Real Madrid president Perez insists 2017 was 'great' despite El Clasico defeat

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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said on Sunday that the club’s fans have to be proud of their team’s achievements in 2017, despite the 3-0 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona that left them 14 points adrift in the La Liga title race.

The Spanish giants completed a double of Champions League and La Liga titles last season and have since added the Club World Cup trophy and the European and Spanish Super Cups.

“2017 was a year that the Madridistas will never forget,” Perez said in his traditional Christmas message to supporters, a day after the home loss to Barca.

“In terms of titles, it’s been the best in the 115 years of our history, and for all of our supporters, 2017 was a great year.

“We are proud of our team and our coach, Zinedine Zidane. They are part of this legend and the myth that is Real Madrid.”

Zidane has come under fire in recent weeks for the first time since taking over as Real coach, after their faltering start to the domestic league campaign and a Champions League loss to Tottenham Hotspur that left them facing a last-16 tie with big-spending Paris Saint-Germain in February.

“Overall, 2017 was very positive. We must continue in this direction for 2018,” said Zidane, who is bidding to lead Real to a third straight European crown.​

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Barcelona legend Eric Abidal stresses La Liga title race is not over

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Eric Abidal insists the La Liga title is not over despite Barcelona opening up a 14 point lead after their comprehensive 3-0 win over Real Madrid on Saturday.

Ernesto Valverde side's closest challengers are Atletico Madrid and Valencia who are nine and 11 points adrift respectively, with Real Madrid sitting in fourth.

But Abidal, who played 125 games for the Catalan giants, said: "It was a very important match but the league is not done. There is still many matches to play."

"We have a lot of experience. We have a big gap between the first and second, but Real Madrid is a big club with a good team.
 








"If you make some mistakes they can put pressure on you again... We have to work hard and try to win all their next games. In April we will talk about the league or not."

Barcelona look imperiously strong this season and are unbeaten in 25 matches across all competitions, something that does not surprise Abidal as he feels this winning mentality should always be instilled among the players at the Camp Nou.

"When you are playing in Barcelona at the beginning of the season, you have to say you want to win the title. You can’t say 'I am here, and I will try to do my best'," he said.

"This club has always had the same goals - to win all the titles."


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El Clasico's best pictures as Barcelona reign supreme against Real Madrid

Brendon Netto 24/12/2017

The La Liga title race already looks all but over as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 on Saturday in an enthralling El Clasico battle.

Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Aleix Vidal were all on the score sheet as the Catalans put the hosts to the sword at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Ernesto Valverde's men has now opened up a 14-point lead over their fierce rivals.

The gallery above features some of the best shots from the day's play.

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