Real Valladolid vs Real Madrid Preview: How to Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Real Madrid travel to the Estadio Jose Zorilla on Sunday evening to face Real Valladolid in La Liga, hoping to keep the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Zinedine Zidane’s side are unbeaten in their last 18 fixtures in all competitions, and sit second in the table, level on points with leaders Barcelona. ​

Valladolid, on the other hand, are without a league win since November and they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by second division side Tenerife.

Carlos Henrique Casemiro,Toni Kroos

Real progressed to the Round of 16 with their 3-1 victory over Unionistas, and will be confident they can follow it up with a win on Sunday. 

Here’s 90min’s preview of Sunday evening’s La Liga clash.


How to Watch on TV

When Is Kick Off? Sunday 26th January​
Where Is It Played? ​Estadio Jose Zorilla
What Time Is Kick Off? ​20:00 (GMT)
TV Channel/Live Stream? ​LaLigaTV
Referee? Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea

Team News

Real Madrid have several first-team players missing for Sunday’s fixture. Gareth Bale picked up a slight ankle injury on Wednesday, and will not be involved.

Sergio Ramos (ankle) is unlikely to be risked, while attacking duo Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio remain sidelined. Dani Carvajal misses out through suspension. 

Zinedine Zidane, Manager of Real Madrid,Gareth Bale

Valladolid’s Ecuadorian forward Stiven Plaza is unlikely to feature as he continues to struggle with a hamstring problem.

Aside from that, manager Sergio Gonzalez has a fully-fit squad to select from, with Sandro Ramirez and Oscar Plano pushing for starts.


Predicted Lineups

Real Valladolid Masip; Kiko, Salisu, Fernandez; Antoñito, Michel, Alcaraz, Emeterio, García; Unal, Guardiola
Real Madrid ​Courtois; Nacho, Militão, Varane, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vazquez

Head to Head Record

Karim Benzema

When the two sides met at the Santiago Bernabéu earlier in the season, Valladolid held Real to a 1-1 draw. Karim Benzema’s 82nd minute goal was cancelled out by Guardiola’s 88th minute equaliser. 

Before that, the previous two meetings between the sides have seen Los Blancos come away victorious on both occasions. The last time Valladolid hosted Real, the visitors romped to a 4-1 away victory, with Benzema netting a brace. 


Recent Form

As previously mentioned, Zidane’s side are 18 games unbeaten in all competitions. They recently progressed to Round of 16 in the Copa del Rey, and also triumphed over Atlético Madrid in the final of the Supercopa de España​.

In La Liga, Real have won their last two with victories over Sevilla and Getafe. Before that, they had drawn their previous three league fixtures. 

Valladolid are without a league win in their last six, losing once and drawing five. In fact, they have not won a La Liga fixture since their 3-0 victory over Mallorca in November.

As already mentioned, they were also knocked out in the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey against second division side Tenerife – not ideal preparation for this one.

Here are each side’s previous five results:

Valladolid Real Madrid​
​Tenerife 2-1 Valladolid (22/01) ​Unionistas 1-3 Real Madrid (22/01)
Osasuna 0-0 Valladolid (18/01)​ Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla (18/01)
​Marbella 1(1)-1(4) Valladolid (11/01) Real Madrid 0(4)-0(1) Atlético Madrid (12/01)
Valladolid 2-2 Leganes (03/01) ​Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid (08/01)
Valladolid 1-1 Valencia (21/12) ​Getafe CF 0-3 Real Madrid (04/01)

Prediction

Real Madrid’s impressive run of form makes them favourites for this one. However, Valladolid have proved tough to beat – they have drawn their last three, two of those coming at home. In 20 games, they have lost just six times. 

Toni Kroos

Earlier in the season, Real were unable to take all earn three points, but will be confident of putting that right this weekend. Valladolid will put up a fight, but Zidane’s side should earn all three points.

Prediction: Real Valladolid 1-2 Real Madrid


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Liverpool Ahead of Barcelona & Real Madrid in Race for Benfica Starlet Rafael Brito

​Liverpool are leading the race for Benfica starlet Rafael Brito, who is also a target for Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 18-year-old is yet to make his first league appearance for the Eagles, with the Reds and their rivals eager to make their move before he does so. After his Primeira Liga debut, Brito’s £38m release-clause will become active, having agreed new terms during the early weeks of 2020.

Rafael Brito

Local news outlet Record claim (via ​Sports Mole) that ​Liverpool have been jolted into action after learning of the clause in his deal with Benfica, and they are understood to have the edge over their Spanish competitors.

The Reds came close to signing Brito last summer, only for a deal to fall through as negotiations neared completion. However, they have not given up hope of bringing the Portuguese to Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp’s men believing he’s still open to joining the club.

The German has proved young players – such as Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones – will have an opportunity in his Liverpool team, which is another factor that seems to work in their favour.

While preferring to play in the middle of defence, Brito is likewise familiar with the holding midfielder position, gaining experience in both roles during his ten-year spell in the Benfica youth setup.

Joscha Wosz,Rafael Brito

Unfortunately, they have no control over his game-time in Lisbon, and forking out £38m for an unproven teenager is unrealistic. If he does make his Primeira Liga bow in the coming months, don’t expect a switch to Anfield anytime soon.

Once his release-clause is active, the chances of Brito joining Liverpool look remote, with regards to the immediate future, at least. 

Nevertheless, this a player the Reds are clearly keeping a close eye on, suggesting a move to Merseyside may eventually materialise, if the defender continues his impressive development.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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Gareth Bale Targets Return in Madrid Derby After Confirmation of Sprained Ankle​

Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Real Madrid’s upcoming matches against Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza after tests confirmed the Wales international picked up a sprained ankle in the Copa del Rey win over Unionistas de Salamanca.

The 30-year-old scored the opening goal of the game but was forced off shortly after half time at the Pistas del Helmántico, with an own goal from Juan Francisco Góngora Mateo and Brahim Díaz’s late strike booking Real Madrid’s place in the next round of the Copa del Rey.

Bale was sent for tests on his ankle after the match and Marca have confirmed that the Wales international picked up a slight sprain on his ankle.

FBL-ESP-CUP-UNIONISTAS SALAMANCA-REAL MADRID

He’ll miss Real Madrid’s trip to Valladolid on Sunday, while it’s also expected that Bale will be given an extra game’s rest in midweek against Real Zaragoza.

Bale’s two-game absence will only be precautionary on Real Madrid’s part, as they’re hopeful that he’ll be able to return to Zinedine Zidane’s squad in time for El Derbi Madrileño on February 1.

The Welshman has only made 15 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring three goals and picking up two assists in the process.

Even when Bale’s been fit he’s dropped in and out of the starting lineup at Real Madrid throughout the season, often missing out on a place in the first eleven to 19-year-old winger Rodrygo.

Bale still has a contract at the Santiago Bernabéu until 2022, but the Wales international has been heavily linked with a move away from Real Madrid much sooner.

Gareth Bale

He was most recently linked with a move back to Tottenham Hotspur following an ’emergency meeting’ between chairmans Daniel Levy and Florentino Pérez, although those reports showed very little evidence of being anything other than pure fantasy.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!  

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Copa del Rey: Breaking Down the Last 16 Draw for Barcelona, Real Madrid & the Rest

​The newly revamped Copa del Rey is proving a big hit this year. While the Magic of the Copa™ may have been artificially inseminated (single-leg fixtures played at the home of the lower-ranked team), it has proved no less welcome.

30-time winners Barcelona went behind to third-tier UD Ibiza and had to rely on a double from Antoine Griezmann to get them out of trouble, while Unionistas de Salamanca (also third tier) won hearts and minds with their display against Real Madrid.

The recently formed community-owned club – ​whose celebrations after being drawn against Madrid went viral – gave ​Los Blancos a real test despite the eventual 3-1 defeat. 

FBL-ESP-CUP-UNIONISTAS SALAMANCA-REAL MADRID

However, the big story of the round was Cultural Leonesa (Segunda B) beating Diego Simeone’s ​Atletico Madrid 2-1.

The last time Los Rojiblancos went out to a Segunda B team was in 2011. The next day manager Gregorio Manzano was fired and replaced by (drum roll…) Diego Simeone.

The only thing that would’ve made it more embarrassing for the Argentine coach would have been if Leonesa had been wearing this kit.

Atleti weren’t the only Goliath felled in the round of 32, as Primera sides Mallorca, Espanyol, Celta Vigo and Real Betis all went out, while Bilbao needed penalties to get past Elche.

FBL-ESP-CUP-CULTURAL LEONESA-ATLETICO

In the words of The Spanish Football Podcast: #CopaDelYay.

Bring on the last 16!


2019/20 Copa del Rey Last 16 Draw

​Badajoz vs ​Granada
​Cultural Leonesa ​vs ​Valencia
​Tenerife ​vs Athletic Club​
​Real Zaragoza ​vs ​Real Madrid
​Mirandes vs​ Sevilla​
​Rayo Vallecano vs​ ​Villarreal
​​Barcelona ​vs ​Leganes
​Real Sociedad ​vs ​Osasuna

As reward for being the last two Segunda B sides in the draw, Badajoz and Cultural Leonesa were drawn with Granada and Valencia respectively – the former perhaps less glamorous but eminently winnable. Amazingly, Badajoz are fourth in the division that also contains Granada’s B side.

After seeing off Atleti, Qatari-backed Leonesa – in the last 16 for the first time since 1960 – will be confident of facing whoever comes to the lion’s den, or Lion King Stadium as their home turf is genuinely called. Well, sort of – Estadio Reino de Leon.

Tenerife, Rayo and Mirandes can give life to middling seasons in the second tier with big scalps against their Primera opponents. Perhaps high-flying Sevilla travelling the length of Spain from Andalusia to the Basque Country and the sub-6,000-seater Estadio Municipal de Anduva represents the biggest piece of discarded yellow fruit.


Zaragoza – who are seeking promotion back to the top flight under former Copa del Rey winner as a player Victor Fernandez – hosting Real Madrid is arguably the tie of the round.

Barcelona face off against relegation battlers Leganes in a fixture that looks infinitely less anxiety-inducing for Quique Setien than, say, away to Rayo or Leonesa…

The other all-Primera match-up sees Europe-chasing Real Sociedad host Osasuna – a contest that finished 4-3 in the league just last month.

The last 16 ties will be played in a single-match format on 28, 29 and 30 of January.

Let’

90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 18 – Derry Girls Special

​Following a week in which: 

– Liverpool won AGAIN hi.

– Benfica won AGAIN hi.

– Ciro Immobile scored AGAIN hi.

– Brendan Rodgers whitened his teeth AGAIN hi. 

We, using quotes from my hometown’s favourite TV show Derry Girls, rank the 15 best football teams in Europe. Lethal hi. 


15. Willem II (New Entry) 

Damil Dankerlui

“Slainte muthaf**kas!”

Didn’t expect to see Willem II in the Definitive European Power Rankings, did you? Neither did I to be honest, but because it’s been a pretty lean week, I scoured Eredivisie and found William Shatner FC are actually really good. 

They’re unbeaten in their last seven league games, and have beaten Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar in recent weeks. That’s impressive. 

So raise a glass to Willem II, and congratulate them on their first ever appearance in 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings. Leefs hi. 


14. Schalke 04 (New Entry) 

Yevhen Konoplyanka

“Directly before the weeping, can you remember what you were doing? What you were talking about?”

After a Christmas period of mourning the loss of their prodigious goalkeeper – Alexander Nübel – to Bayern Munich (yeah, that’s happened before…), Schalke 04 stopped weeping, dusted themselves down and got back to business. 

And by back to business, we mean beat high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach. Pure class hi. 


13. Marseille (New Entry) 

FBL-FRA-CUP-TRELISSAC-MARSEILLE

“Ach, Fionnula, what about you? I thought I could smell vinegar!”

Ach, Andre Villas-Boas, what about you? I thought I could smell Premier League flop! 

And after flopping, in a big, big way in England, it looked like AVB’s managerial career might’ve been dead and buried. 

But now he’s back, in pog form (wrong show, but it had to be done)! 

The former ‘next big thing’ is making waves in France with Marseille, playing some of the best football in Europe and guiding them to second in Ligue 1. Fair play hi. 


12. Bayern Munich (Up 2) 

Thomas Mueller,. Thiago Alcantara

“Oh, bunk. I’ll find some dirt on you yet, boy. I’ve got people working on it.”

​Bayern are working on it. 

They’re working on a way to reinvigorate their squad. 

They’re working on a way to challenge RB Leipzig at the top of the Bundesliga. 

They’re working on a way to get out of paying £120m for a Philippe Coutinho – because he’s pure brock hi. 


11. Benfica (Up 2) 

Players of SL Benfica celebrate

“Step aside, we are armed.”

Benfica’s last 14 Primeira Liga games: 

Played: 14. 

Won: 14. 

Drawn: 0.

Lost: 0.

Goals Scored: 37.

Goals Conceded: 4.

Goal Difference: +29. 

Step aside Portuguese football teams, Benfica are armed and dangerous. Far too good hi. 


10. Barcelona (-)

Quique Setien

“They were having a party. I could hear the music.”

Thou shall not make any Ibiza jokes. Thou shall not make any Ibiza jokes. Thou shall not make any Ibiza jokes. They’re lazy and everyone else has done them…

The Quique Setien era at ​Barcelona began in earnest this past week, with the former Real Betis overseeing surprisingly slender wins over Granada and Ibiza.

The mediocre performance in Ibiza was probably largely due to the fact that the Barcelona players were TOO BUSY RAVING WITH WAYNE LINEKER AND TIESTO AND [INSERT DJ NAME HERE] WAHEYYYYYYYYYYYYYY to care about the match. Nearly refrained hi. 


9. Manchester City (-)

Aymeric Laporte

“What are we going to do?”

“Well maybe we could start with calming the f**k down.”

Don’t panic ​Manchester City, the only player at the club who can actually defend is now fully fit. And judging by the fact that his return coincided with the Citizens’ first clean sheet in five games, that’s a pretty good thing. 

Nice one hi. 


8. Inter (Down 3) 

Romelu Lukaku

“Does anyone have 10p, I’m ringing Childline.”

“You can’t ring Childline every time your mother threatens to kill you.”

​Inter, you can’t sign a Premier League player every time you drop points. That isn’t going to work. 

What you really need is a tactical plan B. You need to work out a way to win games when you’re not going “100 km/h”. 

That’s the key hi. 


7. Leicester City (-) 

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-WEST HAM

“Lovely, altogether. You know, every year I sit backstage listening to the singers and it really makes me realise just how talented the professionals who originally recorded these tracks were.”

Big Brendy Baps and ​Leicester City are lovely, altogether. They absolutely pummelled West Ham in midweek and sit pretty comfortably in the top three. 

You know, watching them really makes me realise just how good Liverpool are, because they’re 19 points clear of Leicester City. That’s mad hi. 


6. Paris Saint-Germain (Up 2) 

Neymar Jr,Kylian Mbappe

“Great show.”

Kylian Mbappe’s Ligue 1 stats:

 

Games Played: 14.

Goals: 13.

Assists: 4.

Neymar’s Ligue 1 stats: 

Games Played: 12. 

Goals: 11. 

Assists: 5. 

Great showing from the two most electric footballers in Europe. Absolutely unreal hi. 


5. Real Madrid (Down 1) 

Brahim Diaz

“Relax love, we’ve a good two or three hours before the rioting starts.”

Things are going really well at Real Madrid at the moment. They’re joint top of La Liga, through to the next round of the UEFA Champions League and the Copa del Rey, and all their golden oldies are performing. 

So we can fully expect all hell to break loose, riots to ensue and the sky to fall when they inevitably are knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City. It’s going to be a disaster hi. 


4. SS Lazio (Up 2)

Ciro Immobile

“Well I am not being individual on me own.”

Usually 90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings team laud Ciro Immobile, at least, twice a week. However, this week, we thought that it’s high time we praised his supporting cast, because they’re all bloody brilliant too.

– Simone Inzaghi: You’re best manager in Italy; keep up the good work. 

– Thomas Strakosha: It’s very impressive to be this good at 24 years old. 

– Luiz Felipe: You’re only 22? Prospect much?! 

– Francesco Acerbi: We are so glad you’re still playing football, and doing so at the highest level. 

– Stefan Radu: Nice job with the whole conversion from left back to left centre back. Seamless. 

– Manuel Lazzari: What a signing you’ve been. 

– Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: You’re probably the best midfielder in Serie A. 

– Lucas Leiva: It’s weird how good you’ve been in recent years. 

– Luis Alberto: How did Liverpool not see how amazing you are? 

– Stefan Lulic: The best LWB in Serie A for over a decade. 

– Joaquin Correa: I just really enjoy watching you play football. 

Props to you all hi. 


3. RB Leipzig (Down 1) 

Julian Nagelsmann

“Lovely job so far Seamus, but, you know, keep it moving – Rawhide is on in 15 minutes.”

Lovely job so far Julian, but, you, keep it moving – Bayern Munich have won their last four and are just four points adrift of your RB Leipzig atop of the Bundesliga. Keep up the good work hi. 


2. Juventus (Up 1) 

FBL-ITA-CUP-JUVENTUS-UDINESE

“Orla has got really into step aerobics. Her instructor says she’s a natural. Says she’s got what it takes to go all the way.”

Maurizio Sarri has really got into this whole winning this. He’s a natural. 

So far this season, he’s become only the second manager since 1929/30 to win 14 of his first 15 home games with Juventus. Oh and he’s also accumulated more Serie A points in his first season in charge than any other manager in the club’s history. 

He’s got what it takes to go all the way with Juventus hi. 


1. Liverpool (-) 

TOPSHOT-FBL-ENG-PR-WOLVES-LIVERPOOL

“We’re basically celebrities now, we’re like The Corrs.”

The 2019/20 Liverpool team are basically the best team in Premier League history now, they’re like the Corrs…no that’s not right…I mean, they’re like a mix between Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, Man City’s ‘Centurians’ and Manchester United’s treble winners all wrapped into one. 

Unbeatable hi. 


Let’

Arsenal Not Prepared to End Dani Ceballos’ Loan From Real Madrid Early

Arsenal are determined to keep Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos for the remainder of his agreed loan, despite rumours that the player himself is keen to cut it short and move on.

Ceballos joined the Gunners to much fanfare last summer, with the hope that he would improve the squad at the same time as getting his own career back on track after stalling at the Bernabeu. But his time in north London hasn’t been a success.

Dani Ceballos

The 23-year-old was in and out of the Arsenal team under Unai Emery, until a muscle injury ruled him out of action for close to two months. He returned to fitness at the start of January but is still yet to get off the bench and onto the pitch under new manager Mikel Arteta.

That led to suggestions this week that Ceballos is now keen to quit his Gunners loan as a result. But while it remains possible that is true, the latest report on the developing situation claims Arsenal have little intention of allowing him to walk away early.

According to AS, Arsenal have already informed Real Madrid they do not want to cancel the loan and still see Ceballos as playing an important role between now and the end of the season.

That stance is backed up by what Arteta himself said about Ceballos earlier this month.

Mikel Arteta

“Dani had an injury where he was out for almost two months and had to go to Madrid for his rehab. He came back and in the first few weeks, I didn’t think that he was physically at the level to compete for starting games,” Arteta was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“It’s true that I have players in that position who have been performing really well, and last week when I believed that he was ready to step in, I decided to pick another player. But he’s been training good, I’m happy with him and I know him really well, so there’s no issues there.”

On top of a demanding Premier League calendar, Arsenal face Bournemouth in the FA fourth round this weekend, with an upcoming Europa League knockout tie against Olympiacos next month, and will need a deep squad in order to keep players fresh.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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Real Madrid Secure First Refusal on Flamengo’s Lincoln After Reinier Jesus Arrival

​Real Madrid have secured a right of first refusal on Flamengo youngster Lincoln after announcing the signing of his former teammate Reinier Jesus, according to reports.

Los Blancos announced the signing of attacking midfielder Reinier on Monday, for a fee believed to be in the region of €30m.

The 18-year-old, who was also wanted by the likes of ​Manchester City​Juventus​Barcelona, Roma, ​AC Milan​Arsenal, and ​Everton among others, became the third young Brazilian to have been signed by Real in as many years after Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.


And now it looks as though Zinedine Zidane’s side have potentially secured the services of another Brazilian wonderkid in the shape of Reinier’s former teammate Lincoln.

According to ​Mundo Deportivo, the 13 time European champions have secured the right of first refusal on the 19-year-old, who scored three times in 11 appearances for the Brazilian champions last season.

The nature of the deal means that Flamengo would have to inform ​Real Madrid of any offers tabled for Lincoln, giving Los Blancos the opportunity to match the transfer price.

Bruno Henrique,Lincoln,Vitinho

If Real were to pass up that opportunity the option would then expire, leaving O Mais Querido do Brasil to sell the youngster to whoever they desire.

Lincoln is believed to have a release clause of around €54m in his contract, after he signed a new deal at Flamengo in 2018 that will keep him at the club until 2023.

After missing out on the signing of ​Neymar​ in 2013 to league rivals Barcelona, club president Florentino Perez has been keen to secure the services of Brazil’s best young talent.

Vinicius Junior,Casemiro

This has seen them spend over £100m on the nation’s brightest youth prospects in the past three seasons.

The policy has born fruit this season, as Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo have scored a combined eight goals in 37 appearances as Los Blancos look to win La Liga back for only the third time in twelve seasons.

Let’

Dani Ceballos Looking to End Arsenal Loan Early With Valencia Interested

Dani Ceballos is eager to end his loan deal at Arsenal ahead of time, with the Spaniard tipped for a January move to Valencia.

Since joining on a temporary basis from Real Madrid last summer, the playmaker has played 17 games for the Gunners, though he is yet to make an appearance under new manager Mikel Arteta. 

With Euro 2020 a matter of months away, ​Marca claim Ceballos is keen to maximise his game-time in the hopes of securing a place in Luis Enrique’s squad for the tournament.

Kepler Lima 'Pepe',Dani Ceballos

He was involved with La Roja throughout the autumn but was absent from their latest round of fixtures in November due a hamstring problem.

That injury saw Ceballos miss a total of 11 matches for ​Arsenal in all competitions, and he has failed to regain his place in the side since returning to fitness.

The presence of Albert Celades – who coached the midfielder at the under-21 European Championships in 2017 – at Valencia could play a pivotal role in where he spends the second half of the campaign.

Dani Ceballos

Ceballos has two preferences with regard to his next destination: he wants to work under a manager he’s familiar with, and he wants to be playing in ​La Liga.

As a result, ​Milan are likely to fall short in their bid to secure the 23-year-old’s services, but a move to the Mestalla certainly fits the bill.

It remains unclear if Ceballos will have a role to play at ​Real Madrid in 2020/21, and Los Blancos are supportive of him leaving north London as they continue to assess his talents.

Zinedine Zidane and his coaching staff feel the youngster needs more minute on the pitch before they can make an informed decision on whether to keep him in the capital. A switch to Valencia therefore helps his parent club, as well as Los Ches.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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Gareth Bale Set for Tests on New Ankle Injury After Copa del Rey Win

​Gareth Bale faces tests on a possible ankle injury, after coming off in the second half of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey win over Unionistas de Salamanca on Wednesday evening.

Real Madrid enjoyed a fairly trouble-free evening away against third-tier Salamanca, with Bale opening the scoring on 18 minutes. While the hosts got a surprise equaliser in the second half, it took Madrid – 19 times winners of the competition – five minutes to go back in front, while they eventually won 3-1 on the night.

With ​Barcelona leaving it late as they toiled to a 2-1 victory over UD Ibiza on the same night, Zinedine Zidane and his charges enjoyed a less taxing experience in the revamped Copa, with the only lasting worry Bale’s fitness.

​​The Welsh forward was taken off in the 53rd minute, apparently nursing an ankle knock.

Speaking after the game, Zidane told ​reporters: “He’s twisted his ankle a bit. I don’t think it’s much but, as always, we’ll see tomorrow. He couldn’t go on.”

After the game, COPE journalist Melchior Ruiz was among those to tweet that the initial diagnosis was a sprain, while the player would be tested on Thursday.

Bale has remained a marginalised figure at ​Real Madrid this season under Zidane, starting nine La Liga games and just one in the Champions League, with his only two goals prior to Wednesday night’s effort, coming in the 2-2 draw with Villarreal back in September. Bale was also sent off in that encounter.

Gareth Bale,Guille Andres

The forward continues to be linked with a move away from Madrid, though the likelihood of a deal being done any time soon seems minimal.

​Reports from Spain on Wednesday claimed that Tottenham had made a bid to bring their former star back to London, while Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett – not for the first time – categorically dismissed the notion that his client could leave on loan.

Let’

Unionistas de Salamanca 1-3 Real Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Zidane’s Men Avoid Cup Upset

​Real Madrid booked their place in the last 16 of the Copa Del Rey after successfully negotiating a tricky tie away to Spanish third-tier side Unionistas de Salamanca on Wednesday night.

Gareth Bale’s first-half strike was cancelled out by a shock equaliser from the hosts, but Los Blancos regained the lead courtesy of an own goal before substitute Brahim Diaz put the result to bed late on. 

FBL-ESP-CUP-UNIONISTAS SALAMANCA-REAL MADRID

After a slow start, ​Real Madrid put together a neat passing move which resulted in a partially cleared cross falling at the feet of Bale, whose deflected shot found the bottom corner.

In an eventful half, Karim Benzema worked himself an opening but hit the side netting and James grazed the bar, but aside from that the visitors were largely underwhelming. 

Real were made to pay. Paltry defending from centre-half Éder Militāo opened a gap for Salamanca substitute Álvaro Romero, who finished with aplomb, curling it beyond Alphonse Areola in the Madrid goal.

However, the minnows weren’t level for long, a centre from Madrid skipper Marcelo was met by Diaz and his effort was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Juan Góngora.

Diaz then got on the scoresheet himself with the final kick of the game, jinking his way through a tired Salamanca backline to fire past keeper Brais Pereiro and seal the victory.


Unionistas de Salamanca

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Pereiro (6); Hernandez (6), Placeres (6), Zubiri (6), Góngora (5), Navas (6) Gallego (5), Angel (5), Lopez (6); Garrido (5), Nava (5)

Subs: Romero (7*), Gonzalez (5), Amouzou (N/A)


Real Madrid

Key Talking Point​

Gareth Bale, who else? The subject of numerous rumours in the transfer window, the Welshman put them to one side, started the game and opened the scoring for Los Blancos.

FBL-ESP-CUP-UNIONISTAS SALAMANCA-REAL MADRID

Perhaps it was telling that he didn’t celebrate after finding the net, but then again perhaps not? The 30-year-old’s future appears to be forever in the air.

Surely Bale’s predicament has to be resolved soon, it seems a never-ending saga between player and club.

But, in spite of his evidently split loyalty, he was on the scoresheet on Wednesday evening and his determination against a third-tier club could not be doubted.

He was one of Madrid’s better performers in what in parts was a lacklustre and rather unremarkable performance.

However, less than 10 minutes after half time, Bale was pulled by boss Zinedine Zidane and replaced by Brahim Diaz.

A statement from Zidane, and yet another twist in the tale.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Areola (7*); Carvajal (6), Nacho (5), Militão (5), Marcelo (6); Valverde (6), Casemiro (6), Rodríguez (5); Bale (6), Benzema (5), Vinícius (5)

Subs: Diaz (7), Jovic (5), Isco (5)


Alphonse Areola

It sums Madrid’s performance up when their star performer was the man between the sticks, despite the fact that the La Liga giants were facing third-tier opponents.

On a night where a lot of Madrid’s superstars were made to look distinctly average, Areola took his opportunity to stake a claim for the number one spot.

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The 26-year-old shot-stopper has found himself sat on the bench this season, second in the pecking order to Thibaut Courtois, but his performance here would have given Zidane something to think about.

One moment in particular, saved his team, a point-blank stop from Salamanca’s Javi Navas kept Madrid’s lead intact at a time in the game where their defence was rocking. 

Boss Zidane took the tie to rotate his team and while some flattered to deceive, Areola took his chance with open arms. 


Looking Ahead

After welcoming the might of Real Madrid, Unionistas return to league action when they welcome Alavés II to the Hélmantico Stadium in the Segunda División B on Sunday.

As for Zidane’s men, their attention turns to ​La Liga as Madrid make the trip to face Real Valladolid on Sunday night.

Let’