Real Madrid fear ‘really bad news’ on Marcelo after injury against Betis

Real Madrid fear “really bad news” on the Marcelo injury front after the Brazilian defender picked up a knock 30 minutes into Sunday’s 5-3 win over Betis.

The Brazil international started again for Madrid after scoring midweek against Paris Saint-Germain. 

But just before the half-hour mark he attempted to play his way out of a tight spot deep in his own half and went down holding his right hamstring without being touched by a Betis player. 

Marcelo originally tried to continue but looked to be in severe discomfort on the pitch as it became clear he would not be able to play on. 

Now the club face a nervous wait, with director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno fearing “really bad news.”

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“We need to wait and see what the doctors say,” he told AS after the match. “He’s had to leave the pitch and it’s really, really bad news. In 48 hours we’ll know the exact extent of the injury.”

The injury comes at a tough time for Madrid, who face four La Liga matches between now and March 6, when the club will travel to Paris to take on PSG in the second leg of their round of 16 Champions League clash. 

Manager Zinedine Zidane is hopeful that the injury won’t be anything major moving forward. 

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“Hopefully it’s something small,” he said. “Tomorrow we’ll see. (Marcelo) said that the sensation is that it is small, but we will see in a few days.”

Madrid hold a 3-1 lead over the French outfit after the first leg and sit fourth in La Liga, 17 points back of leaders Barcelona.

Marcelo has scored three goals over 28 matches in all competitions this season.


Asensio key to Real Madrid’s Champions League hopes in Paris

Marco Asensio is the man of the moment. The former Mallorca midfielder came off the bench to help inspire Real Madrid to a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday night and he was at it again as Los Blancos beat Betis in La Liga on Sunday.

The 22-year-old did not score against PSG, but Real’s two late goals came from his runs down the left and 1-1 became 3-1 in the final seven minutes — an advantage that makes Madrid favourites to advance in the second leg in Paris on March 6.

Asensio and Lucas Vazquez were rewarded for their impressive cameos with starting spots away to Betis and those two give the team balance in a 4-4-2 formation, this time either side of Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic as Luka Modric and the injured Toni Kroos missed out.

And Asensio opened the scoring with a fine header after Antonio Adan had parried Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot. Betis, so impressive going forward, turned the game on its head before half-time, but Sergio Ramos headed home an equaliser in the second half and there was Marco again to make it 3-2.

Ultimately, this hugely entertaining encounter finished 5-3 to Zinedine Zidane’s side as Ronaldo and substitute Karim Benzema scored, either side of a Sergio Leon effort for the home team.

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Defensively, Madrid did not cover themselves in glory again, but Betis have scored past most teams this term and Zidane will certainly look to tighten up at the back as he prepares for a second game against Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani. However, Real almost always raise their intensity and concentration in the Champions League.

Marcelo limped off early in this game and his inclusion seemed an unnecessary risk following his monumental efforts at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he scored Madrid’s third goal on Wednesday.

Zidane will be crossing his fingers that the Brazilian is back in time for the second leg against Unai Emery’s side, while he will have been happy to see Benzema put an end to his recent scoring drought by netting the fifth goal in Seville.

Betis Madrid score

But whoever is available for the game in Paris, Asensio must surely start. The midfielder was more effective than any of Madrid’s forward players on Sunday and his tracking back also helps the team defensively.

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There are always hierarchies at a club like Real and the 22-year-old will understand that Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale are ahead of him in the pecking order based on reputation and also wages. That is how things tend to work at Madrid.

However, Zidane’s side are out of the Copa del Rey and cannot win La Liga, so Los Blancos will be playing for their season in Paris and the French coach fighting for his job.

And putting reputations to one side, Asensio is the man on form. He should be in the starting XI every week for Real — and his inclusion against PSG could well be the key to making the last eight of the Champions League.


Real Madrid first to reach La Liga milestone with 6000th goal

Real Madrid scored their 6000th La Liga goal in Sunday’s clash with Real Betis, making them the first club to hit that mark in the Spanish top flight. 

Madrid’s third strike of the night — the second from Marco Asensio — pushed Los Blancos up to 6000, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema adding late goals as they stormed from behind to take a 5-3 win over Betis. 

Only five other teams in Europe’s top five leagues have managed to reach that mark in league play, with all of them in the English top flight. 

Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester United have reached 6000 league goals, with the Toffees on the verge of becoming the first club to 7000 goals in the top flight. 

While Asensio’s double will take the headlines for Madrid, the club also got the welcome sight of another headed goal from Sergio Ramos.

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Oh his 53 goals in La Liga, the defender has used his head to score 35 times. 

Despite the win, Madrid still sit in fourth place, 17 points back of leaders Barcelona. 

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The club also took a blow on the day, with defender Marcelo forced off after just 30 minutes with an injury. 

Madrid get the chance to close the gap on Barcelona a bit more with a mid-week match against Leganes before hosting Alaves next weekend.


Real Betis 3 Real Madrid 5: Asensio at the double in LaLiga classic

Marco Asensio added to his burgeoning reputation with a brace in Real Madrid thrilling 5-3 comeback win at Real Betis in a breath-taking LaLiga classic on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane’s side, who are again 17 points behind pace-setters Barcelona, had boosted morale and confidence with a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

And Los Blancos followed up that triumph with a victory in a goal-laden match at Benito Villamarin that swung back and forth between two teams who dazzled with a stunning display of attacking football.

Madrid took an early lead through Asensio but Betis, thanks largely to the evergreen, effervescent Joaquin, scored twice in four minutes to turn the match around before half-time through Aissa Mandi and a Nacho own-goal, strikes which followed Marcelo limping off with a hamstring injury for the visitors.

LaLiga’s champions recovered brilliantly after the break, though, with Sergio Ramos heading in the equaliser, before Asensio struck a fine finish to put his side back in front – recording Madrid’s 6,000th LaLiga goal in the process.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice against PSG to continue his blistering 2018 goalscoring form, seemingly wrapped up the points with Madrid’s fourth goal after 65 minutes.

Zidane’s men survived a late fightback from Betis after Sergio Leon struck, though, with Karim Benzema coming off the bench to score Madrid’s fifth, and his side have a six-point cushion in the last of LaLiga’s four Champions League qualification places, with league games against Leganes and Deportivo La Coruna to come for Los Blancos in the next six days.


AC Milan 1 Sampdoria 0: Bonaventura makes it 10 unbeaten for Rossoneri

Giacomo Bonaventura scored the only goal of the game as AC Milan made it 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions with a 1-0 Serie A win over Sampdoria.

The Rossoneri have experienced a significant upturn in fortunes under Gennaro Gattuso and they dominated an eventful contest at San Siro.

Ricardo Rodriguez saw a seventh-minute penalty saved, but Milan were not punished for his profligacy and Bonaventura netted what proved to be the decisive goal six minutes later.

But the remaining 77 minutes were filled with incident, Milan seeing a Leonardo Bonucci effort ruled out for offside while Hakan Calhanoglu struck the crossbar.

A lifeless Sampdoria team did not offer a genuine threat until Gianluca Caprari squandered a late chance to equalise and seventh-placed Milan now move level with them on 41 points, just seven points adrift of a Champions League qualification berth.

Next for Milan is the second leg of a Europa League round-of-32 tie with Ludogorets that they appear to have wrapped up thanks to a 3-0 victory in the first meeting, before Gattuso’s credentials will receive their sternest test yet with league games against Roma and Inter sandwiched either side of the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final with Lazio.

Milan threatened inside the first three minutes as Bonaventura headed straight at Viviano from a Riccardo Montolivo cross but a better opportunity was squandered by Rodriguez four minutes later.

Samp left-back Nicola Murru blocked a cross from the right with his arm and referee Daniele Doveri duly pointed to the spot.

However, Rodriguez’s penalty was a tame one and Viviano got down low to his left to turn the ball behind.

But Viviano was picking the ball out of his net soon after as Milan broke the deadlock with a wonderful move.

Suso played in Davide Calabria down the right and he whipped in a magnificent delivery for the onrushing Bonaventura, the unmarked midfielder firing a first-time volley into the ground and underneath Viviano.

Suso and Calhanoglu both had efforts deflected wide as Milan spent much of the first half camped in the Samp half, but the visitors were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty of their own, the VAR opting not to punish Calabria’s apparent handball with a spot-kick.

But Samp were grateful to the VAR shortly before half-time when Suso and Calhanoglu orchestrated a well-worked free-kick, the latter’s low cross turned in by Bonucci, only for the centre-half to be correctly adjudged to have been offside on review.

The frame of the goal rescued Samp seven minutes after the restart as Calhanoglu’s fierce effort from the edge of the area cannoned off the top of the crossbar, before Suso shot across the face of goal with the net at his mercy at the far post.

Vivano denied both Calhanoglu and Calabria to keep Samp in it but, despite a late scare when substitute Caprari fired wide at the far post, Milan gained ground on fourth-placed Inter to perhaps open another avenue back into the Champions League.