Gareth Bale has been included in Real Madrid's squad for their LaLiga encounter with Real Sociedad despite the controversy caused by his celebrations after Wales' successful Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales booked their place at next year's finals with a 2-0 win over Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Bale, who has not played for Madrid since October 5, featured from the start for Ryan Giggs' side and was pictured after the match singing and dancing behind a banner that read: 'WALES. GOLF. MADRID…IN THAT ORDER'.

The slogan originates from a chant by Wales supporters that pokes fun at perceptions among the Spanish media, who have accused Bale of bumping Madrid down his list of priorities and spending too much time on the golf course.

Those celebrations drew further criticism from sections of the Madrid press and Los Blancos' fanbase, but Zidane – whose relationship with Bale has reportedly been a troubled one – claimed on Friday that the issue had been overblown.

Zidane has now included Bale in his squad for Saturday's clash with Sociedad, who would move above Madrid with a win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale's inclusion comes at the expense of Vinicius Junior, with the teenage winger missing out on the 19-man selection.

Vinicius has made eight appearances in LaLiga this term, though only four of those have been starts.

Zinedine Zidane has called for the Real Madrid fans to get behind Gareth Bale despite his well-publicised Wales celebrations this week.

Bale was pictured behind a banner that read 'WALES. GOLF. MADRID…IN THAT ORDER' following his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday that secured them qualification to Euro 2020.

The slogan originates from a chant by Wales supporters that pokes fun at perceptions among the Spanish media, who have accused Bale of bumping Madrid down his list of priorities and spending too much time on the golf course.

Bale's celebration drew the ire of Madrid fans and many in the national media with Marca leading with the headline 'DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER'.

But Madrid head coach Zidane defended Bale, who almost left for China in the close-season, and urged the club's supporters to get behind the former Tottenham man.

"Those who really support the club, those who come to the stadium, know he's a Real Madrid player," he said.

"You shouldn't look at what goes on elsewhere, you have to support the team, the players, have to get behind the side.

"I will always support my players. Things might go on outside the Real Madrid environment but we're in this together."

Zidane was quizzed repeatedly about Bale ahead of Saturday's home game with Real Sociedad and was quick to highlight the player's achievements in Spain.

He added: "I think sometimes people go over the top with this topic, everyone has their point of view, we're here to focus on football. 

"I think now it's almost the snowball effect. I mean he was fit and could play with the national team, he's here, available and we're delighted. 

"He's done a lot for this club. I'm only concerned with the sporting side. I'm not here to speak about the rest, I'm not interested. I know a lot of people are but not me."

Eden Hazard has confessed he arrived at Real Madrid overweight and struggled to adapt in his first couple of months at the club.

The Belgium international joined Madrid from Chelsea in a reported €100million deal in June, ending months of speculation over his future.

Hazard's competitive debut was delayed by several weeks due to a muscle injury sustained in pre-season and he did not get off the mark with his first goal until early October.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger recently suggested Hazard's weight gain was to blame for his slow start and the 28-year-old has now admitted as much.

"It's true," Hazard told L'Equipe. "I'm not going to hide it. When I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation. I had put on five kilos, but I'm the type of person who can lose it quickly if I'm careful.

"When I was 18 at Lille, I was 72 or 73 kilograms. My muscle mass was 75kg, on a bad day 77kg. I was 80kg this summer, but I lost it in 10 days."

Hazard, who has one goal and two assists in his first 11 appearances for Madrid, claimed his performances are improving over time.

"I was not good enough," he said of his start to life in the Spanish capital. "I told myself to start playing well.

"The first two months were not good enough. I thought, 'I can do better'. I've felt better for a month now - I dribble, accelerate and try to make others play better.

"The first couple of months I reminded myself that I'm new and had to play simple. There were too many passes and people were waiting for me to dribble."

Are we about to see a Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reunion?

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic worked together at Inter, before the Portuguese manager brought the Swedish star to Manchester United in 2016.

Now, new Tottenham boss Mourinho is reportedly eyeing the 38-year-old striker.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TARGETING IBRA

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is poised to make a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to the Telegraph.

Ibrahimovic is on the lookout for a new club after opting to leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy following two seasons in the United States.

The 38-year-old has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Manchester United and Australian team Perth Glory; however, Mourinho reportedly wants to reunite with Ibrahimovic at Tottenham.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport reports a close friend of Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus predicting he will get the Barcelona job if his side win Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, who are led by another reputed Catalan target in Marcelo Gallardo. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid are set to open talks with star striker Karim Benzema over a new contract, Marca reports. The 31-year-old's current deal expires in 2021.

- Out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is wanted by LaLiga's Atletico Madrid, according to ESPN FC. Matic has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with AC Milan and Inter also interested.

- With Tottenham reportedly looking to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic, Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are rivalling Inter and Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

- The Daily Mail reports that Leicester City have opened talks with James Maddison over a new contract. The 22-year-old England international has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Partizan Belgrade sensation Strahinja Pavlovic is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. Sportski Zurnal says the 18-year-old defender has undergone a medical ahead of a €10million transfer plus add-ons.

Gareth Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett said the Real Madrid star's "WALES. GOLF. MADRID… IN THAT ORDER" flag celebration was "meant for the media" amid backlash.

Bale caused a stir in Cardiff on Tuesday, when he was pictured laughing and celebrating in front of a fan-made banner after Wales qualified for Euro 2020.

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, "Wales, golf, Madrid", which was heard during the international break.

Spanish newspaper Marca's frontpage on Thursday read: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

But speaking to ESPN, Barnett insisted there were "no worries" for Bale ahead of his return to Madrid.

Bale, who has not featured for Madrid since October, is set to appear for the club's LaLiga meeting against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

The 30-year-old has scored two goals in seven appearances across all competitions this season.

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard says he has rejected multiple offers from Paris Saint-Germain and would never sign for the Ligue 1 champions.

The Belgium international claims he has always made it clear he would only return to France's top flight to play for former club Lille, the team he left in 2012 to join Chelsea.

PSG were linked with a move for Hazard before the completed a switch to Madrid this year for a reported €100million fee.

"No, never," he told L'Equipe when asked if he would ever join PSG.

"They've often wanted to sign me. I didn't want to come back to Ligue 1 and with another club to Lille.

"I always told them no. In my head, it was clear.

"They're a club who can help you win the Champions League, but they were not in my plans. If I come back to Ligue 1, it will be with Lille."

Hazard has struggled to make a significant impact in Spain since arriving from Chelsea in June.

The 28-year-old has scored only once in eight appearances in all competitions and has been accused in some quarters of being overweight.

Hazard this week denied those suggestions, telling Sky Sports: "For the last month, I've been in good condition with no injuries.

"I'm in good shape. When I'm on the pitch I will always try to do my best, with Real Madrid or Belgium. I just want to keep this momentum."

Madrid host Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday before they face PSG in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu next Tuesday.

Manuel Pellegrini would not deem Jose Mourinho his enemy or his friend as the long-time rivals prepare for a Premier League reunion on Saturday.

Pellegrini's struggling West Ham welcome Tottenham and their freshly installed head coach Mourinho to London Stadium this weekend, reprising a rivalry that has simmered for a decade.

Mourinho was publicly courted by Real Madrid before being appointed at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2010, replacing Pellegrini despite the sacked Chilean having led Los Blancos to a then club-record haul of 96 points as they finished runners up to Barcelona in LaLiga.

Pellegrini resumed his career at Malaga, with Mourinho pointedly observing, "If [Madrid] get rid of me, I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A."

Indeed, both ended up at big Premier League clubs, with Pellegrini winning the title in 2013-14 at Manchester City before Mourinho's Chelsea succeeded them as champions the following season.

Mourinho repeated a wilful mispronunciation of "Mr Pellegrino" when referring to his opposite number, who claimed Chelsea played "like a small team, like Stoke" during a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium in September 2014.

Pellegrini has won four and drawn three of the pair's 14 meetings, prevailing in their most recent encounter when West Ham beat an embattled version of Mourinho's Manchester United 3-1.

"Maybe I can think a different way, but he is not my enemy," Pellegrini told a pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"Everyone has their options to play football in the way they want and say what they want to say. You cannot always be criticising.

"That's why he is not my friend, but he is not my enemy. We have different ways of thinking about [everything], that's the only difference that we have.

"Maybe [I will have a drink with him]. We have been together a lot of times out of football together. I repeat, he is not my enemy."

Pellegrini expressed sympathy for Mauricio Pochettino, whose sacking kicked off a whirlwind 11 hours at Tottenham that concluded with Mourinho's appointment.

"Tottenham have a very good team with important players. Being outside of Tottenham, you cannot know what has happened there, but the results were not what Tottenham are used to having," he said.

"Now they have a new manager, unfortunately for Pochettino, because I think he was a manager who did very good work in a lot of years in Tottenham.

"I do not know the reason why he was sacked but now they have another experienced manager in Jose Mourinho, who will always give important things to his teams.

"[Mourinho] is just in charge of the team for two days so I don't think he can change too much. They will play in a similar way.

"That is not an important problem for us to solve, we must give a good performance as a team."

Of more pressing concern to Pellegrini is a run of two points from West Ham's past six Premier League matches since beating Mourinho's former employers from Old Trafford in September.

It leaves the Hammers languishing in 16th, a point and two places below Tottenham.

"I have had 33 years in this profession, I know football," Pellegrini added. "As I have said, my pressure I put on myself is bigger than any other pressure."

West Ham's midfield could be bolstered by Jack Wilshere and club captain Mark Noble, who trained untroubled this week following respective groin and ankle complaints.

Forward Michail Antonio might also be in contention after almost three months out with a hamstring injury.

Gareth Bale's popularity in Spain appears to have sunk to an all-time low as he heads back to Real Madrid following international duty.

Not sighted in LaLiga for well over a month, the winger made his second Wales start in four days as Ryan Giggs' men secured Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Bale's timely return to fitness prompted suspicion, and his actions after the game have attracted more scorn in certain sections of the Spanish media, who have routinely criticised him for spending too much time on the golf course.

In Cardiff, he was pictured celebrating with Wales team-mates behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Madrid newspaper Marca, said to have close links to the powerful club that employs Bale, did not take kindly to what has been perceived as a mocking gesture.

The front page of its Thursday edition featured Bale and the headline: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

AS, also headquartered in the Spanish capital, depicted the four-time Champions League winner sinking a close-range putt alongside the headline: "BALE IS IN A HOLE".

Meanwhile, online newspaper El Espanol captured the order of priorities supporters expect – "MADRID. MADRID. MADRID. IN THAT ORDER" – while columnist Tomas Roncero summed up what appears to lay ahead.

His comment piece in AS included a simple, ominous quote for Bale's future: "Out, out, out."

The media message crossed borders ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Sociedad on Sunday.

In an interview with The Athletic, ex-Madrid president Ramon Calderon called Bale "childish" and claimed fans were "very angry" with the one-time €100million signing.

Lucas Vazquez has suffered a fractured big toe in his left foot, Real Madrid have confirmed.

Vazquez sustained the injury when he dropped a weight during a gym session, according to reports in Spain.

Madrid, who host Real Sociedad on Saturday, have not specified a timeframe for his recovery.

The 28-year-old missed matches against Mallorca and Galatasaray in October due to a calf problem.

"Following the tests carried out today on our player Lucas Vazquez by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a fracture to the distal phalanx in his left hallux," read a club statement.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Vazquez has made seven LaLiga appearances this season, starting four times and scoring once.

Madrid are level on points with Barcelona but trail the leaders on goal difference.

Gareth Bale's well-publicised celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification will inflame his relationship with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, according to Los Blancos' former president Ramon Calderon.

In the aftermath of his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, Bale was pictured behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

The slogan stems from a chant sung by Wales fans that pokes fun at the Spanish media's portrayal of Bale, who has been accused of placing Madrid low down his list of priorities and spending too much time playing golf.

The 30-year-old almost left for China during the close season and recently admitted he gets more enjoyment from playing for the national team than Madrid.

Calderon, Madrid's president from July 2006 to January 2009, believes the events of Tuesday could cost Bale a place in Zidane's matchday squad, with Los Blancos set to host high-flying Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday.

"It's going to be difficult for Bale now because it was very childish of him to pose behind that banner," Calderon told The Athletic.

"Fans are very angry because of course they didn't like that, bearing in mind he has hardly played for the team this season then he goes off on international duty with Wales and plays in two matches.

"It's a difficult situation for Zidane and he won't be happy with Bale for posing with that banner.

"Bale hasn't done himself any favours with this. He's adding fuel to the fire and it's going to be difficult for Zidane to include him in the starting line-up and also the bench."

Bale was reportedly on the cusp of joining Jiangsu Suning in July, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute.

Calderon advised the four-time Champions League winner to pursue a return to Tottenham, where Jose Mourinho is now charge.

"He was linked with going to China but that is only for players who are at the end of their careers or who go for money," he said.

"Bale has at least three or four more years at the top level. Could he join Jose Mourinho at Tottenham? Why not? It depends on what Mourinho thinks of him but I'm sure the fans at Tottenham have very good memories of him there.

"For Bale to go back to where he really belongs would be ideal for everyone, because going to China would be a pity."

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

As football fans in the United Kingdom awoke bleary eyed to take in the Premier League story of the season, one word stood out in the statement announcing Jose Mourinho's appointment as Tottenham's head coach – a ghost of hubris past.

"I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters," Mourinho said.

Heritage. Football heritage.

This was the subject of Mourinho's self-pitying soliloquy in the aftermath of Manchester United's limp Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Sevilla in March 2018.

A much-trumpeted union that returned two trophies in its first season was going south and Mourinho tried to circle the wagons.

During a 12-minute address where "heritage" was mentioned 10 times, his general point was he had been dealt a duff hand at United. Other rivals were better equipped, having spent more money more effectively to breed cultures of sustained success.

One of the flaws in his argument – there were a few – was the reality of him talking as the manager of Manchester United, the 20-time champions of England. He selected an £89.3million midfielder on the bench for the 2-1 loss to Sevilla at Old Trafford, where he trudged the technical area forlornly under the glare of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.

Much as he would talk in reverent terms of his second-place in the Premier League that season, 19 points behind champions Manchester City, Mourinho failed at United.

Another press conference rant, where he exited the room demanding "respect" from those present, came after a 3-0 home loss to Spurs five months on from the Sevilla debacle. Mourinho was a man who had lost the thread and any notion of him succeeding Mauricio Pochettino, who so comprehensively bested him that night, felt beyond absurd at that moment.

Underdog, not top dog

Similarly, the 2011-12 LaLiga title triumph at Real Madrid took a heavy toll upon coach and squad alike, with his Santiago Bernabeu tenure concluding unsatisfactorily 12 months later. When in charge of greats of the game, clubs familiar with prolonged and recent success, Mourinho's schtick came up short.

His greatest deeds played out in sharply contrasting circumstances.

No team outside Europe's "big five" leagues had won the Champions League in the eight years before Mourinho masterminded Porto's march to glory in 2003-04 and none have since.

Chelsea were flushed with Roman Abramovich's riches but had not won an English championship since 1954-55. The self-proclaimed Special One delivered two in two seasons after arriving at Stamford Bridge as a freshly minted European champion.

Mourinho reacquainted himself with the continent's big trophy at Inter. The 2009-10 Champions League was the Nerazzuri's third win in the competition but first since 1964-65.

That triumph symbolically came at the Bernabeu, with the big job lying in wait for a man who had defined a decade in European club football. It concluded Mourinho's imperial period.

The rancour and recriminations of the past nine years leads to an understandable conclusion Tottenham have appointed a downgrade on Pochettino, replacing one of football's brightest contemporary minds with yesterday's man.

But if anything should encourage tentative enthusiasm for the third act of Mourinho's coaching career at the elite level, it is that Spurs bear more resemblance to the Porto, Chelsea and Inter teams he took hold of than Madrid or United.

Pochettino's sustained excellent over the past five seasons in north London does not mean the scars of "Spursy", "St Totteringham's Day" and other mockery do not still sting a little for a club starved of trophy success. Spurs feels like a place where Mourinho can promise the world and demand everyone falls into line far more effectively than when in charge of a superclub.

Those are the jobs Mourinho aspires to – and probably the roles Pochettino will grace soon enough – but it is hard to escape the feeling he has always been better suited to the rung below, with a point to prove and the spite to fuel a siege mentality his men will buy into. 

Alli as Lampard, Kane as Drogba?

So, what of that squad? That all important heritage.

It feels safe to say Mourinho is far happier with his lot than when he walked into Old Trafford. Not least because the likes of Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier and Harry Kane were all touted as United targets when he was in Manchester.

His best teams have featured a potent striker willing to work hard for the cause, hard running wingers and a goalscoring threat from attacking midfield. Kane, Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in tandem could feel instantly more "Mourinho" than anything he threw together at United.

Behind them, a combination of Dier and club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele feel equipped to provide the power and control his most dominant engine rooms boasted.

As for an aging Tottenham defence, they will probably welcome the defensive line being dropped a touch deeper, in line with their new boss' more reactive principles. Indeed, a squad featuring seasoned, maturing professionals arguably come under Mourinho's charge at the right time – no longer the all-action, do-or-die tyros who served Pochettino so well until recently.

"It's a privilege when a manager goes to a club and feels happiness in relation to the squad that he's going to have," a suited and smiling Mourinho told Spurs TV. The smile won't last over the course of a three-and-a-half year contract – it never does – but in the meantime, he might just have found the right place to earn a little more of that respect he craves.

The RFEF's Technical Committee of Referees is making changes for the Supercopa de Espana, introducing goal-line technology for the first time while improving communication for VAR decisions.

A revamped Supercopa will take place in Saudi Arabia in January, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia involved.

For the first time in Spanish football, goal-line technology will be implemented in order to aid officials, with previous such calls made with the help of the VAR.

Referees chief Carlos Velasco Carballo explained on Wednesday: "The system consists of 14 cameras on the pitch. A high resolution camera will be on the goal line.

"This system is connected to the referees and, in less than a second, you hear the word 'goal' three times and the watch will vibrates to indicate the goal.

"It's historic in Spanish football."

The use of VAR in the first part of the LaLiga season was also discussed, with Velasco Carballo revealing the system had corrected 19 of 23 officiating errors.

Criticism of VAR has often come from the way calls are communicated to supporters within the stadium, but Velasco Carballo has outlined plans to improve this problem for the Supercopa.

A "Vardict" system on screens aims to ensure fans are kept up to date.

He said: "It will serve to communicate the decisions to the spectators in the stadium, a fundamental aspect in the success of the VAR. They will have the same information as the spectators watching on television."

Cristiano Ronaldo has made FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week after moving onto 99 international goals for Portugal.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo is closing on Ali Daei's all-time world record of 109 after another four goals in the international break.

Ronaldo hit a ruthless hat-trick against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying, before netting again against Luxembourg to nudge towards three figures.

He is joined in a thrilling FUT front three by Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Kane ended the qualifying campaign having netted in all eight matches, hitting 12 goals in total as the competition's leading scorer.

Hazard is struggling for Real Madrid but scored twice in Belgium's win at Russia, while midfielders Toni Kroos and John McGinn were rewarded for their own goalscoring exploits.

Nicolas Otamendi, often seen as a liability at Manchester City, earned a place with his performances for Argentina.

We take a look at the latest squad in full below.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) - 86

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

CB: Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 82

RB: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

CM: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid) - 84

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - 89

LM: Ole Kristian Selnaes (Shenzhen FC) - 81

CAM : John McGinn (Aston Villa) - 84

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) - 94

LF: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) - 92

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 91

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Andre Onana (Ajax) - 84

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma) - 80

RM: Robert Skov (Hoffenheim) - 81

RW: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) - 86

ST: Raul Jimenez (Wolves) - 83

ST: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) - 81

RESERVES

CB: Scott Wharton (Northampton Town) - 74

CDM: Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow) - 80

ST: Famara Diedhiou (Bristol City) - 79

ST: Victor Osimhen (Lille) - 80

LW: Duvan Vergara (America de Cali) - 76

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.


HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent's most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe's highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.


Madrid make history

Mourinho's decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team's final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.


The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him "crazy" for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a "much-loved, respected and significant figure" after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt "betrayed" by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho's failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Page 1 of 38
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.