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Five Headline Makers from the European Football Weekend
There wasn’t too much Christmas spirit in the air around Europe this weekend, as many leagues close down for their winter breaks.
500 UP FOR ROONEY AS UNITED SLUMP TO ANOTHER DEFEAT
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney reached a personal milestone on Saturday, marking his 500th appearance for the Red Devils. His pre-match presentation by another of the clubs legendary players, Sir Bobby Charlton, was the beginning and end of the celebrations inside Old Trafford as Louis van Gaal’s men were beaten 2-1 by lowly Norwich City. Rooney cut a forlorn figure in the Theatre of Dreams, as his manager now fights for his job amid mounting speculation that he could be replaced by Jose Mourinho before the end of the season.
REAL MADRID HIT 10 AGAINST 9-MAN RAYO VALLECANO
Despite going a goal down early on in the derby against Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid hit back to beat their city rivals 10-2 in a goal fiesta at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday. That the visitors were reduced to nine player’s mid-way through the first-half didn’t stop Los Blancos from piling on the agony. Four goals from Gareth Bale, three from Karim Benzema, two from Cristiano Ronaldo and one from Danilo completed the rout. The victory however, was not their all-time best having beaten bitter rivals Barcelona 11-1 way back in the 1940’s.
NEW MAN HIDDINK SEES CHELSEA RETURN TO WINNING WAYS
Appointed as Chelsea interim coach on Saturday morning, former Dutch national team boss Gus Hiddink watched his new charges return to winning ways with a 3-1 home win over Sunderland. The Dutchman returns to the club where he also took charge back in 2008, when he was still coach of the Russian national side. With large parts of Stamford Bridge still paying tribute to his predecessor Jose Mourinho, Hiddink knows that he will have to get instant results to get the full backing of the club’s disgruntled supporters. The best online sports betting sites currently quote Chelsea at *7.00 to finish in a top-four position.
GUARDIOLA SAYS “ADIOS” TO BAYERN
The worst kept secret in European football was confirmed on Sunday, as Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season to be replaced by Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti. The speculation now begins as to his next destination, with Manchester City still the favourites on the best football betting sites, priced as short as **1.33. Their city neighbours Manchester United, have also been linked with the Catalan tactician but it seems The Etihad Stadium will be his new place of work in 2016-17.
BARCELONA ARE KINGS OF THE WORLD
In the end, it was all very easy for FC Barcelona as they beat River Plate 3-0 in the final of the Fifa Club World Cup, to become the first team to lift the trophy three times. A brace from the irrepressible Luis Suarez and a goal from Lionel Messi sealed the win, with coach Luis Enrique now equalling the record of his predecessor Pep Guardiola of having won La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League, Uefa Super-Cup and Club World Cup titles in the same calendar year.
*Odds courtesy of Bet365
** Odds courtesy of SkyBet
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)