Karim Benzema

Real Madrid

Gareth Bale returns as Zidane holds other stars in reserve

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will make his return from a three-month injury layoff when Real Madrid host Espanyol on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Friday.

However, Zidane has handed a weekend off to a host of other key men as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas were not included in the Frenchman’s 19-man squad.

Gareth Bale returns as Zidane holds other stars in reserve

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will make his return from a three-month injury layoff when Real Madrid host Espanyol on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Friday.

However, Zidane has handed a weekend off to a host of other key men as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas were not included in the Frenchman’s 19-man squad.

Champions League: Casemiro Scores Absolutely Bonkers Volley As Real Madrid Spank Napoli At Bernabeu (Video)

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Despite fallingbehind after just eight minutes at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid eventuallyrallied to sew up a comfortable 3-1 first-leg victory over Napoli before thehour mark.

Karim Benzema equalised and Toni Kroos nudged Madrid back ahead before Casimero rattled home a third just after half-time with an absolutely bonkers volley from outside the area.

Real Madrid battle back to beat Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid came from behind to beat Napoli 3-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Lorenzo Insigne gave the Italians an early lead but Karim Benzema equalised in the 18th minute, before Toni Kroos and Casemiro both scored early in the second half for the holders.

Top two collide in latest La Liga challenge for relentless Real

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo returns for Real Madrid as the European champions put their Spanish record 40-game unbeaten run on the line for the second time in four days in a top of the table clash at Sevilla on Sunday.

Victory for the hosts would blow the La Liga title race wide open with Sevilla closing to within one point of Real, who also still have a game in hand.

Real late show sets record 40-game unbeaten run

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Madrid (AFP) Karim Benzema struck deep into stoppage time as Real Madrid set a new Spanish record by extending their unbeaten run to 40 games in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Sevilla to progress to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday.

Holding a 3-0 first leg lead, a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Real looked set for defeat for the first time in eight months as an own goal from Danilo and second-half strikes from Stefan Jovetic and Vicente Iborra saw Sevilla lead 3-1 inside the final 10 minutes.

Real late show sets record 40-game unbeaten run

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Madrid (AFP) Karim Benzema struck deep into stoppage time as Real Madrid set a new Spanish record by extending their unbeaten run to 40 games in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Sevilla to progress to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Thursday.

Holding a 3-0 first leg lead, a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Real looked set for defeat for the first time in eight months as an own goal from Danilo and second-half strikes from Stefan Jovetic and Vicente Iborra saw Sevilla lead 3-1 inside the final 10 minutes.

Real Madrid strike late to progress on Ronaldo’s homecoming

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Lisbon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo was lauded like a king of his return to where his career began at Sporting Lisbon, but Real Madrid showed no mercy in booking their place in the knockout stages for a 20th consecutive season with a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

However, victory came at a cost for the European champions as Gareth Bale limped off just before the hour mark with an ankle injury just 11 days before Real travel to face Barcelona in El Clasico.

Thursday Kickoff: Coutinho, Rodriguez, Morata and more

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One Brazilian star's current club is hoping to hold onto him for quite awhile, while a former Colombian player says James Rodriguez is being influenced poorly by a club teammate.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he feels confident that Phillipe Coutinho will remain with the club long-term.

Real Madrid held by Legia in six-goal thriller

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Warsaw (AFP) Real Madrid blew a two-goal lead and the chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Legia Warsaw behind closed doors in the Polish capital.

Gareth Bale fired home Madrid's fastest ever Champions League goal after just 55 seconds before teeing up Karim Benzema for Real's second.

Valbuena sex-tape ‘mastermind’ released from detention

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Versailles (France) (AFP) One of the suspected blackmailers in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal has been released from prison, his lawyer said on Friday.

Mustapha Zouaoui was released on Thursday according to his lawyer Serge Money as French law prevents suspects being held in pre-trial detention for longer than four months.

Valbuena sex-tape ‘mastermind’ released from detention

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Versailles (France) (AFP) One of the suspected blackmailers in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal has been released from prison, his lawyer said on Friday.

Mustapha Zouaoui was released on Thursday according to his lawyer Serge Money as French law prevents suspects being held in pre-trial detention for longer than four months.

Morata winner sends Real Madrid top of La Liga, Atletico beaten

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid took advantage of Atletico Madrid's first defeat of the season at Sevilla to move to the top of La Liga as Alvaro Morata struck a late winner to secure a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Steven N'Zonzi struck Sevilla's winner 17 minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win at a soggy Sanchez Pizjuan.

Morata winner sends Real Madrid top of La Liga, Atletico beaten

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid took advantage of Atletico Madrid's first defeat of the season at Sevilla to move to the top of La Liga as Alvaro Morata struck a late winner to secure a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

Steven N'Zonzi struck Sevilla's winner 17 minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win at a soggy Sanchez Pizjuan.

Unhappy Ronaldo subbed as Madrid held by Las Palmas

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Madrid (AFP) A substituted Cristiano Ronaldo cut a disconsolate figure as Real Madrid conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Las Palmas on Saturday.

Earlier, Barcelona shrugged off the absence of the injured Lionel Messi to move to within a point of Madrid at the top of the table as Luis Suarez and Neymar were on target in a 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Gijon.

Unhappy Ronaldo subbed as Madrid held by Las Palmas

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Madrid (AFP) A substituted Cristiano Ronaldo cut a disconsolate figure as Real Madrid conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Las Palmas on Saturday.

Earlier, Barcelona shrugged off the absence of the injured Lionel Messi to move to within a point of Madrid at the top of the table as Luis Suarez and Neymar were on target in a 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Gijon.

Ronaldo-less Real Madrid net record 16th straight win

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to record a club record 16th consecutive league win 2-0 at Espanyol to stay top of La Liga on Sunday.

James Rodriguez made the most of a rare start to open the scoring in first-half stoppage time before Karim Benzema sealed all three points 20 minutes from time.

La Liga 2016/17 season preview: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid gear up for battle

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Another La Liga campaign gets underway this weekend with the top 20 clubs in Spanish football all looking to take the first step towards a memorable season. Over the last few years the El Clásico duo...

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France savour Euros opener after blighted build-up

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Paris (AFP) A tortuous build-up dominated by off-field controversy and untimely injuries comes to an end for hosts France when they finally get Euro 2016 underway against Romania in Group A at the Stade de France on Friday.

Les Bleus' preparations on the field have been distracted by claims from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema that his exclusion from the squad was racially motivated.

France savour Euros opener after blighted build-up

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Paris (AFP) A tortuous build-up dominated by off-field controversy and untimely injuries comes to an end for hosts France when they finally get Euro 2016 underway against Romania in Group A at the Stade de France on Friday.

Les Bleus' preparations on the field have been distracted by claims from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema that his exclusion from the squad was racially motivated.

‘Racist’ daubed on France coach Deschamps’ house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word "racist" was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

‘Racist’ daubed on France coach Deschamps’ house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word "racist" was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

‘Racist’ daubed on Deschamps house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word "racist" was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

‘Racist’ daubed on Deschamps house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word "racist" was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

‘Racist’ daubed on France boss Deschamps’ house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word 'racist' was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

‘Racist’ daubed on France boss Deschamps’ house

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Rennes (France) (AFP) The word 'racist' was daubed on the wall of a house owned by Didier Deschamps days after the France manager was accused by Karim Benzema of bowing to "pressure from a racist part of France".

The Real Madrid striker made the accusation after being left out of Deschamps' squad for the European championships starting in France next Friday.

Benzema faces backlash over racism claims

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Paris (AFP) Karim Benzema faced a growing backlash on Thursday, a day after his sensational claims that coach Didier Deschamps had "bowed to pressure from a racist part of France" by keeping him out of the Euro 2016 squad.

Political and sporting figures lined up to condemn the Real Madrid striker, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying he was "shocked" by Benzema's outburst in Spanish media.

Benzema faces backlash over racism claims

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Paris (AFP) Karim Benzema faced a growing backlash on Thursday, a day after his sensational claims that coach Didier Deschamps had "bowed to pressure from a racist part of France" by keeping him out of the Euro 2016 squad.

Political and sporting figures lined up to condemn the Real Madrid striker, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying he was "shocked" by Benzema's outburst in Spanish media.

AFP

French prosecutors press sex-tape case against Cisse

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Paris (AFP) French prosecutors on Friday called for former Liverpool and Marseille striker Djibril Cisse to be charged with blackmail over a sex tape that cost Karim Benzema his place in France's Euro 2016 squad, legal sources told AFP.

Cisse and Benzema were both arrested last year over their alleged attempt to blackmail Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena with a tape of Valbuena and his girlfriend.

French prosecutors press sex-tape case against Cisse

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Paris (AFP) French prosecutors on Friday called for former Liverpool and Marseille striker Djibril Cisse to be charged with blackmail over a sex tape that cost Karim Benzema his place in France's Euro 2016 squad, legal sources told AFP.

Cisse and Benzema were both arrested last year over their alleged attempt to blackmail Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena with a tape of Valbuena and his girlfriend.

Payet beats out Martial to France starting spot in Euro

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Paris (AFP) West Ham's mercurial playmaker Dimitri Payet edged out Manchester United's Anthony Martial to start France's Euro 2016 opener against Romania in Paris on Friday.

Payet crowned a series of impressive displays since earning a recall to the French team in March with a stunning last minute free-kick to beat Cameroon 3-2 in Les Bleus' penultimate warm-up game in Nantes 10 days ago.

Payet beats out Martial to France starting spot in Euro

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Paris (AFP) West Ham's mercurial playmaker Dimitri Payet edged out Manchester United's Anthony Martial to start France's Euro 2016 opener against Romania in Paris on Friday.

Payet crowned a series of impressive displays since earning a recall to the French team in March with a stunning last minute free-kick to beat Cameroon 3-2 in Les Bleus' penultimate warm-up game in Nantes 10 days ago.

French team all systems go for Euro 2016

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Metz (France) (AFP) Despite a troubled build-up to Euro 2016 off the field, France showed that they are ready on it by brushing aside Scotland 3-0 in Metz in their last pre-tournament friendly on Saturday.

A brace from Olivier Giroud and a header from his Arsenal colleague Laurent Koscielny, all in the first half, separated the teams at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, and France could have won by a far greater margin.

French team all systems go for Euro 2016

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Metz (France) (AFP) Despite a troubled build-up to Euro 2016 off the field, France showed that they are ready on it by brushing aside Scotland 3-0 in Metz in their last pre-tournament friendly on Saturday.

A brace from Olivier Giroud and a header from his Arsenal colleague Laurent Koscielny, all in the first half, separated the teams at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, and France could have won by a far greater margin.

Giroud double helps France sink Scotland in friendly

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Metz (France) (AFP) Olivier Giroud fired another riposte to his critics with a brace as Euro 2016 hosts France brushed aside Scotland 3-0 in Metz on Saturday in their final friendly ahead of the tournament.

The Arsenal centre-forward was booed by a section of the France support prior to last Monday's 3-2 win against Cameroon but he netted in that game and his brace at the Stade Saint-Symphorien was a further indication that he has what it takes to lead an attack deprived of Karim Benzema.

Giroud double helps France sink Scotland in friendly

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Metz (France) (AFP) Olivier Giroud fired another riposte to his critics with a brace as Euro 2016 hosts France brushed aside Scotland 3-0 in Metz on Saturday in their final friendly ahead of the tournament.

The Arsenal centre-forward was booed by a section of the France support prior to last Monday's 3-2 win against Cameroon but he netted in that game and his brace at the Stade Saint-Symphorien was a further indication that he has what it takes to lead an attack deprived of Karim Benzema.

Patrice Evra

France’s Evra hits out at Benzema ‘lies’

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Metz (France) (AFP) France defender Patrice Evra has dismissed as "lies that have no basis" claims that racism influenced the decision to sideline Karim Benzema from the national squad for Euro 2016.

"We are a country that loves controversies, it's magnificent. We like to talk about absolutely anything but we need to focus on what's happening on the pitch.

France’s Evra hits out at Benzema ‘lies’

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Metz (France) (AFP) France defender Patrice Evra has dismissed as "lies that have no basis" claims that racism influenced the decision to sideline Karim Benzema from the national squad for Euro 2016.

"We are a country that loves controversies, it's magnificent. We like to talk about absolutely anything but we need to focus on what's happening on the pitch.

Mesut Ozil

National team ‘no longer German’, says right-wing leader

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Berlin (AFP) A German right-wing politician who caused outrage by racially disparaging footballer Jerome Boateng followed up Friday by saying the national team is "no longer ... German in the classical sense".

Alexander Gauland, of the Alternative for Germany (AFD) party, also questioned the loyalty of German-born international Mesut Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, for making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

National team ‘no longer German’, says right-wing leader

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Berlin (AFP) A German right-wing politician who caused outrage by racially disparaging footballer Jerome Boateng followed up Friday by saying the national team is "no longer ... German in the classical sense".

Alexander Gauland, of the Alternative for Germany (AFD) party, also questioned the loyalty of German-born international Mesut Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, for making the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.