Spanish Primera División

Gareth Bale’s CWC rescue act the first step to Real Madrid rehabilitation

Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale’s winner sent Real Madrid on their way to the Club World Cup final. Gareth Bale found himself in the new position of much needed saviour on Wednesday night, after the often criticised Galactico saved Real Madrid from humiliation in their Club World Cup semifinal against Al Jazira. A more entertaining than expected game at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium saw Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema miss chance after chance, before the locals took a shock lead through Brazilian forward Romarinho just before half-time. Even after Ronaldo made it 1-1 after the break, Benzema twice hit the post from c...

WATCH: Messi, Suarez show off Golden Shoe awards

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Alex Alegria thanks Real Madrid for letter wishing him speedy recovery

Alison Bender and Stewart Robson discuss some of the biggest ties of the UCL last 16 draw as Real Madrid face PSG. Levante striker Alex Alegria has thanked Real Madrid for sending him a letter wishing him a speedy recovery from the ligament injury that has ruled him out for the rest of the season. Madrid have a custom of sending letters to players who have suffered bad injuries, whether or not the players haveany connection to the club. Alegria, on loan at Levante from Real Betis, posted a picture of the letter, signed by Real’s director of institutional affairs Emilio Butragueno, on Twitter and expressed his gratitude for the gesture. The letter said: “Dear Alex, On behalf of those that work at Real Madrid, especially our president, Florentino Perez, we want to send you our be...

Valverde: Villarreal win vital in title race

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Saul Niguez and Jan Oblak impress as Atletico keep away streak alive

Saul Niguez found the back of the net for the second match in a row for surging Atletico. Atletico Madrid did what they do best and dogged out a 1-0 win away to Real Betis on Sunday afternoon. Saul’s close-range effort on the half hour was enough to seal this for Los Rojiblancos, who are now unbeaten away from home in La Liga for 19 games — dating back 12 months as they continue to keep the pressure on Barcelona at the top of the table. They needed a Jan Oblak special to keep the scores level late on, however apart from the Slovenian’s effort the result was rarely in doubt, despite the home side dominating possession, as Atleti kept them at arm’s length throughout in what was a professional performance. Positives Saul is back in the goals, a year unbeaten on the roa...

Diego Simeone delighted with Atletico performance at Real Betis

Saul Niguez celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner. Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone hailed his team’s defensive strength and tactical flexibility after they ground out a 1-0 win at Real Betis in Sunday afternoon’s La Liga clash. After Atletico had spent the first 30 minutes soaking up pressure, Saul Niguez put the visitors ahead with a sliding finish at the back post. Betis again had almost all the possession after the break, but the closest they came was a 20-yard strike by winger Christian Tello which brought a superb flying save from visiting goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Atletico are now unbeaten away from home in La Liga for over 12 months, and the Rojiblanco coach told the post-game news conference at the Benito Villamarin that his team had been able to respond...

Saul Niguez nets winner as Atletico Madrid edge Real Betis

12:10 PM ET Associated Press Saul Niguez scored the only goal as Atletico Madrid beat Real Betis 1-0 to keep Diego Simeone’s team in the chase for the La Liga title. Betis made a promising start by setting a fast tempo and pushing Atletico into their area. But the visitors were comfortable in absorbing the pressure until a well-orchestrated counterattack tilted the contest in their favour. Diego Godin found Sime Vrsaljko alone on the right flank with a long pass to start the move. The right-back quickly fired in a cross for three teammates arriving in the area, with the ball reaching the far post where Saul slid and tapped it in. Betis tried to respond after half-time, but goalkeeper Jan Oblak denied the best chance to level in the 60th minute when he stretched to tip Cristian Tello&...

Ronaldo brace as Real cruise; Parejo’s late penalty helps Valencia keep pace

Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals led the way for Real Madrid in their 5-0 win over Sevilla. Dani Parejo’s late penalty gave Valencia a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo to move two points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona after Real Madrid had earlier swept past Sevilla 5-0 at the Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo had celebrated his fifth Ballon d’Or award with a brace in a first-half demolition of Sevilla, which put the pressure on Valencia to deliver in Saturday’s evening kick off. Simone Zaza headed Los Che in front in the 28th minute. However, Celta Vigo were level at the start of the second half when Iago Aspas converted from close range. Valencia, though, were not to be denied as, with just nine minutes left, Tucu Hernandez clipped Nacho Gil from behind to concede a penalty. Vigo...

Valverde: Messi’s fitness not a problem

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Is Cristiano Ronaldo the greatest of all time?

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Zidane and Real will need goals vs. Sevilla to offset a depleted backline

The FC panel preview Real Madrid’s weekend clash against Sevilla, making note of the many players absent in their back line. Real Madrid host Sevilla at the Bernabeu on Saturday in the knowledge that this could prove to be another pivotal weekend in their pursuit of a successful fightback in their title defence. Barcelona travel to the Estadio de la Ceramica to play Villarreal on Sunday, where a positive result is far from assured for the Liga leaders, and Zinedine Zidane will be only too aware that the added pressure of a reduced deficit at the top must be applied a day earlier. Historically, Sevilla fare pretty well against Real but have suffered recently on their travels to the capital, conceding four or more goals in four of their last five visits to the Bernabeu. Circumstances s...

Ronaldo as motivated as ever after fifth Ballon d’Or

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