Sergio Ramos should be given a new contract by Real Madrid so he can finish his career at the club, according to Predrag Mijatovic.

The defender's deal runs until the end of the 2020-21 season, by which time he will be 35.

Madrid have in the recent past allowed other legendary names to leave at the tail end of their playing days, including Ramos' former team-mates Raul and Iker Casillas, who moved on to Schalke and Porto respectively.

However, Mijatovic is adamant the Spain international must be retained despite his advancing years, giving him the chance to teach future generations about life with Los Blancos.

"We cannot afford to let our players help other teams, because they should be ours," the former Madrid forward told Stats Perform News. "I would like to have this policy back.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't happen at Real Madrid. Raul had great history at Real Madrid and left in a bad way, Fernando Hierro the same, Casillas too.

"Now they are talking about Sergio Ramos [doing the same]. His contract has to be extended, two or three years, it doesn't matter. This guy has to finish his career at Real Madrid.

"He is important, almost a treasure of the club. Both for what he has done already and what he can do In the future, maybe not on the field, but teaching the young players who join Real Madrid on how to play, behave and adapt to the club. That's what it has to happen."

Madrid also let Cristiano Ronaldo depart the Santiago Bernabeu for Juventus in 2018, while there has also been speculation Luka Modric – who turns 35 in September – could move on.

Both players were pivotal in helping win the Champions League for three successive years during Zinedine Zidane's first spell in charge.

"If I had been at the club, I wouldn't let players like Cristiano, Sergio Ramos or Luka Modric leave," Mijatovic continued. 

"They are players that despite losing maybe a bit of fitness as the years go on, they are always very positive for the upcoming players.

"Let's imagine a young striker who comes in and learns from Cristiano, giving him advice. Or a young centre-back speaking with Sergio Ramos – who could teach him better than Sergio Ramos on how he has to behave?

"Football is not just about having great players and then dropping them when you no longer need them. There are some players ...Italians do this perfectly. There are players like [Franco] Baresi, [Paolo] Maldini, and these big players who are a great asset to the club."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists nothing has changed in the LaLiga title race despite Barcelona's slip-up at Sevilla.

Barca were held to a 0-0 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Friday, opening the door for Madrid to draw level on points with the Blaugrana if they win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Victory would see Madrid leapfrog Barca at the top courtesy of their superior head-to-head record.

Speaking after their draw, Barca defender Gerard Pique told Movistar Plus that it would be "very difficult" for them to retain LaLiga, expressing his belief that "it's going to be difficult for Madrid to lose points" having seen what has happened in the games since the restart following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Those comments were regarded by some as a reference to seemingly favourable refereeing decisions Madrid have received in their wins over Eibar and Valencia.

Zidane, though, showed little interest in Pique's remarks at his pre-match media conference on Saturday, telling reporters: "Nothing has changed.

"We have a game tomorrow and we have talked about 11 finals. We will give everything and without thinking about anything else."

Asked about Pique's comments, he replied: "Say one thing or another. What interests me is tomorrow's game.

"I have my opinion, but I will not comment on it because it can happen the other way around. The truth is that what encourages us is tomorrow's game. Nothing else."

"I don't believe they are favouring us," Zidane said when pressed on whether refereeing decisions had been benefiting Los Blancos.

Sociedad are contending for the Champions League places but have been held by Osasuna and beaten by Deportivo Alaves in their two games since the restart.

"I don't know if they are playing worse, the results have been worse, but they can get you into trouble at any time," added Zidane. "Tomorrow is another final."

Barcelona coach Quique Setien disagreed with Gerard Pique and believes Real Madrid will drop points late in the LaLiga season.

Setien's men were held to a 0-0 draw at Sevilla on Friday, giving Madrid the chance to join them on 65 points when they visit Real Sociedad.

Pique said it was hard to see Madrid dropping points in their remaining nine games, but Setien disagreed.

"I think that about Pique is the frustration of the moment. We were very confident because we had 30 very good minutes at the beginning of the game and then we got messy," he said, via AS.

"In the second half, we lost balls that gave them life.

"Tomorrow, he will surely think differently because I am sure that Madrid will not win everything."

A win against Sociedad on Sunday would send Madrid top of the table thanks to their head-to-head record against Barcelona after their El Clasico victory in March.

But Setien, whose side host Athletic Bilbao on Tuesday, is remaining upbeat.

"The rivals always have things to say, there are very tough confrontations and you have to be optimistic," he said.

"We don't depend on ourselves, but you have to be optimistic."

Gerard Pique said it was hard to see Real Madrid dropping points between now and the end of the season after Barcelona handed Zinedine Zidane's team a huge title boost.

A goalless draw at Sevilla on Friday opened the door for Madrid to potentially join Barcelona at the top of LaLiga on Sunday, when they tackle Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

Pique could not inspire Barcelona to find a breakthrough at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, leaving the race for glory wide open again.

He said afterwards: "It's going to be difficult to win this league. We're going to do everything we can but very few points will be lost.

"From what I've seen in recent weeks, it's going to be very difficult for Real Madrid to lose points."

Lionel Messi went close with a first-half free-kick and provided a familiar spark at times, but Barcelona faded after a bright opening 30 minutes.

Pique felt he and his team-mates missed an opportunity to take another three points, but he might later reflect on how it might have been worse.

Sevilla defender Sergio Reguilon, on loan from Real Madrid, had a glorious last-gasp chance but made a hash of a close-range shot and Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a comfortable save.

After this weekend, both frontrunners will have eight games left to play in the league.

Asked if it felt as though two points had got away in Seville, Pique said: "Yes, because we were in control and had more chances. They looked a bit tired. I think we were good with the ball but there was little space. We couldn't get the goal."

Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to make the move to Camp Nou.

The Inter forward is at the top of Barcelona's list of targets as the Spanish giants eye a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

But Inter are not making things easy for Barca.

 

TOP STORY – INTER NOT BUDGING OVER MARTINEZ

Inter are standing firm over Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, according to Sky Sport Italia.

LaLiga champions Barca are determined to sign the Argentina forward but Inter are unwilling to budge on their demands – either pay his €111million release clause or splash €90-95m plus a player chosen by the Serie A club. 

The same network claims Inter loanee  Alexis Sanchez  could renew his loan deal from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Inter are interested in Real Madrid full-back Achraf Hakimi, reports Calciomercato. Achraf, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at Dortmund, has been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and others. Inter are admirers of the Morocco international but remain some way off luring him to Milan.

- The Times says Chelsea are prepared to sell star midfielder N'Golo Kante to raise funds for extra transfers. Madrid are thought to be keen on the Frenchman as Chelsea look to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.

Napoli have reached a "total agreement" with Lille for defender Gabriel Magalhaes, says Footmercato. The Brazilian centre-back has also been linked to Everton and Tottenham.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reports Fiorentina are battling Milan and Everton for outgoing PSG defender Thiago Silva, who is a free agent.

Milan have been mooted as the most likely destination for Naby Keita as Liverpool consider selling the former RB Leipzig midfielder, according to Milan Live.

David Alaba to leave Bayern Munich? The Telegraph claims the Bundesliga champions are open to a sale, alerting the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, United and PSG.

Karim Benzema never imagined he would be among Real Madrid's top five goalscorers after surpassing Ferenc Puskas on Thursday.

The striker scored a brace as Madrid moved back within two points of rivals and LaLiga leaders Barcelona with a 3-0 win over Valencia.

Benzema moved past Puskas (242 goals) and into fifth on Madrid's all-time list with 243, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (451), Raul (323), Alfredo Di Stefano (308) and Santillana (290).

The Frenchman, who arrived at Madrid from Lyon in 2009, was happy with his achievement.

"I didn't imagine anything like this, I'm very happy. I've been working for a long time now and I always put it in to keep improving," Benzema said, via the club's website.

"I hope I can keep going. I'm very happy to be playing for this club."

Benzema's second goal was spectacular as he controlled a Marco Asensio pass brilliantly before unleashing a volley past Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

The 32-year-old said everything moved so quickly as he scored to make it 3-0, before Lee Kang-in was later sent off for Valencia.

"It wasn't an easy game due to the opposition who made it hard, but we won and didn't concede," Benzema said.

"It's very important because Valencia are a very good team. For the second goal everything happened so fast.

"It was a cross from Marco, I control it, I shot with the left foot and it went in. It looks easy, but you have to do it so fast."

Benzema has scored 21 goals in 38 games this season, with Madrid back in action against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane celebrated his 133rd win as Real Madrid head coach to move second on the club's all-time list.

Zidane oversaw Madrid's 3-0 LaLiga victory over 10-man Valencia thanks to a brilliant Karim Benzema brace in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

In his second spell in charge of Madrid after returning in March 2019, Zidane became the coach with the second most wins in club history – equalling Vicente del Bosque's record.

Miguel Munoz tops the list with 357 wins as coach of Madrid, where he led Los Blancos to two European Cup triumphs and nine LaLiga titles from 1960 to 1972.

Zidane, who enjoyed great success as a Madrid player between 2001 and 2006, has claimed three Champions League (2016, 2017 and 2018) trophies in the dugout.

The 47-year-old Frenchman has also tasted LaLiga (2017), UEFA Super Cup (2016 and 2017), Club World Cup (2016 and 2017) and Supercopa de Espana (2017 and 2020) glory in the coaching role.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was "delighted" for Karim Benzema after the star forward surpassed Ferenc Puskas on the club's all-time scorers list.

Benzema scored a brilliant brace to inspire a 3-0 LaLiga win over 10-man Valencia at Madrid Castilla's Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on Thursday.

After opening the scoring just past the hour-mark, Benzema completed the victory in stunning fashion with four minutes remaining – rifling a volley past Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen following Marco Asensio's 74th-mintue effort.

Benzema's two-goal display in the Spanish capital took his tally to 243 goals for Madrid across all competitions, leapfrogging club great Puskas (242) for fifth on the all-time list.

"It was a great goal, for the move and the finish – I'm delighted for Karim's goals," Zidane said after Madrid moved back within two points of leaders and rivals Barcelona.

It was a memorable outing for Asensio, who marked his long-awaited return by scoring with his first touch against Valencia.

Asensio sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last July and returned to the pitch as a 74th-minute substitute on Thursday – the Spaniard's impact immediate.

"This means a lot for him. We're happy to see him back on the pitch," Zidane said. "After so many months out, to come back and score a great goal in his first involvement makes me really happy.

"He was already happy just to get out on to the pitch and then he was able to score straight away, which shows he is already involved."

Eden Hazard also impressed for Madrid – the Belgium star combining with Luka Modric to tee up Benzema for the opening goal in Madrid.

Injury and fitness have hampered Hazard's maiden Madrid campaign, but the former Chelsea attacker showed glimpses of why Los Blancos invested so heavily in the 29-year-old.

"This was a really good game from Hazard," Zidane added. "Physically, he was good and played 80 minutes. Sometimes you might think he's starting to look tired, but then he picks up the ball and sprints away."

Madrid remain within touching distance of Barca with nine matches remaining in the coronavirus-impacted 2019-20 LaLiga season.

On the title race, Zidane said: "We know that it will be like this until the end, but today we can be happy because of what we've done in the game.

"They are the ones fighting; we have to enjoy and congratulate the players because it was a complete game and then think about the next game against Real Sociedad."

Barca will face third-placed Sevilla on Friday and Zidane added: "We depend on what we are going to do, knowing the situation. I'll watch the game, but I don't have the idea in my head that Barcelona will slip up; we have to think about ourselves."

Marco Asensio was delighted his hard work paid off as he made a stunning return from injury in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Valencia.

Making his comeback from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Asensio scored seconds after coming on and then set up Karim Benzema's sealer at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Thursday.

Asensio, 24, was pleased to be back, with the appearance his first competitive club outing since May last year.

"I really wanted to return. It has been many months of hard work," the midfielder told Movistar.

"I am very happy to play, to score and for the team's victory."

On his goal, Asensio added: "A lot of excitement and satisfaction, because there is a lot of work behind this. I am in the final stretch of the season."

Asensio also set up Benzema for the striker to complete his brace, the Frenchman's first touch setting up a spectacular volleyed finish.

Spain international Asensio lauded Benzema, who became Madrid's fifth all-time top goalscorer with 243, surpassing Ferenc Puskas (242).

"It was a great goal. He has made a great control and in general we have made a great match," he said.

Madrid's win saw them climb back to within two points of rivals and leaders Barcelona with nine games left to play.

"We have nine finals left that we have to win," Asensio said.

"We are now focusing on the Real Sociedad match [on Sunday], which is the objective we have in mind."

Marco Asensio marked his long-awaited return by scoring with his first touch and Karim Benzema netted twice as Real Madrid cruised to a 3-0 win over Valencia on Thursday.

The Spain international has not kicked a ball in anger this season after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury last July and only regained fitness during LaLiga's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Asensio made up for lost time by showing sublime technique to double Madrid's lead in the second half of the contest at Madrid Castilla's Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.

Karim Benzema had opened the scoring from a wonderful team move just after the hour and rounded things off with a stunning second as Zinedine Zidane's men deservedly earned a win that moves them back to within two points of leaders Barcelona, with Valencia's disappointment compounded by a late red card for Lee Kang-in.

Toni Kroos and Eden Hazard had squandered presentable early chances when teed up by Benzema, the latter shooting straight at Jasper Cillessen when one-on-one.

Rodrigo Moreno almost made Madrid pay but his shot across goal was brilliantly tipped onto the left-hand post by Thibaut Courtois.

Rodrigo slotted home after 21 minutes, only for VAR spot an offside against Maxi Gomez, who deflected Carlos Soler's pass into his team-mate's path.

Both goalkeepers were busy again before the break, Cillessen denying Dani Carvajal after a jinking run and Courtois parrying away Geoffrey Kondogbia's long-range effort.

Madrid were completely in control after the restart, though it took until the 61st minute for the breakthrough to arrive.

Hazard picked up the ball on the left of the area and played a wonderful one-two with Luka Modric before teeing up Benzema, who arrowed his strike into the bottom-left corner.

Modric, who grew in influence after a quiet first half, brought the best out of Cillessen again with a long-range drive but there was nothing the keeper could about Asensio's goal.

Ferland Mendy fired a cross in from the left and Asensio sensationally guided home a first-time volley into the right-hand side of the goal.

Not to be outdone, Benzema put the cherry atop the cake with a delightful effort, lifting the ball over Hugo Guillamon before rifling a volley past a helpless Cillessen, with Valencia's misery compounded when Lee was sent off late on for kicking Sergio Ramos.

Brazil legend Ronaldo would try and lure Kylian Mbappe to Real Valladolid if he had Real Madrid's budget, revealing he sees similarities between himself and the France international. 

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo stated recently that the club has no intention of selling star duo Mbappe or Neymar. 

Mbappe has often been linked with a big-money move to Madrid but has two years remaining on his contract. 

Former Madrid star Ronaldo is a majority shareholder of LaLiga side Valladolid and can only dream of being in a position to sign the World Cup winner, who had scored 18 goals in 20 league appearances before the season was cut short in France. 

Speaking at a media event sponsored by Santander Bank, Ronaldo said: "I would sign Mbappe [if Valladolid had Madrid's money], he is the one who most reminds me of me and my playing times." 

Ronaldo also spoke of his admiration for Erling Haaland, but is not convinced Madrid would need the Borussia Dortmund striker while they have Karim Benzema.

"Haaland is a great player, he is still young and has had a pretty good year with many goals, we will see how he ends it," he said.

"Surely big teams are going to be watching, but Real Madrid have good players, like Benzema who scores goals every Sunday."

Lionel Messi is reportedly set to re-sign with Barcelona.

The Argentina star is out of contract at Camp Nou next year, but is seemingly set to extend his stay with the LaLiga giants a little longer.

Messi, 32, has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona – and he may yet end up a one-club player.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI TO EXTEND BARCELONA CONTRACT UNTIL 2023

Messi will extend his contract at Barcelona until 2023, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says the forward will get to decide if he wants to leave the club before then.

Messi is enjoying another fine season with Barcelona, scoring 26 goals in 33 games in all competitions.

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham want to hold onto their stars. The Telegraph reports chairman Daniel Levy is eager to keep Spurs' best players, including Harry Kane – who has been linked to Real Madrid – and Dele Alli and Son Heung-min.

- It remains to be seen if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal. CalcioMercato reports the forward – out of contract until 2021 – is open to a move to Inter, but the Gabon international is not among the Serie A club's top choices if they need to replace Lautaro Martinez, who is wanted by Barcelona.

- Madrid are reportedly eager to sign Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga. But Sport says the Ligue 1 club are working to extend the the 17-year-old's contract, with his deal running until 2022.

- Liverpool could be set to make changes. The Sun reports Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Dejan Lovren could make exits, while Marko Grujic and Harry Wilson may leave on permanent deals. It also says Liverpool are set to give Naby Keita one more season to prove his worth.

- Borussia Dortmund seem some way off landing Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. Bild reports the Bundesliga club have offered just a little more than €20million (£17.9m) for Bellingham, who reportedly has a release clause of €35m (£31.4m).

- Empoli midfielder Samuele Ricci is reportedly catching the eye. CalcioMercato says Milan have kept an eye on the 18-year-old, while Napoli and Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested.

Real Madrid are happy with how Achraf Hakimi has performed on loan at Borussia Dortmund, head coach Zinedine Zidane said.

Achraf, 21, joined Dortmund on a two-year loan deal in 2018 and the full-back's future has become a talking point after impressing with the Bundesliga club.

The Morocco international is due to return to Madrid, but has also been linked with a move to Bayern Munich.

Zidane said he was pleased by what Achraf, who made 17 appearances for Madrid before his departure, had delivered at Dortmund.

"We know the season that he is doing, and I am happy for him, because in the end he needed to go out, play, make many games, and that is what he is doing," he told a news conference.

"I think that all of us here [at Madrid], and they there [at Dortmund], we are happy with Hakimi."

Achraf has scored nine goals and provided 10 assists in 44 games for Dortmund this season.

Zinedine ZIdane has no issues with adapting to the new, condensed Champions League format to take place in August, should Real Madrid progress past Manchester City.

Madrid were defeated 2-1 by City at Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their last-16 tie in February, before football across Europe was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches in Europe's top leagues – bar France, with the Ligue 1 season having been cancelled – is now returning, with the Bundesliga having restarted in May and the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga also returning to action this month.

On Wednesday, UEFA officially confirmed the Champions League campaign would be concluded with an eight-team competition to be held in Lisbon in August.

Quarter-final matches will take place from August 12-15, with the semi-finals on August 18 and 19 before the final at Estadio da Luz on August 23. The outstanding last-16 fixtures – including Madrid's tie with City – are to be held on August 7-8, though it is yet to be decided where these games will take place.

And Zidane believes the solution proposed by UEFA is the best way to complete this season's competition.

"We are living a special moment and everything will be special," Zidane told a news conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Valencia.

"We know the format, how it will be, but we still do not know where we will play the return leg against City.

"We will adapt. If it has to be in Lisbon or Manchester, we will play. First we are going to try to progress against City.

"The important thing is to play again and we are happy, but this formula for the Champions does not seem bad to me.

"I like it. It's okay to decide everything in the same place."

Madrid resumed their LaLiga campaign with a 3-1 defeat of Eibar on Sunday, though Zidane acknowledged there was plenty of room for improvement.

However, Zidane does not believe Madrid have an issue upping their game against the lesser sides in LaLiga.

"We had a game where we started very well, we scored two or three goals in half an hour," he added.

"We found it difficult afterwards to maintain throughout the game, which is what happened against Eibar. 

"This is a very difficult league. I have emotions and I can be a bit upset when things don't go well, but we scored three goals and we played with intensity."

Cristiano Ronaldo will "probably" play out the final years of his career in MLS, according to his former Manchester United and Portugal team-mate Nani.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has established himself as one of the sport's all-time greats, winning four of his five Champions League trophies during a nine-year spell with Real Madrid.

He left the Santiago Bernabeu as their all-time leading goalscorer and has surpassed 700 for club and country since moving to Juventus in 2018.

Although he is showing few signs of decline – as evidenced by his 21 goals in Serie A this term, equal to his tally in 2019-20 despite playing nine fewer matches – Ronaldo is now 35 years old.

Retirement does not appear to be imminent, however, with his Juve contract running for another two years, and he is seemingly planning on a spell in the United States before calling it a day.

"A couple of years ago, he told me that he will probably end up in America," Nani, who plays in MLS with Orlando City, told ESPN.

"It's not 100 per cent, but probably. There is a chance."

Nani is convinced by the quality of football in MLS, even if he does recognise there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"It is a great league," Nani said. "Obviously there are points where we must improve as a league, even in the quality of the players.

"[But] here you have fantastic clubs, well organised with fantastic conditions, great coaches, great players. You see every season improving.

"I think we all have the conditions in this league. We are in a great country, everything is around us. It is all about being better, not being afraid to improve."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.