James Rodríguez Gets 2nd Chance After Return To Real Madrid

first_imgBARCELONA, Spain — Having gone from star to cast-off at Real Madrid, Colombia midfielder James Rodríguez now has a second chance to regain a prominent role with the 13-time European Cup winners.James arrived at Madrid after an outstanding 2014 World Cup, when he was the tournament’s top scorer with six goals. He earned support from fans and coach Carlo Ancelotti with his ability to score and create chances for others, and appeared set to triumph with the Spanish powerhouse.But an injury and competition from his teammates led to falling minutes. He eventually lost his starting spot and became unhappy when Zinedine Zidane used him sparingly. He left in 2017 on a two-year loan for Bayern Munich.James’ future was up in the air again this past summer when Bayern opted not to exercise the option of buying his contract outright, sending him back to Madrid. Rumors abounded in the Spanish media that he would be shipped out to Atlético Madrid or Napoli to be reunited with Ancelotti.Neither of those moves materialized, though, and he started the season back with Madrid and its squad full of talented midfielders. James was facing an uncertain.But injuries to Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio, Francisco “Isco” Alarcón and Luka Modric, and the exit of Dani Ceballos, left Zidane in need of a healthy player to link up with his forwards.James seemed clearly thrilled to get the opportunity on Saturday when he made his first start since returning to the club. He hustled when pressuring the ball, and showed his excellent playing skills, combining vision and passing precision to set up Karim Benzema for his second goal in a 3-2 win over Levante.Now he may have another chance to lead Madrid’s attack when it visits Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.“You can see he is very good. He is a player who has lots of talent,” Zidane said Saturday. “He still needs to reach his peak fitness, but he left it all on the field with his aggressive attitude. I am happy for him.”IS HE READY?Barcelona could start its European campaign at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday without Lionel Messi, who hasn’t played since injuring his leg in the preseason.In his place, 16-year-old Ansu Fati has become a fan favorite after scoring twice to set records for the youngest Barcelona player to score in the Spanish league and the youngest player to score at Camp Nou.That leaves coach Ernesto Valverde with the intriguing question of whether Fati should take the next step and make his first appearance in the continent’s elite competition.If Messi does not recover in time, then Valverde will likely need to find somebody to accompany Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann in attack. That could either be the versatile Sergi Roberto or reserve team player Carles Pérez.Or he could give his teen sensation another go at Dortmund.“With Ansu there is going to be a lot of hype and huge expectations, but we have to take the pressure off him. Our job is to protect the player,” Valverde said after Fati scored once and set up another goal in a 5-2 win over Valencia on Saturday.“I see that he is a boy who is focused. But it is not easy to play for Barca, and for someone as young as Ansu Fati it is even more difficult.”BAD TIMINGValencia is in chaos before it plays at Chelsea on Tuesday.Owner Peter Lim fired successful coach Marcelino García Toral, who led the team to a Copa del Rey title last season, over García’s complaints that the club had not reinforced the squad to his liking.Several players voiced their disagreement with the decision on social media, and the team was beaten by Barcelona in its first match under new coach Albert Celades.Not the best situation before a high-profile trip to Stamford Bridge, where Valencia has not won in three visits.ATLETICO WOMENIn Spain’s women’s league, Atlético Madrid has started its bid for a fourth consecutive title in perfect fashion ahead of its showdown with Barcelona.Atlético won its second straight game to begin the campaign when it rolled past Sevilla 3-0.Barcelona needed a late penalty by Spain forward Jennifer Hermoso to salvage a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano. Barcelona trails Atlético by two points in third place.Barcelona, a Champions League finalist last season, hosts Atlético next weekend.By: Joseph Wilson, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Football quiz: English clubs v Scottish clubs in Europe

first_imgTopics Dear me. You’re the Brechin City of the football quizzing world. No, scratch that. You’re even worse than them. You’re getting relegated … to the Highland League. Which Liverpool player ran 70 yards to score against Celtic in the 2-2 draw at Celtic Park in 1997? Celtic beat Liverpool and which other English club en route to the 2003 Uefa Cup final? Aberdeen last played an English club in Europe in 1981. Who did they face – and beat – in the first round of the Uefa Cup? You got… Ipswich Town Great stuff. You have a bright future Steve McManaman Liverpool were losing 2-1 with one minute remaining when the midfielder picked the ball up deep in his own half before waltzing off upfield to score a stunning equaliser. The goal saw Liverpool through on away goals after a 0-0 draw in the second leg. Share on WhatsApp Dundee United were involved in a rollicking two-legged 5-4 aggregate defeat by which English team in the 1984-85 Uefa Cup third round? Hearts v Liverpool They met in the Europa League play-off round in 2012-13. Liverpool won 2-1 on aggregate. Liverpool Not bad. If you work on your finishing you could win something Manchester United Having shocked Ron Atkinson’s side by drawing 2-2 at Old Trafford, Dundee went down 3-2 in the second leg after an own goal by Gary McGinnis and goals from Mark Hughes and Arnold Muhren put Manchester United through. Newcastle United When Celtic beat Leeds in the second leg of the European Cup semi-final at Hampden Park in 1970 the attendance set a record for a Uefa match between club sides. What was it? Bolton Wanderers That feeling you have is shame. Rangers v Wolves Rangers won the 1960-61 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final 3-1 on aggregate. Patrik Berger Blackburn Rovers Celtic won 1-0 at Celtic Park and 2-0 at Ewood Park, where Chris Sutton scored against his former club. Michael Owen Tottenham v Hearts Dundee United v Leicester City Everton Share via Email 105,000 Mid-table Share on LinkedIn Thomas Gravesen Ipswich Town Alex Ferguson oversaw Aberdeen’s 4-2 aggregate win. This result helped to put the pain of a 5-0 aggregate defeat by Liverpool in the 1980-81 European Cup behind them. Fulham v Kilmarnock Tottenham Hotspur v Hearts Manchester United v Rangers Trevor Steven Share on Facebook Celtic v Liverpool Submit answers Arsenal Share on Pinterest Shunsuke Nakamura The Japan international was not the only Celtic hero; Artur Boruc saved a penalty from Louis Saha in the 90th minute. Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink Share via Email 121,004 features Gary Stevens Mark Hateley The Derby-born forward lashed home a 20-yard strike after two minutes in the first leg at Elland Road. Rangers won the tie between the English and Scottish champions 4-2 on aggregate, making Rangers the reigning unofficial champions of Britain as a competitive match has not been played between champions of both nations since. Which of these fixtures has been played most between English and Scottish sides in European football? Dale Gordon Go home and have a good long think about this. Aston Villa Which English player scored for Rangers against Leeds in the European Cup in November 1992? 98,052 You’ve been knocked out in the second round. Share on Facebook Well done. With a little more movement up front you could go far Liverpool Liverpool v Celtic The clubs have met only three times in European competition but it is still the most common fixture between English and Scottish sides. Liverpool have won two of the ties and Celtic one. Before Aberdeen v Burnley, what was the last Europa League/Uefa Cup meeting between an English and Scottish side? 136,505 It’s fair to say Hampden Park was chocka. Challenge your friends Champions League Share on Twitter Beaten in the final but you should be very proud. What a performance! Celtic v Leeds Incredible! Maradona, Pelé, Messi, Ronaldo … they have nothing on you. Football European club football Celtic v Manchester City Europa League What was the first Anglo-Scottish match played in a European competition? Neil Lennon Share on Twitter Which player scored a 30-yard free-kick to ensure a 1-0 home victory over Manchester United that took Celtic into the knockout phase of the Champions League in 2006? Arsenal v Dundee United Nottingham Forest Robbie Fowler Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more

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