Top Stories

Wednesday Kickoff: Casillas says Madrid hit ‘rock bottom’; No bonuses for Chelsea’s advancement; and more



Real Madrid may have advanced out of the Champions League round of 16, but captain Iker Casillas says things cannot get much worse at the Bernebeu.

The Spanish club advanced via a 5-4 aggregate scoreline, but frustration has hit a high after Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of Schalke. After the game, Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored two goals Tuesday, announced that he will refuse to speak to the media until the end of the season.

Casillas, who admitted fault on some of the Schalke goals, says that the group is struggling, but is looking forward to the opportunity to right wrongs in the next round.

“It is true that we have hit rock bottom in a most resounding way, but the positive is that Friday next week we are in the draw and we will forget what has happened these 10 days,” Casillas said. “Because we have lived through 10 dramatic days.

“We must be united and understand the criticism and the Madrid fans, because we were not up to the level of this club, and the Champions League last 16. We are in a privileged place, and now we must just think about tomorrow. We cannot look back, nor recall the 22 wins, nor any of the other things we have achieved.”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning:


Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is not a big fan of the bonus structure utilized by Paris-Saint Germain ahead of the clash between the two sides Wednesday.

PSG players will receive €250,000 ($260,000) if the team advances past Chelsea as part of a pay structure that will reward players for advancing all the way up to the Champions League final. Chelsea, meanwhile, will offer no such bonuses, as Mourinho believes the motivation of winning should be more than enough for his players.

“If we take the club into quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals but we don’t win the competition, we are doing a very good job for the club financially but I don’t think we should get extra money if we don’t win the last prize,” Mourinho said. “Every player at the high level has enough money in salaries and I think everyone plays to win.

“If somebody puts on the table €250,000 to win a certain match it’s nice but I think professionalism goes beyond that. Don’t take this the wrong way but, for me, what’s more important is the happiness and pride of success, more than the money. Football is about our passion for the game, the happiness and the pride of victories. They have no price.”


Issues raised over money clouded Ghana’s World Cup run, and now it appears that player betting has put a major damper on the nation’s domestic league.

The Ghana FA has reported several top-flight players to law enforcement on suspicion of betting, while president Kwesi Nyantakyi said Tuesday the allegations were “a very dangerous development in Ghana’s football”.

The issues stem from a matchup involving BA United, whose coach, Mohammed Gargo, told media that he had been informed that his players were betting on their team to lose.

Like in most other countries, betting on games is prohibited in Ghana, but the players in question have yet to be named.


Defender Matija Nastasic has signed with Schalke on a permanent transfer from Manchester City. (REPORT)

Radamel Falcao struggled in an outing with Manchester United’s U-21s. (REPORT)

Porto’s Danilo suffered “no serious injury” after being carted off following a collision with a goalkeeper in yesterday’s Champions League victory over Basel. (REPORT)

Arsenal, Everton and Stoke will head to Singapore in July to compete for the Asia Trophy. (REPORT)

What do you think of Real’s recent struggles? What would you do if you were a manager in terms of bonuses? How big of an issue do you think betting is worldwide?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Absolutely agree with Mourinho on the concept of pay-for-performance as PSG has attempted to implement in the CL. I am not sure how much value this could possibly add…. really, the reward is already there…. if a player is a meaningful contributor on a team that advances deep into the Champions League, he can already expect a significant increase in his market value and profile. Not to mention the fact that the motivation of winning the planet’s most prestigious club competition should be plenty– is there really anybody on any of these top teams thinking– I could play a little harder, but the money just isn’t getting me going!

    What it far more likely to do is create a poisonous situation when things go wrong. Now, if a goalkeeper makes a key blunder that results in a decisive goal, he not only has to deal with the competitive disappointment– he has to deal with an entire locker room full of guys who can very rightly say (or think) “You just cost me 250k”. Oh boy.

  2. Guess all things are relative. Casillas says RM has hit “rock bottom”.

    Wow, losing to decent German league team, advancing to Round of 16 in CL and being 1 point out of first place in the Spanish league, = Rock Bottom.

    i know a lot of teams who would take RM’s rock bottom.

    • I’m sure nobody at the stadium yesterday agrees with you.
      In the picture Casillas is making the players stand in front of the fans and take the abuse.
      It was brutal.

      • Then the fans are spoiled and have unrealistic expectations too. This team won the Champions League last year and can still win it again (and La Liga) this year. Time for these “fans” to grow up!

        I somewhat understand the mentality. I’m a huge Yankees fan and some fans literally expect a world series win every season. Winning the division and losing in the ALCS for example is some kind of horrible failure. Same sort of irrational, entitlement mentality at Real.

      • Grow up? these are the fans that have been going to the stadium their whole lives just like their fathers and grandfathers. How they deal with their team’s under performance is up to them and the team. Not everybody is going to meet you expectations.
        BTW: The way Madrid outspends 99.9% of teams in the world they should be expected to win everything every time.
        At the end of the day I don’t think it’s about losing. I’ve seen the same fans give standing ovations to their team after a loss and even to Ronaldinho after he tore them apart in the clasico. It’s the lack of effort they can’t stand.

      • Win everything every time? That’s your expectation? Sure, I guess Real Madrid fans can react however they choose to their team’s performance. And I can react to their outsize expectations any way I choose too. And I think they need to grow up and realize that no one wins every single time.

Leave a Comment