Denmark legend is waiting for an opportunity to return to the game.

Those two are the early favourites along with Sabella, who took Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014, while his compatriot Bielsa is also an option.

Former Sevilla and Tottenham boss Juande Ramos is also in the fray, while Brendan Rodgers is another alternative after leaving Liverpool and the Northern Irishman speaks Spanish.

Current Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez (who won two Liga titles and a Uefa Cup at Valencia between 2002 and 2004) can be ruled out after he was handed a vote of confidence by Florentino Perez last week, while his predecessor at the Santiago Bernabeu, Carlo Ancelotti, would be unlikely to consider a move to Mestalla.

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Davids: Messi is an anomaly but Ronaldo just an athlete

The former Netherlands international believes that the Portuguese is a product of hard work whereas his great rival is completely unique

Edgar Davids has described Lionel Messi as “an anomaly” and Cristiano Ronaldo as “just an athlete”, after tipping the Argentina star to land the 2015 Ballon d’Or.

On Monday, it was announced that the pair had been shortlisted for the award alongside Messi’s Barcelona team-mate Neymar.

Messi and Ronaldo have won every Ballon d’Or since 2007 and Davids fully expects the diminutive No.10 to increase his lead over his Real Madrid rival to five wins to three when the victor is revealed on January 11.

GOALREAD MORE  | Messi the greatest club player ever

The Dutchman told Fifa’s official website: “Messi is just an anomaly: he can dribble, he can score, he can pass, he has the vision, he understands the game…

“Ronaldo is just an athlete. He works so hard and back to back, he is always there.

“But if you work hard, can you be like Messi? No, that’s impossible.

“Can you be like Ronaldo? Yes, to a certain extent.”

Asked if Neymar was ready to replace Messi and Ronaldo at the pinnacle of world football, former Barce midfielder Davids added: “No, he is not ready, [but] he is almost there.”

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