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Isco accepts Lopetegui rotation following late Athletic Bilbao draw – football news

Isco insists he has no problem with Julen Lopetegui’s rotation policy at Real Madrid, pointing out it was the media and not himself who were convinced he would be an automatic starter.

Madrid dropped points for the first time this season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao, as Isco came off the bench to rescue them after the break.

It was the second LaLiga game in a row that the Spain international has been left out of the starting XI, after also appearing as a substitute against Leganes before the international break.

Such a situation has come as a surprise to some in Spain, with many expecting that the forward would form a crucial part of Lopetegui’s plans after the pair worked together to great success with the national side in the past.

But Isco is adamant rotation is not an issue, instead placing it at the feet of the press who thought he would figure as a regular.

“It’s not just me in the team,” said the 26-year-old. “There are other team-mates who may be better than me and that’s why the coach chooses his starting line-up.

“All that stuff about how it was going to be Isco and 10 more under Lopetegui, that’s what you [reporters] were saying.”

Isco started both of Spain’s Nations League games during the international break, featuring prominently up front during the 2-1 comeback win over England and scoring the last goal in their 6-0 drubbing of World Cup finalists Croatia.

Despite this however, the striker insisted that he remains happy to play whatever role Lopetegui asks of him for the team, even if that necessitates remaining on the bench.

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“It’s a long season and we’ll need to be prepared. As the coach says, the important thing is that everyone is ready and ready to meet the objectives.”

With Barcelona having overturned a deficit to win on Saturday, Madrid are two points behind their rivals at the summit of La Liga after four games.

They will next face Espanyol in the league on September 22 – but before then, they start their Champions League title defence against last season’s semi-finalists Roma on September 19.

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Lopetegui and Ramos disappointed with Madrid’s first dropped points – football news

Julen Lopetegui and Sergio Ramos both refused to credit a comeback draw at Athletic Club as a good result for Real Madrid.

Lopetegui’s side dropped points for the first time this season after Isco’s header cancelled out Iker Muniain’s scrambled opener at San Mames on Saturday.

Earlier in the day Barcelona had also been forced to come from behind, but a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad means the champions have a two-point lead at the top.

And Lopetegui, who missed the chance to become the first Madrid coach to win his first four league games since Manuel Pellegrini in 2009-10, could not be happy with his side’s draw.

“It’s a very difficult place to come,” Lopetegui said to Movistar Partidazo.

“Athletic are a team that comes to look for you, that presser you. In the second half we improved.

“Madrid never consider a draw to be good, we performed in the second half and we have to keep working.”

Ramos echoed the comments from Madrid’s head coach, accepting his side found it tough against a well-drilled Athletic outfit.

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“We must always give the maximum for this club,” Ramos told Movistar. “We do not consider the draw as good, it is never good when you draw. There is a lot to improve.

“We knew it is one of the most difficult stadiums away from home, people push, but regardless of that, Athletic are a team that knows very well what they play.

“It is difficult to reach them and generate chances, then in the second half we overcame the pressure and got a result.”

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Tevez declares the one key difference between Ronaldo and Messi – football news

Ex-Argentina and Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez has gone on record to reveal the key difference between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Both men have won a plethora of major honours over the last decade on an individual and team basis, wowing audiences all over the world with their incredible exploits on the pitch.

During his time at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, along with multiple domestic titles in England and Spain, not to mention managing to secure his place in Los Blancos history by finishing his spell at the club as their all-time record goalscorer.

Messi, on the other hand, has stayed loyal to Barcelona over the course of his illustrious career to date, after coming through the ranks at the Camp Nou at youth level. 

The 31-year-old maestro is a four-time Champions League winner and a nine-time La Liga champion with the Blaugrana and is also the highest scoring player in the club’s history.

The two men have shared the coveted Ballon d’Or award equally with five wins apiece in the last 10 years, as the eternal debate over who is ultimately the best player in the game has rumbled on intensely among fans and experts in the background.

Tevez has tried to shed light on that discussion with his comments on Tuesday, stating that he can only see one thing that sets the two forwards apart from one another, as he told reporters: “Lionel Messi, I never saw him in the gym. I’ve never seen him train to stop the ball or those exercises.

“It is all natural to him, but on penalties he trained: first he did not take them and now he shoots them all at the corner.

“Cristiano always stopped in the gym after training: for him it is an obsession and, being the best in everything, he always arrived at work early.”

The former United striker went on to add that no matter how early he tried to report for club duty, Ronaldo – now plying his trade in Italy with Juventus – was always the first one through the doors.

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“When the training was set for nine in the morning I arrived at eight and he was already there.

“Even if I arrived at 7:30 he was already there.

“I began to ask myself, ‘How can I get rid of this guy?’ So one day I arrived at six but he was already there! Sleepy, but he was there.”

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Ronaldo’s Juventus switch came as a surprise – Suarez – football news

Barcelona star Luis Suarez has admitted that he was surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid in the summer but stressed that it makes little difference to his side.

While Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes the Portuguese star’s departure for €112m (£100m/$130) in the summer has drawn his side on a par with Real, Suarez has refused to jump to a similar conclusion.

The Uruguay international has admitted he did not see the deal coming but at the same time believes Los Blancos should be respected just as they always were.

“Obviously it came as a little surprise because of how good things had gone for him in Madrid, everything he had won there and how Madrid had helped him grow as a player,” he told ESPN.

“So it surprises you a bit, but that’s football for you. One day you can say that you are happy where you are and the next day things may change. It’s a decision which must be respected, it was taken for a reason.

“But we are in the Spanish league and we’re competing against Real Madrid, Atletico, Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and all the other teams.

“We’re not competing against one player. One player can make a difference or can make a team better, but the reality is that we expect to be playing against the best Madrid possible, against the best Atletico and against the best teams and players.”

The former Liverpool man spoke of the pressure experienced at a top club and said that it can be difficult to find time to enjoy individual successes.

Luis Suarez

“It’s not that Barcelona players feel a lot of pressure, but being at Barcelona limits the possibility of enjoying the match you won on Sunday because on Wednesday you already have another one,” he confessed.

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“And if on Wednesday you win a Champions League semi-final or a quarter-final, you can’t enjoy it because on Saturday or Sunday you have another game. It is the continuous pressure that you put on yourself to perform at an elite level.

“In the long run, you start to remember the good times. But many times you’re unable to enjoy the moment itself because you are competing at the top level of the game. But it’s also nice to live with that pressure because it enables you to live through incredible moments.”

Suarez expects to be back in action this weekend for Barca when they face Real Sociedad on Saturday

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