Jose Callejon scored a late winner for Real Madrid against Mallorca on Saturday evening as Jose Mourinho's men fought back from a goal down to defeat Mallorca 2-1 and extend their lead at the top of La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid move three points clear in Spain ahead of the winter break with his fifth hat-trick this season in Saturday's 6-2 win at Sevilla, as both teams had a player sent off.
This weekend sees a fixture which football fans across the world look forward to at the start of every season, with Spanish archrivals Real Madrid and Barcelona going head-to-head at the Bernabeu Stadium.
Real Madrid moved six points clear in Spain after winning a fiery derby match against nine-man Atletico on Saturday and then seeing defending champions Barcelona suffer a shock first La Liga defeat this season.
Real Madrid's hopes of winning a first Spanish title since 2008 survived a stern test on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho marked his 50th La Liga match as coach with a tense 3-2 victory at third-placed Valencia.
There were contrasting fortunes for the two superstars of La Liga as Lionel Messi missed an injury time penalty for Barcelona in the Nou Camp to allow Real Madrid to go top as Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a quickfire hat-trick.
The new season started the way the old one ended: with Real Madrid and Barcelona taking center stage, eclipsing everyone else as they fought it out for a trophy. And by the end, "fought" was the word. Those who hoped that passions would have cooled over the summer were disappointed. The fact that the Super Copa is, to use Jose Mourinho's words, "the most important of the preseason games, the least important of the actual season games" made no difference. This was no friendly. How could it be?
So, Sergio Canales will play for Valencia for the whole of the next two seasons. Well, not the whole of them exactly. Canales has moved to Mestalla for two years. According to the agreement reached, Valencia will pay his wages for the two seasons and, at the end of each campaign, it will have a €12 million ($17M) option-to-buy. The other thing the agreement stipulates is that Canales will not be able to play against the club that owns him, Real Madrid. The crapping-yourself-clause strikes again.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It's not often U.S. fans get the opportunity to mingle in the presence of footballing royalty. So when adidas organized a meet-and-greet recently with nine members of the reigning World Cup champions in advance of Spain's recent friendly against the U.S., plenty were on hand at the "We Got Soccer" store to get a glimpse of Spain's stars up close and personal.
Camp Nou is routinely likened to a theater, but it actually hosts the latest instalment of an increasingly ridiculous soap opera when Real Madrid visit for the Champions League second leg. Since last week's "feisty" match, from which Barcelona leads 2-0, both teams have been charged by Uefa with various wrongdoings, and now Real has demanded that Barca boss Pep Guardiola and six of his players be penalized for "premeditated anti-sporting behavior." Naturally we can all assume we'll see exemplary behavior from representatives of both teams on Tuesday, and a jolly good match all round.
This is the third of a rapid-fire quartet of clasicos thrown up by the fixture list, and a fascinating one it is too. Barcelona thrashed Real 5-0 earlier in the season and is comfortably considered the best team in the world, but Jose Mourinho has overseen a damaging couple of weeks for Barca's self-esteem. Real came back from behind to secure a 1-1 draw in La Liga, and last week lifted the Copa del Rey thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's extra-time strike. Real's 6-3 thrashing of Valencia confirms Pep Guardiola's outfit as unfamiliar underdogs, with Andres Iniesta's absence through injury only reinforcing that.
He has become a familiar sight at Real Madrid¹s press conferences before its Champions League matches: next to the Special One sits the Silent One, a former player whose list of honors rivals that of the coach (it includes a World Cup and European Championship success), and whose presence adds even more stardust to the Real Madrid name.
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Last year, reaction to Real Madrid's decision to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars, described by some as club president Florentino Perez's Galacticos 2.0 project, was mixed. There was no doubting the quality -- at least on paper -- of the new signings, from Cristiano Ronaldo to Xabi Alonso, from Kaka to Karim Benzema, without forgetting valuable "foot soldiers" like Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa and Esteban Granero. At the same time, the moralizers had a field day over the sheer amount of money spent while others weren't sure whether Manuel Pellegrini could meld all the big egos into a cohesive unit.
Atletico Madrid face second-bottom Valladolid Wednesday, the team that's won just six times all season, and it's Valladolid everyone expects to win. But Atletico doesn't mind. It expects Valladolid to win too -- and it won't be bursting any blood vessels to ensure otherwise.
It has been a weird summer of transfers. Most of Europe's top leagues kick off next month and yet, with a few exceptions (Real Madrid and, to a lesser degree, Juventus and Bayern Munich), there hasn't been too much going on. The window won't close until Aug. 31. In the meantime, here's an attempt at making sense of it all, with 11 questions facing 11 big clubs:
Credit crunch and slow economy be damned, the soccer world is still spinning from the record-busting $131 million fee Real Madrid is on the verge of pumping into Manchester United's coffers for FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. That's on top of the $92 million the mysteriously loaded Spaniards already paid for last year's World Player of the Year, Kaká. But there's far more to come in the transfer market. This week, we run through the English Premier League looking at possible transfer targets, and who might be heading for the exit door.
Nine years ago, Florentino Pérez walked into the game and ushered in a new era. Call it "the Galáctico Age," call it "the Zidanes y Pavones experiment," call it the destruction of conventional wisdom, call it what you like.
It was Real Madrid's most humiliating European night in a long, long time. And in some ways, the 4-0 loss to Liverpool on Tuesday hurt more than the 5-0 defeat to Arrigo Sacchi's AC Milan team 20 years ago.