Bale back in Real Madrid squad to face Roma as James misses out

By Sports Desk August 11, 2019

Zinedine Zidane named Gareth Bale in his squad for the first time in four matches, but there was still no place for James Rodriguez as Real Madrid flew to Italy ahead of their clash with Roma.

Bale's last appearance for Madrid came as a substitute in the second half of a 7-3 defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup on July 27, shortly before a proposed transfer away from the Spanish club fell through.

The Wales international had been expected to join Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning but the deal collapsed, with reports suggesting Madrid were unhappy with the transfer fee being offered.

There was also speculation that Bale rejected the move over family reasons.

Bale did not feature in friendlies against Tottenham, Fenerbahce and Salzburg, but was named in the squad to face Roma along with fellow forwards Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Luka Jovic and Vinicius Junior.

The absence of James from the Madrid squad means the Colombia international's future remains unclear, with Napoli and Atletico Madrid both reportedly interested in signing him.

James has not featured for Madrid this pre-season following his return from a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, a hamstring injury keeps close-season signing Ferland Mendy on the sidelines as Madrid play their last pre-season fixture before Saturday's LaLiga opener at Celta Vigo.

Related items

  • Barcelona's Luis Suarez: Best goal of my career Barcelona's Luis Suarez: Best goal of my career

    Luis Suarez labelled his stunning back-heel effort for LaLiga champions Barcelona as the best goal of his career.

    Suarez scored a memorable goal as Barca defeated Real Mallorca 5-2 at Camp Nou on Saturday to regain top spot in LaLiga.

    While Lionel Messi bagged a record-breaking hat-trick, Suarez capped a wonderful team move by back-heeling past Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Reina prior to half-time.

    "It's the best goal of my career," Suarez, who has now scored against all 28 teams he has faced in LaLiga, said of the 43rd-minute goal.

    "I knew that it was a tight angle and the last option I had was to hit it with my heel. I was looking to bounce it because I had very little chance against the goalkeeper.

    "[Head coach Ernesto] Valverde tells me that sometimes I miss the easiest ones and score the most difficult ones."

    Barca produced an impressive performance at home to Mallorca as they moved ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference after their rivals won earlier in the day.

    "This shows the confidence we're gaining as the matches go by," Suarez said. "We've been looking for our team-mates more and it was a great match today."

    Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the seventh minute as the former Atletico Madrid star netted his first LaLiga goal since October 18.

    "He has had to take up a new position in attack, he must find his space," Suarez of Griezmann. "I congratulate him on settling in because it's not easy."

  • Messi hat-trick a good way to celebrate Ballon d'Or – Barca boss Valverde Messi hat-trick a good way to celebrate Ballon d'Or – Barca boss Valverde

    Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Lionel Messi's record-breaking hat-trick was a "good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or".

    After claiming his sixth Ballon d'Or earlier in the week, Messi's treble led LaLiga champions Barca to a 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

    Messi's Ballon d'Or triumph on Monday saw him move clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barca captain broke the former Real Madrid superstar's record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

    After Messi's 35th league treble, Barca boss Valverde hailed the 32-year-old star post-game at Camp Nou.

    "Unbelievable," Valverde told reporters after Barca regained top spot ahead of rivals Real Madrid.

    "It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or."

    While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning display, Barca team-mate Luis Suarez scored a stunning back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca.

    On Suarez's 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: "The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate.

    "It surprised me, but it was an extraordinary goal. I told him that there had been a few easier chances and this one, which was improbable, went in."

  • Sarri disagrees with Cuadrado red card in first Juventus loss Sarri disagrees with Cuadrado red card in first Juventus loss

    Juan Cuadrado was wrongly sent off as Juventus lost 3-1 away to Lazio in Serie A on Saturday, according to Maurizio Sarri.

    The Bianconeri coach saw his side lose for the first time since his arrival despite Cristiano Ronaldo's goal putting the champions in front at the Stadio Olimpico.

    Luiz Felipe headed Lazio's equaliser before the turning point of the match, Cuadrado seeing red after bringing down Manuel Lazzari as he ran through on goal.

    Referee Michael Fabbri initially opted to book Cuadrado but then changed the yellow card to red after consulting pitchside monitors, and Lazio made the most of their man advantage.

    Sergej Milinkovic-Savic brilliantly scored from Luis Alberto's lofted pass, and Felipe Caicedo struck deep in added time to secure Lazio's first home league win over Juve since 2003.

    "We didn't respect our duties, because players were in the wrong position," Sarri told DAZN of the incident leading to Cuadrado's dismissal. "It was a distraction and you pay for that.

    "We had decided before the game on certain positions and we didn't cover them.

    "I do not entirely agree that it was a clear scoring opportunity, as the ball was going wide. I thought a yellow card was the right ruling, but the fact remains that is out of our control and we made a mistake to create the situation."

    Sarri, who said Rodrigo Bentancur needs tests on a ligament injury, felt there were positives to take from Juve's performance despite a second straight league game without a win.

    "In the second half, when the game seemed to be in a more balanced state, the red card changed everything," he said. "We lost the match, but, to be honest, I saw improvements in my team."

    Lazio have won seven games in a row in Serie A and are only five points behind leaders Inter, prompting suggestions they could be in the title race.

    They last won the league 20 years ago, and coach Simone Inzaghi feels topping the table may be a realistic target for his impressive side.

    "We are in a great period of form," he told DAZN. "We should be ambitious, knowing also that six weeks ago people said we weren't getting results but I remained calm.

    "The club was always close to me, even when we lost, reassuring me there were no problems.

    "I also have a squad that is always at the disposal of my staff and I. Now we enjoy this victory, which we hadn't managed for 16 years here, a game I remember, because I was on the bench.

    "We enjoy it for a few hours, but from Thursday we must get right back on track and aim to stay in the Europa League. We played well, created many chances and could have scored more goals, so I praise these lads for something extraordinary."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.