Toni Kroos

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 Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema after scoring a penalty  and his team’s  third goal during the Champions League semi-final first-leg  match against  Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium,  Manchester, on Tuesday. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP

There are penalty kicks and then there are Statement Penalty Kicks. Even the best players approach this trial from 12 yards with a binary sense of dre(...)

Kevin De Bruyne will play a key role for Manchester City against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. Photograph: Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Three games from the summit: now for The Cartel. It is a key element of elite football’s febrile brand of double-think that the richest club in the wo(...)

  Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema destroyed Chelsea in the first leg, scoring a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

“It is one of the biggest challenges to perform as the away team at the Bernabéu and it is even more difficult if you have to earn a certain result,” (...)

Real Madrid’s  Karim Benzema completes his hat-trick as he scores past  Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy  during the  Champions League quarter-final first leg at Stamford Bridge. Photograph:  Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Chelsea 1 Real Madrid 3 Sometimes the old ones are the best. By the end, the notion that Chelsea would blow Real Madrid away felt utterly preposterou(...)

Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona’s  coach and legendary former player, poses next to a poster reading “welcome back”, during his presentation ceremony at the Camp Nou last November. Photograph:  Lluis Gene/AFP/via Getty Images

In June 2020, Noelia Romera was fired by Barcelona because she was doing her job. Romera was the club’s compliance officer. Week after week, she wen(...)

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric (second from left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. Photograph: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

Even on the night that Real Madrid may have wrapped up La Liga, it was all about Europe. On Saturday, the day that Paris Saint-Germain were losing 1-0(...)

 Real Madrid’s  David Alaba celebrates after scoring their first goal in the  La Liga match against Barcelona  at the  Camp Nou. Photograph: Enric Fontcuberta/EPA

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 When the goal that finally settled this match was scored, Gerard Piqué was lying on the floor in one penalty area and Lucas(...)

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny’s comments after the game were surprising. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Hindsight reveals that Saturday’s match peaked on six minutes. As the crowd stood up for the boys in green, Séamus Coleman found Adam Idah, who thrill(...)

Raheem Sterling (centre) scoring  England’s  opening goal in  the Euro  championships round-of-16 match against  Germany at Wembley.   Photograph: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

In another timeline England played Germany yesterday in Dublin, where Jack Grealish and Declan Rice were booed every time they touched the ball by a c(...)

A German fan with a rainbow flag runs on the pitch in front of the Hungary team during the anthems. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/AP

Germany 2 Hungary 2 What a white knuckle ride this was and how fortunate, in the end, Germany can consider themselves to have reached the last 16. Th(...)

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