Madrid must stick with Zidane – Benzema

The French striker was delighted as the Blancos continued their European path with a stunning victory, and said his compatriot was the man to take the club forward

Karim Benzema has urged the Real Madrid hierarchy to stick with Zinedine Zidane as the club’s head coach beyond the 2015-16 campaign in the wake of their Champions League win over Wolfsburg.

Cristiano Ronaldo starred with a hat-trick as Madrid overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to progress to the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Madrid beat Barcelona in the Clasico this month and have pulled within four points of their arch-rivals at the top of La Liga on the back of six straight league wins.

And Benzema, who revealed on Wednesday that he will not be selected in the France squad for Euro 2016, feels Zidane has shown he is the right man for the job.

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“This is also Zidane’s success,” Benzema told AS. “I have a lot of respect for Zidane. He gives me a lot of confidence.

“I have already said it before, but Zidane is like a godfather to me. He is my coach now and I get along with him very well.

“I am very happy for him that we beat Wolfsburg. He deserves this success.

“Of course, I want him to continue as Madrid coach. He is showing everyone that he was not only a great player, but is a great coach as well.”

Wenger: Injury break was good for Alexis

The Gunners forward scored the winner in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burnley on his first start since suffering a hamstring injury in November

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested that the side could benefit from the hamstring injury that ruled Alexis Sanchez out for two months.

Alexis scored the winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burnley in the FA Cup fourth round on his first start since he was forced off against Norwich at the end of November. 

The Chilean, 27, had been described by Wenger as “exhausted” prior to his injury and the Gunners boss was pleased with his energy levels against Burnley.

“He has had a long rest now,” Wenger said. “It’s true that when he got injured you could see signs of fatigue and I think two months’ rest is a good winter break.

“I wasn’t too worried on the fitness front. He came through well and you could see that.”




Hazard reveals talks with Mourinho

The Belgian admits he has started the season badly and reveals he has asked to be moved into a central role in order to improve his performances

Eden Hazard has revealed he held talks with Jose Mourinho over his dip in form and admits he asked to be moved into a central role for Chelsea.

The 24-year-old has failed to replicate last season’s title-winning form which also led him to be named the PFA Player of the Year.

And the Belgium international believes a change in position has been needed to get the best out of him.

“We spoke together before the Stoke game,” said Hazard.

“I said to him: ‘Maybe we have to try something, to change something. Maybe I have to play a No.10 because we have to try.’

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“We did and I played a very good game in the [League] Cup in Stoke. And, [against Norwich], it was the same.

“I tried to play my own game. I didn’t start the season well. I know that. I gave everything in training and on the pitch when I played. Now I hope I can get a lot more form and try to help the team win games.”

Reports have also claimed that Hazard is keen on a move to Real Madrid due to a poor relationship with Jose Mourinho, but the midfielder insists the Portuguese is the right man to move Chelsea forward.

“I don’t have a problem with Mourinho,” said the Belgian.

“I’ve heard a lot of things about this, but no. Everything is good with him. He is the best manager.

“He is the best manager for Chelsea, and we hope we can win a lot of trophies together. Maybe not this season because it will be difficult, but next season and on.”

Messi delighted with 'great victory' over Real Madrid

The Argentine attacker emerged from the bench to make his first appearance for the Catalan side since late September and was elated to return to action in the Clasico

Lionel Messi was delighted to return to action in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Real Madrid on Saturday, following a spell on the sidelines.

The Argentine star had been out of action since late September with an injury, but emerged from the bench in the second half of the Clasico in the Santiago Bernabeu as his side strolled to victory.


Gran victoria en el Clásico y buenas sensaciones al volver a las canchas. Nos queda muchísimo por delante, pero vamos a…

Posted by Leo Messi on Saturday, November 21, 2015

And while Messi did not have a decisive role in the derby win, he was elated to get back into the team and was impressed with his side’s display.

“A great victory in the Clasico and a feeling good on my return to the pitch,” he wrote on Facebook. 

“There’s a long way to go, but we’ll keep fighting to win every game we play in.”

The victory sees Barcelona go six points clear of Rafael Benitez’s men at the top of La Liga.

Wenger reveals plans to stop 'outstanding' Lewandowski

The Bayern Munich striker is in sensational form this season, with the Frenchman wary that his side will have to be “shrewd” to keep him quiet on Tuesday

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed how his side will try to stop Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lewandowski has scored 16 goals in 11 club appearances so far this term, as well as a further six for Poland in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

And Wenger believes his defenders will have to be at the top of their game to get the better of him.

“First of all the best way to combat him is for us to have the ball,” Wenger was quoted as saying by Arsenal’s official website.

“After that you have to be shrewd with him because inside the box he is outstanding, because of his technique, his finishing, his movement inside the box.

“That’s where we need the experience of Mertesacker and Koscielny to deal with that because that will be one of the important things on the night.”

Bayern are among the favourites to win the Champions League this season, with Pep Guardiola’s outfit top of Group F after wins over Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb.

The Bavarians have also triumphed in all nine of their Bundesliga encounters to date, and Wenger believes Arsenal are underdogs ahead of Tuesday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium. 

“You have to respect Bayern,” he said. “Historically they have won the European Cup how many times? Five? And Arsenal zero. So you cannot say that historically we are at the same level as Bayern.

“They have done it in the past and they have the history and the knowledge. What we want is to get there.

“In 2015 we are the team that has taken more points than everybody else. But in Europe it’s true we have been poor in our first two games. That is what we want to correct.

“I must say we have our backs to the wall and we play against a top, top team. So I can understand the scepticism of people. But we have to prove them wrong.

“We don’t look at the history. We look at the potential performance on the day. That’s what we try to do. The history doesn’t play the game. What will decide the game is the performance we produce. That comes from if we believe we can do it.”