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Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Match Report: Didier Drogba gives Jose Mourinho a scare

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Drogba and Sneijder give Jose a scare as Spaniards make the semis

PUBLISHED:

20:42 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 9 April 2013

Real Madrid progressed to the last four of the Champions League despite defeat on the night to a Galatasaray side whose second half comeback had Jose Mourinho's side in a panic.

Already three goals up from the first leg at the Bernabeu, the tie was seemingly put to bed by Cristiano Ronaldo's seventh-minute strike.

But an Emmanuel Eboue thunderbolt after 57 minutes brought Gala back level on the night, before Wesley Sneijder put the home side ahead after 70 minutes.

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

MATCH FACTS

Galatasaray: Muslera, Eboue (Elmander 80), Zan, Kaya, Riera, Altintop (Amrabat 46), Felipe Melo, Inan, Sneijder, Bulut (Sarioglu 63), Drogba.

Subs Not Used: Iscan, Aydin Yilmaz, Balta, Kurtulus.

Booked: Sneijder, Eboue, Amrabat.

Goals: Eboue 57, Sneijder 71, Drogba 72.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Essien (Arbeloa 31), Pepe, Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Modric, Di Maria, Ozil (Albiol 81), Ronaldo, Higuain (Benzema 73).

Subs Not Used: Casillas, Marcelo, Callejon, Morata.

Sent Off: Arbeloa (90).

Booked: Arbeloa.

Goals: Ronaldo 8, 90.

Attendnace: 52,000

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

Seconds later Did Drogba reduced the aggregate deficit further and although Real substitute Alvaro Arbeloa saw red late on, Ronaldo notched his second in injury time, as Madrid's quest for a 10th European Cup continued.

The visitors started quickly and just three minutes were on the clock when Fernando Muslera rashly came out to clear, his effort falling to Angel Di Maria, who shot wide.

Four minutes later they were on the scoresheet. Sami Khedira was allowed to cross from the right and in came Ronaldo, who got to the ball before the home defender to shoot past a helpless Muslera from three yards out.

The tie looked finished as a contest and Ronaldo could have doubled his night's tally moments later when the home side backed off, but from 25 yards the Portuguese shot straight at Muslera.

Drogba went close to converting a Sneijder shot after 20 minutes in Gala's first meaningful attack, before Madrid almost went two-up.

A delicious back-heel pass from Ronaldo played in Di Maria, but his angled effort was well tipped over by the Gala stopper.

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

Mourinho was forced into his first change after 31 minutes when Michael Essien had to be replaced by Arbeloa due to a leg injury.

Sneijder forced Diego Lopez into his first save after 38 minutes in what was a lacklustre first-half display from the hosts.
Madrid missed another chance to go two up 11 minutes after the restart when Ronaldo somehow missed from eight yards out – scuffing his effort with the ball trapped under his feet.Moments later and the home side were level thanks to a tremendous goal, albeit from an unlikely source. Sneijder's hopeful cutback found a sprinting Eboue who from the edge of the box powered an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

And just three minutes later they should have gone ahead. Drogba's strength caused all sorts of problems for the Real defence with the ball falling to Sneijder.

However with just Lopez to beat and from 12 yards out he screwed his shot wide of the far post.
Eboue's goal had, however, galvanised the home side and with the Ataturk Stadium firmly behind their side Gala took a deserved lead.

Sneijder showed a turn of pace more associated with his best days at Inter, nutmegged Rafael Varane before side-footing into the corner.

And moments later it was 3-1 when Drogba got in front of his defender to flick a cross into the corner of the net.

Raul Albiol replaced Mesut Ozil as Mourinho looked to arrest his team's slide, but they had to play out the final moments with 10 men after Arbeloa saw red after receiving a second yellow card for dissent.

There was still time for a fifth goal on the night when Ronaldo scored in injury time.

Real Madrid team chosen by Jose Mourinho to play Manchester United in Champions League predicted

Is this the Real side to take on United Mourinho tipped to start Ronaldo alongside Ozil and Benzema in Champions League clash

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

10:44 GMT, 11 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 11 February 2013

The fervent speculation over which players will take the field for the biggest Champions League match of the season – perhaps the decade – has already begun over in Madrid.

And Spanish newspaper Marca claim they have Jose Mourinho's selection to take on Manchester United at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Of course, the Special One will take no chances and name his strongest eleven for the round of 16, first leg match as Real seek to build a useful lead to take to Old Trafford.

I pick you! Jose Mourinho will have no place for Luka Modric, Michael Essien or Kaka in his starting XI to face Manchester United in the Champions League showdown on Wednesday night

I pick you! Jose Mourinho will have no place for Luka Modric, Michael Essien or Kaka in his starting XI to face Manchester United in the Champions League showdown on Wednesday night

And the paper says the chosen players will be: Diego Lopez, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Angel di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Marca claim that Mourinho will restore Pepe, Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira and Benzema after leaving them out of the side that beat Sevilla 4-1 at home on Saturday night.

It means Michael Essien, Raul Albiol, Luka Modric, Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain will likely make way.

For the chop: Luka Modric played for Real in their 4-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend, but he's likely to be dropped for the visit of United

For the chop: Luka Modric played for Real in their 4-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend, but he's likely to be dropped for the visit of United

Contender: Mourinho could favour Michael Essien (right) at right-back, as was the case for the recent Copa del Rey match with Barcelona

Contender: Mourinho could favour Michael Essien (right) at right-back, as was the case for the recent Copa del Rey match with Barcelona

Pepe took an important step towards his return from ankle surgery with a 25-minute cameo against Sevilla.

The Portugal international has been back in training for 10 days and his cause is further helped by news that Raphael Varane, the other possible partner for Sergio Ramos, is struggling for fitness.

Old friends: Cristiano Ronaldo, in excellent form after a hat-trick on Saturday, will spearhead Real's attack against his old club Man United

Old friends: Cristiano Ronaldo, in excellent form after a hat-trick on Saturday, will spearhead Real's attack against his old club Man United

Marca believe Mourinho may consider playing Essien at right-back and shifting Arbeloa over to the left-hand side – as in the recent Copa del Rey 'Clasico' with Barcelona.

The rest of the team is set in stone, with Real not short of attacking firepower with Khedira and Alonso in the middle of the park and Ozil, Di Maria, Ronaldo and Benzema beyond.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: WHO WILL REAL MADRID PICK

Real Madrid predicted line-up: Diego
Lopez, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Coentrao, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira,
Di Maria, Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema

Real Madrid line-up v Sevilla:
Diego Lopez, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Coentrao, Essien, Modric,
Benzema (Callejon), Kaka (Pepe), Cristiano Ronaldo (Morata), Higuain

Substitutes not used: Carvalho, Ozil, Khedira, Adan

Luka Modric and Alex Song voted worst signings of the season in Spain

Top of the flops! Modric and Song voted worst signings of the season in Spain

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UPDATED:

19:30 GMT, 31 December 2012

Two former Premier League stars have been voted as the worst signings of the season in La Liga, by readers of Spanish newspaper Marca.

Luka Modric, who left Tottenham for Real Madrid after protracted negotiations, and Alex Song, who signed for Barcelona from Arsenal, were the worst rated, with Modric gaining 32.2 per cent of the vote.

Croatian Modric initially impressed on debut for Jose Mourinho's side, but has failed to push on and claim a regular role either as a deep-lying playmaker like Xabi Alonso, or attacking midfielder like Mesut Ozil.

Flop: Both Luka Modric and Alex Song have struggled to adapt to life in Spain

Flop: Both Luka Modric and Alex Song have struggled to adapt to life in Spain

Flop: Both Luka Modric and Alex Song have struggled to adapt to life in Spain

In total, he has scored once in 19 appearances, though they only total 717 minutes, or around eight full matches.

Speaking to Sportske.net, Modric said: 'This is Real Madrid, I know the huge media pressure on transfers.

'I'm not looking for an alibi, I'm not that guy, but it's very demanding to adjust to a huge club like Real Madrid.

'I have had a number of solid performances, I failed in some but overall I proved I can offer something.'

As for Song, the Cameroon international has featured in just seven games, the majority of which have come at centre-back as opposed to his preferred midfield role.

Another former Premier League star did receive acclaim, though, with Obafemi Martins coming second in the poll for best signing of the season.

New lease of life: Obafemi Martins has hit the ground running at Levante

New lease of life: Obafemi Martins has hit the ground running at Levante

The former Newcastle and Birmingham City striker is now at Levante, where he has scored six times in 21 appearances. Barcelona's Jordi Alba won the vote.

In the same survey, Lionel Messi unsurprisingly won the player of the year title with a staggering 60 per cent of the vote, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (14.4 per cent) and Radamel Falcao (10.6 per cent).

Elsewhere, Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova were all beaten to the coach of the year gong by Atletico Madrid boss, the former Argentina international Diego Simeone.

So, with La Liga passing judgement on their top and flop stars, we asked Sportsmail writers for their signings of the season so far…

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The midfielder may also rival Gareth Bale for the best dive of the season which earned a penalty against West Brom, but he made an immediate impact when he joined Arsenal and has continued to impress.

England’s Jack Wilshere can only learn from playing with the diminutive Spaniard, whose balance, vision and close ball control is simply a pleasure to watch.

LAURA WILLIAMSON

Santi's come to town: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla has been excellent since joining

Santi's come to town: Arsenal's Santi Cazorla has been excellent since joining

Steven Nzonzi (Stoke City)

I struggled to see the point of Nzonzi at Blackburn but all has become clear since his switch to Stoke. Big and strong, he looks tailor-made for Tony Pulis’ side, but there is far more to him than brawn.

His composure on the ball and distribution are qualities Stoke have been crying out for in central midfield. Nearly everything goes through him.

JOHN EDWARDS

Solid at the back: Sebastien Bassong

Solid at the back: Sebastien Bassong

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich)

The Cameroonian, a snip at under 3m, is the leader of defence and a big factor why they are over-achieving. Calming influence and set-piece threat, scoring three times.

LAURIE WHITWELL

Steven Fletcher (Sunderland)

Martin O’Neill’s No1 summer target has shown fans what all the fuss was about and in the early weeks of the season his goals kept Sunderland afloat.

COLIN YOUNG

Michu (Swansea)

Considering Michael Laudrup’s extensive experience of European football, Michu was hardly a discovery, but in an era when foreign players are given six months to settle, Michu took to life in the Premier League straight away.

Signed from Rayo Vallecano for 2.2million, 13 League goals so far is a remarkable return. Shows desire, application and the right attitude. Good on him.

NEIL ASHTON

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)

When Ledley King's knees finally gave way, Spurs looked short of real class at the back, but Vertonghen has stepped in with ease.

The former Ajax captain is comfortable on the ball and, though not the fastest, makes up for it by reading the game well.

He can provide cover at left back and is a threat going forward as he proved by scoring the opener in Spurs' win at Old Trafford. His 10m price tag has been easily justified.

ANDREW MAGEE

Is Gareth Bale the new Cristiano Ronaldo?

Is Bale the new Ronaldo Diving antics draw Cristiano comparisons, but Spurs winger must make Spain switch to reach greatness

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UPDATED:

10:49 GMT, 3 December 2012

The hints about experiencing 'other leagues and other cultures' are coming almost as thick and fast as the yellow cards for simulation.

But while Gareth Bale appears to have developed a penchant for all things continental, he is certainly giving referees plenty to think about every time he goes to ground, has the time really come for the Welsh wing wizard to be considered as the hottest commodity in the European transfer market

Former Spurs team-mate, Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, certainly feels Bale would not be out of place gracing the hallowed turf of the Bernabeu with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo for company.

Gareth Bale

Cristiano Ronaldo

Running men: Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the best wingers in Europe

Ronaldo on the right and Bale on the left, a mouth-watering prospect that might even convince Jose Mourinho to hang around in La Liga for one more season.

Comparisons between Ronaldo and Bale are becoming increasingly easy to draw, and not just because the controversy regarding the latter's susceptibility to hit the deck under the slightest contact, or sometimes no contact at all, is starting to bear a striking resemblance to his Portuguese counterpart's interpretation of what constitutes a foul.

QPR manager and Bale's ex-boss at White Hart Lane, Harry Redknapp, set the ball rolling when it came to comparing his former charge to the current giants of world football.

'He's an amazing talent and he's after the Ronaldos and Messis of this world and he's getting better and better,' said Redknapp recently.

'He's almost unplayable when he's on his game. He is a genuine world-class player. There's nobody he couldn't play for. He'd improve any team.'

Fulsome praise from a manager who gave serious consideration to selling Bale early on in his managerial career at Spurs.

Any doubts that Bale might not live up to his youthful promise were soon banished from Redknapp's mind, however, as a switch from left-back to left-midfield saw him become an integral part of Tottenham’s attacking force.

Indeed, in a recent, money no object, exercise, Redknapp selected Bale in his fantasy XI alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and, remarkably, ahead of Ronaldo.

Claiming Bale is the best left-sided player in the world, Redknapp said: 'He can head it, he can dribble, he can shoot, he’s got a great physique, he's an amazing athlete, he can score with both feet – there are no weaknesses in his game.'

Beating his man: Gareth Bale skips past Stephen Kelly

Beating his man: Gareth Bale skips past Stephen Kelly

Getting his shot away: Bale shoots at goal and injures his right hamstring in the process

Getting his shot away: Bale shoots at goal and injures his right hamstring in the process

Take Bale's name out of the equation and that description could just as easily be applied to Ronaldo. But is Bale really in Ronaldo's class despite possessing such similar attributes

He certainly does not have the trickery in his boots that the former Manchester United winger can rely upon to release him from a tight spot, even if the step-overs can infuriate just as much as they delight.

Meanwhile, Bale's goal scoring record is not a patch on that of Ronaldo – the Real Madrid star is already up to 18 this season compared to seven for the Spurs man.

And while the selectors' recent preference for Messi in the race for the FIFA Ballon d'Or is something of a sore point for Ronaldo, he has once again made the three-man shortlist alongside his Argentine nemesis and Barca midfielder Iniesta in the fight to be crowned the best player on the planet.

Bale, by comparison, did not even feature on the 23-man preliminary list. It seems he still has some way to go before he catches the eye of the panel comprised of coaches, captains and prominent football writers from across the globe.

On target: Cristiano Ronaldo has a shot at goal during the Madrid derby

On target: Cristiano Ronaldo has a shot at goal during the Madrid derby

All smiles: Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's win over city rivals Atletico Madrid

All smiles: Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's win over city rivals Atletico Madrid

A move to a European giant would
doubtless help in that regard, if Bale could reproduce the sort of
displays in a Real, Barca or Milan shirt that have made him the darling
of the Tottenham faithful his claims to be classed in the same bracket
as the likes of Ronaldo and Messi would certainly be harder to ignore.

Indeed, there is an argument that since the departure of Modric and Rafael van der Vaart in the summer, Bale’s performances have been all the more eye catching for Spurs by dint of the fact there is simply less talent on show for him to be judged against.

The fact remains that if Bale is to be truly considered in the same bracket as the Ronaldos and Messis of this world then many observers will feel he needs to be stealing their limelight in La Liga.

Tottenham fans are doubtless already bracing themselves for the prospect of Bale becoming the protagonist of this summer’s transfer saga at White Hart Lane, as chairman Daniel Levy digs his heels in right up until deadline day once more.

Cut it at the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou next season, and Bale might find himself in need of a new tuxedo before very long.

Hitting the deck: Ronaldo is brought down during his Manchester United days

Hitting the deck: Ronaldo is brought down during his Manchester United days

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in for FIFPro World XI

Gerrard and Lampard face Spanish competition for midfield berths in World XI

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 26 November 2012

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are the only English midfielders in contention for a spot in the FIFPro World XI.

They will battle it out with 13 others for the three midfield spots, including Barcelona quartet Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets.

In contention: Steven Gerrard (left) could be named in the FIFPro team

In contention: Steven Gerrard (left) could be named in the FIFPro team

The Premier League could also be represented by Manchester City's David Silva and Yaya Toure in the middle of the park.

Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole were among the 20 defenders listed earlier this month with the final team to be chosen on January 7 at the Ballon D'Or gala in Zurich.

Full list of midfielders

Xabi Alonso (Spain / Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Spain / FC Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain / FC Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (England / Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Belgium / Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain / FC Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England / Chelsea), Luka Modric (Croatia / Real Madrid), Mesut zil (Germany / Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy / Juventus), Franck Ribery (France / Bayern Munich), David Silva (Spain / Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany / Bayern Munich), Yaya Tour (Ivory Coast / Manchester City), Xavi Hernandez (Spain / FC Barcelona)

Gareth Bale wants to quit Tottenham for Real Madrid

Bale bombshell! Spurs braced for Welsh star to seek 50m Real Madrid move

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UPDATED:

11:39 GMT, 23 November 2012

Gareth Bale wants to quit Tottenham for Real Madrid this summer, according to reports.

The north London club are expecting their Welsh wonder to drop the bombshell in the coming months after he was made aware Jose Mourinho had put him at the top of his transfer wishlist.

If Spurs are to sell, they will seek a British record 50million for the former Southampton star, who moved to White Hart Lane in 2007 for a fee of 7m.

Hot Spur: Gareth Bale is ready to tell Tottenham he wants to quit for Spain

Hot Spur: Gareth Bale is ready to tell Tottenham he wants to quit for Spain

According to Goal.com, Bale, who signed a a four-year deal in June, feels the end of the season will be the right time to take the next step in his football development.

The 23-year-old has previously stated his interest in playing abroad and admitted earlier this year that the prospect of moving to La Liga would be too good to turn down.

He said: 'If you said to any young player that you could play for Barcelona or Real would they turn it down Probably not. If a bid was accepted you would obviously have to seriously consider it.'

Madrid entered into a partnership agreement with Spurs last summer, when they took Luka Modric to the Spanish capital, though their only competition for Bale's signature is Manchester City. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would demand closer to 60m from a domestic rival, however.

Real Madrid set to offer Spurs Fabio Coentrao as part of Gareth Bale deal

Jose's Real deal: Madrid set to offer Coentrao as part of 50m bid for Spurs ace Bale

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 28 October 2012

Real Madrid are set to offer Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao to Tottenham as part of the deal to lure Gareth Bale to Spain.

Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is hoping to make the deal in the January transfer window and could offer 50m for the Welsh international.

Teaming up again Gareth Bale could link up with former Spurs team-mate Luka Modric at Real Madrid

Teaming up again Gareth Bale could link up with former Spurs team-mate Luka Modric at Real Madrid

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas tried to sign Coentrao, 24, for Chelsea last year and also wanted to include him in the deal that took Luka Modric to the Bernabeu.

Coentrao has made only two appearances for Real so far this season.

Heading for the Lane: Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao (right) could be used as part of the deal to get Bale to Spain

Heading for the Lane: Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao (right) could be used as part of the deal to get Bale to Spain

Bale signed a new five-year deal in August but Real are ready to meet the huge price-tag.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will fight hard to keep his star man.

Real Madrid 3 Manchester City 2: Match report

Real Madrid 3 Man City 2: Ronaldo breaks Mancini's heart with late winner for hosts

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 18 September 2012

Soemone forgot to tell these two teams that this was the first game of the first round. At least they must have done given a concluding 21 minutes as insane as any you are likely to see in the Champions League this season.

The opening goal was ludicrous. After surviving an onslaught for 69 minutes, Manchester City somehow found themselves in front thanks to a burst of acceleration from Yaya Toure and a goal from Edin Dzeko, who beat Iker Casillas in the resulting one-on-one.

They went ahead again when Aleksandar Kolarov’s deflected free-kick cancelled out an equaliser from Marcelo.

Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Real Madrid in the dying seconds

Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Real Madrid in the dying seconds

MATCH FACTS:

Real Madrid: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo, Khedira (Modric 73), Alonso, Di Maria, Essien (Ozil 65), Ronaldo, Higuain (Benzema 73).

Subs Not Used: Adan, Sergio Ramos, Fabio Coentrao, Kaka.

Goals: Marcelo 76, Benzema 87, Ronaldo 90.

Man City: Hart, Maicon (Zabaleta 74), Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Javi Garcia, Silva (Dzeko 63), Toure, Barry, Nasri (Kolarov 36), Tevez.

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Aguero, Rodwell.

Booked: Javi Garcia,Kompany,Dzeko.

Goals: Dzeko 69,Kolarov 85.

Att: 67,000

Ref: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

Then came, in four astonishing minutes, the two goals that prompted Jose Mourinho to slide on to the pitch on his knees. The first came from Karim Benzema, the second from the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo.

It just had to be the Sad One, didn’t it.

Real’s victory may have been dramatic, but it was also deserved. The first-half statistics perfectly illustrated how their hosts dominated, Real enjoying 74 per cent of the possession, unleashing 16 attempts on goal with only one in response.

When Samir Nasri was injured, City manager Roberto Mancini actually responded by sending on Aleksandar Kolarov, creating a five-man defensive wall whenever Madrid had the ball.

Only in Yaya Toure did they have a player capable of easing the pressure on the City defence. On more than one occasion he burst forward on the counter attack, only for the move to break down before City could even begin to trouble Casillas in the Madrid goal.

Mancini will try to focus on the positives, and the mere fact they avoided anything like the controversy that marred last season’s visit to Bayern Munich is a sign of progress.

Kneesy does it: Jose Mourinho celebrates Real Madrid's late winner

Kneesy does it: Jose Mourinho celebrates Real Madrid's late winner

But if one team looked equipped for the challenge the Champions League represents, it was Madrid. They were not just more creative. They worked relentlessly, playing the pressure game that the Spanish have perfected at club and international level and one that opposing teams find completely suffocating.

It was surprising to see Michael Essien playing in such an advanced position in the Madrid midfield, particularly when Mourinho could have deployed Luka Modric in such a role and when Essien seems better suited to more defensive duties these days. The legs are not what they used to be, even if he remains a fine player.

Gutted: The Manchester City defence are stunned by Ronaldo's late goal

Gutted: The Manchester City defence are stunned by Ronaldo's late goal

The major shock for the locals, of course, was the omission of Sergio Ramos, who was clearly paying for challenging his manager’s authority at the weekend. If Madrid’s ‘captains’ think they have power and influence at this club, it seems to count for little with Mourinho (left).

One player he will probably select come what may is Ronaldo, however, and the Portuguese winger was quick to make an impression. He had already had two attempts on goal when he forced a quite brilliant save from Joe Hart in the eighth minute, skipping past Vincent Kompany before testing the Manchester City goalkeeper with a teasing right-foot shot.

Opener: Manchester City's Edin Dzeko puts his side in front against Real Madrid (above) and celebrates (below)

Opener: Manchester City's Edin Dzeko puts his side in front against Real Madrid (above) and celebrates (below)

Short lived: Edin Dzeko put Manchester City in front in the second half

Exploiting the space being given to him by Maicon, who had left Kompany completely isolated on that occasion, Ronaldo would demand the best of Hart again minutes later. This time his shot took a nasty deflection off Gonzalo Higuain but Hart still somehow reacted fast enough to make the save.

City were under considerable pressure, with Alvaro Arbeloa then asking questions of Hart and further chances falling to Higuain, Ronaldo and Sami Khedira. The Spanish champions were certainly dominating this contest, with Ronaldo just terrific.

Leveller: Marcelo scored Real Madrid's first equaliser after his shot was deflected in

Leveller: Marcelo scored Real Madrid's first equaliser after his shot was deflected in

City, by contrast, were struggling. Maicon looked as lost here as he had against Gareth Bale for Inter Milan two seasons ago. Gael Clichy was drowning too, and a lack of possession made it difficult for Mancini’s forwards to make any kind of impression.

In fact it was only when Yaya Toure wrestled the ball off Khedira and made a marauding run upfield that City fans got even remotely excited. Frustratingly for Toure, however, Nasri drifted into an offside position and the opportunity was gone.

Strike: Manchester City's Aleksander Kolarov (centre) scored a free kick to put his side back in front

Strike: Manchester City's Aleksander Kolarov (centre) scored a free kick to put his side back in front

Nasri did not last much longer, injury seemingly marking the end of his night after 35 minutes. That Mancini responded by sending on Kolarov said it all; a more defensive player for a pure attacker and someone who seemed to position himself wide of Clichy to form what looked like a five-man defence when Madrid were in possession.

Toure would launch another one-man assault on the Madrid half, only to play the ball behind David Silva when the Spaniard was in a dangerous position.

In top form: Joe Hart earlier pulled off a string of brilliant saves to keep Real Madrid at bay

In top form: Joe Hart earlier pulled off a string of brilliant saves to keep Real Madrid at bay

In top form: Joe Hart pulled off a string of brilliant saves to keep Real Madrid at bay

But Mancini would have felt a sense of relief at the sound of the half-time whistle. His side had been distinctly second best but they were still level, not least because of the saves made by Hart.

Madrid continued to dominate after the break but with Kompany starting to get the measure of Ronaldo, they were looking less dangerous. Alongside Kompany, Serbia’s Matija Nastasic also impressed on his debut.

There was a decent effort from Marcelo and Mesut Ozil replacing Essien meant more trouble for City.

Blow: Samir Nasri was forced off injured for Manchester City

Blow: Samir Nasri was forced off injured for Manchester City

Gareth Bale has not thought of leaving Tottenham

Leaving Tottenham this summer didn't even cross my mind, insists Bale

|

UPDATED:

14:34 GMT, 17 September 2012

Gareth Bale insists the thought of leaving Tottenham never crossed his mind this summer.

Barcelona scouted Bale last season and he has also been heavily linked to a number of Europe's top clubs, like Real Madrid.

Many had predicted that the 23-year-old would follow Luka Modric and Harry Redknapp out of White Hart Lane this summer, but the Welshman committed himself to Tottenham by signing a new four-year contract in June.

Heart in the right place: Bale celebrates his goal at Reading on Sunday

Heart in the right place: Bale celebrates his goal at Reading on Sunday

When asked if he considered leaving the north London club after the end of last season, the winger said: 'No. I've always been focused on my game, playing football, and I'm enjoying myself here at the moment so there's no reason to go anywhere.

'I'm enjoying my football, we've got a great squad now and hopefully next season we can get Champions League football, where we should be.'

Bale was in an optimistic mood on Sunday as he reflected on Tottenham's 3-1 over Reading – their first under new manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Two weeks ago the team were booed off after putting in a drab performance in their 1-1 draw against Norwich but Bale thinks good times lie ahead for Spurs under Villas-Boas.

Bale believes last week's move to Tottenham's new state of the art training complex has instilled a new-found sense of belief within the squad that can help the team go on the type of run which pushed them towards the top of the table in the first half of last season.

High spirits: Bale says that the Spurs squad are optimistic about their chances this season

High spirits: Bale says that the Spurs squad are optimistic about their chances this season

'We didn't have a great start last year and we were in a similar position this year,' Bale said.

'We went on a run last season and there's no reason why we can't do it this year.

'It feels like a new club at the moment with the new training ground. It has excited everybody, and has brought everybody up again.'

The poor start the London club endured under Villas-Boas had led some to question chairman Daniel Levy's decision to bring the Portuguese in to replace Harry Redknapp, who was sacked despite finishing fourth, fifth and fourth in his three full seasons at the club.

Villas-Boas' failure to hang on to Luka Modric, and the sale of fans' favourite Rafael van der Vaart, raised a few eyebrows, but the 21million double capture of Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey from Fulham looks an inspired bit of business.

Midfield general: Dembele (right) has started his Spurs career in fine form

Midfield general: Dembele (right) has started his Spurs career in fine form

Bale, now in his sixth season at White Hart Lane, feels the club are stronger now than they were at the end of last season, and brushed off reports Villas-Boas was under pressure after the poor start to his reign.

'I haven't heard anything about (Villas-Boas') future,' Bale said. 'He's here to build a team and it's a new way of playing for us, compared to last season.

'It does take time. Everybody should understand that. There has been an improvement in every game and you saw that at Reading.

'Everybody just has to be patient. Things will come and it'll start to click like it did yesterday and, hopefully, we can push on from there.

'Everyone feels fresh again and we've got the new signings now, which is great.

New era: Villas-Boas is looking to rebuild Tottenham's side following Harry Redknapp's departure

New era: Villas-Boas is looking to rebuild Tottenham's side following Harry Redknapp's departure

'We've got a stronger squad now than we did at the start of the season. Our plan is to win every game and we'll be trying to do that.'

Villas-Boas deployed Dembele in Modric's former position for his first start on Sunday and the Belgian impressed with his passing and movement.

Bale thinks the 25-year-old, who came off the bench and scored against Norwich, is more than capable of filling the Croat's shoes.

'Mousa's come in and he's been absolutely fantastic,' Bale said. He scored on his debut, played unbelievable against Reading and he's been a great addition to the squad.

'Obviously it's not nice to see your big players go but I'm sure he can fill his (Modric's) boots and more.'

Paulo Henrique Ganso wanted by Tottenham

Tottenham line up January move for Brazil star Ganso after missing out on Moutinho

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UPDATED:

11:56 GMT, 8 September 2012

Highly rated: Ganso

Highly rated: Ganso

Tottenham are hoping to sign Brazilian attacking midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso in January as Andre Villas-Boas continues to reshape his squad.

Spurs were frantically busy throughout the summer transfer window right up to deadline day – when they missed out on what would have been a club record 22million signing of Joao Moutinho.

Moutinho, whose move stalled over personal terms, would have been a direct replacement for Luka Modric – who has departed for Real Madrid – but Villas-Boas has now switched his attention to 22-year-old Ganso, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Santos star has fallen out with his club after requesting a move in the summer, and although any deal would be complicated by third-party ownership of the eight-cap international, it is thought his services could be acquired for around 8m.