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AFP

Rejuvenated Real Madrid eye fifth prize of 2017

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid can round off the most successful year in the club’s already glorious history by claiming a fifth trophy in 2017 at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi this week.

They won La Liga, the Champions League, UEFA and Spanish Super Cup in a thrilling fashion after hitting top form in a four-month spell between April and August, but since then the European champions have faded, understandably fatigued by a heavy schedule.

Saul strike keeps Atletico on Barca’s tails

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of being dumped out of the Champions League in midweek to keep their La Liga title challenge afloat by grinding out a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Sunday.

In the absence of top scorer Antoine Griezmann through injury, Saul Niguez once again provided a big goal for Atletico that takes Diego Simeone’s men to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

Saul strike keeps Atletico on Barca’s tails

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of being dumped out of the Champions League in midweek to keep their La Liga title challenge afloat by grinding out a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Sunday.

In the absence of top scorer Antoine Griezmann through injury, Saul Niguez once again provided a big goal for Atletico that takes Diego Simeone’s men to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

Saul strike keeps Atletico Madrid on Barcelona’s tails

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of being dumped out of the Champions League in midweek to keep their La Liga title challenge afloat by grinding out a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Sunday.

In the absence of top scorer Antoine Griezmann through injury, Saul Niguez once again provided a big goal for Atletico that takes Diego Simeone’s men to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d’Or to Bernabeu

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or to an adoring Santiago Bernabeu before Real Madrid’s clash with Sevilla on Saturday.

Ronaldo pulled level on Thursday with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as the only two men to have won the annual award for the best player in the world five times.

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d’Or to Bernabeu

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or to an adoring Santiago Bernabeu before Real Madrid’s clash with Sevilla on Saturday.

Ronaldo pulled level on Thursday with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as the only two men to have won the annual award for the best player in the world five times.

Five things to look out for in Spanish La Liga

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid will have to overcome a mounting list of injuries and suspensions if they are to keep themselves in the La Liga title race when Sevilla visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Win and the European champions can close to within five points of leaders Barcelona, who themselves face a tough trip to Villarreal on Sunday night.

Five things to look out for in Spanish La Liga

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid will have to overcome a mounting list of injuries and suspensions if they are to keep themselves in the La Liga title race when Sevilla visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Win and the European champions can close to within five points of leaders Barcelona, who themselves face a tough trip to Villarreal on Sunday night.

Portugal producing the world’s best footballers on grass, sand, concrete

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Madrid (AFP) – Portugal’s favourite son Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to collect a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, but the Real Madrid star is not the only Portuguese footballer to be crowned the best in the world.

The lesser known Ricardinho and Madjer have dominated their respective disciplines of futsal, an indoor five-a-side version of football, and beach soccer thanks to the same mixture of talent and dedication that has made Ronaldo a worldwide phenomenon.

English eyes on Griezmann for crunch Chelsea clash

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Madrid (AFP) – As a red-hot Antoine Griezmann hopes to keep Atletico Madrid’s faint Champions League hopes alive at Stamford Bridge, the stage is also set for the Frenchman to showcase his talents to a host of Premier League suitors.

Atletico need to beat Chelsea in London on Tuesday and hope Roma don’t beat Champions League debutants Qarabag in the Italian capital if they are to make the last 16 for a fifth consecutive season.

English eyes on Griezmann for crunch Chelsea clash

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Madrid (AFP) – As a red-hot Antoine Griezmann hopes to keep Atletico Madrid’s faint Champions League hopes alive at Stamford Bridge, the stage is also set for the Frenchman to showcase his talents to a host of Premier League suitors.

Atletico need to beat Chelsea in London on Tuesday and hope Roma don’t beat Champions League debutants Qarabag in the Italian capital if they are to make the last 16 for a fifth consecutive season.

Sevilla’s Berizzo home after cancer operation

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo has been released from hospital just four days after undergoing an operation on a cancerous prostate tumour, the club confirmed on Saturday.

“Berizzo will continue his post-operative treatment at home,” Sevilla said in a statement.

The Argentine’s assistant Ernesto Marcucci took charge as Sevilla beat Deportivo la Coruna 2-0 to move above Real Madrid into fourth for a few hours at least ahead of Madrid’s trip to Athletic Bilbao later on Saturday.

Sevilla’s Berizzo home after cancer operation

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo has been released from hospital just four days after undergoing an operation on a cancerous prostate tumour, the club confirmed on Saturday.

“Berizzo will continue his post-operative treatment at home,” Sevilla said in a statement.

The Argentine’s assistant Ernesto Marcucci took charge as Sevilla beat Deportivo la Coruna 2-0 to move above Real Madrid into fourth for a few hours at least ahead of Madrid’s trip to Athletic Bilbao later on Saturday.

Barca slip in Celta thriller, Griezmann gives Atletico hope

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Madrid (AFP) – Celta Vigo breathed life into La Liga’s title race by becoming the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Iago Aspas gave Celta an early lead, but an inspired display from Lionel Messi appeared to have earned Barca another three points as he immediately equalised and then helped tee up Luis Suarez to put the hosts 2-1 in front.

Barca slip in Celta thriller, Griezmann gives Atletico hope

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Madrid (AFP) – Celta Vigo breathed life into La Liga’s title race by becoming the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Iago Aspas gave Celta an early lead, but an inspired display from Lionel Messi appeared to have earned Barca another three points as he immediately equalised and then helped tee up Luis Suarez to put the hosts 2-1 in front.

Five things to look out for in La Liga this weekend

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona look to extend their four-point lead at the top of La Liga against an old friend turned foe in Celta Vigo coach Juan Carlos Unzue on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid travel to a struggling Athletic Bilbao with their eyes firmly on one of Athletic’s rising stars.

Five things to look out for in La Liga this weekend

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona look to extend their four-point lead at the top of La Liga against an old friend turned foe in Celta Vigo coach Juan Carlos Unzue on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid travel to a struggling Athletic Bilbao with their eyes firmly on one of Athletic’s rising stars.

Barcelona, Sevilla ease into Copa del Rey last 16

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Madrid (AFP) – Holders Barcelona eased into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey by thrashing Real Murcia 5-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to complete an 8-0 aggregate victory.

Already leading 3-0 from the first leg, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde made 10 changes from Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash at Valencia with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez among those to drop out.

Contador tips Froome for Giro-Tour double in 2018

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Madrid (AFP) – Alberto Contador believes former rival Chris Froome is ready to win a maiden Giro d’Italia title next season, and then follow it up with a record-equalling fifth Tour de France crown.

Froome won the Vuelta a Espana for the first time in September to join Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978) as the only riders to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year.

Ronaldo relieved as Madrid edge five-goal thriller

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s first La Liga goal for over a month ensured Real Madrid closed the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to seven points by squeezing past struggling Malaga 3-2 on Saturday.

Ronaldo’s relief was clear to see when he fired home the rebound after seeing his penalty saved by Roberto 15 minutes from time.

Bale finally back in training for Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale finally returned to training with his Real Madrid team-mates on Friday and will be eased back in after two months on the sidelines, according to coach Zinedine Zidane.

“The important thing is that he is with us, that he trains, plays, because that will stop all the negative things happening around him,” Zidane said at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Malaga.

Hierro named Spanish FA sporting director

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Madrid (AFP) – Fernando Hierro returned as the Spanish football federation’s sporting director on Thursday six years after leaving the role to pursue a coaching career.

The Real Madrid great, who ended his playing career with Bolton Wanderers, played his part in Spain’s most successful ever era as sporting director between 2007 and 2011 as La Roja won Euro 2008 and their only World Cup in 2010.

Griezmann gives Atletico power of positive thinking

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Madrid (AFP) – Diego Simeone refused to be downhearted by Atletico Madrid’s slim chances of making the Champions League last 16 after Antoine Griezmann returned to form with a stunning overhead kick and assist for Kevin Gameiro to beat Roma 2-0 on Wednesday.

Twice finalists in the past four seasons, Simeone’s men still need a minor miracle in the final two games in Group C on December 5 to progress as Atletico need to win away to Chelsea and hope Roma drop points at home to Qarabag.

Griezmann gives Atletico power of positive thinking

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Madrid (AFP) – Diego Simeone refused to be downhearted by Atletico Madrid’s slim chances of making the Champions League last 16 after Antoine Griezmann returned to form with a stunning overhead kick and assist for Kevin Gameiro to beat Roma 2-0 on Wednesday.

Twice finalists in the past four seasons, Simeone’s men still need a minor miracle in the final two games in Group C on December 5 to progress as Atletico need to win away to Chelsea and hope Roma drop points at home to Qarabag.

Record-breaking Valencia maintain Barca chase

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia maintained their pursuit of Barcelona to remain four points off the La Liga leaders thanks to second-half goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Santi Mina to beat a luckless Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday.

A club record eighth straight La Liga win for Valencia moves Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men six points clear of Real Madrid in third and sets up a mouthwatering top of the table showdown at home to Barcelona next Sunday.

Record-breaking Valencia maintain Barca chase

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia maintained their pursuit of Barcelona to remain four points off the La Liga leaders thanks to second-half goals from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Santi Mina to beat a luckless Espanyol 2-0 on Sunday.

A club record eighth straight La Liga win for Valencia moves Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men six points clear of Real Madrid in third and sets up a mouthwatering top of the table showdown at home to Barcelona next Sunday.

Derby stalemate leaves Real 10 points behind Barca

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid slipped 10 points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga as a Madrid derby short on chances finished 0-0 at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

Earlier, Barca also weren’t at their best but Luis Suarez’s double ended a five-game goal drought for the Uruguayan and Paulinho’s late strike helped see off a determined Leganes 3-0.

Madrid giants face similar issues ahead of derby

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Madrid (AFP) – Accustomed to a place at the top table in recent seasons, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid resume an old rivalry at a new home on Saturday with little room for error.

Early season struggles have left both sides eight points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona and four points below revitalised Valencia.

Madrid giants face similar issues ahead of derby

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Madrid (AFP) – Accustomed to a place at the top table in recent seasons, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid resume an old rivalry at a new home on Saturday with little room for error.

Early season struggles have left both sides eight points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona and four points below revitalised Valencia.

No Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real, insists Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane shrugged off reports of a dressing room rift between captain Sergio Ramos and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of vital derby clash at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Both sides from the capital already trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by eight points with Ronaldo complaining earlier this month that the departures of Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez had left Real’s squad lacking experience compared to the one that claimed a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

No Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real, insists Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane shrugged off reports of a dressing room rift between captain Sergio Ramos and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of vital derby clash at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Both sides from the capital already trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by eight points with Ronaldo complaining earlier this month that the departures of Alvaro Morata, Pepe and James Rodriguez had left Real’s squad lacking experience compared to the one that claimed a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

Spain to introduce video technology next season

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain’s La Liga will use the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system next season, the country’s football federation (RFEF) confirmed on Wednesday.

“The president of the referee’s technical commission, Victoriano Sanchez Arminio, has informed all first division referees and assistant referees that video refereeing will be introduced to next season’s championship,” the RFEF said.

Griezmann unconcerned by goal drought

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Madrid (AFP) – Despite a seven match scoring drought, Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann insisted on Wednesday he is unconcerned ahead of Saturday’s big derby against Real Madrid.

The France international had averaged more than a goal every two games in his previous three seasons for Atletico but has managed just three in 13 matches in all competitions this season.

Griezmann unconcerned by goal drought

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Madrid (AFP) – Despite a seven match scoring drought, Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann insisted on Wednesday he is unconcerned ahead of Saturday’s big derby against Real Madrid.

The France international had averaged more than a goal every two games in his previous three seasons for Atletico but has managed just three in 13 matches in all competitions this season.

Injury-cursed Bale suffers new setback

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid’s injury-prone star Gareth Bale suffered a new leg injury on Friday, adding to the frustrations of the Welsh winger who has already been sidelined with a calf strain for five weeks.

“Gareth Bale, who felt some discomfort in his left leg at the end of training, today underwent various tests carried out by the Real Madrid medical team,” said a club statement.

Real roll over Las Palmas to calm crisis talk

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid quietened crisis talk after back-to-back defeats as Marco Asensio added to his collection of wonder strikes in a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Victory cuts third-placed Real’s deficit on Barcelona at the top of La Liga back to eight points.

Real roll over Las Palmas to calm crisis talk

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid quietened crisis talk after back-to-back defeats as Marco Asensio added to his collection of wonder strikes in a 3-0 victory over Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Victory cuts third-placed Real’s deficit on Barcelona at the top of La Liga back to eight points.

Cries of ‘freedom’ as record-breaking Barcelona march on

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona continued their record-breaking start to a La Liga season by beating Sevilla 2-1 thanks to Paco Alcacer’s double on Saturday in an atmosphere at the Camp Nou marked by the political upheaval in Catalonia.

A huge Catalan flag and banners reading “justice” in Catalan and English were displayed before kick-off after eight ministers of the Catalan government deposed by Madrid were detained pending a possible trial for their roles in the drive for Catalan independence.

Alcacer double edges Barca past Sevilla

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona continued their record-breaking start to a La Liga season by beating Sevilla 2-1 thanks to Paco Alcacer’s double on Saturday in an atmosphere at the Camp Nou marked by the political upheaval in Catalonia.

A huge Catalan flag and banners reading “justice” in Catalan and English were displayed before kick-off after eight ministers of the Catalan government deposed by Madrid were detained pending a possible trial for their roles in the drive for Catalan independence.

The Rest

Atletico Madrid President Calls Diego Simeone “Untouchable”

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It has been a difficult start to the season for Atletico Madrid. They are fourth in La Liga, winless in the Champions League, and in danger of an embarrassing exit in the Copa del Rey.

Atleti sits fourth in La Liga, level with Real Madrid on points but behind on goal differential. They are eight points back of leaders Barcelona after just 11 matches.