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Last-gasp Villarreal edge Sociedad

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Madrid (AFP) – Villarreal kept their hopes of Champions League football next season alive as Samu Castillejo’s 93rd minute winner secured a vital 1-0 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Just a second win of 2017 moves sixth-placed Villarreal to within two points of Sociedad and six of Atletico Madrid in fourth.

Last-gasp Villarreal edge Sociedad

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Madrid (AFP) – Villarreal kept their hopes of Champions League football next season alive as Samu Castillejo’s 93rd minute winner secured a vital 1-0 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Just a second win of 2017 moves sixth-placed Villarreal to within two points of Sociedad and six of Atletico Madrid in fourth.

Atletico ‘keeper Oblak back for Leverkusen trip

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid received a massive boost ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday as goalkeeper Jan Oblak was included in Diego Simeone’s squad for the trip to Germany.

The Slovenian international, who kept eight clean sheets in 13 Champions League games as Atletico reached the final last season, has been sidelined since December after having surgery on a dislocated shoulder.

Atletico ‘keeper Oblak back for Leverkusen trip

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid received a massive boost ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday as goalkeeper Jan Oblak was included in Diego Simeone’s squad for the trip to Germany.

The Slovenian international, who kept eight clean sheets in 13 Champions League games as Atletico reached the final last season, has been sidelined since December after having surgery on a dislocated shoulder.

Bale sees silver lining in injury misery

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale hopes three tough months on the sidelines will have their recompense by helping Real Madrid’s bid for La Liga and Champions League glory and Wales’ hopes of reaching the World Cup.

Bale made an instant impact on his first taste of action for 88 days after damaging ankle ligaments as he fired home Madrid’s second in a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday just 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

Bale sees silver lining in injury misery

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale hopes three tough months on the sidelines will have their recompense by helping Real Madrid’s bid for La Liga and Champions League glory and Wales’ hopes of reaching the World Cup.

Bale made an instant impact on his first taste of action for 88 days after damaging ankle ligaments as he fired home Madrid’s second in a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday just 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

Bale back with a bang as Real extend lead

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale made an instant impact on his return from injury as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to four points with a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday.

Bale had been sidelined three months and on his return took just 13 minutes to score as he swept home into the far corner after coming on as second-half substitute in a much changed Real line up.

Gareth Bale returns as Zidane holds other stars in reserve

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will make his return from a three-month injury layoff when Real Madrid host Espanyol on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Friday.

However, Zidane has handed a weekend off to a host of other key men as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas were not included in the Frenchman’s 19-man squad.

Gareth Bale returns as Zidane holds other stars in reserve

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will make his return from a three-month injury layoff when Real Madrid host Espanyol on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Friday.

However, Zidane has handed a weekend off to a host of other key men as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas were not included in the Frenchman’s 19-man squad.

Lowly Leganes hand Barca chance to lick PSG wounds

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Madrid (AFP) – Still reeling from their humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona can’t afford a Champions League hangover as they return to La Liga action at home to Leganes on Sunday.

Barca trail league leaders Real Madrid by a point, but have also played two games more than their title rivals, leaving Luis Enrique’s men little room for error in their quest for a third straight La Liga title.

Police called to Maradona’s Madrid hotel

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish police were called to a Madrid hotel by concerned staff on Wednesday over an argument between former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and his girlfriend.

“My lawyer Matias Morla contacted the Spanish authorities. There are no complaints and nobody was able to explain to me the reason for this media show,” said Maradona via his official Facebook page.

Police called to Maradona’s Madrid hotel

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish police were called to a Madrid hotel by concerned staff on Wednesday over an argument between former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and his girlfriend.

“My lawyer Matias Morla contacted the Spanish authorities. There are no complaints and nobody was able to explain to me the reason for this media show,” said Maradona via his official Facebook page.

Griezmann happy in Madrid despite Man Utd link

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann insists he feels “great” in the Spanish capital and hailed the impact Atletico boss Diego Simeone has had on his career despite being consistently linked with a big money move to the Premier League.

Manchester United lead the chase for Griezmann, who has a 100 million euro ($106 million) buyout clause inserted into a new contract he signed with Atletico in June last year.

Griezmann happy in Madrid despite Man Utd link

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann insists he feels “great” in the Spanish capital and hailed the impact Atletico boss Diego Simeone has had on his career despite being consistently linked with a big money move to the Premier League.

Manchester United lead the chase for Griezmann, who has a 100 million euro ($106 million) buyout clause inserted into a new contract he signed with Atletico in June last year.

Spanish police called to Maradona’s Madrid hotel

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish police were called to a Madrid hotel by concerned staff on Wednesday over an argument between former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and his girlfriend.

“When the agents and emergency services arrived, those people (Maradona and his girlfriend) showed no sign of injuries and did not press charges, there was just a discussion,” police sources told AFP.

Fit-again Bale left out for Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will have to wait for his return to action after three months out as the Welshman wasn’t included in Zinedine Zidane’s squad for Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Napoli on Wednesday.

Bale only returned to full training for the first time on Sunday since suffering ankle ligament damage in November.

Fit-again Bale left out for Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will have to wait for his return to action after three months out as the Welshman wasn’t included in Zinedine Zidane’s squad for Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Napoli on Wednesday.

Bale only returned to full training for the first time on Sunday since suffering ankle ligament damage in November.

Atletico’s Calderon to host Copa del Rey final

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Madrid (AFP) – The Copa del Rey final between holders Barcelona and Alaves on May 27 will be played at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium, the Spanish Football Federation said on Monday.

It will be the second year running the final is held at Atletico’s ground, with Barcelona lifting the trophy for a record 28th time last season following a 2-0 extra-time win over Sevilla.

Cristiano Ronaldo injury scare ahead of Real’s Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo trained apart from the team on Monday just two days ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League last 16 home leg against Napoli.

The Portuguese goal machine with a record 96 Champions League strikes to his name suffered a heavy tackle in a 3-1 win over Osasuna at the weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo injury scare ahead of Real’s Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo trained apart from the team on Monday just two days ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League last 16 home leg against Napoli.

The Portuguese goal machine with a record 96 Champions League strikes to his name suffered a heavy tackle in a 3-1 win over Osasuna at the weekend.

Planes, trains and automobiles for Napoli exodus to Madrid

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Milan (AFP) – Desperate Napoli fans have signed up as official Real Madrid supporters in a bid to attend a Champions League clash that will see an estimated 10,000 Napolitans descend on the Spanish capital Wednesday.

Napoli, last season’s runners-up, are nine points behind Juventus in the Serie A title race but, with a league-topping 57 goals in 24 games, are playing arguably the best football in Italy.

Planes, trains and automobiles for Napoli exodus to Madrid

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Milan (AFP) – Desperate Napoli fans have signed up as official Real Madrid supporters in a bid to attend a Champions League clash that will see an estimated 10,000 Napolitans descend on the Spanish capital Wednesday.

Napoli, last season’s runners-up, are nine points behind Juventus in the Serie A title race but, with a league-topping 57 goals in 24 games, are playing arguably the best football in Italy.

Griezmann seals Atletico fightback, Sevilla stay third

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Madrid (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann sealed a thrilling Atletico Madrid comeback from 2-1 down with four minutes remaining to beat Celta Vigo 3-2 and move into fourth in La Liga.

Sevilla remain four points ahead of Atletico in third as they moved within three points of leaders Real Madrid thanks to substitute Joaquin Correa’s winner 10 minutes from time in a 1-0 win at Las Palmas.

Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ smash Alaves for six

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Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona went top of La Liga for the first time since October with a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday.

In a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final, Alaves paid for their semi-final exertions against Celta Vigo in midweek as Barca moved two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ smash Alaves for six

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Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona went top of La Liga for the first time since October with a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday.

In a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final, Alaves paid for their semi-final exertions against Celta Vigo in midweek as Barca moved two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Mourinho banks on Real Madrid ties over De Gea

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes his close friendship with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will prevent any underhand efforts to tempt goalkeeper David de Gea to the Bernabeu.

De Gea appeared to re-open the possibility of a move to Madrid on Wednesday when he told Spanish journalists during a sponsorship event at Old Trafford that “nobody knows the future”.

Illarramendi stunner moves Sociedad fourth

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Madrid (AFP) – Asier Illarramendi’s brilliant 25-yard strike just after the hour mark saw Real Sociedad leapfrog Atletico Madrid into fourth in La Liga with a 2-1 win at Espanyol on Friday.

Despite losing top scorer Willian Jose to an early injury, the visitors capitalised on a bright start when Carlos Vela slotted home Inigo Martinez’s fine through ball.

WADA alarmed by lack of La Liga drug testing

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Madrid (AFP) – The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed “alarm” on Friday after it emerged no binding drug testing has taken place in football by Spanish anti-doping authorities for nearly a year.

Spanish anti-doping agency AEPSAD has been declared non-compliant with the WADA code since March 2016.

WADA alarmed by lack of La Liga drug testing

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Madrid (AFP) – The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed “alarm” on Friday after it emerged no binding drug testing has taken place in football by Spanish anti-doping authorities for nearly a year.

Spanish anti-doping agency AEPSAD has been declared non-compliant with the WADA code since March 2016.

Barca eye return to the top in Copa del Rey final rehearsal

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona have the chance to go top of La Liga for the first time since October in a Copa del Rey final dress rehearsal when they visit Alaves on Saturday.

Alaves edged out Celta Vigo on Wednesday to reach the final for the first time, whilst nine-man Barca had to survive a second leg onslaught from Atletico Madrid in midweek to make a fourth straight final.

Barca eye return to the top in Copa del Rey final rehearsal

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona have the chance to go top of La Liga for the first time since October in a Copa del Rey final dress rehearsal when they visit Alaves on Saturday.

Alaves edged out Celta Vigo on Wednesday to reach the final for the first time, whilst nine-man Barca had to survive a second leg onslaught from Atletico Madrid in midweek to make a fourth straight final.

Prosecutor recommends jail for French defender Hernandez: press

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain’s public prosecutor asked for a seven-month prison sentence to be handed down to Atletico Madrid’s French defender Lucas Hernandez, Spanish media said Monday.

Hernandez, 20, was arrested Friday after his girlfriend was taken to hospital with minor injuries following an altercation between the pair.

Refreshed Barca seek to continue Cup dominance

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Madrid (AFP) – Holders Barcelona have a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey final in sight when Atletico Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday with the daunting task of overturning a 2-1 semi-final, first leg deficit.

Stunning solo goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi put Barca well in command of the tie before half-time at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

Refreshed Barca seek to continue Cup dominance

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Madrid (AFP) – Holders Barcelona have a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey final in sight when Atletico Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday with the daunting task of overturning a 2-1 semi-final, first leg deficit.

Stunning solo goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi put Barca well in command of the tie before half-time at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.

Real’s trip to Celta off after stadium damage

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Madrid (AFP) – La Liga leaders Real Madrid’s visit to Celta Vigo scheduled for Sunday has been postponed after strong winds and heavy rain caused structural damage to Celta’s Balaidos stadium, the Spanish league confirmed.

Earlier on Saturday, the mayor of Vigo stated the stadium wasn’t in a safe condition to host the game, but both clubs and the league waited on a security report before a final decision was made.

Real’s trip to Celta off after stadium damage

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Madrid (AFP) La Liga leaders Real Madrid's visit to Celta Vigo scheduled for Sunday has been postponed after strong winds and heavy rain caused structural damage to Celta's Balaidos stadium, the Spanish league confirmed.

Earlier on Saturday, the mayor of Vigo stated the stadium wasn't in a safe condition to host the game, but both clubs and the league waited on a security report before a final decision was made.

Barca close in as Real fixture is called off

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Madrid (AFP) Lionel Messi struck another trademark free-kick as Barcelona moved to within one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Madrid have two games in hand, the first of which was supposed to take place on Sunday at Celta Vigo.

However, that match has been called off after wind damage to Celta's Balaidos stadium left the ground unsafe to hold the game, La Liga confirmed after a security evaluation was carried out by local authorities.

Barca close in as confusion reigns over Real fixture

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Madrid (AFP) Lionel Messi struck another trademark free-kick as Barcelona moved to within one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Madrid have two games in hand, the first of which was supposed to take place on Sunday at Celta Vigo.

However, wind damage to Celta's Balaidos stadium has left the ground unsafe to hold the game, according to the mayor of Vigo.

Sergio Asenjo

Nasri miss costs Sevilla in Villarreal stalemate

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Madrid (AFP) – Samir Nasri missed a second-half penalty as Sevilla squandered the chance to close to within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 0-0 draw home to Villarreal on Sunday.

The Frenchman’s low spot-kick was well saved by Sergio Asenjo, who then made a spectacular stop from Vicente Iborra’s late header as La Liga’s best defence held out for a point at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

Nasri miss costs Sevilla in Villarreal stalemate

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Madrid (AFP) – Samir Nasri missed a second-half penalty as Sevilla squandered the chance to close to within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 0-0 draw home to Villarreal on Sunday.

The Frenchman’s low spot-kick was well saved by Sergio Asenjo, who then made a spectacular stop from Vicente Iborra’s late header as La Liga’s best defence held out for a point at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.