Real madrid roundup: Athletic, Lopetegui, Bale, Ramos...
In today's roundup: team travel to Bilbao, Lopetegui on Miami, Bale celebrates his fifth anniversary, Ramos finds new use for a Pilates ball.
Operation: San Memes
Lopetegui and Co. travel to Spain’s north coast for a difficult game against Athletic Bilbao this evening. The big selection question is whether the Basque coach will start his favoured ‘BBA’ (Bale, Benzema and Asensio) trio up front, or opt to rest Bale and/or Asensio after international duty and hand new signing Mariano his debut in his starting 11. Lopetegui has named 20 players to travel to Bilbao, and again young Brazilian starlet Vinicius has been left out.
Lopetegui on Girona-Barca US fixture
Lopetegui gave the customary pre-match conference yesterday, in which he expressed his opposition to LaLiga’s plan to play this year’s Girona-Barcelona league fixture in Miami. “I’ve already come out against it,” said Lopetegui. “I’m not in favour; everyone must play in the same grounds. That ensures fairness in the competition.”
Speaking about star man Gareth Bale, who played 180 minutes for Wales in their two Uefa’s Nations League games, Lopetegui said: “His return has been phenomenal. He played 180 minutes with Wales, but he has had time to recover.” His words would suggest he’s ready to start the Welshman, despite the minutes he clocked up in his legs for his country.
Bale marks his fifth anniversary
Yesterday, Gareth Bale shared a video of his first Real Madrid goal on his Instagram to celebrate five years since his debut. The Welshman made his debut against Villarreal on September 14, 2013, managing to score in the 2-2 draw at the El Madrigal stadium. In the five years, he has played for Los Blancos 192 times, scoring 90 goals and providing 61 assists. He has yet to score at Bilbao's San Mamñes stadium, however. Let's see if he can change that tonight.
No ball big enough for Ramos
Keepy-uppies: we've all seen Maradona doing them with a tennis ball and even a golf ball (if you haven't check it out on YouTube). Sergio Ramos has gone to the other end of the spectrum and demonstrated his juggling skills with a Pilates exercise ball. Urged on by an eager cameraman, after a few juggles, Ramos proceeds to launch the ball towards the gym window. Luckily, no damage ensued.