Tuesday November 24th, 2015

Real Madrid manager Rafa Benítez got a vote of confidence for now from his boss Florentino Pérez on Monday following Madrid’s 4-0 loss to Barcelona. But there is a lot going on behind the scenes right now in the Spanish capital.

Club directors, including Pérez, were intrigued over the weekend when Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal said he’s targeting Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, the Real Madrid leadership was already debating this weekend over whether they should try to sell Ronaldo in the January window. Madrid feels like Ronaldo will only retain huge value if the team sells him in January or in the summer. And the club also feels like there are only three teams it could sell him to: Manchester United, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo's contract with Real Madrid runs through 2018.

Here are a couple of more insider items from around the soccer world:

Bayern seeks Pep resolution by Christmas

Bayern Munich’s push to extend the contract of manager Pep Guardiola, which ends at the end of the season, is coming to a head.

Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has now asked for Guardiola to make a decision by Christmas, but one Bayern executive is starting to give off the vibe that he thinks Guardiola will leave, saying: “If Pep wins the Champions League with Bayern, he will want to leave. And if he doesn’t win the Champions League, he will also want to leave.”

Bayern feels like it will have a pretty good replacement if Pep bolts. His name: Carlo Ancelotti.

Ledermans not giving up on Barcelona

I spoke this week to Danny Lederman. He’s the father of 15-year-old Ben Lederman, who was the first U.S. player ever admitted to Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy in 2011. The whole Lederman family moved to Barcelona, just like Lionel Messi’s family had when he was 13, but last year FIFA started cracking down on the enforcement of a rule that was designed to prevent minors from being brought to Europe from abroad and discarded to the streets if they didn’t pan out.

Ben Lederman was prevented from playing in games for Barcelona for a year, and he recently moved to Florida to join the U.S. Soccer residency program and train with the U.S. Under-17 team. His father says he’s bringing legal action against FIFA to try to get the rule changed—and hopes his son still gets to play for Barcelona sooner rather than later.

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