La Liga wide open as Real, Barca, Atletico stumble


Replaced by Dani Ceballos at half-time in tonight's Madrid Derby, a fresh Gareth Bale injury may play into the Republic of Ireland's hands ahead of next month's Nations League tie.

"That's all it is, simply management", he added.

Reflecting on his first senior appearance, having starred for Madrid's Castilla side, Vinicius told Real Madrid TV: "I'm really pleased to have made my first appearance in a Real Madrid shirt".

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois came back to haunt Atletico Madrid as two crunch saves denied Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa on Saturday in a goalless draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Lopetegui, who was sacked as boss of Spain on the eve of the World Cup in Russian Federation, will also be without Isco (appendicitis) and Marcelo (calf).

"We have not won because we didn't score but overall we have been very superior", Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui said.

Even after drawing at home with Girona and sliding to a shock 2-1 defeat at minnows Leganes during the week, Barca remain on top of the standings on goal difference. "It is the best thing that can happen to us".

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Real Madrid hasn't won in two consecutive games, being unable to take advantage of Barcelona's struggles.

"We are a team who are growing and its natural that we are exposed to criticism because of this profile, but we do not want to be compared to Madrid or Barcelona". A first-half goal by Kevin Gameiro - and a second-half penalty kick save by goalkeeper Neto - gave Valencia its first win in eight matches in all competitions.

"There are two teams here and they are very big here in Madrid, and for us, it's a very special match".

After the match, Ramos also touched on the situation: "I have not spoken with Griezmann, regardless of the opinion of each other, one must always have the utmost respect for a fellow professional".

Real controlled the game with more possession although Atletico looked more risky going forward and had the two clearest chances of the first half. They can make mistakes, as they were all wrong.

Los Colchoneros next face Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday. Tomorrow we will see how they play, if they have a bank of five, but they have top players and we will have to have a great game for sure.